Bula Bula from Savusavu! We are aboard Ellie and after four exhausting days of repair and cleanup she is back to normal. There was some minor damage to the stainless bimini frame and of course the bimini canvas that was left up was torn pretty badly. We also had a dorade box lift up and pull some screws but I have already repaired it. The bimini canvas was re-stitched by a local and is already back on and looks great. All her systems are still in working order, fridge is ice cold, pumps all work, head works, fans work, outboards and generator started on first pull, and the engine purrs like a kitten! Our extensive preparations really paid off.
Alyssa did an outstanding job attacking all the mold that was down below. Much to our surprise we cleaned enough the first day to sleep in the vberth that night. She labored away the next two days cleaning and stowing everything. We now have a livable boat again thanks to the Mermaids Herculean efforts.
I spent the last couple days wedged under boats covered in mud and mosquitoes helping pull boats off the shore. I spent one day digging under boulders in the mud strapping lines around rocks to pull them out of the way so we can get a boat free. I also spent time freeing broken shrouds and disconnecting broken masts. It’s been saddening to see the plight of fellow sailors who had their only homes driven ashore in the storm. Most don’t have insurance and will be salvaging what they can to attempt to make their boat seaworthy once again. There is a lot of work ahead.
We are in contact with Sea Mercy and are standing by to take supplies out to the outer islands that were hit hardest. As soon as they get supplies here we will sail them out to those in most need. Bruce and Jen on SKABENGA already delivered supplies to villages on Makogai. They are headed back here this evening.
The death toll continues to rise as officials reach remote islands; the last count was 44. The damage is extensive and over 60,000 people are in evacuation centers after losing their homes and most of their possessions. It will take a while for the Fijians who were affected to rebuild their lives. Amazingly though the happy Fijians have not had their smiles wiped out with their homes and as we walk around town we are greeted with the same huge smiles and “bulas!” from the locals. It’s the resilient spirit and positive attitude that will see these wonderful people through this event.
We’ll write again in a few days. Here are some pics of Ellie and some of the boats still ashore.
Lew & Lyss
February 28, 2016