Friday afternoon we heard that our friends on Morning Light were just arriving into Port Lautoka safe and sound following a less than ideal 10-day passage. They were followed by Scarlett O'hara, who had the survivors of Elusive on board, arriving just in time to get checked in before the offices shut down for the weekend, and. We were quite relieved to know that they were all safely tucked away as we continued to await news of the arrival of Bold Spirit and The Dorothy Marie ("TDM"). We had heard that TDM's autopilot had quit on them while they were still 4 days out, leaving them to hand steer their way here. I'm sure they were getting weary.
Dave and Jan on Baraka had come by earlier to gather donations from the gang to pay for hotel accommodations for Steve, Wendy and their son in Lautoka. We happily pitched in knowing that they would appreciate some space of their own for a couple of days, and some peace and quiet to get themselves sorted out. They were all still in quite a state of shock after having watched their beautiful boat sink into the depths of the South Pacific. Fortunately, Earl and Marsha (Mahurangi) were heading into Lautoka on personal business and were able to set it up so that all that Elusive's owners had to do was give their names to the front desk and be shown to their room. Dave and Jan had also sent ahead some wine and snacks for them. What thoughtful people they are!
On Saturday, exhausted yet happy Glen and Sally aboard TDM navigated the barrier reef into the safety of Fiji's Momi Bay. On Sunday we heard that Bold Spirit had also made it in. We breathed a sigh of relief and cheered their arrival. It will be good to see them all and to bring the gang back together again. The rub was that Saturday afternoon brought a storm with high winds and rain. I wished that I'd gone to shore earlier in the day for at least a walk or a swim because by mid-day there was no leaving the safety of Destiny and her mooring. The winds howled and the rain whipped us – at least giving us another nice rinsing off. But it was much too choppy to set out in the dinghy. We spent the weekend reading. I read "The Shack", while Frank finished a book that had been loaned to us, which he could not put down! It is called "Rescue in the Pacific", by Tony Farrington (also a yachtie), depicting the horrific and disastrous "Queen's Birthday" storm of June 1994. It was a late season storm that just happened to develop in the passage area of some 60 yachts heading north from New Zealand toward Tonga and Fiji. With sustained winds of between 50-75 kts, gusts of up to 100, and raging seas building wave heights to 100ft., this storm set off the largest scale rescue effort in the history of this area. After Frank finished it he told me I should read it – that it would probably scare the fillings out of my teeth but we both needed to read it so that we can discuss strategy. He was right on all accounts. I poured through it just as he did and then we spent considerable time discussing modifications and improvements relative to us and to Destiny before our next passage. This book had a profound impact on us and on every other cruiser we know who has read it. I don't know if the average reader would "get it". Tonight at dinner during a discussion of the book, Christine from Morning Light pointed out that she had read it before she and Jaime began cruising. It did not have the same meaning to her then that it would now that they are making passages and dealing with these crazy weather systems while at sea.
Also over the weekend we got word from our Houston friends, Debra and Sandy that they are coming to visit us the 1st of June. We had been hoping for this news since our trip back home in January, but they had to wait for certain things to align before they would know for certain. The bonus – they will be here during my birthday. We have a week to get ship-shape for our guests, and we are pleased to do so.