Sunday, June 21, 2009

Holed up in Wainalola Bay

June 22, 2009--On Thursday we went back into town to pick up the laundry, grab a few veggies, and eat some Thai Curry at Kim's Paak Kum Lounge. Kim's is on the road across from the harbor, and we took a table out on the balcony overlooking the water. The meal was very good, and when we were done, the server brought us a book and asked us to sign it. It was interesting to look through it and see the entries made by people from all over the world. The laundry was not ready--I'll bet that it wasn't dry yet--so we went back to the dinghy. As we were about to leave the dock, Joe from Customs came out and asked Steve when we were planning to leave, so Steve told him that we needed to leave in the morning because some bad weather was coming through. Joe was upset because he had wanted to have Steve and I come by his house to drink kava, but Steve assured him that we would try very hard to stop back by here on our way to Savusavu.

On Friday morning we went in early, and while I picked up a few more last minute items at the grocery stores and the bakery, Steve went over to Customs to check out of Levuka. I went to pick up my laundry at Ovalau Water Sports and had to wait only about 30 minutes. When I found Steve at Customs, he was just finishing up with the clearance papers. It was a good thing that he got started early because all the paper work took much longer than he had expected. I then got the four Customs officers together for a very nice picture. We thanked them all and then returned to the boat, hoisted the dinghy up on the front deck, and pulled up the anchor.

Steve had located an anchorage up and around on the other side of Ovalau Island that would give us good protection from the 30 knot winds that were forecast for the next few days. The trip would be through the channel between the island and the barrier reef, which looked well marked and free of any coral heads. Still, I sat up on the bow to keep a lookout while Steve steered. We motored the 17 miles around the island since our batteries were low because of no sun for days. We arrived at Wainalola Bay around one o'clock and tucked back in a small bay where we dropped the anchor. The people at Customs asked that we let them know that we arrived here, so Steve sent them a quick email. I decided to bake a chocolate cake for a treat in the evening. Over night it rained and the winds picked up to the mid-twenties, but the anchor held with no problems.

On Saturday it rained heavily and blew close to 30 knots most of the day. There wasn't much for us to do so we read most of the day. We checked the weather again on this morning, and it still looked pretty unsettled, so we decided to stay here one more day. Hopefully, tomorrow the rain will be gone so that we can travel when there is some sunlight overhead, which will make it easier to see any coral heads. We discussed the fact that we were glad we crossed from Tonga to Fiji when we did, otherwise we would have had to cross in this nasty weather. We have had one day of sunshine since we arrived in Fiji, which the locals all say is unusual. Right now the weather shows two lows crossing just north of Fiji, and that is what is causing this weather system.

Last night when we went to bed the stars were out, and the water was like a lake, so we were hopeful to leave today. Unfortunately, at one o'clock in the morning, the winds and rain returned with gusto. The wind had shifted to the southwest, so we watched for awhile to make sure that our anchor had held. We spent most of the night on the settees and did not get much sleep. Hopefully, this is the second low passing over us, which means that we may be able to leave soon.

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