Tag Archives: Fiji

Getting out and about in Fiji (Viti Levu’s north coast)

After meeting up with Anna, our yacht broker, we decided it was high time we went off exploring other parts of Fiji before the cyclone season came round again. Plus we had friends to catch up with over in Savusavu (the port we checked into when we first arrived in Fiji last December)

On our way around the north coast of Viti Levu (Fiji’s main island) we checked for potential cyclone holes in the Ba River, but even though the river was quite deep in places, the shallow sandbanks at the entrance stretched way out into the bay. The winds were light, so we decided to raise the spinnaker. Unfortunately the halyard managed to tangle itself around the spreader and although we attempted to wriggle it free, it wasn’t playing, so Lynne volunteered to climb the mast to release it!RIMG4120

Otherwise we had a very pleasant sail almost the whole way to Volivoli Point on the north east tip of the island. As most of the north coast sailing involves staying inside the reef and keeping a good lookout, we decided to anchor off the coast near Tavua at dusk, and continue on to Nananu-i-Ra the next day. VL north coast

The north coast is far less populated than the south coast (between Suva and Lautoka) yet it is still possible to see communications towers dotted on the landscape. Consequently we were generally within internet range for most of the way, albeit often only 2G and very slow.RIMG4132

Once we arrived at Volivoli we were hoping to do some diving, however the trade winds were blowing 20+ knots for much of the time, so we did some land-based hiking around Volivoli Point and took the boys on a dinghy trip through the mangroves in search of the town of Rakiraki. Our plan was to head deep into the mangroves and walk to the town, but the entrance to the mangroves was very shallow so we had to watch the time. We only managed to walk as far as the tombstone of Udre Udre. The interesting fact about this character is that he was a Fijian chief and a cannibal, who managed to find himself a place in the Guinness Book of World Records as having the most voracious appetite in the world! Here is Eric looking slightly apprehensive as he stands beside the tomb of Udre Udre! RIMG4150

We waited a day or so at Volivoli, then crossed the channel to Nananu-i-Thake where we found a sheltered anchorage, but the winds continued to blow, so after a couple of days exploring Nananu-i-Ra island we decided to sail across Bligh Water, carefully making our way through all the reefs, to Savusavu.

Bligh Water

When we left Nananu-i-Thake the winds (and forecast) were light, so we raised our newly repaired main sail and were having a lovely sail when we noticed lots of activity over to our starboard side. The film crew we had met the day before were out filming at the top of the island. We were busy watching them and at the same time heading towards the pass, which was inaccurately marked on our electronic charts.

As

A short distance before the pass the wind decided to gust over 20 knots and shift direction making it dangerous for us to attempt the pass with the main sail up, so we quickly altered course towards the film crew and dropped the main sail, then carefully made our way out through the pass. Ah, the joys of sailing!

Of course, once we cleared the pass the winds died again and we had a slow sail across to southern Vanua Levu. We anchored in Wainunu bay and tucked in behind Caniqu reef. We were up early in the morning as we wanted to dive the Nasonisoni pass before the current picked up. Conditions were good, the wind was light and we had a reasonable dive before continuing on to Savusavu that evening. We spent the next few days catching up with friends, provisioning for the Lau group and waiting for a weather window…..

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Flitting between Fiji and Australia!

After many years away from Australia we have been making up for lost time. We had family visit us in Fiji during April, then Eric went for a quick visit to Australia in May, followed by Lynne  in June!

Healthwise, we’re happy to report all is well with both of us :) Lynne got busy in our container. Big thanks to Jody and Ralph for helping clear out a lot of redundant items like the old radar, sonar and echo sounder that we brought back from Tanzania circa 2000 after selling Eric’s old trawler there! Unfortunately, over the years that we have been away and a few serious storms of late (Cyclone Debbie in particular), the container roof has sprung a few leaks, but fortunately the only major casualties were the boxes of paperwork dating back to the building of Amarula.

Most of the time was spent dealing with business stuff, but we did have chance to pop over to Iluka one Saturday morning to watch Lachie (our grandson) play soccer with his mates, 20170603_094419and I took a walk to the waterfront to see the yachts at anchor there.20170603_084905Although it was rather chilly whilst I was in Australia, the weather for the first 10 days was stunning. We took advantage of the sunshine and went for a 4WD trip through the forest down to Brooms Head beach, where the plan was to have a sausage sizzle, but oops…. someone forgot the frypan 😀 , so we had cold beers & crisps instead and Lachie & Chilli enjoyed a run and play on the beach!

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The 2nd weekend Lynne was in Australia the heavens opened and stayed open from Friday midday until after she flew back to Fiji. She had planned to meet up with a couple of the women from the Women Who Sail Australia FB group, but with the long weekend (Monday was the Queen’s birthday holiday in NSW) the business jobs had to be dealt with and she ran out of time. Next time…… But she did reconnect with some Yamba friends for the occasional coffee, plus a dear friend from her early Tanzania days 20+ years ago. Jenny hopped in her new Mazda Gekko campervan and came down for an overnight stay. As Jenny is one of the band members of the ukele group known as ‘The Loveys’ we had a lot of fun listening to her renditions of some of the songs the band have recorded together. All in all a successful and fun trip back home!

Meanwhile Eric’s friend John flew to Fiji to spend time relaxing & fishing with Eric, whilst Lynne was back in Oz. As you can see, they achieved plenty of both!

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So now we’re both back in Fiji, we’re preparing Amarula to be sold. We’re hoping the broker Anna will be coming for a visit to Fiji next week and get a chance to do a walk through and give us some tips. In the meantime, please share our For Sale page and send good vibes for a quick sale. Thanks & good wishes to all :)

 

Family Fun in Fiji! (Part 1)

What an amazing time we had with our FIRST EVER visit from any of the grandkids!!! It’s been something we have been looking forward to for as long as we can remember and we finally had our first family visit here in Fiji :)

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During our time in the Caribbean, fabulous as it was, we felt sooooo far away from our Australian family :( Although it was nice for Lynne to be able to hop on a plane back to UK to visit family and friends there, eventually the time came when we realised that it was time to say goodbye to all our lovely friends and the fun times in the Caribbean and head through the big gate (Panama Canal) and across the Pacific, so we could be closer to our Australian family. And now we are :)

There are lots more photos here on our Lynne’s Facebook page, with captions too. You do not have to have a Facebook account to see the photos :) So, please enjoy them too!

Also, please check out all our photos on our Amarula Sail Facebook page.

Part 2 coming soon….. stay tuned!

 

Sweltering in Suva

After a few glorious weeks exploring the east coast of Vanua Levu and Taveuni, we decided that it was time to head to Suva to haul the boat out and get some boat jobs done before our family comes out to visit at Easter.

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Despite this being cyclone season, we have mostly had very, very light winds and finding a weather window to actually sail to Suva was quite a challenge. But, despite a slow sail dotted with a few hours of motoring towards the end, it was preferable to our friend’s trip, during which he encountered waterspouts!

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We arrived at the anchorage off the Royal Suva Yacht Club on Australia Day, 26th January, and anchored near to an American cruiser we had met when we arrived in Savusavu in December. Although it was still early his dinghy was not at the boat, so we assumed he had gone ashore. We were surprised when we looked across just before we were planning to head ashore and saw a police boat alongside his yacht. Eric went to ask them what had happened and to our horror we learned that Jim had been boarded and attacked by 2 thieves a couple of nights earlier and he was in hospital. We thought we had left all this behind us and were as saddened and shocked as everyone else to hear of such an incident in Fiji. We found out which hospital Jim was in and, during evening visiting hours, Eric went with a bag of clothes, toiletries and towel to find him. As a single-hander Jim was especially relieved to see a fellow cruiser, although he was surrounded by friendly Fijians :) Thumbs Up for Jim-001 For the next few days we kept an eye on his boat and visited him in hospital until his release on the following Monday, after receiving microsurgery to re-attach his thumb, which had been almost completely severed in the attack. The RSYC kindly made a berth available for Jim, so that once he was discharged from hospital, he was secure within their marina and we’re happy to report that he is recovering well. The police kept a close vigil on his yacht whilst he was in hospital and the perpetrators were both caught.

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Meanwhile, we waited patiently for the boatyard to repair their winch and confirm a date for us to haul Amarula. Unfortunately, after almost a week in Suva, we were informed that a fishing company had to urgently haul a number of their vessels, so we are still waiting…… a familiar story….. ‘Fiji time’…. and, in the Caribbean, ‘Island Time’….. and back in our Africa days, ‘TAB’ (That’s Africa baby)….. ho hum…..

So, rather than wait around in the industrial port area of Suva Bay, we decided to relocate to the anchorage off the Novotel at Lami Bay.

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Anyway, it’s not all bad news. This area is known as the Bay of Islands and we have explored a few of the mangrove creeks, which is always fun.

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Meanwhile, Suva is still only a 15 minute taxi ride away and actually a relatively easy city to navigate your way around in. Taxis are plentiful and cheap, less than US$5 into Suva from here, and the people are very friendly. As Jim said, “In 5 years cruising around Fiji, I have met 2,000 wonderful people and 2 bad guys….”

Suva is the largest city we have been in since Panama City, so it is useful to have access to maintenance and repair facilities, not to mention Australian plugs after 15 years away from Australia!! There are large stores, cinemas and shopping malls downtown, and the waterfront by the old Grand Pacific Hotel and park areas opposite are lovely.

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The biggest treat was a surprise visit last Tuesday from Lynne’s cousin Alan and his wife Allison, who were on holiday in Fiji. They hired a car and drove the 4 hours from their hotel in Denerau to see us! Of course it rained, as it does daily at the moment, but we still enjoyed a lovely lunch of fish and salad onboard, followed by a quick trip across to the beach at Mosquito Island, before they had to say their farewells and head back to Denerau. Their return drive was quite harrowing, as they passed an overturned car, truck and bus, then encountered flooding around the Nadi area and learned that soon after they had left to drive to Suva, the car hire company had cancelled all further rentals until the weekend! Unfortunately they were marooned at their hotel for the rest of their stay, so any hopes of snorkel trips were slashed! We don’t recommend this time of year for a visit to Fiji 😉

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