Saturday, June 28, 2014

A longer cruise in the Yasawas

We spent another couple of weeks in Vuda Point, repairing new problems that had emerged during our last cruise in the Mamanucas: the anchor windlass gearbox had to be rebuilt, and an intermediate stay and a faulty water temperature sender had to be replaced. We also replaced the engine coolant, and had a bracket and tiller extension fabricated so that we can mount a (new) Tiller Pilot to the windvane, backing up our geriatric wheel pilot. Being in Vuda we had plenty of time to socialize with our friend Ame and his family. Vicki also enjoyed a visit to a nearby village school. After all the work was completed, we loaded up with fuel, water, and provisions, and sailed back out to Musket Cove, our second visit to this beautiful anchorage. This time we had better weather for exploring our surroundings. We did day trips out to Namotu and Tavarua, which are both small atolls owned by foreigners with pricey resorts, who don't allow yachties to land. This seemed rude after the hospitality we have experienced elsewhere in Fiji. But the snorkeling nearby was good, so we made the best of it. Another day we dinghied out to "Cloud 9" a floating bar anchored near the barrier reef. It was a perfect day for it. After a few days in Musket, we sailed north to Navadra, another anchorage we had visited once before. A northwest swell made it less comfortable than before and perhaps explained why we had the island to ourselves! From here, it was new territory as we sailed north along the west side of rugged Waya Island. The scenery here reminded us of the Marquesas in French Polynesia. We anchored just off the Octopus Resort in Likuliku Bay. A walk along the beach brought us to the disconcerting sight of a sailboat keel. This was the last remnant of the beautiful Moonduster, lost here in a surprise hurricane in 2009. A poignant reminder of how things can go bad in a hurry. After another rolly night at anchor, we were ready to keep moving, even though the usual SE trades had died out and we had to motor. Five hours brought us to what is reputedly the best anchorage in the Yasawas, the Blue Lagoon. We spent 6 days here and thoroughly enjoyed it. Of course, its good qualities make it popular - we always had between 6 and 12 other yachts around us. We enjoyed meals and beers at the Nanuya Island Resort, hiking the island's many paths (here accompanied by Didier and Marie Luce from the Swiss Amel ketch, Hana Iti), visiting Lo's teahouse in the village on the other side of the island, strolling one of the longest beaches we have seen in Fiji, and the otherwise rocky coastline, and snorkeling or diving nearly every day, including a touristy but still exciting commercial dive in which enormous bull sharks were fed only a few feet from where we cowered behind a useless rope guardrail. We enjoyed the perfect protection of this anchorage for nearly a week while the winds howled mightily outside. We decided that once the winds had moderated, we would start heading south again, rather than explore further north. We were a bit sad to miss the famous caves at Sawa i Lau, but we had already experienced far less commercialized caves in the Lau Islands. Our first stop was on the west side of Naviti Island, in front of the Korovou Eco Resort, owned by a cousin of our friend Ame. Getting ashore past the barrier reef at low tide can be a bit of a challenge! We elected to leave the boat in this well protected anchorage and join the resort's guests for a snorkel with the nearby manta rays. From Naviti we thought we were going to have a beautiful sail back to Vuda. The winds had been blowing strongly out of the east, but as soon as we had sailed less than a mile away from Naviti, the winds died gradually, and we ended up motoring most of the way to Saweni. After a peaceful night here, we elected to head back into Vuda to make preparations for the next stage of the voyage, to Vanuatu and on to Australia.

1 comment:

Kent Wickham said...

Sounds great ? Regarding the first couple paragraphs, you did what to your whiches? And rebuilt the who on your how comes?