Search This Blog

Thursday, March 17, 2016

With the Tides in Winston's Wake

The fleet in Savusavu has been busy after Tropical Cyclone Winston. It takes a lot of planning to get boats re-floated.  Surprisingly, most vessels will be salvaged. That's a miracle since 23 boats grounded. Now, we're rushing to take full advantage of the king tides that will help us get many of the vessels off the beach. But, will the boats be ready to float in time?
Cruisers gathering at Savusavu Marina to plan strategies and delegate
teams to help save our friends.

Volunteer cruisers and mooring operators work together to plan the stage of recoveries and coordinate efforts. There's lots of borrowing and lending. Tow lines have been loaned to the cause, some which have snapped or chafed. They're very expensive to replace. Shovels and other tools have found their way into needy hands. Our tools have miraculously found their way back home, but some cruisers who lent out their tools in the name of natural disaster lost them in the shuffle.
Distant Beat needed careful planning and high tides to get her off the
beach, but her team was successful in the end.

Working alongside Customs is also a big factor in the recoveries. Customs made it clear that they will not stand by while owners "abandon" their boats after stripping all the valuables. They have been very helpful in allowing us to pull together and help each other, but should anyone cross the line it will be difficult down the road.
Winston left Quixotic half submerged in seawater and half
mangled on land. The owners have decided to save her (it was 50/50). She's
been beached on purpose now for repairs.
Interestingly, "volunteering" in any capacity in Fiji is prohibited without the proper government department's consent. And, getting approval isn't easy. From what we've learned, this extends to all areas: classrooms, hospitals, clinics, salvage... Believe it or not, we had to coordinate approval through Customs before helping friends save their boats.  Luckily, Curly Carswell (long-time Fijian resident from New Zealand and local mooring operator) helped bridge the gap with officials, which saved us from spending valuable time tangled in red tape.

In addition to keeping track of expenses, I've been assigned the task of coordinating boat part deliveries from volunteer cruisers heading to Savusavu from other parts. Please help spread the word... if anyone is sailing from American Samoa, Australia or New Zealand we have cruisers here in Savusavu who could benefit greatly from having boat parts delivered to them. Customs is on board with the idea and all you need to do is to put the vessel captain in touch with me. I've created an email address for deliveries:

Thank you!