It was now 10 am. Saturday, February 20, 2016. Approximately 2 hrs till the arrival of Cyclone Winston here in Savu Savu Fiji.
With our boat as ship shape and storm ready as possible, gulping our last cups of coffee to settle in for what promised to be an UGLY day...we heard a knock on the hull and were hailed by a ships tender from the large commercial passenger Ferry The Westerlund.
Two stout young men informed us that Westerlund would be coming into the anchorage and we were requested to move our vessel to make way.
This was insanity at it's core.
Anyone in the anchorage who was not ready to Winston was scrambling with only minutes left to secure their vessel against the onslaught of the cyclone. Those of us that were ready were not about to loosen our lines, struggle to maneuver whilst this behemoth transited the entire anchorage 'looking for a safe place to beach'.
This was NOT GOING TO HAPPEN! It was inconsiderate of the Westerlund Captain and involved moving dozens of boats at the last minute.
Despite all the objections, at 11 am with 1 hour left before the storm, the Westerlund, like a bull in a china shop, decided to forge ahead. They proceeded into the anchorage despite the obvious fact that there simply was no room for a vessel of her size to maneuver safely thru. On her first attempt she side swiped one vessel damaging it before turning tail and leaving to an alternate anchorage. As my daddy was fond of saying..."Son, you just can't fix Stupid!".
Lest this sound cold, it was at it's core, bad decision making by the captain. It was NOT SAFE SEAMANSHIP or in any way even practical. In a previous storm in this same anchorage this same vessel did come into the anchorage resulting in serious damage boats in the bay. This is the classic example of the 4 P Principal - Poor Planning cause Poor Performance! As a footnote...the Westerlund left the anchorage, motored to an isolated location and beached herself. She survived the storm with very little damage.