We are visiting Ruth’s cousin’s family over the Christmas holidays this year. We left Velic lying quietly in a marina slip in Whangarei, New Zealand while we took flight across the notorious Bass Strait. Which, by the way, appeared as calm as a lake from the air. We could see a low swell from the southwest, and surface wind ripples from the south, but otherwise it would have been a good day for a sail! Continue reading
This little fellow had the misfortune to hit one of the ports, probably thrown up in one of the waves that struck the cabin side. We found his remains sloshing back-and-forth in the port’s bronze frame. A macabre little aquarium of our own. Continue reading
In September and October we spent a few weeks exploring the islands on Fiji’s leeward side. There are two groups of islands that, together with the surrounding coral reefs, form an archipelago stretching north of Viti Levu for over 80 nautical miles . We decided to begin with the northernmost group, the Yasawa Islands. Both groups, the Yasawas and the Mamanuca Islands, are inside the coral reefs that surround Fiji, so no open ocean passage is required. The low reefs do break the southern ocean swell, but offer no resistance to the wind. Crossing to the islands and moving between them can be a bit rough and wet, especially if a strong wind is blowing.
Nananu-i-ra was lovely but it was time to move on. We left mid-morning on a Sunday in very quiet conditions. Motoring in flat water means we can run the water maker, which we did. Late in the afternoon we made a stopover in Toba Maloma Bay and had the place to ourselves all during the quiet night. While preparing to depart the next morning, Rand discovered salt water in the engine coolant. Our Beta is a fresh-water cooled engine, so there was a leak somewhere allowing sea water to enter the closed fresh-water system. We were heading for Vuda Marina (mBunda Marina) anyway, so this task got added to the short list of work to be done there.
We spent the next night of this coastal passage at anchor in the bay fronting Lautoka, Fiji’s “second city.” We anchored in front of small Bakana Island, along with a handful of other sailboats going to, or fro, or just hanging out more or less permanently, by the look of one.
Volivoli Point is only a few miles from Nananu-i-ra. A channel separates the small island from the main island of Viti Levu, a channel easily crossed by longboat and ferry. We stayed anchored at Volivoli Point in part because strong south winds were blowing and the anchorage there is well protected. When the south winds subsided, we moved over to Nanana-i-ra.
This island is an idea get-away destination. Just across the channel is Ellington Wharf and the road leading to Rakiraki and supplies. The King’s Highway runs close to the wharf, bringing guests in from the international airport at Nadi.
But still, being a separate island with no bridge and no airfield, it feels remote and secluded.
After leaving the lovely people of Rukuruku with many waves and smiles, we set off to continue our coastal cruise around the top of Viti Levu. Continue reading
We left Makogai in the morning for the short trip to Levuka on the island of Ovalau. Once outside the reef pass at Mokagai there was clear water in the Koro Sea until the pass into Levuka. A perfect angle in the moderate SE trades set up a great three hour day sail. We did find a stow-a-way, however.