Monday, August 29, 2016

Circumnavigation of Vanua Levu Complete

New pictures are up.

We enjoyed another few days in Nabouwalu watching the ferries come and go – several times a day. We did get up to the police station on the hill where Mikeli, whom we met at the Prime Minister event, gave us a tour. They have a pretty remarkable ocean view and breeze. After visiting there for awhile, he took us to his home to meet his family. The house was nearby and he had a great family – five kids aged one and a half to about sixteen. Very nice kids. They gave us some freshly cut green coconuts to drink and we visited. Michael got a Fiji Police hat from Mikeli, his namesake. Next stop was to go to another house with him to see and hear a band. The band is from Suva but were on Vanua Levu to raise some money for their first album release. They are called, "Tauvu Tribute" and they performed a few songs for us sitting on the veranda. Of course there was the obligatory bowl of kava made and being drunk – so Michael had a few low tide"bilos" (half coconut shell cups). Mikeli and Barbara danced to one of the songs and it was all great fun and very entertaining.

The next day, we took a nice walk along the shore road. It was Sunday, so a very quiet day in the village – just about everything is closed. The ferries were still running though and we saw the band again as they were boarding the ferry back to Suva. Michael delivered some photos up to Mikeli and then his kids came down to the boat for a tour.

Nabouwalu was getting busy we cruising boats. A British flagged boat, Chiquita arrived followed by a boat from Hawaii, "Jambalaya" who gave us some mahi for helping them locate a spot to drop their anchor. Then a large square rigger, "WindBorn" came into the tiny anchorage. We hadn't seen this many cruising boats in one place for six weeks!

On Monday morning, the weather seemed to settle through the night, so we decided to leave early and get to Nasonisoni about 20 miles away. This we knew we would be a hard leg unless we could time the wind and seas. We thought we'd take our chance and leave at sunrise. We made our way out and through the reefs carefully. Behind the reefs we didn't have much swell and tide was really quite low so we could see a lot of the rocks. We were making good time so we thought we'd just keep going and try to get to the Cousteau resort, just outside of the Savusavu town moorings. It was about a 50 mile trip. We thought that it would be safer and easier to get through the very narrow Nasonisoni pass in good light and we would hit the tides right – close to slack water. It worked great and though we slowed once outside the protection of the reefs, we still made good time. We arrived around 1400 – motor-sailing the whole way. We did manage to catch two fish – one a "tuni" (not our favorite) so we released him. The next was a lovely mahi mahi – but he managed to wriggle off the hook as we got him to the back of the boat – big bummer. The good news is the fish are out here. The bad news they are still swimming in the sea!

We will eat mahi tonight though, thanks to the generosity of another boater.

We will now start the preparations for our forthcoming guests who arrive in a few weeks. Lots of organizing, cleaning and provisioning before they get here. We have to get the boat all fueled up and find places for all the stuff. This gives us plenty of time to get it done.

We have completed what we wanted to do this season in Fiji before Kathryn and Mark's visit. We set out to circumnavigate the island of Vanua Levu. This would take us to the north side of the island which we had never seen and where very few boaters go. It is along the third largest barrier reef in the world – the Great Sea Reef. We had a blast – and enjoyed our time in these locations. The anchorages were all interesting, the villages lovely and welcoming and we had some great experiences. Navigating through the reefs has become easier thanks to Google Earth charts and Open CPN and shared waypoints from other cruising yachts. We met some really wonderful people and saw and learned a lot. It may not be for everyone – but we were glad we did it.
At 8/26/2016 3:36 AM (utc) S/V Astarte was located at 16°59.55'S 178°41.12'E

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