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Monday, January 4, 2016

Don't Rock the Boat? But KARMA Did!

Three days after 50+ knot winds blew s/v KARMA from her mooring, the full keel boat looked completely destitute. The beached vessel lay on her port side in the mangroves just above a shelf of dangerous reef. Our hearts sank just looking at her.

High tide in Savusavu, Fiji
Over the three days, discussion took place among cruisers and the marinas over KARMA's demise and what should be done - or not done. Luckily, the owner returned to Savusavu to survey the damage and make a decision himself and in the flesh.

Hotspur's Jim  and Lonnie from s/v GOOD NEWS doing something helpful

Jim preparing to add weight to the halyard while the dinghies rev their engines
At high tide on January 3rd, a handful of cruisers met at KARMA in their dinghies. Jim almost didn't go because - really - what good is our little 2HP outboard?? But he thought he might be some help land side, so he ran out to lend a hand. We've been in rescue situations before where too many "helpers" turned a stressful situation into pure chaos. But you never know when one extra hand makes all the difference, so Jim and Carolyne putt-putted over to see if they could offer theirs.

Jim helped fill a cluster of jerry cans with water and tied them to a halyard. When the weight wasn't enough, Jim and a couple other guys jumped on top of the cans and held fast, rocking the boat to help loosen her.
Discussing strategies
The pitiful power the dinghies put out was laughable. It was like a sled team of snails pulling an elephant's dead weight. Alastair on m/v CONTRABAND (a friend we met in Pago Pago) brought his trawler nearby and, without even gunning the engine, was able to heave KARMA into deep water and off the reef. Joy! KARMA's hull was solid and there were no leaks.

CONTRABAND can't take the snails any longer and comes to lend some horsepower

A few days later, Mark (KARMA's owner) was still cleaning up the topsy-turvy mess inside his vessel, but he said it didn't look like anything was missing. That's always a big fear when a boat runs aground and the owner is away - that thieves will help themselves to the spoils.

Waiting for CONTRABAND to hook up
The "rescue" was not well planned and it was on a Sunday to boot when all the government offices and businesses were closed. Mark had just arrived and had jet lag. There was not a lot of time due to the high tide arriving just an hour or so after Mark. It's a miracle that the rescue was successful and that KARMA is safe!

Jim watching KARMA motor away
Carolyne took video and pictures during the ordeal. Here's her video of KARMA's happy ending and her father performing halyard tricks.


  1. A nice record of cruiser cooperation that actually worked. Congratulations to all involved

  2. Another example of why cruisers rock. Thanks for telling the story so well, in addition to sharing Carolyn's excellent vid. BTW our hellos to Lonnie and Bona on Good News!

    1. Dana, it was such a happy ending. Will pass along your greeting to Good News. Cheers!

  3. Wow - that's an amazing story! Cheers - Ellen

  4. A great blog entry on real problems solved by cruisers.

  5. Cruisers are so good about pitching in. Glad all is well!

    1. And it's such a "pay-it-forward" truism because you never know when you might be in the same situation!