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Showing posts from September, 2016

Exploring around Mana Island

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We had been in Fiji for three months, and we needed to extend our visas or leave the country. Now that we were having fun with Chuck and Lauri on Free Spirit and with Tom and Lynn on Roxanne, we figured we’d stay a bit longer. This meant we had to head to the Immigration office in Latoka. All three boats left Robinson Crusoe Island and had a lovely sail north. We passed Cloudbreak and saw some surfers out there, but it was much quieter than during the competition we’d seen a few months ago. As we entered the main lagoon, Free Spirit headed off to Musket Cove for a big regatta that was starting there. The wind was still good, as Good as Gold and Roxanne continued sailing the 10 nautical miles across the lagoon towards Latoka.


It was sugar cane harvesting season, and there is a large sugar processing plant next to the anchorage in Latoka. It was interesting to see the train cars and trucks bringing in lots and lots of sugar cane, but it wasn’t so nice to get a mild dusting of ash fr…

Oops

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With SV Roxanne and SV Free Spirit, we motored to Kavala Bay on the NW side of Kadavu island to get ready for the sail to Beqa Lagoon. As we motor-sailed through Ono Strait, dolphins joined us.



After an amazing pizza dinner on SV Roxanne, we got an early start the next morning so we could get to Beqa in the daylight. We hoisted the main sail before hoisting the anchor and Dina was motoring out of the bay while Malcolm was down below. The charts here are not very good, and depth went from 17 metres to 1.8 metres – Good as Gold draws 2 metres. We hit a reef.
Fortunately, we were not moving too fast. Malcolm dropped the main sail and jumped in the water to assess the situation. He could see there was no damage to the boat. Tom, from SV Roxanne, and a local fisherman, took a couple of lines in their dinghies and drove away to heel us over and we were able to drive back into deep water. Dina was relieved there was no damage to our boat, but she felt terrible about hurting the reef.
We con…

The Great Astrolabe Reef

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We left Matuku before sunset. Once we were outside of the reef, we raised the genoa (head sail). It was very rolly, overcast, rainy and cool. The wind was much stronger than predicted and we were a bit concerned about waves breaking over the stern of the boat. We hoped it would calm down once we were further from the island. The waves did settle into a pattern, but were still very large. A small pod of dolphins joined us until the sun was gone. The boat sailed very well, maybe too well, as we once again were going to arrive at the entrance to Astrolabe Reef earlier than planned. Throughout the night, especially during Dina’s watches, the boat was doing 10-11 knots and she saw 14.6 at one point!
Although we tried to dump wind and slow down, we arrived 4 hours earlier than expected (3 hours before sunrise). We still had lots of wind, but a least the water was calmer because we were downwind of the reef. We gybed back and forth outside the pass for a few hours until we had enough light…