Port Fitzroy, Great Barrier. Very pleasant Easter weekend. Great company.
Distracted - fiji continued
we left koro island on 17 june and had a beautiful sail to ngau island. after a quick tiki tour around the reported anchorages, stopped in herald bay - a stunning day and bay. the sunset awesome. did sevu sevu at the village of sawaieke the next morning when the tide was high having now discovered that most of the villages are easiest to access at high tide. the chief was in the bath so we left our kava with his grandson! we left gnau at 5pm that day as the wind had veered to the ne and we wished Read more...
matuku island is a very sheltered harbour being inside what must have been a crater lake. arrived through the reef soon after dawn followed in by liberation (from nelson) and later 3 other yachts all of whom had sailed from suva (2 other nzrs) who were on their way to falanga (another 100 miles or so away to the east but meant to be the best island/lagoon in the lau group). not long after we were treated to a spectacular electrical storm and torrential rain so everyone was out collecting water and washing themselves!! the other boats either stayed one night only or simply had a sleep before moving on. we ended spending nearly a week here with no other boats about as we decided that there was no hurry until the wind and swells had abated and we could have a comfortable sail. the village at the head of the harbour is very small but very hospitable. chico the mayor of the village had been with the military in sinai and was a very interesting man whose family looked after us very well. on the sunday i joined them for church and gavin came in later for lunch put on by the whole village - a wonderful experience (and gourmet delight including an enormous sea crab, taro leaves done in coconut juice and island cabbage similarly). left matuku for totoya island on the 27th june having said our goodbyes and printed off some of the photos we had taken of them all. the $39 photocopier has been a very good investment and we have yet to change the colour cartridge!!. the villagers just love seeing themselves in print and such a small thing to give them in appreciation.
arrived on the western side of totoya island after a windward sail (se 15 - 20kts) about 2pm at the recommended anchorage straight in from the reef in a very pretty bay which was surprisingly sheltered. the wind eased in the evening and we were able to enjoy the beauty of the place, once again the only boat. the next morning walked across the isthmus to the eastern side of the island (following an old railway track) intending to do sevu sevu at the village on the other side but high tide meant we could not get along the foreshore to the village. so took lots of photos for a friend in nz whose father came from here. a truly beautiful island although not really one for the cruisers as the main villagers are all inside the main lagoon inside the island which is entered on the se coast and therefore very exposed to the se winds! left totoya at 5pm to sail overnight to komo island - a beautiful night sail.
komo island is very small but has a wonderful anchorage inside the reef with turquoise waters and little coral. arrived soon after dawn and spent an amazing day here in truly tropical weather. three other yachts already here - two of whom introduced themselves. we were given a mackerel from one for dinner - yum! we have been rather lazy with our fishing on passage. only spent one night here as the wind was forecast to increase to se 25kts the next day and the position of the island is such that we expected that it would not be that sheltered (veers around the headland). left at noon to sail to lacemba or failing that, to bavatu harbour in vanua balavu (the northern lau group). unfortunately, lacemba was not a viable option as the anchorage on the western side was too exposed to the strong se wind and the visibility poor with the rain squalls, so we pushed on to bavatu harbour. and what a good choice that was.
bavatu harbour is incredibly protected and very scenic, although the charts are inaccurate and entry through the reef is therefore a visual one using the leads and markers if in place. we were welcomed in by "streetcar", a yacht from the uk, who answered the vhf when we called the royal exploring isles yacht squadron. they were looking after the place for a couple of weeks. this is a small yacht club set up by tony philps, who owns the copra plantation there. he is keen for everyone visiting to use the facilities he has set up which are quite something and is also happy for visitors to walk the various tracks he maintains around the copra plantation. this includes a small village who it seems help maintain the place in a very tidy way. his home at the top of the hill is incredible and the view well worth the short walk. we were able to view the seas around us from there which we did on the second day when it was blowing 30 - 35 kts outside the reef, while we had no wind in th e inner harbour. met kate and rory off streetcar and vaughn and sharon off "reality", an american yacht, whom we spent time over drinks at the yacht club and/or walking the tracks. on the third day we visited the villagers who were making coconut oil - a labour intensive process but fascinating to watch. took lots of photos which we will post later. left bavatu harbour on the friday to sail back to savu savu on a beautiful day with a 10kt se.
arrived in savu savu the next morning and discovered that our friends lisa and lester on "obsession" (whangarie) were also there. we had been hoping to catch up with them as we met them originally in samoa on our last cruise in 2010 and ended up then going onto wallis island with them. it was a great evneing and ended up all having a chinese meal at our favorite chinese restaurant.had a great couple of days catching up and joined them on their last night anchored off cousteaus' resort. we returned to savu savu the next morning to finish re-provisioning. unfortunately the weather was not the best (rain on and off) and by the end of the week we decided to leave fiji and head north to wallis island, for some better weather hopefully. the weather window looked reasonable although wet and so the decision was made and we left savu savu on 12 july early afternoon after clearing customs.
Distracted - savu savu and koro island
left beqa island on 2 june 2013 and sailed overnight to savu savu arriving there early monday morning. a very easy downwind sail (sw 20kts) until the wind gradually died out and then motor sailed the last miles.
savu savu is very attractive and while the township small, were able to replenish diesel ($1 per litre cheaper than suva) and stores easily (including great meat from fiji meat supplies). the coprashed runs the moorings and is well organised with helpful pleasant staff. spent 4 Read more...
left savu savu on friday 7 june and sailed in a 15kt se wind to koro island, yet again another lovely sail even if upwind. anchored in matana bay on the nw coast and went into the village of nabuna by dinghy the next morning to do our sevu sevu with the village chief (a couple of miles east). this is a beautiful deserted anchorage with only a few houses to be seen on the hills which form part of what is known as the koro seaview estate (freehold land divided into 450 lots all sold but little frequented). the amazing thing about the northern part of this island is that there are three cell towers within as many miles, so the internet access is great. we even managed to listen to the 2 all black tests on sports radio to gavin's delight! moved 1.5 miles south to dere bay (14.5 miles around the outside of the reeef)on monday 10 june and picked up a mooring put out down by one of the two small resorts in the bay. met neil and hwei- ying who own a property here and own a ketch called "koro", although now for sale. have been here ever since as it is very sheltered and attactive being the south side of the estate. had planned to move on to gau island on wednesday but gavin has an infected foot which has taken some time to start to improve, despite the "old" nurseâs treatment with 2 antibiotics (2) and then medical advice from andrew in chch. it now looks as if we may have finally got on top of it. as gavin said, we are in paradise so what is the hurry!! the weather has been a bit of a mixed bag Â - se winds 25kts with rough seas for most of fiji waters the last few days so a good place to be stopped. the bigger of the 2 small resorts here only has 2 visitors, so we have been truly spoiled by the local villagers, especially jone, and donna, with beautiful fresh fruit and veggies â yum. even been eating breadfruit!! also, had a great time meeting up here again with domino 2, who just happened to come into dere bay the same day as us, then overdraft (neil and gillian) living in auckland and with whom we exchanged goodies (gave us some beautiful fresh mahi mahi), visions of johanna (bill and johanna)from maine,usa, whom we first met in tahiti in 2010 then later in wellington and today, just in time arrives too!! should be a fun night ahead! our loose plans are to head south to gau island as soon as the winds swing more to the east / north, then down to the southern lau group, namely, matuku, across to totoya, komo island, lacemba and then make our way back to savu savu slowly. so will be in fiji for a while yet it seems. we are definetly now on fiji time - what a life!
Distracted - beqa island/ lagoon
arrived at beqa island and its surrounding lagoon by way of sulphur passage on the ne side of the island on saturday 25 may after a very pleasant sail from suva with a 20kts ne wind.
anchored in malumu bay, at the head of which is a small attractive resort and further into the bay the local village, lalati. made a customary visit to the chief and were taken around the village by max, who himself had spent time in auckland playing rugby (educated at the south pacific university in suva). Read more...
motored down to vaga bay which is on the sw side of the island, through some incomplete surveyed waters but all good. anchored on the nw shore in 20 metres of water and spent a relaxing afternoon in nice weather. made a visit to the chief of the northern village (rukua) and by chance met another fijian, sai, who had lived in wellington (porirua). met his lovely family including 2 very polite boys who attend the local schools, one of which is a high school where children from villagers further away board by week. had intended spending some time exploring the bay but by the next day the wind had swung around to the nw and we decided it would be more sheltered to return to malumu bay! have been anchored in malumu ever since as a low pressure system moves across fiji with strong s/ se winds of 25-30kts gusting 35-40kts. a high pressure south of fiji is reportedly also responsible for heavy swells in fijian waters. this bay is reasonably sheltered with flat sea but the gusts still required us to take down our bimini etc. no different to cruising in the sounds except the wind and water is very warm!! so plenty of reading and catching rain water for drinking/tanks. the wind seems to be abating today (thursday) as is swinging more around to the east so we will move back to vaga bay probably tomorrow. the joy of cruising with no time limits is there is no hurry and always another day.
however, am looking forward to seeing some sunshine! moce! from distracted
Distracted - arrived in fiji!
we have finally arrived in fiji(12 days), although not in sava savu but suva.
arrived yesterday morning after an interesting trip of either no wind or too much wind - at which time we had to divert to the west for 2 days to miss the worst of a tropical low that formed south of fiji and headed directly our way!! the seas were big and made for a fast ride, although at times i was glad i was not on watch for more than 2 hours outside in the cockpit in those conditions. we had our storm sails Read more...
hence our entry into suva as little wind and little diesel left.
are still awaiting on clearance from customs which we are told is to be this afternoon - so then we can go ashore!! in the meantime, furiously eating up left over food which we cannot keep now we are in fiji, before the health officials confiscate it.
it was great to have a day yesterday to catch up on sleep, clean the boat up and have a wine or two - the first of the trip, so all of our livers are in good shape:) hope work is not too frantic and the wellington weather kind.
the sea temperature up here is 30 degrees and the air temperature about the same, so our bones and bodies are taking a bit of time to acclimatize, although cold liquids are the order of the day.
will keep in touch. plan to re-provision in suva with the essentials such as water, diesel etc then will make our way slowly up to savu savu.
cheers from the crew of the good ship "distracted".