YOTREPS: YES TIME: 2011/07/31 00:42 LATITUDE: 17-10.92S LONGITUDE: 178-59.81W MARINE: NO WIND_SPEED: 2 WIND_DIR: 206T CLOUDS: 30% VISIBILITY: 20 BARO: 1014 TREND: -1 AIR_TEMP: 26.7C COMMENT: Beach House – MOORED – Mbavatu Harbor. Bumped the reef again! All okay except my ego.
Month: July 2011
Dear F&F, July 26th-27th, 2011 (Eastern Hemisphere). Despite actually being back in the Western Hemisphere, we’re politically in the Eastern Hemisphere. Welcome to Fiji!
We thought we were in for a “downwindjoyride” to the Northern Lau for the 50 mile sail. However, we got a one day too late start and the wind went poof. We motored the entire way, yuk!
As we approached Vanua Balavu, it reminded me very much of our approach to the Tuamotus in 2009. Ironically, we had just left s/v “Migration” at Matangi Island and the Tuamotu Archipellago is where Cindy and I first met Bruce and Alene on s/v “Migration” at that time.
I was very anxious upon arrival here as I was pretty sure the charts wouldn’t be right on. They weren’t! The charts were done from surveys of “yesteryear”, before the days of GPS accuracy. It is still amazing to me that they were only a quarter of a mile off. We have a device on our electronic chart plotter that let’s us “slide” the charts to the correct position once we are on site. For the most part, it worked pretty well, but the scale of the chart here is slightly off as well, so a WATCHFUL eye is critical as well as daylight only navigation. We came through the outer reef at 1:30 p.m and worked our way through the “Bay of Islands”. (Stories to follow!).
We found the German monohull, “Kira of Celle” out of Cuxhaven, Germany anchored in the “Bay”. They spoke perfect English and despite having a native German speaker aboard in Anja, we did the entire “hi how are you?” in “Beach House’s” native tongue. Detleff and Beata had been here two years in a row and had us follow them to the main village of Dalconi, 4 miles further past the Bay of Islands. We’ll anchor there for the night and “check in” with the local village Chief where we will have our first “sevusevu” experience. This is giving the ceremonial gift of Kava to the Chief, whereupon we will be accepted for life as locals of the village of Dalconi.
Stay tuned! KIT, Scott with Anja and Sandrine
Dear F&F, July 23rd – 24th, 2011 (Eastern Hemisphere). Despite the “true dateline” being in Fiji, politically the entire group is in the Eastern Hemisphere’s time zone. Both Tonga and Fiji want to be in the same hemisphere as their major supporters, Australia & New Zealand, so they’ve “Gerrymandered” the dateline to suit.
We upped anchor for the one and half hour motor to Matangi Island’s “Honeymoon Cove”. The island is privately owned, has a dive operation and the anchorage we went to with s/v “Migration” is used as a remote day trip for the honeymooners to be alone at from the local Matangi Island Resort. We were just part of the scenery as far as they were concerned. It was a beautiful spot and I’ll post photos when I’ve internet.
We decided to do a dive right off the point of the bay and Jeff, Carolyn, Bruce, Alene, Anja & I did the dive. It was lovely, a beautiful reef. Some of the damage from the cyclone that came through here two years ago was evident. Overall however, it was a great dive. We said goodbye to s/v “Migration” as they left to go back to Taveuni for the night and we stayed at the lovely Honeymoon Cove, having it all to ourselves.
A local dive guide came by and we made arrangements to go to “Noel’s Wall” and the “Yellow Wall” the next day. These are two of the signature dive sites of Matangi/Laucala Islands. Laucala was formerly owned by Malcolm Forbes and is now owned by the owner of “Red Bull”. It is the most exclusive and expensive resort in the entire nation of Fiji. We heard rooms start around 4,000.00 USD/night. YIKES.
We did the dives the next day and were very impressed. “Noel’s Wall” reminded me of Palau and somewhat of the “White Wall” without the density of soft corals, but the reef went on for almost 45 minutes of drift diving. We saw at least 10,000 “Rainbow Runners” in various stages of development. Two very nice and close up schools of chevron barracuda as well as all the usual reef suspects, white tip reef sharks and some of the nicest hard corals I’ve seen since Mopelia & Maupiti in French Polynesia.
We’ve decided to use the remnant of a strong Northerly wind tomorrow to head toward “Vanua Balavu” in the Exploring Islands of the Northern Lau Group. If we come back to the Western part of Fiji through this area again, we will hope to do “Shark City” where the name speaks for itself. Lions and Tigers and Bulls “oh my!”….:) Stay tuned! KIT, Scott with Anja and Sandrine