The check out from Tonga turned out to be an all day affair. In addition the fee structure was not well conveyed to us, so we took too much money out of the cash machine and then had to go on a quick shopping spree. Basically we thought it would cost $45 to exit from the port captain, but it was only about $3 and a long walk. Then there was no fee for customs and immigration and I wasn’t able to get as much fuel as I wanted. No worries, so we headed down to Port Maurelle for the night and left in the morning. Of course, Port Maurelle being what it is, it immediately snatched Obelisk’s anchor in 67 feet of water and took all their chain too. Too deep to free dive, Brian tried scuba but couldn’t find the chain underwater as it was getting dark. In the morning, we used the lookie bucket and found it in the fortuitously clear water. We grappled the chain with dinghy anchors and finally managed to get the chain up to a depth Jesse could free dive and secure a line around the chain. Then it was just a matter of hoisting up the chain. Once we recovered the chain, we checked the weather one more time. Looks like the wind forecast increased a bit and if we didn’t make the 450 miles in 4 days, there was a major low moving over the Fijian Islands. Well, better go.

The sail was not so eventful, but fast. It was a bit squally as we passed through the SPCZ again and there was fair current. Of course our course was dead downwind but too rough to fly a chute so we ran most of it under main alone. For stability in some pretty big waves we would pull out the jib a little, but I was still worried about the crack in the chain plate so I was pretty cautious. On one tack we would average about 7 knots, and on the other 5, thanks to depowering to relieve stress on the chain plate. The wind was pretty stead 25 knots although both Baten Anna and Obelisk said they saw much more. Zach burned himself when he spilled a coffee pot off the stove onto his stomach in a big roller. Everything else was OK until one night at 3 am (naturally) The batteries were severely discharged. I was a bit confused as Martin had been doing such a fine job, but no more. I felt him and all I got was a little tingle of electricity and no power coming from him. Great, one of the massive waves we have taken must have shorted him out. So with no Martin and no Jocilyn all we can do is run the engine to charge the batteries. Well, the batteries are fuktd too, so they don’t hold much of a charge. We pretty much had to run the motor one hour for every three hours sailed. We three boats arrived within an hour of each other and Toyatte was here too. Each boat had a fish too, Slick a Tuna, Baten Anna a Mahi and Obelisk a Wahoo, so big BBQ on Slick! We made landfall after about 72 hours of sailing. But we sailed pretty far out of our way to avoid a lee reef, so in direct measurement, we averaged 6.2 knots, Slick’s favorite number.

Savusavu is really well stocked for such a small town. Since we have been here I fixed Martin and hope to finally fix Jocilyn, repaired some engine problems and most of all, got the chain plate removed, welded and rebedded. Slick will now return to being a two tack rocket ship instead of just one. That makes us both happy. Food is delicious here too and quite cheap. We can eat curry or Chinese or pizza or whatever we feel like for less than we can make it on the boat. The place we are moored is the home of BeBe (pronounced bambi in Fijian) lights too so I will certainly get some new LEDs for Slick. The best part is that moorings are only about 4$ per night and there is a hot shower. They have the local ladies make buffet’s too so being here has done quite a bit to raise morale after Tonga.

Aside from repairs and eating though, we have had a few local experiences too. There are some geothermal springs here were the water boils on the surface. Jesse and Brian walked up to them and found some ladies using them to cook chicken. After some discussion they were invited to lunch and then out to a ladies house for kava later. All four boats went to the lady Sula’s house for kava. Kava is a ground root that gets mixed into water. It has a very earthy peppery taste and is a mild sedative, although the locals seem to get much more of a narcotic affect. This is an important custom in the South Pacific as well as a nice time. We were there for about 4 hours and Eilev played guitar with Sula’s family and we had many rounds of kava. We were tired by the end of it, since it is a sedative, so we walked back to town and a somewhat crazy night ensued. The kava ceremony was a very nice experience and one that I wouldn’t miss. The next day though was not as genuine.

Jesse and Brian also were invited to a village outside of town to see their waterfall, so we got on the bus the next morning. The village was quite nice and we had a kava ceremony with the “chief” representative and the lady, Vero, who invited us. After that we went to the waterfall, and swam. But they ended up charging us for the waterfall, which was weird. And when we payed the chief, Vero got quite upset and we decided it best to leave. It all turned weird and we just wanted to get out as soon as we could. We made it back though and left the little village to their own politics and kept only a little sour taste, and some baskets.

There is also a very talented wood carver here, Cam. I wanted just to buy some small things but ended up buying a huge ironwood mask and war club. I am not even sure why I did it except that he was such a nice guy and the carvings so impressive. I would feel a bit bad about spending the money but he learned carving from his father and his father before that and so on. Apparently the carvings are in the style from long before Europeans arrived and the war club looks like, well, a war club. He also gave me a nice flesh eating fork and some neck breakers, ahh cannibalism. He also proudly put Slick stickers outside his shop!

We have a few more repairs to make and some provisioning to do and then we are off to see the out islands. This should be pretty good and I am really looking forward to doing some snorkeling as there are lots of new fish here. Then down to the big island for some hiking and to meet Axle of Gudwren infamy, to buy his solar panels. Fiji is much better than Tonga!