On the Move….Still.

W/ scanning the water around Fiji

Early the following day I pulled the anchor and off we went. Luckily it wasn’t stuck on any coral and came up with a wee bit o bottom stuck to it. The bottom in this anchorage is full of coral and it is easy to get the chain wrapped around a bommie.

 
By the time the Sun cleared the horizon we had the jib up and were on a lovely broad reach heading west to Vote Lavu. The first approx 25 mile leg was a lot of open water and the second would be winding out way N through the reefs. While the reefs are not well marked; Cyclone Winston removed a few markers three years ago, we have two GPS tracks. We created them on previous trips and hope those will keep us out of trouble.
 
Still tired from the mess two days ago and wanting to get a better feel for the jury rig I did, we didn’t fish. The electronic auto pilot would steer this course and once inside the reefs we would alternate taking the helm. If we use the electronic autopilot here it to easy to be distracted and run Elysium up on a reef. We don’t have the autopilot connected to any chart plotter. Even if we did, as a sailor I”m to conservative to trust those auto setups. I’ve had cruising friends that plotted form marker to marker. Their boat was then steered to exactly where the marker is and they ran right into it. Others have followed a colored line on a chart. That line signifies deep water. They missed the part where the magnetic line is no longer accurate due to shoaling and storms. Nothing beats a good look out on a boat.
 
So….. we made it inside the reefs before noon and turned N ready to begin the “gutter crawl”. We will stay inside the reef now all the way to Vuda and Denarau. Luckily, the winds shifted to follow the coast and we had a wonderful, relaxed sail up the E side of Viti Levu. We wanted to be anchored before sunset at Nana i’ Ra. And we were…. with a bit of a scare.
 
We rounded the island and headed to where our usual spot. However, I wanted to move in a little closer. Otherwise we anchor in about 10 m of water. Being further away from shore we have a bit more wind as it cascades over the mountain and down. I’m forward and ready to drop the hook. As the boat continues to float forward I start to see the bottom, check the depth, 20’, 15’, check the water it’s clearer. I signal W/ to shift into reverse. Nine feet, I signal MORE power ….in reverse. And we begin backing up. It’s not easy stopping and reversing the direction of a 15-20 ton boat in the water. Our good ol’ 85 hp Perkins came to the rescue as water rushed past the bow. Water seemed to for the next minute or so. Stopping in deeper water; again, I dropped the hook.
 

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