Plantation Visitation

It was a beautiful morning and soon the paddleboards were in the water, as we headed to a farm and lookout spot 300 feet above us. Reaching a dock, we started the climb up 270 odd stairs. Other than a few loose and rotten boards, that we managed to avoid, we were soon on the top of the hill and looking out over gorgeous grazing land. This was a former plantation that is now used as a farm to raise cows, sheep, pigs, ducks, and I’m sure a few other animals. Plus they have a small garden.

When Carl and Roxy were here last year the met a worker who had found a message in a bottle (near the farm) that was dropped in the ocean in Puerto Vallarta. Shockingly it made it across the Pacific, through the coral reef and on to the shore. Even more wild, they tracked down the boat that sent the message. How wild is that. Anyway, back to today, where we talked with Soteah. Any doubts that he truly remembered Carl were instantly erased as he says, “From Colorado, right?” Incredible. His daughter is in Suva getting close to having a baby (December) and his wife is there as well. Lots of projects are keeping him busy from building a new equipment shed to clearing another field that will be used for grazing more animals. Currently they have 70 cows, 17 pigs, and I missed the number of sheep but they raise them for meat which feeds the people on the island. And looking around, these animals are living a great life. Well, until the end.

Saying our goodbyes we headed off on another trail to an amazing overlook, where Carl pointed out the anchorage we would be heading for once we got back to Sky Pond. Just up around the north side of the island and back down. From there we returned to the farm and up the hill to a second overlook (crowned with two large homes) that had a view of the bay where we were anchored. Enough with the exercise, so down the hill we went and even scored a few lemons from a tree to be used for tomorrow night’s dinner.

Up came the anchor, which gave me more headaches (it began acting up two days ago) but we managed to get the anchor up and stored, with that we were off on the short hop to our new anchorage. The route required constant attention as there were reefs and coral patches much of the way leaving us a scant 50 meters between some of them. A few hours later we were dropping the anchor in yet another empty spot. We haven’t seen any other yachts since leaving Denarau on the 20th…cyclone season is upon us.

The afternoon was spent giving the boat a wash after the salty trip from Fugala, giving the floors a good cleaning inside, and the biggest project removing the windlass (used to raise/lower the anchor). This involved removing hidden, difficult to reach bolts, disassembling the windless, removing the motor, cleaning all of the carbon dust from the housing/electrical brushes, scrapping the gaps in the commutator, sanding the commutator, giving everything a deep clean, and then reassembling/installing it. Whew. It was a hot sunny job but in the end, we had a functioning windlass, and it is an absolutely critical piece of equipment.

I suppose all the hiking and boat work made our grilled burgers taste just that much better.

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