Vuda, the Hurricane Hole

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.

Anchorage and resort off Bakana Island, in the bay in front of Lautoka.

Anchorage and resort off Bakana Island, in the bay in front of Lautoka.

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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.

The southern beach of Nananu-i-ra with Margarita and Velic. Ellington Wharf off left in the far distance, on Viti Levu, the “mainland.” These are all private homes, or private rentals.

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The Island of Ovalau


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.

Our stow-a-way from Makogai

She got feisty fighting off the camera. A Praying Mantis is faster than auto focus.

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Green Flash

The Koro Sea

After six weeks and a few days, we left Savusavu on Vanua Levu and headed southwest to Koro Island, in the Koro Sea and its namesake. The Koro Sea is essentially created by the archipelago of the Fiji Islands. Reef systems of the Lau Group to the east and south break the open Pacific swell. The Koro Sea, while still open and deep water, is noticeably calmer than open ocean. This was a motor-sail in light air, so we took the opportunity of running the water maker during the six-hour passage. We arrived at Dere Bay on the west side of the island and found one other yacht already there.

Dere Bay on Koro Island. A few buildings, not many people.

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New Feet, Deep Feet, and a Rescue

Boat work in Paradise

We have new feet. More properly speaking, we have new flex mounts on the engine. The Beta is running more smoothly and sounding better than it has in a very long time. We now realize the failed flex mount was probably in the process of failing for a long time and we just hadn’t realized it was happening because the damage progressed slowly. Remember back to the failed engine mounting foot replaced in Papeete, Tahiti. This failure was the flex mount in the same location. The flex mount seemed fine, until a catastrophic final break in Savusavu one day, puttering over to take on fresh water.

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Powerless in Paradise

Cruising is working on your boat in exotic locations.

This is one of those cliches that every cruiser knows, and knows to be true.

We are still enjoying Savusavu. We are thankful to be in a place that’s easy to enjoy: A protected anchorage, ready access to well-stocked markets, a number of good restaurants, lovely people, and good facilities for guests. We’re getting to know people, both local residents like the friendly and efficient marina staff, and our fellow cruisers. Continue reading