Mbavatu Harbour, Vanua Balavu Island , Fiji

July 9, 2014 – July 11, 2014

17 11.088 S 179 00.007 E

http://maps.google.com/?z=7&t=k&q=loc:17%2011.088S%20179%2000.007E

Posting by Barb and Dennis:

We motored to our next anchorage which was only a couple of hours away. This anchorage was so different than the Bay of Islands. Mbavatu Harbour is a well-protected little bay and when we arrived there were 6 sailboats already there. There was a neat little yacht club there owned by Toni, who also owns Copra Shed in Savu Savu. We quickly realized that this place would be a social anchorage. At 5:30 all the cruisers in the bay get together at the Yacht club deck for Happy Hour. Toni was there the first night so the yacht club was open. He drops by once every 2-3 months so it was unusual for him to be there.

On another night it was decided that it would be Pizza night so we all had to bring a pizza. We enjoyed tastes of chicken, fish, curried, and spicy sausage pizzas. Dennis of course made the spicy sausage pizza and it was a hit!

DSC_4243-1On one of our day excursions in Mbavatu Harbour, we decided to do the hike up the well-built 276 step stairway to the plantation at the top. We had been told there was an outlook there where we could see the Bay of Islands. When we reached the last step there were 2 young locals, Usaia and Peni, who were anxious to show us the way to the lookout. It was about a 20 minute walk to the lookout and they entertained us with some of their folk stories and their experiences. I got the feeling that they genuinely liked the company and the opportunity to share their stories with a great sense of humour.  They were botDSC_4244-1h working students; Usaia is going to be a carpenter and Peni a Mason. We learned that they were devout Methodists as they blamed most of the damage done by cyclones to the other islands as punishment from God for the sins of the locals. On one particular island the only building left standing after a cyclone passed was the church. A long time ago, the locals at this particular village had eaten the missionary and God had not yet forgiven them for doing that!   They are very aware of their cannibalistic history and jokingly told us that in another era they would have contemplated eating each other even though they were friends. They were nice enough not to hint that we would probably have made a good meal as well!! On the walk back from the lookout Peni plucked a fruit from a tree, which he called Sour Sop, and broke it into four pieces to share among us. 

Soursop Fruit

Soursop Fruit

The fruit was white, spongy, and juicy and it tasted like a combination of pineapples, limes and oranges. It was delicious and very filling. Peni invited us to his house to sign his guestbook and then gave us some beautiful, large bananas without once asking for anything.

We did come back with a few fish hooks for them. They use potato chip bags cut into strips and tie it to the hook for bait.

 

Our diesel tank has started leaking so it turns out that we actually do have a leak somewhere. The diesel has started seeping into the teak flooring so we have decided to head back to the main island to get that fixed. We again have to say good bye to our newly found friends and we are very sad not to be able to explore the rest of the Northern Lau group. But we cannot ignore the diesel leak and we are afraid it will get worse. We checked the weather window and it looks like it will be a day of sailing and a day of motoring as we make our way to Vuda Point Marina on the Island of Viti Levu.

Bay of Islands, Vanua Balavu Island , Fiji

July 6, 2014 – July 8, 2014

17 10.539 S 179 01.045 E

http://maps.google.com/?z=7&t=k&q=loc:17%2010.539S%20179%2001.045E

Posting by Dennis and Barb:

DSC_5809The Bay of Islands was a magical place. Everywhere we looked there were outcroppings of limestone rocks ranging in sizes and covered with green vegetation. The water was a multitude of colours as a result of the varying water depths and what lay underneath which was a combination of rock, reef and sand. There were fruit bats flying overhead and every now and then I would spot a sea turtle coming up for air and having a look at us. DDSC_5826ennis navigated the boat through some narrow channels among the limestone islands (not the way most cruisers would navigate through the bay but what would you expect) looking for the perfect anchorage.  We ended up next to Sea Whisper again and enjoyed a Happy Hour with them on their boat. They were preparing to leave for a night passage to another anchorage. Part of the cruising life is always saying hello and or goodbye. We spent 3 nights at the Bay Island anchorage and after the first night we had the place to ourselves which made this place even more magical! The snorkeling here was pretty nice. We found a reef that did have abundance of colourful fishes, an occasional sea turtle and on the way back to the boat we spotted several stingrays feeding on the sandy bottom.  On a calm day we took the dinghy out and meandered around all of the limestone islands and made a video of our trip. It’s hard to capture the beauty of this place with a picture and we wanted to record the experience on film. DSC_5785IDSC_5797 wanted to have an anchorage picture from a higher view point so I set out to climb a nearby rock outcrop. I managed to conquer my fear as I climbed higher and higher, each time trying to find the next hand grip or foot hold. I knew a fall would mean severe injury or worse. It was such a relief to get to the top and I knew the picture would be worth it. I took my camera out and couldn’t figure out why the picture would not focus. And then the realization!! I had left the camera battery back at the boat as I had taken it out a couple of days ago to charge it!! I did manage to climb the outcrop again the next day and this time Dennis came along so it made me feel a little better although he really couldn’t do much except encourage me! But we did get a beautiful panoramic picture. After the climb we sat in the cockpit without any restrictive clothing sipping on a gin and tonic with ice!!! (Yes we have ice in our freezer). This place was heaven. We knew it was time to leave after 3 days when a new boat arrived. It’s the kind of place that’s made special when anchored all alone. We have so many places to go to with so little time!