Goodbye big city and hello to the island group of the Mamanucas in Fiji! We had a successful and efficient (timewise anyway!) run into the capital of Suva and managed all our errands (though we couldn't find two of the boat bits we would have liked to score). We got our teeth cleaned and checked by the head of the Fiji Dental Association Dr. Vikash Singh (highly recommend by other cruisers), got some Vatu currency for our next country Vanuatu; picked up the thermostats for the refrigerator/freezer (unfortunately one doesn't work – bummer); resupplied the meat cache for the freezer; picked up a good variety of fresh vegetables; enjoyed a good hot curry; got some questions answered at the Australian embassy/Visa center; downloaded Australian charts after a SD card search/bad card/new search; re-provisioned some basics; and bought a few crafts and saw some of the city. Did the local bus travel and enjoyed that as well as getting some good leg miles in.
So on Saturday mid-morning, we untied from the free mooring ball in Lami and headed towards the western side of Fiji. On this side, the winds are supposed to be lighter and the sun shines more. We were ready for some more steady good weather. This side is also supposed to have great great snorkeling – but it is also the side with more resorts, more backpackers and more tourists. It is closer to the international airport and because it is supposedly sunnier – the more developed tourist area. That means prices will be a bit higher as well.
We had a great passage from Suva – we motored out of the cut through the reef than sailed the rest of the way We had a nice beam reach for the first part and then as we turned the corner it was a downwind sail. The whole trip was about 110 miles – so we didn't need to go fast. A little way out of Suva we caught a lovely mahi. Of course we caught a fish – the freezer was full to the brim as was the fridge! So after the one fish we stopped trolling. We'd fish in the morning after eating some of the passage food and emptying out a few containers. We got a beautiful green flash at sunset – always a treat!
The seas were about a 1.5 meters so we had a little roll but it was an overall pleasant trip with a few light rain showers through the night. We arrived at the cut and were headed for Momi Bay to anchor but we got a call from our friends on Superted who were at Malolo Lailai at Musket Cove. That was only about ten miles further and it was only noon so we decided to go the extra distance.
As we arrived behind the reef of this island, the large luxury motor yacht at anchor revved up its helicopter and we watched as it left the deck. We knew we were now in the high rent district! We motored our way inside the reef around to the leeward side of the island and saw lots of sailboats at anchor and on moorings and found a spot to drop our hook. We were greeted by Jean and Matt and tidied the boat from passage. We enjoyed a nice mahi dinner and will explore the island with Jean and Matt this morning on a walk and then perhaps get some laundry done. There is a laundromat here (yippee!)
Several boats we hadn't seen for some time are here and some boats we've heard on the "Drifters' Net" are also here so we'll say hello to some old friends and hopefully meet some new ones as well.
radio email processed by SailMail
for information see: http://www.sailmail.com