Monday, February 22, 2016

Post Winston - Curly & The Plan - Feb 21 - May 2016

What happened next is what makes this cruising lifestyle so special.  It was the coming together of this community to help each other.  Spearheaded by Mr. Curly Carswell, a native of NZ who has spent the last 40 years in Fiji

Curly is one of THOSE guys.  He is ever smiling, some say laughable, he is likeable, some say lovable, but no matter what you say about Curly, he is almost always smiling.  Despite his advanced years and not exactly stellar health, or maybe because of both, he is extraordinary in his desire to help others.  He is exactly who and what was needed in the aftermath of Winston to bring the cruising community together and forge a bond between those that otherwise, based on the blame game could and most likely would have been at odds.

Curly starts each day (Monday thru Saturday) in the Savu Savu anchorage with his morning net for cruisers and landlubbers alike.  He starts with his TradeMark...GOOOD MORNING SAVU SAVU (ala, Robin Williams doing his GOOOD MORNING VIETNAM).  Curly provides weather and announcements of local events and offers a wide range of assistance to any and all who participate.

On Monday morning, two days after Winston, Curly announced that there would be a meeting for all the cruisers at the Copra Shed Marina to discuss how we should proceed.  He began the meeting with the words "we are not here to assess blame...we are here to help each other" and thus set the tone for the next two months of intense salvage work.  With Curly's organizational skills, his watchful eye, and supervision of the diggers, line handlers and other helpers one boat after the next was dug out, up-righted, and gently hauled back into the water.  This was an amazing effort with very little cost to any of the affected vessel owners.  Had this work been performed by some of the the Salvage Experts who arrived shortly after the storm, the costs would have been astronomical.  It is safe to say that more than one cruiser in Savu Savu owes more than just the Thanks they gave. 

During our time here we have come to appreciate Curly who lives on his houseboat with his two cats, provided us with a safe mooring, which withstood the forces of Winston, shared his local knowledge of Fiji waters and anchorages and became our friend.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Winston - THE DAY AFTER!

As morning came, and we began to survey the results of Winston, it was overwhelming to see the destruction.

Sv KaijaSong, Kaija and I were among the very few lucky vessels/crews in the anchorage.  

Of the 52 vessels in the anchorage we were one of only 7 that did not break free of its mooring.  

Most of the damage we witnessed that day was the result of boats breaking free and colliding with other boats causing a domino effect.    

At one point I did see our friend Jim on Sv KaloKalo rapidly drifting past us within a hands reach dragging as it turns out, not only his mooring, but also his anchor. We saw glimpses of Karen and Cheryl on Sv Interlude drifting down the anchorage dragging their mooring.  Our friends Lonnie and Bono Sv Good News took a direct hit from a larger vessel and sandwiched between three other boats which virtually destroyed their rigging and toe rails.  

What a Mess! 


 22 boats were now resting in some fashion on the land, partially submerged or in the mangroves in various states of damage.  We saw first hand the overwhelming devastation resulting from the sustained winds of Winston.  It became obvious that most of the damage to these boats was caused by collision.  That is one boat breaking free from it's mooring, then drifting free to collide with another and then another until the domino effect was complete.  We saw boats that had been moored at the far western end of the anchorage that had traveled the entire length of more than a mile thru the anchorage like a pinball machine until finally coming to rest in the mangroves at the extreme eastern end of the bay.  
KaijaSong was virtually unscathed.  Our mooring was located just enough out of the mainstream to avoid the many boats that had passed us in the storm.  We sustained some slight damage to our stern and propeller caused by a local ponga that had capsized and got stuck under our boat during the height of the storm.