Friday, September 16, 2016

Arrival in Fiji

Bula! After an initial uncomfortable start to the passage with 25-30knot winds and confused seas things settled down, partly due to us deciding to head off the rhumb line to put some more apparent wind in the sails which in turn stops us rolling from side to side, particularly important when winds are light or the seas large from the beam as this causes the sails to flop and the rigging gets undue stress. The downside of heading off the rhumb line is that the distance we have to cover is longer. Quite often this extra distance can be covered in less time as more apparent wind equals greater speed a quick calculation gives us: a 10 degree alteration from the rhumb line requires a 1.5% increase in speed to equal the same travel time or VMG, 20 degrees requires 6.4% increase required and 30 degrees requires 15.5% increase. This does assume that the wind angle stays consistent, which rarely happens. Murphy’s law. So we altered course by 25 degrees which requires an increase in speed of 10.3% so we were traveling 6 knots and now we have to travel 6.62 knots which we managed to do and with the benefit of a much better ride and less stress on the rigging.

We decided rather than head north around the islands towards Savusvu we would cut through Lakeba pass and sail through the islands as we would be transiting the pass at or around dawn. As we approached the pass another vessel was approaching us from astern, clearly heading for the same pass. It was around 5am and I was unsure if they had seen us so I hailed them on the VHF to make sure they were aware of us. We still had well over 100 miles to go to Savusavu, our port of entry and as the seas had calmed considerably I poled out the headsail and we sailed dead down-wind all through the night arriving at our destination at dawn.
We hailed Copra Shed marina, one of the two marina’s in Savusavu and arranged to tie up at one of the dock s and check in. Over the next couple of hours four officials came on to Sarita to perform immigration, customs and bio security services, unfortunately it was a public holiday and we had to pay overtime charges making our total clearance charges to be around US$200 – ouch. There were all very pleasant although one of the officials did request a “contribution” to his personal costs, which we polity ignored and nothing more was said.

Savusavu with Nawi island and the anchorage / mooring field

Since arriving in Savusavu the wind has been blowing outside of the safety of the marina and it has been raining but we have enjoyed exploring the town, hiking daily in the hills and visiting its great value restaurants with lovely Indian curries – oh yum yum. We are now waiting for the weather to calm down so we can head east to rainbow reef and do some diving.   

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