Daily Archives: August 21, 2016

Skipper’s prerogative

I like waking up to an easy day. I find it’s better if it’s sunny and not rolly all night, but easy is good. No need to rush about at the crack of dawn, stowing things, entering waypoints, and basically prepping Escape Velocity for a passage. Today’s goal includes zig zagging through the intercostal reef passage just off Ovalau Island and maybe an hour of offshore sailing to crest the top of Naigani Island around the northern reefs to nestle into a semi protected bay called, and I kid you not, Delaitovutovu. Caution and attentive skippering for maybe twenty miles, but not much derring-do. I may have mentioned how sketchy the charts are around here so leaving conservative margins is the order of the day. Well, that and gazing down into the ocean wondering but trying not to imagine.

Another yacht had already anchored in the bay but we were able to wiggle inside of the big monohull and dropped anchor 30 meters off the beach. Soon we were picking our way through the extensive reef in Cat Nip looking for a spot of serious beachcombing. Even in this isolated place the effects of cyclone Winston can still be seen.


Up with the sun, and up with the anchor chain came a fifty foot log jammed between the hulls. All my usual strategies failed to faze this thing. We had ropes tied every which way trying to take some pressure off the chain wrap, raised and lowered the chain, but the log was too long, too heavy to manipulate. I decided to cut. Note to self: a roughcut saw would be helpful. It took about an hour with a hack saw and it was past time to make tracks. 

We described a circuitous route motor-sailing through and around the inside passage to Nananu-I-thake and anchored in a beautiful bay with the same yacht that we spent last night with.

The anchor came up without accessories this time and we were off zigging on a long run through the islets and reefs to Vitogo bay just shy of the commercial city of Lautoka. Vitogo Bay was rural all right, with massive cane field fires burning at dusk. It was a sight so familiar to us from our time spent in El Salvador. All alone in the middle of this massive bay, we knew what we’d face in the morning. Surprisingly the decks weren’t too sooty but the weather was so we motored the couple of miles over to Lautoka and dropped anchor opposite the town near a resort on Bekanai Island in amongst a few yachts that look like they’ve been here far too long. Intuitively Yours Truly immediately picked up the vibe and made the call for a nap while waiting for better dinghy weather. Lautoka can wait.


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