Sunday July 18, pancakes for breakfast!
The drone was flown this morning, launched from Trance. The beautiful Bay of Islands on Vanau Balavu.
Another ride around on the dinghy at low tide.
Late morning, s/v Coral Trekker departed and s/v Estran arrived, Oscar, Philippine and their three children from Belgium. They are also part of the rendezvous. On our way back we stopped at s/v Olena as Oscar was there too. 5 of the 6 children between the 2 boats were aboard s/v Estran. It was entertaining to watch them play running about the boat deck.
Monday July 19, there are several coral “bommies” in the shallow waters in the South Pacific. Bommies resemble a column, that is higher than the surrounding platform of reef and may be partially exposed at low tide. These areas in addition to the reefs are great snorkeling. In the Bay of Islands the water for the most part is crystal clear. At low tide the “bommies” may be very visible. While in the dinghy, we put our GoPro on a long stick in the shallow water, to video the fish and coral.
We left our serene anchorage late morning for one on the other side of the island, Bavatu Harbour. It was about an hour trip. The Royal Exploring Isle Yacht Club is in the bay. We were told it’s the smallest Royal Yacht Club in the world.
Tuesday July 20, Dan and I walked to the top the hill where to the Nabavatu Plantation. It’s just over a mile walk up hill from the water on a wide red clay 4-wheel drive path, with a few cement sections. They own 80 head of cattle, sheep, pigs and horses not to mention the chickens and roosters roaming around. There is also an abundant vegetable garden. Two houses sit up there on the hill belonging one each to the partners who own the plantation. Also on the property is a village where all the workers live. The plantation will sell you a butchered animal for the meat, we do not have enough freezer space for that much food. Our friends on s/v Olena and s/v Coral Trekker shared a lamb they purchased for $50 Fijian ($25 USD). There is also a lookout through a wooded area, with a wide ATV path, where you can see the other side of the island.
Departed our anchorage by 1pm, heading back to Savusavu for a day or two to provision.
Wednesday July 21, arrived back in Savusavu around 9am, docked at the Copra Shed Marina. The majority of the day was spent inventorying food then provisioning with the exception of produce.
In the evening we dinner with Barbara, captain of s/v Islander and Christina, one of her all female crew. They are next to us in the marina.
Thursday July 22, blog posts uploaded, emails checked, propane tanks filled, Dan got a haircut, more provisioning. We take our Costco wagon with us when we shop. There are 6 stores here we typically have shopped at, as they individually have different items. The wagon is used as our shopping cart in stores. This requires us to stop back at the boat after each purchase.
After our last trip back to the boat mid afternoon, we ran into Floss and Dez on s/v Fat Susan from the UK. They had recently arrived in Savusavu. They were headed to the yacht club bar so we joined them. We first met Floss and Dez in Nuku Hiva, bumped into them again in Tahiti. Soon after we were joined by Kelly and Cristina, crew on s/v Islander and Joerg from Germany on s/v Aurelia who is currently solo sailing.
Later we all ordered dinner from the restaurant here, they will deliver to the bar as they as right next door. Floss and Dez’s two teenage sons, and had also joined us. It was a great evening!
Friday July 23, departed Copra Shed Marina by 7:30 am, destination Musket Cove. Mid afternoon we received an email from our agent in Indonesia, attached were our eVisas to enter the country. What a relief to get them, as just yesterday we all read Indonesia had put a temporary hold on issuing them due to a lockdown in Jakarta.
Most islands in Fiji are surrounded by coral reefs. To get to an island, there are natural passages through reefs deep and wide enough for boats to navigate. Yet due to tidal currents, some passages may have lots of water rushing in or out. Also if wind is opposing the current, large standing waves could form… all this makes it dangerous to sail or motor through passages. The solution is to transit passages at slack low or high tide when there is little or no current.
Today we transited two passages at perfect times, one at slack low tide and the other at slack high tide…thus no worries. All the islands we visited, we timed the tides near perfectly to enter and exit.
It turned-out to be a splendid day sailing with winds at 10-15 knots, minimal waves and lots of sunshine.
Almost a full moon tonight, which brightens-up everything making night sailing more enjoyable.
Saturday July 24, by morning we had reached the north shore of Vita Levu. What a contrast to the rest of Fiji which is green and very lush. The hills are very brown with little vegetation.
We dropped anchor mid afternoon in the area known as Musket Cove on Malolo Island. There are 25 boats anchored here. It is about 15 miles from Denarau.
The main Fiji island is Viti Levu. It has been pretty much in lockdown because of COVID. We are going there to Denarau to a marina to have some work done on our boat. We will have Trance pulled from the water, repaint the bottom as well as have some work done on the water maker. We will not be able to go to any other islands within Fiji without a 14 day quarantine and COVID test. Our plan is to leave Fiji for Indonesia when to work is completed.