Thursday, October 3, 2013

Return to Musket Cove

We sailed back to Musket Cove a couple of days ago, departing the anchorage of Bekana Island at Lautoka under sail. The winds have been strangely at variance with the forecast southeast trades for the last few days, swinging into the northwest and sometimes the southwest. As we sailed past the city, the plume of black smoke from the sugar mill rose straight into the air. We were just able to make headway with a couple of knots of breeze from the northwest. This very light breeze proved to be only an interlude between wind shifts and the wind swung back into a nice solid southeasterly coming off the land.

We rolled in a bit of the big jib and tucked a reef in the main, setting up the wind vane to steer us on a reach down the coast. There are many reefs and sand patches on the route from Lautoka to Musket Cove (on Malolo Lailai), so we entered a couple of GPS waypoints provided by Curly, a local cruiser out of Savusavu, to keep us in deep water and pass just clear of two barely visible sand patches.

As we cleared Vuda Point, the wind and fetch began to build, rolling at us across several miles of open water. By rolling in more jib and adjusting the traveler to de-power the mainsail we balanced the boat and the wind vane steering was able to handle the odd gust with only a tweak or two to keep us running true. A big ketch under motor hoisted her sails as she saw us approach and for a few minutes we sailed together before she romped away from us.

Chris removes the shells from tamarind pods we collected in Momi Bay. We will dry the fruit and remove the seeds.

The entry to Musket Cove was very easy this time. It is amazing how much more comfortable you feel on approaching a tricky entrance the second time. We were now quite familiar with the hazards from our slow exit a week ago, tacking out through the channel and around sand bars and coral patches. The only stressful moments were when we had a 'discussion' over where we should anchor.

We share a drink with our good friends Bob and Ann from Charisma

There are quite a few cruisers here whom we either know well or have bumped into over the last two years. It was a treat to catch up with our friends, Bob and Ann, on Charisma and we managed a hike with them around a good portion of the resort island, despite their recent colds. They have a very detailed blog with great photos you can check out at

The Musket Cove resort provides wood fired barbecue facilities on a little coral spit beside the dinghy dock and we met up with friends there last night and shared a meal and drinks. Most people are starting to plan their escape from here as cyclone season approaches. The majority, like us, are heading south to New Zealand, but a few will sail north to the Marshalls (as we had originally planned) and some will leave their boats here either in an earth pit on the land or in a marina.  

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