Yesterday we reached our seventh week here in Fulaga which meant that we hadn't been to a shop for 53 days. Imagine our delight when we chatted on the SSB to a New Zealand boat called Navara in Suva a few days ago and they said they were coming to Fulaga and 'did we need anything from the market?'! Oh, yes please – anything that goes 'crunch' when you bite it!
Carl and Linda arrived yesterday and handed over 2 shopping bags of goodies (wonderful fresh greens plus butter and flour for bread and biscuit making – the little 'shop' in Fulaga had long since run out of flour – and some goodies like peanuts and crisps) so they are now, officially, our favourite cruisers. They had been here two years ago and knew Meli and Jiko well so they are delighted to see the new canoe; they have brought along an old yacht sail to cut to make something a bit more robust than the blue tarpaulin.
This afternoon we are going into the village to say our farewells, which will be quite an emotional moment we're sure. We went in yesterday to give Lutu, Bale and Mini a preview of the video of the canoe project and we have never seen such rapt concentration on anyone's faces; we'll show it to a wider audience today. The ink-jet printer has been working hard so we have dozens of 6"x4" photos to give out, plus some stunning A4 photos of the canoe under sail taken by Kerry from Sel Citron (a small version of one of these is show above).
The plan is to leave Fulaga tomorrow, Thursday, though the timings of tides in the narrow reef pass isn't great for our 26 hour passage north. We need slack water in the pass otherwise the current can run at up to 5 knots through it; this means High Tide or Low Tide plus 2 hours (it takes the extra time for all the water in the huge lagoon to drain out through this one main channel). Our challenge is that High Tide will be 05.30 (still dark, so no good) and LW+2 is about 14.00 which would get us arriving in Taveuni toward the end of the light on Friday. As a rule of thumb we aim to arrive in anchorages here before 4.00pm so as to be able to see the coral reefs, though we've been to Taveuni a few times before and have all our previous tracks into the anchorage saved on the GPS plotter.