Dennis reported to Ella via telephone that the single sideband radio aboard Landfall is ailing. That prevents him from posting to this blog except on a WiFi connection, which is a rare beast in Fiji. So there will be no postings for some time, and we’re not to worry.
The report is that Becky successfully joined the boat in Fiji and is doing well. The boat is in Fiji now. They’ll try to get the radio squared away while still in Fiji.
— Bill M.
September 15 – 18, 2014
17 04.923 S 177 16.752 E
Posting by Barb:
Our return from the Yasawas back to Vuda Point Marina included a stop in Somosomo. It was just an overnight stop but long enough to do some snorkeling. Surprisingly enough, the choral here was vibrant and alive. Denny did a night snorkel and he spotted a few baby crayfish and some interesting corals that closed like a fern leaf when he shone the light on them. None of us were brave enough to go with him but based on his excitement I may consider going the next time. We contemplated going on a long hike to do a snorkel of a WWII airplane that went down close by but we were running out of time. Instead we pulled anchor and headed to our last stop, Navadra, one of our favorite anchors.
In Navadra we there were 6 boats already there so anchoring was a challenge. A super yacht was not so happy that we dropped anchor near their stern and waved at us but Denny elected to ignore them. Sailing vessel Huck and Double Diamond were 2 of the boats there so it would be Happy Hours with them. We all gathered on the large Catamaran Double Diamond for Happies and Nappies (drinks and appetizers). For our last night together on the boat we were rewarded with a fantastic sunset. I never get tired of the vibrant, warm colours.
Once at Vuda Point Pete and Mel opted to spend their last night at a nearby resort, ‘First Landing’, and invited us to join them for dinner there. We had one of the best steaks Fiji has to offer with a fine bottle of wine. Thanks Pete and Mel for the great dinner and great company and see you on board next year when we circumnavigate New Zealand and maybe this time we will catch some fish !!
September 13 – 14, 2014
16 42.143 S 177 34.316 E
Posting by Barb:
We left Blue Lagoon and made it all the way to the Northern Yasawas to Yasawairara. This was a new sailing destinations for us as well. The anchorage was the prettiest we have encountered in Fiji so far with miles of white sand and turquoise, crystal clear blue water. Within minutes of anchoring Pete and Mel were already talking to a local, John that rowed to our boat , and they arranged for some Papayas to be delivered in the morning and with any luck a fish for the evening meal.
This would be Pete and Mel’s first experience with the traditional Fijian Sevu Sevu. I think Pete was a little anxious about it. The Sevu Sevu here was a little more elaborate than the last one as the ageing chief did say quite a few words in Fijian and did some claps in between and then we were welcomed. The kids swarmed us and all wanted to get their pictures taken with us and then help put the dinghy back in the water. They were genuinely beautiful, welcoming, friendly people without the constant requests to buy their ‘dollar store’ trinkets.
Once we were back on the boat, John showed up with a nice size $20 Trevally which we cooked for supper. The first fresh fish meal we have had on this trip despite tour attempt to fish using NZ fancy, colorful lures given to us by Pete and trolled behind our boat during every passage.
We spent a day exploring the island and taking lots of pictures and talking to the locals who were gathering food for the Sunday feast. We arranged to buy some papayas from one local and when we picked it up it was given to us in a basket woven from fresh Pandanu leaves. The basket held 6 Papayas (6 more than I ever wanted, not my favorite fruit) and some Cassava so I could make Cassava fries. We had a social night BBQ on our boat with our new friends on SV Alaeris with Alex and Iris. They had decided to go cruising after they survived the 9/11 attack while they were living in New York. The experience changed their outlook on life and they traded their complicated, busy lives for the simple cruising life. Part of the blue water sailing experience is meeting fascinating, wonderful people; lives that will probably never touch again!
Our second anchorage was in the large bay, a half an hour motor but far enough away so we could play on land or water without disrespecting the quiet Sunday Fijian tradition. At this anchorage we were invited to share a beach fire with a foursome on a Catamaran. Our first beach fire in Fiji! As we were dousing the fires and getting ready to leave we joked about the possibility of losing a dinghy as the tide had gone up. It wasn’t very funny when we looked at the shoreline and a dinghy was missing, OURS! The captain lost our dinghy. Luckily it had only drifted further down the beach but it was a sobering moment.
September 6 – 12, 2014
Posting by Barb:
Allison left on Friday September 5th and Pete and Mel arrived on Saturday September 6th. Pete and Mel are our good friends from NZ. We wondered whether we would still be good friends after sharing the 37 feet of space we call home. And yes we are still good friends and we had a great time. Pete’s sailing background was a great help and he took over some of my responsibilities but unfortunately Denny had to remain being the Captain and all the work that goes with that. Mel stuck an ‘avoid seasickness’ patch behind her ear and she was good to go, miracle little drug!! She cooked up some great meals in our little galley, not something she may have ever imagined doing!! For a short visit in Fiji the only sailing option that has some daily stops is the Yasawa islands so we ended up going to a few of the same spots that we did with Mike and Allison.
We started them off with the rolliest anchorage, the famous octopus Resort. Mel survived that although I think that may have made her a little nervous. From there it was to the Manta Ray resort to swim with the Mantas. Luckily it was full moon couple of days again so that usually improves the chances of seeing the majestic fish. We moaned at having to do the dawn snorkel again and but it was worth it to swim with the Mantas again. It is still a thrill for me to be in the water with these huge fish (Denny was running the dinghy for the drift dive) but I get just as much pleasure to see the reaction of our friends who have never experienced such and adventure.
From there it was northward to a protected bay. The wind was blowing hard on the nose (Mel now knows what that means) so it was nice to duck into the bay. There were 2 resorts there; White Sandy Beach and Korovou Eco tour resort (both resorts looking a little tired and neither had any toilet paper in the public washrooms; supply ship must have been delayed) . Aside from the usual Happy Hour at the resort bar we took a hike to Honeymoon Beach. Who could resist a walk on a beach with a name promising love and romance? What we encountered there were hundreds of Hermit crabs all nestled and cozy together. Maybe that’s what they mean by Honeymoon beach. As I am fascinated by this little critter, and have tons of pictures to prove it, I did a little research on this. And it is possible that they were gathering for a shell swap. They basically get together and queue up to swap their shell homes for bigger homes. Of course not all end up ‘moving up’ and some become homeless and bury themselves in the sand until they find a home.
The next stop was naturally Blue Lagoon with another ‘on the nose’ passage. The wind was howling when we arrived but the anchorage was quite calm. We did finally meet up with our good friends Steve and Nona on SV Corvidae and had them over for dinner on our boat. We managed to cook a meal to please the Pescatarian, meat lovers, spicy lovers and the non-spicy food lovers with our, slowly becoming famous, Mexican dinner. And of course there was Happy Hours at the resort.