Cousteau Resort and a Gale from an Unfortunate Direction

Hobie passing Cousteau Resort while we were heading to the snorkeling spot

Hobie passing Cousteau Resort while we were heading to the snorkeling spot

Mélanie and I spent the better part of a week down at Cousteau. She needed to be in internet range for work and there wasn’t much wind, so we figured that it was as good a place as any to hang out. I’d only stopped at Cousteau once before. It was just for the night when I came back from Futuna to get a little sleep before checking in with Customs.

I’d been told by a few jaded cruisers that there wasn’t much to see down there. Just a few raggedy coral heads with poor visibility. What Mélanie and I found was some great snorkeling, but the visibility was pretty bad. We settled into a routine of her skyping with Montreal every morning until COB while I sat around reading and drinking coffee. Then we’d head out for a snorkel at a different spot each day and saw tons of big fish a white tip and 3 black tip reef sharks as well as a few turtles.

After seeing one other cruising boat in 6 weeks, it was a bit different to be anchored among a fleet. The fleet consisted entirely of German and Austrian boats escaping the heat and noise of Savusavu. Mélanie and I spent some time hanging out with the good folks on Tamora and Suvarov enjoying the usual cruiser sundowner sessions.

Mélanie swam to the beach one day and went for a little walk. She ran into Richard and Denise, a couple from Quebec, who were renting a house near Cousteau for a month during their one year, round the world trip. We invited them out to the boat for a little kava session and did some hiking with them.

Tia, the activities coordinator for Cousteau came out for the kava session as well. He did the mix and we traded off playing guitar. After I dropped Richard and Denise on the beach, Tia stuck around for a little night fishing. We used flour and canned tuna to make little bait dumplings to catch mackerel. Then Tia put a hook through the live mackerel’s back and let it swim around below the boat to catch a great big barracuda. He wanted to fish all night but I had to call it quits at midnight.

Every afternoon a squall would come through kicking up big waves and putting the reef to the lee of the fleet. The squalls weren’t pleasant, but they were no big deal. Then the forecast called for a trough of low pressure to come through packing gale force winds. We decided it was best to head back to Savusavu to seek shelter.

We pulled into Waitui and took the best mooring available, but it was still too exposed to the northwesterly winds that were driving big swells into the bay. Fortunately Deviant was in Vuda Point for a haulout and I knew that he had good cyclone mooring available up the creek. So after a mostly sleepless night, Mélanie and I headed up the creek in search of a better neighborhood.

We were lucky we moved. The combination of an extreme high tide and gale force winds coming from exactly the wrong direction wreaked havoc on Waitui. The waves destroyed the floats and lower section of dock. They even popped a lot of the decking off the upper dock and tore down the rails. We could see a bit of the mayhem from our mooring, but didn’t have too much wave action, just lots of rain and wind.

One unfortunate boat did end up on the beach after the mooring line wrapped around it’s fin keel and chafed through. They were able to pull it off last night with minimal damage suffered.

It’s two days until the big game. Richard and Denise have rented a car, so we’re heading out with them to do some hiking today. It’ll be nice to get off the boat for a bit. We’ll stick around Savusavu at least until the Seahawks win the Superbowl. Then it’ll be time to shove off for the next adventure.

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