Day 46, Year 2: Passage from Astrolabe Reef to Kadavu Island
Date: Saturday, June 9, 2007
Weather: Partly Sunny Day
Water Temperature: 81 degrees F in Anchorage
Air Temperature: 79 degrees F
Latitude: 19 degrees 01 minutes S
Longitude: 178 degrees 26 minutes E
Location: Vagola Bay, Kadavu Island, Fiji
We made the passage from the area of small islands inside the Astrolabe Reef down along the fringing reef (but inside of it) to the south-east side of Kadavu Island. The Astrolabe Reef is now to our north, but the fringing reef continues on around to our east and then to the south of Kadavu. Jean-Pierre and Colette in Safina led the way and we followed carefully behind, watching the computer screen in the cockpit the entire time. We use MaxSea as a navigation program with C-Maps charts and it
was pretty much right on today. We often had to work our way between two coral heads and between shallow areas to both port and starboard, but watching the computer screen allowed us to see every move we made in relationship to those obstacles. At the very end, we came to a mark and two little islands that just didn’t appear on the electronic charting. Actually the mark was there, but since the islands were missing on the electronic charts, we were all just a little unsure. This is the problem
with electronic charting. It is wonderful when it is correct, but you constantly have to check it against paper charts and what you are actually seeing. By this time, Mark and I were getting better at seeing the shallow areas indicated by turquoise water instead of darker blue, so we wove our way through the maze and made it into our anchorage for tonight. I must say that I feel much more confident about reef sailing after today. As long as you have good light, you can really see the shallow areas.
You just have to watch carefully, constantly. There is an unwritten rule in sailing that you always have to use at two ways of determining where you you, and we are seeing first hand just how important that really is. The electronic charts are one and visual navigation is the other. Of course, paper charts and radar can also supplement these.
The anchorage here looks like you are totally in the wilderness, but behind the mangroves there are dwellings. We thought we might be able to pull in here and not have to do sevusevu with a village, but sometime in the late afternoon, a boat came paddling by with three young people aboard. They went to Safina and Jean-Pierre invited them aboard. They stayed for about two hours and then close to sunset, we saw Jean-Pierre and Colette disappear into the mangroves behind this boat. Just as the sun
was setting, Jean-Pierre and Colette came by Windbird to tell us that we have all been invited to come ashore at 9 AM in the morning and walk across the island to a Methodist Church for Sunday service. After the church service, we will do sevusevu. It is unusual to be invited to come into a village on Sunday, so this will be an interesting excursion. After we return to our boats, we will move to the the bay just to the south of us. We hope to make it to Korelevu Bay and spend two or three days
there before leaving for the Lau Group.
We arrived at anchor at 1:30 PM in the afternoon. It was early, but we felt like we had put in a full day. Mark and I made the decision to just relax and read (and for me, to cook) for the remainder of the afternoon. I had lots of veggies that I bought back in Suva that needed to be cooked–okra, egg plant, green beans, and yams. And then there were the bananas. Although I supplied all of the bananas for the banana bread we baked on Dravuni, I still had more overripe bananas that needed to be
used. So I also made banana bread. While I was at it, I cooked potatoes to make potato salad and scalloped potatoes for tomorrow. I kept myself busy all afternoon.
Tomorrow will be another adventure. Our destination is Korolevu Bay and the village of Kadavu. We plan to present sevusevu there on Monday and get permission to visit Lion Pool and Vileileivi, a small islet right out on the fringing reef. There is a resort in Korolevu Bay and a Chinese store. We might be able to do a little reprovisioning while there. That is yet to be determined. No later than Wednesday, weather permitting, we hope to head east to the Lau Group. If the winds are still from
the east, we might have to delay departure until the winds cooperate.
A last note . . . The sky is absolutely filled with stars tonight. The Big Dipper is to our port and the Southern Cross is to our starboard. We can see the Milky Way and an unbelievable number of stars. It is a beautiful evening.
|070609 Day 46 Kadavu Island, Fiji–Namara Island to Vagola Bay|