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Crossing New Zealand - Fiji, April 16th-24th 2007 (by Bart)
It started all so pleasant, a 10-15 knot back stay breeze with a gentle swell. Perfect to get back into the crossing rhythm, doing the watches every 3 hours. The nights were cold. But we knew we were heading in the right direction, the warm North. In the second night the Genoa came down and got under the boat. Apparently I didn't secure one of the attachments well enough. The next day I went up in the mast to put it all together again.
Then after 2 days the wind changed to the East and became stronger, every day a little stronger. It went from pleasant to uncomfortable, to rough, to very rough. During the next 4 days we changed the sails every day a little smaller; in the end it was blowing 40 knots with gust of 55 and we had 3 reefs in the main sail and a the roll Genoa almost rolled up all the way. During these days we were uncomfortable just hanging on to the next day, eating simple and doing only the necessities. But our confidence in the boat and our abilities to handle her grew also every day. The last day it was non stop pouring rain.
Then when you just thing 'will it ever get better', it became better. In the morning, on the 7th day, it went down a lot. We threw out the fishing line and caught a nice fat yellow fin tuna a few hours later. By afternoon all that was left, was a nice gentle breeze from the back.
The last day we expected no wind, but it picked up again to a steady Westerly breeze and we had to slow down the boat, so we could arrive in the morning, not in the middle of the night.
Suva, Fiji Islands, April 24th -27th 2007 (by Bart)
On April 24th , 8 and 1/2 days after leaving Opua, we arrived in the busy port of Suva, main capital of Fiji. Within a few hours 5 officials came on board, confiscated our tined meat from Holland and stamped our passports.
Suva is a busy port with lots of ship traffic. Since Fiji's population is 50% Fijis and 50% 4th generation Indies, Suva is equally mixed with lot's of colorful shops selling Indian Saris and "Hawaiian" shirts. There a very little tourist to be seen, mostly scared away after Fiji's last coup in November.
After a hard crossing, like we had, it 's double the pleasure when you arrive. The food tastes better and you enjoy arriving so much more. On the Suva market we stocked up for our visit of the outer islands and especially on Kava. ( see picture above: bundled, newspaper wrapped kava roots)
Yanuca Island, Fiji, April 27th-29th 2007 (by Bart)
An easy 25 miles backwind leg to Yanuca Island in the Mbengga Lagoon, off the south coast of Viti Levu. At least on paper. Off course big clouds came up from behind and then the rain came. You couldn't see much further than the boat. Normally not a problem, but Fiji consists of 330 islands and thousand and thousands of reefs and coral heads. Normally a captain's nightmare, but since the introduction of GPS most boats don't avoid Fiji anymore. But even with GPS it's dangerous and you have to watch out, what's in front of you, because new coral heads pop up all the time and most charts are incomplete. So we waited out the worst rain and quickly went between the reefs to Yanuca just in time for the next pouring down.
Yanuca is about a half a mile long and not very wide. Roughly 300 locals are living on this 800-acre island. We did "sevusevu" in the small village on the other side of the bay. This is a custom on Fiji to show respect to the villages and chief of the Island by offering a bundle of Kava roots. After this the chief of the village gives his permission to go on his island and swim, surf and fish in his waters.
Batiluva Resort is located on Yanuca island right in the bay were we anchored. It is a small surf resort, offering surf trips for their guests with their 35-foot wooden boat "Salty Dog", to the outer 7 miles surf break of Frigate Passage... One of the best surfing reefs there is on Fiji or even the world.
The next day I could get a ride on the "Salty Dog" boat for a great surf at Frigate Passage......
This is definitely a place to go back to. It was not very big, but the waves were just perfect,.... peeling perfect.
Now it was time to move on to pick up Martijn & Lisette from Nadi. So we sailed overnight to the West side of Fiji into the Vuda Point Marina on Viti Levu.
Viti Levu and Mamanucas, Fiji, April 30th - May 8th 2007 (by Bart)
Martijn & Lisette are one of our most loyal friends. They have visited us everywhere in the world. From Venezuela to Greece to Maui to Fiji , they always manage to pass by. The next morning early, I was still rubbing the sleep out of my eyes, they were already there. After doing some internet we did custom clearance in Lautoka and sailed off to Musket Cove, a small lagoon inside a reef of the island Malololailai.
The next few days we went to Namotu Island during the day and anchored in Musket Cove at Night. Namotu is another world famous surf spot. A tiny island with a very luxury resort on it. Unfortunately the reef and waves belong to the island and have all rights off the break, so you are not aloud to surf on their wave.
In Musket Cove we had dinner at the resort with 'pig on the spit' on the menu, and 'meke', a traditional tribe sing & dance.
With Martijn and Lisette we sailed (or better motored because we hadn't much wind) to Navadra, a real bounty, Bacardi Cola, Robinson Crusoe island. I mean, we were there just by our selves. Martijn and me went for a snorkel trip to find some fish. We came back empty handed, but Martijn saw his first shark. So it was just eating coconut and grilling Marshmellows on the beach.
We weren't very lucky with wind or waves this week, so Martin couldn't do much windsurfing or surfing. But at least they got an inside view, what life aboard is about.
The last days we spent in going back to the civilized world via Bounty Island and doing a 4*4 trip across the Nausori Highlands, which was very bumpy and very very bumpy. On the river a Fijian was paddling on a bamboo raft, see picture above.Thanks Martijn & Lisette for visiting us.
Viti Levu, Mamanucas and Yasawas, Fiji, May 9th - 28th 2007 (
Since 2 days we were now in the Vuda Point Marina in Nadi. Lisette and Martijn left yesterday evening. Early this morning Bart went to the airport to pick up my Mom Marga and his Mom Meke. We were all so excited. We haven't seen them in more then one year. Upon arrival on LUNA we celebrated right away Meke's birthday with a traditional cake for breakfast.
Although they had a very long flight from Amsterdam over L.A. to Nadi, they were amazingly fit. Already at 9am I took them to the market in nearby Lautoka. We had to stock up with fruits and veggies. Back on the LUNA we left right away for Musket Cove. We loved the "pig on the spit" last week so much, so we went again with the Moms', having a fruit cocktail at the bar upfront and after the buffet the traditional dancing and singing, called "meke", same name as my mother in law's. So all the locals had no problem to remember her name. The next day we went to Namotu Island again. We all snorkeled. Bart and I did some paddle boarding.
The next days we sailed up the Mamanuca Islands. We anchored for a day in front of Castaway Island and continued the next day for the Navadra anchorage, the lagoon surrounded by 3 little uninhabited islands. We swam, snorkeled, collected shells on the beach, did some paddling and in the evening a fire on the beach, eating coconut and roasted Marshmellows. This anchorage is a little treasure, the water blue and crystal clear. You have 3 wonderful beaches to choose from.
Next stop on our way North was the first Island of the Yasawa Group, Waya. We visited the village of Nalauwaki, did "sevusevu" there and paid our respect to the chief, did a little hike towards Likuliku bay.
Our next stop was an anchorage between 2 little islands, Naukathavu.
For the following 4 days we stayed in the "Blue Lagoon", the anchorage in front of Nanuya Lailai Island, and the location of the movie from the 70th with Brooke Shields. At Nanuya Island Resort we enjoyed a massage, fruit cocktails and a delicious dinner. Because we had both grandmas on board, Bart and I enjoyed an evening out. That's a rear occasion when you are sailing around the world. The island offers a great hike from the bay over the hills to the beach on the other side and back along the beach at low tide.
At different reefs we had great snorkeling. Bart even found Tritons Trumpet, a shell the Fijians blow on, during festivities.
The last 2 days, before we had to sail back to Vuda Point Marina, we spent at Musket Cove and Namotu again. We visited the village on Manolo Island. Massi, a carver, who moved to here from Fulaga in the Lau group, East Fiji, explained us all about carving traditional bowls, especially kava bowls. He belongs to the Jafau clan, the traditional carver group who in the old days were building the canoes, houses, carved the bowls, weapons...for the chief. Woods for carving include vesi, dakua and damanu. Members of the Jafau clan believe they are born with the art, rather than having to learn it.
With Marga and Meke we went to Nadi to visit the Sri Siva Subramaniya Swami Temple, the colorful Hindu Temple near the city center. Hindus circle 3 times around the temple, offering bananas and coconuts and burning camphor to Lord Shiva and several other gods. On the craft market we got in contact with other carvers from the Jafau clan. They were selling beautiful made wooden bowls, especially kava bowls and masks from the Yasawas with beautiful mother of pearl inlays.
After 3 weeks the Moms' had to leave again. We had a wonderful dinner at Musket Cove. What a great time we could spend together. We tried to spoil our Moms', so they could leave with the best memories of a South Pacific island world. For us it was time to get back on the ocean again. 2 days later we left thru Wilkes Passage, next to Namotu Island, towards Vanuatu,... our next island chain to visit.
Last modified: September 02, 2008