Saturday, July 1, 2017

Sailing North Through the Reefs

We enjoyed a few days anchored near Nasonisoni Pass. On Friday, a Fijian holiday, we headed 25 miles north towards Nabouwalu. This is a ferry stop and where we met the Prime Minister of Fiji last year. We had also made friends with a family here and we thought it would be fun to visit Police Constable Michael and his family again. As we approached Nabouwalu though, the winds were really blowing and there was quite a swell. So we decided to skip the stop and go ten miles further and get into the more protected Mbua Bay. This is a deep bay and very sticky mud for holding. There isn't much wind protection from the short mangroves, but its relatively shallow (5-6 meters) and lots of room. It was a windy night, but the anchor held well and there was no swell. Sorry though that we missed saying hello to our friends.

The next morning (Saturday, July 1), the sun was shining and steady 15-20 knot SE breeze was still blowing. We decided we'd take advantage of the good visibility and make a 14 mile trip to Bualailai. It is another spot we stopped in last year and remembered liking. It is inside a reef and surrounded on three sides but relatively high rocky hills with mangroves along the water. There is a sandy beach on one side and river/stream.

We managed to sail the entire way with a small headsail – not wanting to go too fast through the reefs. It was very comfortable, less rolly than the previous day's trip. Last year when we did this trip we went the opposite way and fought the trade winds – so it was a lot slower going, less comfortable and certainly required the services of our trusty engine and diesel fuel. It has been nice to be able to sail up the coast this year because we decided to go around the island clockwise instead. We'll pay the price on the other side!

We hope this will be a comfortable stop to spend a few days. Weather permitting we'll take a good walk, snorkel, explore in the dinghy and perhaps meet the family that lives up the stream. It is pretty protected here though the wind is still blowing off the hillsides. Lots of goats on the hillsides to watch.
At 7/1/2017 8:05 PM (utc) S/V Astarte was located at 16°44.92'S 178°28.98'E

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