Well, what can I say about today? It certainly wasn’t the brochure sailing we had yesterday. Seems the weather prognosticators must have been tipping a little vino or were simply unable to accurately read the weather rock when they made their predictions for today. No. It wasn’t the worst we’ve ever seen by far but it certainly wasn’t the 1-2 meter long rolling swells and ten knot winds I’d been promised either. Nope, it was chunky and breezy making every step on Dazzler one that could potentially result in a broken bone. Believe me….I stepped very lightly and only when necessary.
But, we can’t blame it all on the simple minded weather dudes. We have a deadline to make if we want to get to Vuda and get checked into country tomorrow. You see, Customs here works on island time so they close shop at 1500. Yeah….that’s what I said. But, when you’re in Fiji you live by their rules. So anyway, in order to make it in time we had to kick Dazzler into gear a bit. When the seas are choppy and you pour on a little coal it can make it a bit more uncomfortable. It’s all a trade off….either spend 36 uncomfortable hours and get there and settled tomorrow or lollygag and not get there until Thursday.
You are probably saying to yourself, “But hey, you are retarded, I mean retired. You aren’t on a schedule, what difference would 12 hours make?” Well, I’ll tell ya Shoutie. Come Thursday this area of ocean that we are in will be overtaken by a low pressure system that will generate heavy rain and winds into the 30 knot range. Been there, done that…even got the T-shirt saying so but I don’t want to do it again if I can avoid it. So, I’m perfectly content with kicking it up a notch and dealing with some uncomfortable sailing for a day and a half.
It’s not been horrible today. I made a tasty dinner of chicken tortellini and even managed a bit of an afternoon nap. Dan and Poseidon have been at it though. He’s back to wanting to show us he’s in charge and he keeps slapping Dan with green water. Just before dinner Dan was in the cockpit and he got just doused with a huge wave that smacked the starboard side of Dazzler. I was down below looking out over the doors when I heard then saw it come crashing over the dodger. Then I hear Dan yelling, “What the f***?” Sometimes no other word suits the situation better.
As for me and Poseidon, we’ve come to an agreement. Each evening I come on watch and tell him how great he is and that I know he’s in charge out here and he rewards me with not smacking me in the face with a handful of salty sea. Tonight as I came on watch he reached up and gently kissed my cheek with a fine mist just to let me know he heard my praises.
Anyway, we got Dan cleaned up, ate dinner and I went down for my pre watch nap. It’s now midnight and I’m on my last night watch of this journey. It’s wonderful out this evening. The tradewinds are warm, the seas have mellowed out to the promised 1-2 meter long rollers and Dazzler is gently rolling side to side as she cuts a phosphorescent path of bluish green through the ocean.
As I look at the chart plotter, for the first time in a week, I see land around us. To the east is Kadavu Island, a place we hope to visit this trip. The magnificent reefs there are vibrant and alive. To the north is Viti Levu, the main island of Fiji and home to her capital city of Suva. It is on Viti Levu that Vuda Marina is located. I love the sea but it is always nice when you see the land at the end of a journey…especially one like this.
Dan will relieve me at 0430 at which time I will take one last cat nap on this passage. By the time I awake I will be seeing the plush green mountains and aquamarine waters of Fiji. In less than ten hours we will enter the pass through the reef surrounding the island. Here the coral ring rises out of the sea with its jagged teeth shredding the Pacific swells that dare to crash over it thus reducing them to little more than ripples upon the inner bay. We know this pass. It’s the last pass we exited on our way to New Zealand two and a half years ago. I am literally counting the minutes until our arrival. I feel like a child on Christmas Eve…giddy with excitement and dreaming of what tomorrow will bring.
This passage has certainly been one for the books. There’s a reason they say it’s not for the faint at heart. And, honestly, as much as I’ve despised parts of this trip, I’m proud to say I’ve done it…not once but four times! It certainly is a badge of honor for any sailor but especially for a fair weather sailor like me. It’s a passage like this that tests your resolve, shows your strengths and fully exposes your weaknesses. Overcoming the challenges brings with it confidence in your abilities and those of your vessel. In the end, it builds character and leaves behind memories of a demanding but rewarding adventure.
Until next time,