500 miles later we arrived in the capital of Fiji, Suva (12th of August 2008). The sailing went ok with pretty light winds (5-20 kt). The stronger wind was the last night.
Day 1: 20 kt of SE wind, 133 miles.
Day 2: 10-15 kt of SE wind 135 miles
Day 3: 4-10 kt of SE wind, 100 miles
Day 4: 10-20 kt of SE wind, 125 miles
Some guys from Health and Quarantine came over to the boat with a lot of forms to fill out. The funny thing was that all forms had to be filled out three times! (No Xerox?). Anyway. The forms had to be delivered to Customs and Immigration who have their office around the main harbour and then the fee from quarantine had to be paid somewhere else. To cruise around you also need a permit which you have to apply for at ”Fiji affairs” Messy.
Mainreason we went to Suva was because it was on the route to Beqa island where we had heard of great shark diving. During our 11 days in Suva the time kept running faster and faster. Socialized with Mike and Tracey on Peregrine and the Family on Innocenti. We did also spend much time maintaining the boat. A guy sanded and varnished all floor plates. Had new canvas made for the boat to make it look more attractive. So from now on the canvas is GREEN! We had APM doing the canvas and the job they did could have been better. So we suggest everybody who is thinking about doing any kind of canvas work, go to Port Denarau and Marshall Sails. Very professional!
It is sort of cheap here in Fiji, or, much is. Taxi downtown is about 2 USD, good lunch around 6 USD, etc. The city is becoming more and more modern and the latest big shopping mall, MHCC, have some nice selections.
Next destination was Beqa island. Had a very nice sailing in 20-25 kt of wind with an average speed of 7 kt. Anchored deep in to Vaga Bay between two reefs in 15 ft of water. Waited till the next morning to go ashore with the Kava. A guy jumped into the water and swam up to Uhuru. He asked for some fishing line which we gave him next day. Gave the chief some Kava and told him about us. Got invited to a house where we had tea and talked. Took the dingy to the five star resort on an island about 3 miles away. Booked two tanks diving in the lagoon and two tanks shark dive.
The diving in Beqa lagoon was quite nice but nothing compared to the shark dive we did the next day. They feed the sharks with big garbage containers filled with fish heads. We were about 15 ft from the containers where grey, black tipped, lemon- and bull sharks swam. The biggest was about 15 ft long. The big fishes were also quite impressive, especially the big travellies. Got a very good price on our diving (paid 1/3).
After five days in Beqa it was time to move on. 55 miles to Robinson Crusoe Island. The sailing went good with 15-25 kt of wind and averaging 7 kt speed, till we had 10 miles left. Then the mainsail ripped and we had to go with only the small headsail. When we tried to call the resort on the island we noticed the VHF was dead and had to find our self in thru the passage.
Stayed anchored two nights outside the island. Had lunch and dinner (10 FD each) at the
Resort and watched a fire dancing show. Mostly young backpackers which was nice because
long time since we spoke with younger people.
Needed to run the engine the 20 miles to Musket Cove. Well marked passage all the way in to
the moorings but mysteriously there are boats running in to the reefs every now and then. Did
only stay one night in Musket Cove. The mooring was 15 FD/night which includes hot
showers, water and a social life (a spot where most boats go when they are on the west coast.
The hot showers felt really nice. Last time we had it was at a hotel in Panama City 7 months
Left the next morning to Port Denarau, about 10 miles east of Musket cove. The main reason
we went there was because there is a sail maker (Marshall sails). They did repair our
mainsail. Good work! Port Denarau is very touristy but a nice place if you have money to
spend. Good restaurants (Hard Rock Café, Italian, Chinese, Indian, Pizza place, etc.).
Sailed up to waya island in the Yasawa group after 4 days in Denarau. The sailing went slow
in the 4-8 kt of wind we were given but finally took us to the southern bay. A nice anchorage
surrounded by green and dried mountainous landscape. Gave some Kava to the chief and after
one minute we were free to look around in the village. They are sort of used to all cruisers so
they didn’t seemed very curious.
Tried to move on the next morning but after 1.5 hour, 7 miles on our way, we had to turn
back. Got the wind and waves to much in the nose when we turned toward the new island.
Unfortunately it wasn’t meant to be easy to go back. The last 3 miles was very hard with the
waves against us and gusty winds up to 35 kt.
Stayed in the bay the next day also. Got aboard on the 43 ft aluminium catamaran “Paws”
which the owner had built by himself . Our second attempt to reach Manta ray island went
better. This time we chose to go east of waya island instead to get a better wind angle. 15-25
kt of wind gave us an average speed around 5 kt. We had heard from so many boats about
their snorkelling among manta rays so we had to go here. Unfortunately we didn’t succeed to
locate them after three attempts (high tide). Ate dinner at the Manta ray backpacker resort. 15
FD/person. Very nice food which included three different main dishes. Found nice snorkelling
just outside the resort.
Still NE winds so we decided to go back to waya island. Had a nice 13 miles sailing in 11 kt
of wind. Stayed here two nights and did some boat maintaining (clean the bottom etc.) to
prepare it for Australia. They say the bottom shall be cleaned no later than one month before you arrive in Australia.
We have celebrated one year anniversary with Uhuru. We also thank Endeavourcat for
sponsoring us. Check out the pictures on their website: http://www.endeavourcats.com
On Tuesday the 16th of August 2008 we will start our sailing to New Caledonia.