Our last few days at Savusavu were busy and enjoyable. We enjoyed another great Indian feast for just a few dollars. We got the last minute errands done before trying to get away from the mooring ball and get out to start exploring the Fiji Islands. On Saturday we went to the large fresh market where you can get livestock, chickens, fish and all types of seafood and vegetables. We discovered some new foods like "sea grapes." These are not the sea grapes we knew in Florida – from a plant – but rather gathered from sea weed. They are small grape like clusters of liquid filled seaweed and quite tasty. They are sold on these large leaves and very pretty to see (you'll see a photo on the photo page). There were pens of chickens and tables of watermelon. We bought a tasty watermelon that we enjoyed. We did really enjoy our time in the town and the clearance procedure was smooth. We had to clear out of Savusavu as well and got permission to cruise "all the islands." The woman at customs where we checked out told us, "if the weather gets bad out there, you just come on back to Savusavu Bay!" They are really incredibly nice and thoughtful here.
On Monday, many of our friends arrived on yachts including the Gypsy Hearts, our Japanese friends on Gaku (who we were worried about because they left the same day we did from Opua!), Blue Rodeo and some new folks we met "on the radio net." We enjoyed beers and a Chinese meal with them before we departed.
We left the Copra Shed Marina mooring at Savusavu at 0630 on Tuesday. Some big winds and bad weather was predicted for Wednesday so we took the opportunity to escape or be stuck in the bay until Sunday. Our friends on Superted, Victory and Chapter 2 were already tucked in a bay about 40 miles away and we thought we could make that in a day. We did have to motor most of the way, but also sailed for a few hours and motor sailed for another few.
The good news was that while burning some diesel – Michael hooked and landed a mighty mahi! It was one of the largest fish we ever scored. It was a big fighter, leaping out of the water multiple times trying to shake its hook. It was a beautiful fish with its bright turquoise coloring and humped head. It was a 57 inch bull mahi who put up a good fight. We were lucky to get him onboard. Michael filleted him and we were able to pass out fish to all our friends upon arrival and enjoy a wonderful Mahi dinner ourselves (with more still to come!)
After our fish catching excitement, we arrived at the cut to Dakanuba (also called Nasasobu) at low tide and you could see the reef on both sides. Luckily visibility was good though it did cloud up quite a bit. The GPS started to do very strange things as we went through the narrow cut – so it was strictly by eyeball navigation. We made it through and negotiated our way back into the little protected bay. It was a mangrove surrounded bay with pretty deep water, but supposedly good holding. The snorkeling out at the reef is supposed to be fabulous but it doesn't look like we'll get to experience that over the next few days with this weather and wind coming. But we are in a protected anchorage with some good friends.
The evening sky filled up with bats – lots of big fruit bats. They were impressive to see – we could see them earlier hanging on some trees just beyond the mangroves. We decided with this many bats, we better close up the boat so our bananas would be safe! The sounds of Fiji are also very exotic and interesting. There is a "barking pigeon" that sounds just like a barking dog off in the distance. Plus, there are all kinds of pretty bird sounds – some very strange and others very melodic. Last night after a gathering on Superted, we enjoyed our first night at anchor in Fiji.
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