July 2011 - Page 2

Somosomo Bay, Naviti to Manta Ray pass, Yasawas, Fiji -- 11.48nm

We had another good sail today. Dolphins joined us for part of the way which is always fun, I never get bored of watching them. Our charts were totally off on this passage, don't even bother with them, it had us on the reef most of the way there. Fortunatley, we could see the reef quite cleary so we were confident that we knew where it was.

We really wanted to swim with the manta rays here but it never worked out for us, we did though have an amazing snorkel across from the Manta Ray Resort where we were anchored. If anyone plans to go there, I would not recommend this anchorage. Our anchor never really set properly as the bottom was hard sand and it is like a wind funnel between the islands, not a good recipe for a good's night sleep. Manta Ray Resort is nice, a great spot for backpackers.

Manta Ray Island to Yolobi Village, Waya Island, Yasawas, Fiji - 15.78nm

Today was a motor, not enough wind. We were planning to go to the anchorage at Wayasewa but it was too swelly when we arrived so we tucked into the corner by the village on the neighbouring island of Waya. One the way, We met up with the most playful dolphins in this bay that I have ever seen. They were jumping out of the water, doing spins and splashing, they were rubbing up beside the hull, and we could hear them talking. One dolphin kept turning over so he was upside down, hooking his dorsal fin onto our port hull and riding the wave that way!! It was so funny to watch. I felt like they were trained dolphins giving us a show that we paid for.

The dolphin is upside down hooked on to the bow:

Waya is exquisite to look at, it is rugged and has beautiful beaches. Waya Island is the tallest of the Yasawas and is our last island we will be visiting in this group. There were quite a few boats in the anchorage and we all went in and did our sevusevu together, it was quite the group! The ladies set out their wares and I bought a few tapa Christmas tree ornaments in the shape of angels.

We also bought some coconuts and cassava. Fijians love cassava, it grows easily and it is filling. Once it is cooked it looks just like a white potato but it is drier. We like it and were going to try to cook it ouselves when one of the ladies offered to cook it for us, while we were watching the local rugby game. We took her up on her offer and it was delicious.

Rock climbing/scrambling day, with the help of some locals.........

We decided to take the day off of school to go for a hike. Frank on Tahina shoots 360 degree pictures for Google Earth and he was hoping to get a good shot. We started off on the trail going around the island which was relatively flat for a while. Then the path divided, one going to the next village and the other going inland. We all chose to go inland. At this point, Frank and the others decided that perhaps this wasn't the right way and decided to turn around and check out some alternate paths, Andrea decided to go with them. Ryan and Cari wanted to go with Dad becasue he had the backpack full of snacks and the Oreos.

Shortly thereafter, we met some young guys, who were farming. We told them we were trying to get to the top and they offered to accompany us. We thought we could do it on our own, so we declined but they were persistant. So we agreed which was a good thing as we wouldn't have got too far on our own, no way! With their help, they carried, dragged and pulled (especially me) all the way to the top of the cliff. We made it all the way up to the summit of Ului Nakauka. I coudln't beleive it, it was such a huge accomplishment for me,

considering that I didn't start out the day planning to rock climb, I thought I was in for a nice pleasant stroll. Heights are not my favourite thing, and I try to stay low to the ground/sea most times. Anyways, these guys had been up here many times, and were very strong, plus they were having so much fun! I trusted them with the lives of my children. What an adventure!

On the way back from the hike, we took a wrong turn somehow and ended up in the other village, which added another hour onto our hike! I wasn't sure Cari was going to make it but she perservered and kept chugging along. As we past by the school, we met one of the teachers and she insisted on giving us some papaya juice and cassava cake that her visiting mother had prepared, so we sat and chatted with her for a while. By the time we got back to the boat, there was only enough time to take a quick swim, make dinner and pass out. I won't be forgetting this day for a long time.

Yolobi Village, Waya, Yasawas to Navadra, Northern Mamanucas, Fiji - 10.64nm

Navadra is one of these wild looking places that has a haunted feel to it. The three islands together are refered to as "The Sacred Islands". Legend has it that this is where the Tongans first landed in Fiji, rounded up the locals nad cooked them over a fire in the cave on the beach. The cave is a sacred site and there is a small alter made of beach rock where sevu sevu must be made. Locals say that if you do not sevu sevu here, something bad will happen to you. Even local fisherman sevusevu here. Perhaps that is what happened to a cruising yacht that went up on the rocks in Waya just days before we got there.

Navandra looks like it would be an amazing childrens playground. Unfortunatley, we were not able to find out, we did go in to the beach to do our sevu sevu and promptly got dumped upside down on the beach, luckily we were in our kayaks, not the dingy. There was quite a swell happening already, but by the morning, it was so bad and the wind was howling we had to leave.

Navadra to Musket Cove, Malolo Lailai - 29.31 nm

On vacation in Musket Cove:

Anyone who sails in from a foreign port, for a minimal fee can join the Musket Cove Yacht Club. This allows one to use all of the facilities at the Musket Cove Resort including: showers, restaurants, coffee bar, beach, beach chairs, swimming pool etc. The best part for us though was the use of the BBQ pit at the Ratu Nemani Island Bar. This little pagoda is right next to the dingy dock, you go there and make a fire from the supplied wood, under the grill and bbq whatever you bring. The rest is taken care of by the bar. They provide cutlery, dishes, napkins, condiments, - the works. All we had to do was buy a Fijian beer to go with it. No dishes to clean up afterwards. Now this is a vacation!

The Plantation Resort next door to Musket Cove has a 9-hole golf course and Chris decided that he and the kids were going to brush up on their game so he took them golfing (along with any other cruisers he could convince to get up at 8:00 am) every single day while we were there and I have to say they were starting to get very good.

One evening we were inducted into the infamous Strawberry Monkey Yacht Club. I don't think I will mention the things we had to do to become members but suffice it to say we had an extremely fun evening with a lot of laughs.

Musket Cove, Malolo Lailai to Denerau, Viti Levu-14.55nm

If you like shopping, paying three times the price for things and people asking if you would like to go to a 45 minute presentation about a condo in Fiji then you will like Port Denerau. This is the place for the mega-yachts, international hotels, high end resorts and partying. It was nice though to tie up to one of their mega mooring balls and be able to get a donair right at the dock. There were restaurants, shopping, a bakery, an ice cream parlour - so fun for a day or so.

We took the $1.00 yellow bus into Nadi to get "away from it all" and visited the town, did some shopping and went to the market. Getting ready to leave a country is always a lot of running around, getting propane, diesel, water, provisioning - going to different shops for meat, fruits and vegetables, dry goods, and then last but not least, checking out with customs. The other event that sometimes happens when leaving a country is having to say bye to other cruisers who you have come to really like. We had to say good-bye to Jackster today and it was a sad good bye because who knows when we will see them again??

We sailed back to Musket Cove to celebrate Simi's 9th birthday on Tyee III. It was great to finally catch up with Tyee as we hadn't seen them since New Zealand. That's a long time.

Musket Cove to Lautoka -- 24.77 nm

Usually day passages are very benign and relaxing and sometimes one thing after another happens. This passage was one of the latter. First, all of a sudden our main sail came crashing down. We looked up to see that the main halyard broke. Second, as we were tacking I luckily noticed that there was a rather large box-like structure floating in the water right on our heading. We drove close by and saw that is was a refridgerator floating along, not something that you want to drive right into. Third, our starboard engine wouldn't start right away, but we figured out it was just the battery and we got it started. Fourth and finally we dragged anchor, which we don't do very often and had to reanchor.

Lautoka is Fiji's second largest city to Suva. The anchorage was pretty good even though you are surrounded by tankers, anchored tour boats and foreign fishing boats. Lautoka has a nice waterfront and main street lined with palm trees. There are lots of bakeries and restaurants to choose from. The Lautoka Sugar Mill is the backbone of the local economy. The mill opened in 1903 and is now the largest sugar mill in the southern hemisphere. As we walked by we saw truckload after truckload of sugarcane lined up waiting to deposit their loads. Our main reason for going to Lautoka was to use up our last Fijian dollars at the market and check out of the country.

Fiji has been amazing, we have loved it and totally understand how people can spend a whole season just sailing from one island chain to the next or hanging out at one of the in front of one of the resorts like Musket Cove. The Fijian people are very special and gracious and we won't ever forget our time in Fiji.