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Live and Let Die

We began the day digging out all the bottles of wine scattered around the boat. Quite possibly, there are a few that escaped our attention but those will turn into a nice surprise later. The idea is to retain just enough to get us to New Zealand and sell the rest at cost to folks who are short. We can replace the wine in New Zealand and don’t want to have any complications with customs on the way in. However, for folks here who have run low, buying locally is expensive so it helps all. This had all come from a conversation with Arnold from Drifter (the Dutch boat that’s been here for a month) the night before and who’d shown interest in the idea.

Once we’d selected all the wines we wanted to keep/couldn’t part with, we laid out all the rest. I dinghied over to Drifter to pick up Arnold so he could come over and pick which wines he wanted. He snapped up all the reds we had spare.

Later I visited Endless to discuss windlass relays with Petr. They’d had a problem raising their anchor but the problem had now gone away without action. An intermittent problem with raising ones anchor is not a good thing as one never wants to be delayed when raising the anchor, particularly in an emergency. We discussed a few options which I hope was helpful.

While there we decided to all take a trip up the nearby river. With Petr, Ola and Neil from Endless we were soon in our dinghies motoring the 5nm to Natadola Harbour to our south. The trip took us up the river amost to the dock where we’d gone to visit Sigatoka a few days ago. On the last bend there is a turn off to the right where a small creek winds it’s way through the mangroves where it finally widens to a very small lake which ends pretty close to the beach there. As a result of all the recent rain the main river was chocolatey brown. Worse, when we entered the creek we quickly encountered a log jam where a mass of bamboo and some trash had collected and wedged up. There was a nasty smell too which was soon attributed to a dead pig floating in the mass.

Not wanting to be put off our goal I started pushing the log jam with the dinghy hoping to push it further up river where it could break up. We were partially successful in this. The dinghy also created a path halfway through the mass. We were beginning to ride up over the mass so I backed off to rethink. Petr then gave a go in his dinghy. He powered in and rose over the last section. The mass was again pushed forward and as it did so closed in behind them, dead pig and all. There were nearly through though and with use of their oars made it the rest of the way. With the mass now much looser we were able to push our way through too. Helen had to use a bamboo pole to push the floating carcass aside as we didn’t want it touching the dinghy.

Once we were all through we were back to heading up the last stretch of creek. As we gained confidence we powered through almost at full speed occasionally slowing wary of potential submerged hazards. When we could go no further we tied off our dinghies to the mangroves and went ashore. A short way along the dirt track there we found a path to the beach and walked along that towards the resort area. This section of the island boasts a couple of hotels, has a fine beach and great surf.
We stopped for lunch and beer at the less posh hotel before heading a little further to visit the Intercontintal. Neil went for a brief swim while we had a brief walk around the grounds.

Soon it was time to return. Back in our dinghies we raced back up the creek. The log jam was still there and needed a bit of effort to clear but not as bad as before. Better still, the pig had floated off a short way so the stink wasn’t so bad.

Back down the river we decided to explore a side creek. We worked our way along it, at one point having to duck low to get under an old railway bridge. We pushed on slowly as the mangroves closed in over us. Eventually we decided enough was enough and turned around. Knowing there were no submerged obstacles we raced back. It felt like a scene out of Live and Let Die as we sped through the narrow channel through the mangroves.

Here is the track of our trip.


View Likuri Dinghy Ride in a larger map

We ended up on Endless for coffee/tea and biscuits before. We agreed to meet up on Dignity at 6pm for a few games of Fluxx which Petr really likes. Ola and Niel also enjoyed the session – perhaps a few new converts.

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