Monthly Archives: June 2012

June Update

I haven’t had a chance to write anything on the website for ages so here is a summary of June. (This has taken 2 days on a wifi hotspot to just post!)

Trying to get the dinghy ashore

We left Vanua Balavu on 1st June and headed for Taveuni which is an island on the eastern side of Fiji.  There were some  nice restaurants where you could take the dinghy to.  Unfortunately on this day it was low tide and we struggled to get it ashore.

 

 

 

 

The next day Sara and I went ashore to try and get some much needed fresh veggies.  We got a few bits but also met a really nice lady who organised for someone to take us to visit the Bouma national park and waterfall, which was where the last Blue lagoon film was shot.

Sara and I walking along the jungle path

 

 

 

The next morning we went ashore to meet the car and after a 2 hour drive we arrived at the national park.  We had a lovely walk to the waterfall, which took another 2 hours.

The ladies from the village doing their washing in the stream

 

 

 

 

The path took us through a village and these ladies were using the water from one of the streams to do their washing.  I wished I’d brought mine so I could have joined them.

The top of the river led to the inner pool with the waterfall in it.

 

 

 

 

We reached the waterfall only to discover we had to wade and swim to the inner pool to see it, lucky we had brought our swimmers.  We got in and discovered the water was really cold, although we were grateful for the cool down.

Bill jumping into a smaller waterfall

 

 

 

We had the pool to ourselves and Bill climbed the rocks several times to jump into this smaller waterfall. We tried to swim under the main fall but the force was too strong, it was like being hit by a hammer.  We dried off and ate our picnic and walked back to the park entrance where our driver was waiting patiently in the car.

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The GPS changed from west …….

 

 

 

 

 

On 6th June we motored south.  The island of Taveuni is the only place in the world that the 180 degree meridian line crosses.  It’s possible to stand with one foot either side of the ‘line’.  We really wanted to go ashore and do that but the wind picked up and we couldn’t anchor.

… to east

 

Instead we watched the GPS change from west to east.  We’ve been crossing the Meridian line back and forth over the last year or two but this is the last time.  As the Red sea is now a no go area the next time we see the GPS change back from east to west will probably be off the coast of South Africa.

We continued down to Viani bay on the south east corner of the Northern island of Fiji.  We met up with Aurora B an English boat we met in NZ at the end of 2010.  Camomile and Norsa were invited on board for drinks.  The next day we snorkeled the Rainbow reef and can honestly say we have never seen such a beautiful reef with so many fish swimming around it.  We drifted over the reef with the current and the scenery below us was spectacular.

Beautiful blue water

 

 

The 8th June saw us motoring without a breathe of wind to Savu Savu.  I took this unusual photo on the way.  It’s me looking into the calm water over our bow. The water was like a millpond.

Camomile moored at the Copra Shed marina

 

 

 

 

We arrived in Savu Savu on the 8th June (Happy Birthday Thomas) and caught up with lots of boats we had met in NZ.  We feel we have come full circle in the South Pacific because Savu Savu is where we checked into Fiji with the Blue water rally 2 years ago and having crossed the meridian line for the last time we are now on our way home.

We stayed in Savu Savu over a week with Norsa enjoying a few nice meals together and restocking the boat after our stay in the outer islands.

We left on Saturday 16th on the inner passage between the reefs south of the North island, across Bligh water, then north of the South island, with Norsa following us.

Lifting Camomile at Vuda point marina

 

 

Tuesday 19th we arrived at Vuda point marina ready to lift Camomile.  Bill wanted to repair some patches on the Cuprotect and also we wanted to check the keel after hitting the reef in Kadavu.  We lifted Camomile at Vuda point two years ago and found them very reliable but we were still a bit apprehensive.

The scrapped keel

 

 

 

The damage to the keel wasn’t that bad, just a bit of the antifoul scrapped off.

Boat maintenance in the sun

We were put next to some beautiful palm trees for a few days while Bill and Norma worked on the boat.  Sara and I went into town to sort out the Australian visas and more shopping in Lautoka.  Vuda Point is next to First Landing resort which has a fantastic restaurant.  We had some nice meals while we were there.  It was too hot to cook on board while we were on the side – that’s my excuse any way.

Camomile among the Superyachts

 

 

 

 

 

We went back into the water on 22nd and on Saturday 23rd we motored across to Port Denerau where we motored among the superyachts.  Port Denerau is only a short drive to the airport where we eagarly waited for our son James to arrive on Sunday 24th.

If I can get the wifi to stay online I can post James in Figi blog.

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Vanua Balavu aka Exploring Isles aka Fijian Bay of Islands

We are in the Yasawas having a wonderful time with James and I’m sorry the blog has got behind again.  I wanted to share our photos of Vanua Balavu with you before we move it forward.

 

Camomile anchored in the Bay of Islands

We stayed in and around Kadavu for 9 days with mixed weather but always with strong southeast trade winds.  We really wanted to explore the southern Lau islands further south but it would have meant sailing into the wind, which just wasn’t feasible with the present wind strength.  Eventually we decided to abandon that plan and to head straight for Vanua Balavu, which was a 36 hour sail in a northeast direction.  We left on Wednesday 23rd May at 4.00 after setting a snail’s trail on the GPS the day before so we could leave in the dark.

Limestone islands

It wasn’t a very pleasant sail although it was a fast beam reach.  The sea was very lumpy and I was sick several times.  Bill didn’t get very much sleep and poor Norsa had another breakage.  A large wave hit their deck and broke the reefing line for the genny therefore releasing the whole sail. Norman battled on deck for an hour trying to wind some of the sail in by hand but decided to wait for daybreak and then release and drop the whole sail.  We stood by while they struggled on deck with it then we both continued to Vanua Balavu.

Camomile leads the way

We arrived together at midday with Camomile leading the way into the reef.

Our position on Thursday 24th May

17º 10.5 south

179º 01.0 west (we crossed the date line again on the way)

 

 

 

 

Vanua Balavu is one of the most beautiful anchorages in the south Pacific.  We discovered it 2 years ago and wanted to return one last time before we leave the Pacific later this year.  The water was a beautiful turquoise colour and the shimmer from the sun is reflected in the limestone undercuts.  We took lots of photos; here are just a few of them.

Limestone undercuts

 

Limestone undercuts

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Limestone undercuts

The coral was beautiful too

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Little blue fish amongst the coral

 

The colour of the water tinted the gel coat turquoise

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ladies making a coconut mat

On Monday 28th May we motored around to the village of Daliconi to do sevu sevu and pay the chef for our stay in the Bay of Islands. We were shown around the village and met some happy ladies making coconut matting.

 

 

 

 

Bill and Norman chatting to the locals

While walking up to the school Bill and Norman met these lads on their way for lunch.  We didn’t stay in the anchorage because the wind was still blowing strongly and we wanted to get back to the protection of the Bay of Islands.

 

 

 

 

Camomile anchored off of the village of Daliconi

 

 

 

 

 

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The chartplotter out by about a mile

On Tuesday we sailed around to Lomaloma for supplies.  The chartplotter is all over the place here and can’t be trusted.  This shows the screen with Camomile sitting in the middle of the island instead of by the mauve symbol, which was our actual position.

 

 

 

Camomile and Norsa tied to the buoy

The anchorage was a bit exposed so the next day we motored into Bavatu harbour, another beautiful south Pacific anchorage being surrounded by turquoise water and coral reefs around the edge. There was a large buoy just inside and we managed to tie Norsa and Camomile to it together.

 

 

The village on the hill

After landing at the far end and walking to the top of the hill we found a lovely village surrounded by beautiful forest which, after walking for a mile or two, led to a stunning outlook over the Bay of Islands.

 

 

 

 

Bill and Sue on the steps

We walked back to the other end and found a flight of steps that led back down to the harbour.  We stayed to the end of the week before heading back towards Taveuni.

 

 

 

 

Our last view of the beautiful Bay of Islands

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