We Checked out of Vuda Marina. What a wonderful place. While the marina is not really a traditional marina, as it is a hurricane hole the people there are extraordinary! Like Cheer’s they know you by name and are always glad to see you. Even after being away months; when we show up “Dave! Wendy!, Welcome back”! Places like Vuda make Fiji hard to leave. But we must. Bureaucrats don’t tolerate us boaters hanging around long even though we pay for boat work, pay for food, eat at local restaurants, do tourist stuff, and share / learn in their culture. However officialdom pushes us on. That and the wx. It is time. So we cleared out from Customs and have our passports stamped from Immigration. We are moving on.
Leaving any country always seems to be difficult. We miss the people and the experiences, the familiarity and the routine. We were leaving via Navula Passage which is the ships channel to Latoka and Cruise ships to Denarau. What a ride. The current was up to 3 kts against us. The winds were against us but that was ok for a bit. Wind with current helps in keeping the waves flatter. So we had no standing waves that we could “bang” into…there. Once out of the pass the waves changed. A two hour move added up to 4 hours and one we never want to repeat.
We left early in the am to arrive at our final departure point before the enhanced sea breeze kicks in. With W/ at the helm (she is a much better helmsperson than I am) we dipped, slipped and scooped up more water than we have seen aboard in years. The last place we had that wild of a ride was a storm off of Trinidad. We had the boat moving at an average of about 3 kts. With the engine at cruising RPM’s we would normally be doing 6.2 kts. The water would slap the bowsprit jostling the anchors making a racket we didn’t like hearing. Twice; once I saw it happen, we hit the next wave so hard one of the teak slats through bolted on the bowsprit ripped right off. Fortunately, the one I have needed to replace for a bit I never replaced. Now I have three teak pieces to replace.
Tough as it was, W/ kept us on course. Her only point of wavering was when we were about an hour out of our final staging point she said “We could go back”. But realizing then that we would need to go through the same mess tomorrow to get off shore both of us said “no way”. As we made our new harbor entrance our boat speed increased and we made harbor, anchoring in 4 m of water. With the winds now blowing 20-25kts and the river current pushing us back the way we came, the anchor is keeping us where we wanted, the boat sat for the rest of the day sideways to the wind.
We finished stowing our gear realizing that we really left this am a wee bit unprepared. All awnings are now stowed below, poles in their deck bag, halyards where they belong and run true. We’ve pulled one solar panel off, tied in all the misc gear in the engine room, picked up and secured all gear below deck.
At roughly 8 am we’re outta here!