September 9, 2011

Tranquil with a Chance of Waterspouts

We may as well have been glued to the bottom. Between sunrise (when the hills glow pink and gold) and sunset (was that a green flash? Our second in Fiji.) we spent the days aboard, enjoying the most peaceful anchorage we've been in, in the whole of the South Pacific.
There was this nagging feeling that there is more to Fiji than an anchorage of our own, with a stretch of sandy beach and nice diving a short dinghy ride away. But between books that needed reading, naps that needed indulging in and chores that had been put off too long-the need to leave just didn't seem that pressing.
And then there was the weather-not bad exactly, but changeable: shifting from clear blue sky, to a gusting torrential downpour within the span of a chapter, or a nap. And because the trip to Lautoka (our next port of clearance) is carried out inside a reef, which is strewn with all manner of hazards, it helps to have sunny weather.
Yesterday though after a swim to clean the prop (hey, we don't need clothes, we're the only ones here…) it was time to leave Nananu-I-Thake. The sky was clear, the sun was high enough to see the reefs and the wind was calm. We had news that friends were just a few anchorages away and a goal to get to the other side of the island in time to meet more visitors (who are not only bringing our new spectra shrouds [our rigger figures the high-tech solution is the way to go] they're also bringing a new hard drive-because our main one just died. Sigh.)
I love traveling inside a reef-when I can see where we are going.
can you see the reef? no? me either...
 But as the day progressed thunderheads started to build. The wind picked up and the vaguely charted reefs disappeared from view. "Maybe," I suggested, "if I steer toward where the outer reef is supposed to be we'll pick it back up and be able to avoid all those rocks and things." So I steered at the reef; squinting into the water; watching the depth sounder and trying to pick-up the most subtle changes in colour.
When I found the line of brown reef I began to concentrate on the clouds--watching with interest as they changed shape and formed downward aiming points. It wasn't until one of those points dropped all the way down to the water that I caught on, and I called Evan and Maia to see the waterspouts.
Maia did some research and discovered that contrary to popular belief waterspouts cannot be destroyed by shooting canon balls into them. They also don't tend to harm boats--especially when they are small and you're already upwind of them. So rather than causing worry-we got a science lesson.
Just before another squall hit we pulled into another peaceful, empty anchorage at Vatia Lailai. When the squall passed the sky was scrubbed blue, then gold and pink. Rather than a green flash we got a rainbow radiating upward from where the sun had set.
We had planned to continue on today-but there is a reef for diving on just outside our anchorage, and a long sandy beach to explore. And we caught enough water that we can catch up on laundry. And it's peaceful here. So peaceful.
*pictures will be added when we have a more functional hard drive and faster internet
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boatbaby said...

Sounds like an adventure. Did you get pics of it? We had one chase us out of Rum Cay with Pete & Tracy many moons ago. I will zap you an email soon!

dennis said...

Aaaaaah, an anchorage to oneself. A splendid pleasure.