First of all, Happy 95th Birthday to our mother/mother-in-law. A big one – sorry we aren't with you to celebrate.
We left Kia on the Sunday in pretty rough weather. Getting the anchor up was a challenge and we were rolling bad enough that getting seasick at anchor was not what we wanted We headed back to Malau because we had our route to follow through the reefs in the not so good visibility. We had several squalls and lots of wind and rain. We made it back to the anchorage at the same time a tanker was leaving the large ship moorings and another one was coming in. The one coming in was a LPG tanker – and looked like it was heading right for us! We kept our motor running in case we had to quickly get our anchor up and move. But they managed to maneuver the huge vessel unto the ships' moorings in the bay and get tied off. It was interesting to watch as a small boat grabbed their huge lines and tied them to the four moorings. The next day they ran a long hose/pipe to fill the large propane tank on shore.
We sat out a few days of bad weather here – again not the prettiest, but certainly interesting. Their was a huge Chinese ship at the sugar loading platform as well. This was the first load of sugar leaving Fiji this season. It was another step in the process as we learned about sugar cane to ship.
Another barge, loaded to the point where the name of the vessel was underwater, came into the bay as well and maneuvered around us. It was loaded with bags of manure...for the harvested cane fields!
Michael making one trip into Labasa by bus to pay for propane. He filled it at the propane station right near the anchorage (that just got filled by the ship) but had to go to town to pay for the fill – crazy!
We left after a few days and headed to Palmlea Farms just eight miles away. This is a resort owned by former cruising sailors Julie and John. We were also going to meet Lance and Michelle from the NZ sailboat "Sweetwaters" at the resort. We met them last year in Vanuatua at the Lakona Bay Kustom Festival. It was fun to see them again. We had a great dinner at the resort and enjoyed the company of John, Julie and their Aussie guest Phil (also a cruiser). The next day, Michelle, Lance and Michael went to Labasa with Julie for some provisioning (and ice cream). We had another great dinner – pizza from the wood stove at the resort. We took a nice walk around the area, saw another green flash and checked out the Boer goats that the "farm" raises.
After an enjoyable time reconnecting with the "Sweetwaters" and enjoying cook's nights off, we moved on. We headed 25 miles further on our trek to a place called Nakalou. When we arrived and anchored in 4 meters of water (14 feet), the wind was hooting off the hills. Though anchored in rather shallow water, we were still some distance from the village. Our intention was to go in and do sevusevu at the village that afternoon because it was Saturday and that would mean we couldn't do it on Sunday until after the church day activities were completed. But the wind was so bad we would get soaked going to shore and it would be challenging getting the dinghy up on the beach. So we hung out on the boat and hoped the wind would die for the night.
Like a light switch being turned off, the wind died around 8 pm and it was a flat calm night. We will head into the village later today for sevusevu and then hopefully tomorrow make a long dinghy ride up the Draketi River. This is the longest river in Fiji and is according to one guide "a must see." The problem is it is about two miles from where we are anchored over lots of mud banks. So just to get to the mouth will be part of the adventure. If the wind starts to hoot again though, we will reconsider our plans.
Latitude: 16 31.33s
At 8/13/2016 8:11 PM (utc) S/V Astarte was located at 16°31.33'S 178°53.70'E
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