Just a short note to say we are doing fine and all is great. We are anchored outside a little village called Naviqiri 16 39.250S 178 35.302E We have not had internet in a while so that is why you have not heard from us. We should have internet in a couple of weeks so we will do a few postings then. Love you all Dennis & Barb S/V Landfall ————————————————- Do not push the “reply” button to respond to this message if that includes the text of this original message in your response. Messages are sent over a very low-speed radio link. The most concise way to reply is to send a NEW message If you DO use your reply button, be sure to delete the original message text and these instructions from your reply. Replies should not contain attachments and should be less than 5 kBytes (2 text pages) in length. This email was delivered by an HF private coast station in the Maritime Mobile Radio Service, operated by the SailMail Association, a non-profit association of yacht owners. For more information on this service or on the SailMail Association, please see the web site at: http://www.sailmail.com
September 25 – 29
16 11.382S 179 46.251E
Link to Google Maps
Posting by Barb:
We still have not seen any other sailboats. This anchorage will have to be our NEW favorite anchorage. And it’s the local people that have made this a special place. We stopped here so that we could take the dinghy and explore the Wainikoro river but inadvertently ended up at the wrong river, the Nasavu river. We had picked out the anchorage based on another cruisers information but while we were trying to anchor where we thought they had anchored we ended up with a foot of water under the keel and the tide going down. It was a close call and we got a little bit of a scare. Once we were anchored we had a closer look at the description of the anchorage and realized that we were at the wrong river. We decided to explore this river while we were here.
As we started our river tour we saw a few villages and locals waving as we passed. We went as far as we could go by dinghy and it turned out to be the last village on the river. Unfortunately, we don’t know the name of the village. The people there encouraged us to get out of our dinghy and visit for a while. We ended up sitting in the shade with a number of the locals. We ate their papayas and drank fresh coconut water out of Fijian straws (a plant that has a hollow stem, which they cut and use as straws. They use the leaves to rub on infected cuts). Wish I knew the name of the plant. They ate the lunch I packed which included Sardines, crackers, chocolate chip cookies, fresh carrots and fresh radishes. The radishes they did not like!! We were the first cruisers to visit their village and they made us feel very welcome. They could see that the heat was bothering Denny a little and before long one of the ladies came out with a fan and sat and fanned Denny and me for the next 2 hours. Before long they brought out the Lali drum and beat out a rhythm while singing in harmony and a few ladies and one man put on a show dressed in some silly dance costumes. They got us out to dance as well and it was a lot of laughter, singing and story sharing. They were not even interested in a Sevu Sevu ceremony or Kava as that is what they grew and it is their main source of income. They invited us to spend the night but we gracefully turned down that invitation. As we left they offered us Papayas and handmade ‘fans’ as gifts (Denny expects me to fan him all the time now, NOT).
On the way back we made a little detour through a mangrove stream and ended at a little local farm where a lady was taking a bath in the stream. She spoke a little English and yelled out something in Fijian to her husband. He showed up with more Papayas and 3 fresh Capsicum (green peppers) for us. It’s been months since we had fresh capsicums. They wanted nothing in return and shouted God Bless you as we left knowing we had to get back before dark.
During the time we were anchored here we had a local boat from a nearby village drop by and say hello as they travelled to or returned from their fishing expeditions. They fished for sale at the Labassa market. They inquired about ‘Trump’. Everybody here has to ask about Trump when they find out the boat is from the USA. Well known but not well liked. They seemed to have cell phones and they explained that the cell phone tower was only a year old and things changed for them once they got ‘connected’. Now they have bills to pay. As one of the young men put it ‘We had the trees and the water, now we have the trees and the water and “Trump”‘. They were such a fun, happy bunch of young locals who badly wanted us to visit their village but we ran out of time.
We were visited by the caretaker of Tilagica Island. The island was purchased by an American ‘Sight unseen’ and has yet to visit the place. Stan Louis , the caretaker lives there with his wife Ana and their 4 year old son George and their dog Master. They dropped by the boat with more beautfiful, fresh Papayas and invited us to visit the island. It was a beautiful place with a main building flanked by two other buildings which were the sleeping quarters. The place even has a wine cellar, although we didn’t tour the inside. The Caretaker’s home was off to the side, small, quaint and comfortable. They served tea and deep fried dough bread (donuts) and then offered us use of their shower. What a luxury to be able to stand in a clean beautiful hot shower (although we both used the water sparingly and didn’t really want hot water). Beautiful family. In return we gave them a large bag of freshly popped popcorn and some new movies to watch.
It was definitely the people that made this anchorage our special Shangri-La!!
September 22 – 25
16 10.829S 179 54.701E
Link to Google Maps
Posting by Barb:
Once through the reef we were escorted into this beautiful anchorage by a local boat that asked for matches in return. We were greeted by a pod of dolphins that hung out for the day feeding on an abundance of small fish.
There was also a large number of jelly fish in the water. The locals pointed to where there was a fresh water stream. We were looking forward to maybe being able to wash off some of the salt but we weren’t counting on much as it hasn’t rained much on this side of the island.
It was a nice dinghy ride through a mangrove stream and it opened to large fresh-sea water hole with a little waterfall. It turned out to be a stunning swimming hole.
We spent two days exploring the various pools filled with nibbling fish, swam, bathed and did all of our salty laundry. Two days of walking around comfortably in the nude enjoying our own private swimming hole. We saw bats, dolphins and turtles. And after the initial encounter with the locals we were on our own to explore the mangroves by Kayak or dinghy. Our favorite anchorage so far!!
September 18 – 22
16 09.557S 179 56.849E
Link to Google Maps
Posting by Barb:
We left Rabi at 6:30 in the morning and it was a beautiful 28-mile sail with the wind on the beam. The pass through the reef was a little daunting and at one point we only had 4 feet of water. There aren’t many cruisers that actually sail the north side of Vanua Levu so we expect to be soloing most of the way and going through somewhat uncharted passages. That’s what we like to do!! We anchored in a beautiful shallow spot surrounded by coral which were very pronounced when the tide was low. There were a few local boats that passed by and all were excited to see a ‘big’ boat and made sure to wave and welcome us. It was a great spot to do some boat maintenance which included going up the mast to try and fix Wind Speed indicator. In the meantime, I played with my kayak and I played in the galley being trying to figure out the 101 ways of serving fish.
On our last day we took the dinghy to a nearby, dilapidated peer to visit an old copper open pit mine. We did the ‘death march’ hike on what was probably the hottest day since we left NZ. At the top we found the old mining camp and in the shade in the remains of one of the buildings were about 10 local Fijians all dressed in their Sulus, shirt and ties holding what looked like a ‘Bible’ study. They welcomed us and gave us permission to look around especially since we announced that we had Cava in our dinghy and would do Sevu Sevu at the Chief’s house in the village. The walk around was almost unbearable in the heat and we didn’t see much except evidence of the mineral ‘tailing’, a beautiful view of the reef pass and a spider web with one fat, greedy spider.
Back at the village we did the Sevu Sevu and they actually had a Fijjian, wordy, clap clap ceremony, all dressed in their finest. We hung out for a little bit and did the customary group picture.
September 14 – 18
16 27.314S 179 55.990W
Link to Google Maps
Posting by Barb:
Back to cruising where the white beaches are
It was a beautiful sail to Rabi Island. Close to our planned anchorage we hooked another fish on the rod and reel. We probably had hooked another fish on the trolled line but the coke bottle-Oreo cookie lure was bitten clean off. I was a little nervous about losing this fish again. It was hard to tell what we had on the line as it just seemed to dive deep taking a ton of line off the spool. After 20 minutes of playing with the fish we got it close enough to see that it was a nice size Wahoo. We did bring it on board and managed to bend the gaff in the process.
Rabi was a pleasant anchorage and we were the “little boat” again with a 62’ Dashew on one side and a 52’ Catamaran on the other side. Denny ended up getting sick with a flu bug that seemed to be going around in Savu Savu making our friends Ernst and Michael sick. This particular virus seemed to like male hosts only, luckily for me. So while Denny recuperated I played with my Kayak.
The island offered nice sandy, white beaches and we even managed to have a beautiful picnic on a nicely deserted beach. We did a little snorkeling but there really wasn’t anything to exciting here. A walk through the nearby local homestead, which we did while they were away for the night, left Denny and I a little sad. It was drab and a little unclean and there were some large pigs and many, many piglets making themselves at home while the family was away. Maybe Copra was their main source of income but they were obviously very poor. After 4 days in Rabi we felt it was time to leave.
September 14, 2016
16 43.271S 179 53.414E
Link to Google Maps
Posting by Dennis:
Early, at 2am, we left Savu Savu heading for Rabi island 80 miles to the northeast. We motor sailed out and around the point into four foot seas with the wind on the nose, it was going to be a long day. Landfall did ok loping through the waves, it is not very encouraging when you see -.8 VMG (Velocity Made Good toward our plotted way point) on the plotter, it is going to be a very long day. The Day just plugged along with landfall banging its way along at a good twenty degree heal. It is hard to imagine just how much work it is to move around when the boat is healed over like this. You can’t really cook or do much of anything, it was turning out to be a very long day. As the day wore on we worked are way eastward getting more in the lee of the island of Taveuni so the seas eased and soon we were beating straight toward the Somo straights. As we motored trough the reef Barb hooked a Dorado fish on the rod and reel. It was fun to watch her play the fish as it leaped out of the water and would run from side to side. It is so much more fun to catch a fish with a fishing rod rather than a rope. Finally, she lost the fish, which was just fine with me, since I didn’t feel much like cleaning the thing anyway and our freezer was full of Dorado. We were hoping for a Tuna or a Wahoo.
View of the narrow entrance we navigated by night
The problem was it was getting late in the day and we were not going to make it to Rabi island so we were going to have to anchor somewhere for the night. So we went for plan ‘B’, a noted hurricane anchorage. We ended up pulling in to Naqaiqai Creek in the dark using the spotlight and anchored in front of a small house belonging to a very friendly old man. We knew it was ok when we heard his booming voice over his barking dogs “Bulah, welcome home!!”. Then it was a dinner of boiled vegetables and off to bed, a very long day indeed.
September 12, 2016
23 39.395S 178 53.958E
Posting by Barb:
We have been in Savu Savu, Fiji for a week. We have been catching up on emails, phone calls and dining out with friends. We are now getting ready to make our move to the next anchorage on Rabi Island about 70 miles away. It is a little more isolated and we will not have internet so we will be emailing and posting via SSB. But before we go I wanted to post our Minerva pictures.
We both loved Minerva. There are many stories of shipwrecks and seeing the reefs on the navigational charts, it was a little daunting to think we would have to safely navigate through a pass in the reef but once there I realized there was nothing to fear. Denny of course had no fear.
We had a couple of relaxing days there. I managed to try out my Oru Kayak for the first time and loved it. We explored some of the shipwrecks and walked on the reef at low tide. But the highlight for me was the Crayfish feast we had. Denny and I headed to the edge of the reef during low tide and scouted some pools where there may be Crayfish. I will never forget Denny’s face of utter astonishment when he went for his first dip in a pool to come up 30 seconds later exclaiming there were 50 or more BIG crayfish below him. But they disappeared pretty quickly in the overhang crevices. In the meantime the waves were crashing in and Denny took a beating as you can see by the numerous scratches on his legs (and it was worse than what the pictures can show). We quickly learned that there were pools around with Crayfish but far enough away from the edge of the reef so that the waves weren’t washing in. Catching the crayfish was a simple of matter of catching them as they swam to the safety of a rock crevice or hole. And when they latched on to the rocks with their claws there was no getting them off. In one particular ledge overhang there were 5 lobsters hanging out but when Denny had a closer look he spotted a large Moray eel giving him the evil eye. From that point forward Denny was a little more cautious about sticking his hand in the crevices searching for the Crayfish. We came home with 5 large ones and had a fine feast.
For more Minerva Photos click here
Sunday September 4, 2016 Posting by Dennis: 16 45.239S 179 21.058E http://maps.google.com/?z=7&t=k&q=loc:16%2045.239S%20179%2021.058E We have made it to Savu Savu. Had a pretty quick trip,at least for Landfall. It was a bouncy ride with the waves slamming into the rear quarter. Makes doing anything a real chore. Just moving around is a lot of work. Tomorrow we will go into the marina and do customs. We managed to catch a nice Dorado it was about five feet long. Cleaning it while you are rolling around is not the most fun either, but now we have fresh fish and lobsters tails in the freezer. We should have internet in a couple of days so we may be able to do a posting then. Until then hope you all are doing well.
Tuesday August 30, 2016 Posting by Dennis: 23 39.394S 178 53.962W http://maps.google.com/?z=7&t=k&q=loc:23%2039.394S%20178%2053.962W Hello Just letting you know that we are doing well. We will have some stories to tell of our adventures here but that will follow when we get real internet, not SSB radio and the magic of radio waves sent to a relay station in Hawaii, 4,000 miles from here. Love to all Dennis & Barb S/V Landfall ————————————————- Do not push the “reply” button to respond to this message if that includes the text of this original message in your response. Messages are sent over a very low-speed radio link. The most concise way to reply is to send a NEW message If you DO use your reply button, be sure to delete the original message text and these instructions from your reply. Replies should not contain attachments and should be less than 5 kBytes (2 text pages) in length. This email was delivered by an HF private coast station in the Maritime Mobile Radio Service, operated by the SailMail Association, a non-profit association of yacht owners. For more information on this service or on the SailMail Association, please see the web site at: http://www.sailmail.com
Friday August 25, 2016 Posting by Barb: 25 56.635S 179 06.703W http://maps.google.com/?z=7&t=k&q=loc:25%2056.635S%20179%2006.703W We apologize for taking so long to post an update of our passage. Once we left NZ we realized that SSB was not working. That was on our ‘To Do’ list to check prior to leaving but we ran out of time as a very nice weather window became available. Luckily our Watermaker worked as that was on our ‘Check List’ as well. And it was a great passage. Getting out of NZ was a little rough but once we were away from the coastline we started our passage using our Spinnaker. Its the first time we used our newly fixed Spinnaker since we blew it out on our passage from Chile to the Marquesa. For our seven day passage to Minerva we had a gamut of wind speeds and directions so we were able to use all of our sailing options. So we sailed with the 160, the 160 poled out, the yankee, the main reefed, and the spinnaker. Nice way to get back to cruising and getting our sea legs back. We didn’t catch any fish so far but we did snag a piece of an octopus tentacle. Those suckers have super suction!! We arrived in Minerva very early on a beautiful, sunny day. The plan is to stay here until the Monday pending a weather window. Then three days to Fiji! While here in Minerva we plan to test the outboard motor, maybe use the Kayak if we can get the outboard going, search for some Crayfish to eat and basically hang out and relax in a beautiful, clean, isolated, pristine anchorage.