Cheers Alan, Gunilla and Hannah !!
This morning, clear and sunny, we're leaving Vuda Pt for Waya Is..the southernmost of the Yasawa Islands. There probably won't be any internet out there...unless we can find a resort with it...so it maybe 2 weeks before the next up date. If we find internet available somewhere I'll post some pics ...o'wise we'll just have to wait.
Cheers Alan, Gunilla and Hannah !!
Well it poured with rain all day yesterday as the front passed. As a consolation we had dinner at the First landing resort next door toToday the sun has come out but its really breezy in here..Forecast is 25-30 gusting 35 with rough seas. Took the binoculars to the point to have a look out and the horizon looks like someones throwing rocks out there...whitecaps everywhere... SOOO...we'll stay inside another day before setting off to the Yasawas.......
Vuda (pron. Vunda) Pt marina was originally built by the americans in WWII as a motor torpedo boat base. Its a big concrete basin with a narrow shallow entrance and the boats are all moored bow or stern to the concrete wall and secured in the water to buoys anchored on the bottom.
These guys are tied up to the big orange buoy in the middle as there's no mooring space available...and they would need 4 monhulls to leave before they could tie up to the wall !
Diva tied up to the wall..getting on and off is a bit tricky at high or low tide. As well as the two cats tied up in the middle, theres another yacht tied up at the fuel dock and an Amel tied stern on to another boat near the entrance...if any more boats come in here, no-one will be able to move !!
Here are boats sitting in the hurricane holes, known as the graveyard. There's trenches in the ground of varying sizes to sit the bopat in on its keel and then old tyres are pushed in between the ground and the hull to hold it up. This is where Diva will be from November to March, the cyclone season...deposit already paid.
Well ...tried another bottle of home brew today...and yup, same story, more fizz than is credible and smells and tastes awful...so OK that's it it all has to go ! Opened up the underfloor containers to discover that some bottles have leaked and theres raw beer in the boxes....anyway..get em all out and empty em.
Well that was interesting, the bottles were so pressurised that the slightest movement of the cap and foam sprayed everywhere...a good part of it on the galley ceiling !
June 22, Wednesday
Motored out of Mana Is lagoon and up to Yanuya Is..only a village here, no resort, but across on the next island there is another resort.
The folk in this village seem to have some business with the resort. boats go back and forth occasionally. One arrived about 1200 with about 12 whiteys on board from the resort presumably having the Fijian Village
experience for about an hour then off back to the resort.
Met a man called Sulu who paddled past on his kayak...he'd been fishing and had 3 snappers...he'd picked up a broken paddle board that we'd seen floating off the beach. I was about to go and get when I saw Sulu paddling up ... he said the children play with it but they don't always pull it up the beach....he asked me where we came from and where were going...and with "Thank you for sharing", he paddled off.
This group is called Mamanuca-I-Cake and there’s a number of villages and a couple of resorts. No resort on Yanuya, but at the end of the day theres a lot of traffic between the big resort on the island opposite and the village here at Yanuya. Seems most of the villagers work at the resort and there’s a regular ferry service in small boats to take them to and fro.
Put a homebrew in the fridge to test..its been 10 days since bottling...well it nearly all fizzed out of the bottle, didn't smell good and tasted worse...so maybe the yeast was off, or the malt, or the drum not clean enough or.... i had this at the end of last year so i think its probably the ingredients...anyway never mind..I can leave it for another week and see what happens but i doubt it will improve !
June 23 Thursday
0700 the ferry service is running. One little whale boat brings children to Yanuya for school and then takes workers off to the resort. There were 4 boats taking workers..one biggish one with about 15 people on it and the rest small boats carrying 4-8.
Gas bottle ran out this morning…that’s 3 weeks since it was started…not bad a for a 2.2kg bottle !
Played the guitar for about an hour and half this morning..and now I’m not so rusty..but the strings are a bit !
Leaving to go back to Musket Cove at 1200..anchor was stuck when suddenly it broke free..whew !…motoring..the forecast here is always E->SE 10-15 knots..except when its NE and then it’s soon back to same,
well today we had E of max 5 knots !
Arrived at MusketCove at 1430 and of course as usual its full of boats…34 at last count..including two Amels many of them still here in the same spot when we were last here…and it just struck me that in all the time we’ve been in Fiji this season, we’ve hardly seen any other yachts except in Savusavu and here. There were two at Makongai, we passed two on the way north round Viti Levu. And in the last excursion we’ve seen two….Apogee from Cairns and Surreal a large charter cat from NZ… seems most folk just arrive at one spot and stay there forever !
A boat has just gone passed…Flashback from Marina del Ray, California …typically American…junk everywhere..you can spot them a mile away!...skipper with hawaian shorts and little moustache jiving away on the aft deck to some unknown American folk singer as he motored past…. Oh well, as long as he’s happy… and he certainly looked happy !
Friday June 24
Left Musket Cove about 1130 and motored out of the lagoon and north to check out the little islands between here and Vuda pt that I’ve never been to, while waiting for the tide at Vuda pt.
First island is Malamala..it has a sunken boat half on the beach and half in the water..we anchor in what was 12m and quickly became 5. A kayak comes out from the beach..young man introduces himself..Leone..informs us that this is a private island and we can’t come ashore..oh ok so who owns it ?..we do..my village he says and my boss the white man pays us to use it …
we can see a sort of shack on shore and about 20 whiteys who have been delivered there for the day…
Leone has to go because his kayak has a small hole in it and if he stays out too long it will sink !..but in parting he says…I look after this island ..I sleep here…you come back after 4 when the tourists have gone and you can come ashore…well that’s very nice, but we have to go to Vuda Pt marina today…ok he says no problem I will be here next week.
Another boat arrives..hails from Salzburg…didn’t know that was a port..anyway, they have some difficulty anchoring, and by the time they have it sorted we’re off to Vunivandra Island..its tiny and there’s a basic resort there that occupies just about the whole island..we slow down to take a look and some pictures, but then head off towards Vuda Pt.
1430 we’re back in the basin again, in the same spot we were in last time between two cats.
Went around the corner to the gas company to gewt my empty gas bottle filled
So, Hannah arrives on Sunday…we’re using the laundry facilities and will go market shopping on Monday before heading off to the Yasawas on Tuesday.
There’s a night market here tomorrow apparently….so that could be interesting.
Cheers all from Vuda Pt
Pics coming !!
Thursday June 15
Finally left Lautoka and motored down to Saweni Bay to wait for the tide to get into Vuda pt marina..they say its 2.5 m at LAT but its not…last time I came in there the depth sounder was reading 0.00.
Terry told me when they came in about two hours before we did, they hit the bottom just outside the Sunset bar ! So tied up in the basin, nose in between two catamarans…thanks goodness for lots of fenders !
Had dinner at the First Landing Resort with Terry and Amanda…they have a special accommodation rate for yachties who are working on their boats and/ or boat is out of the water..F$75/night !
Friday June 16
Went to the Marina office this morning to sort out everything....paid F$779.41 being 2 nights at $20/night and $637 deposit on the booking for the hurricane hole in the yard from end November....so the boat will be in the water until then be lifted out and put in the hole. If i decide I want to go back in the water in the summer, 'cos the weather's good..its no problem...and i pay just for the time used.
Had a coffee in the café and had an interesting chat with a small Fijian parrot that was standing on a chair at the next table…nice guy !
So all good....we'll leave here tomorrow morning and be back probably Friday in preparation for Hannah's
At 6/16/2011 10:14 AM (utc) our position was 17°40.82'S 177°23.18'E
Saturday June 17
Preparing to leave vuda pt...went along to see Terry and Amanda with the charts..they said last night they would show us some good places to go for snorkeling and anchoring etc.
When we arrived, Amanda said "have you guys had breakfast?"..No..."do you want some eggs and bacon ? ..we've got to use it or chuck it..."..SURE ! so we had sort of omelette scrambled eggs with cheese and bacon bits (more like chunks!) on toast with coffee..very good...
Did the chart thing and then we had to take potatoes, onions, garlic, cottage cheese...as they're flying out tomorrow...so quite profitable really !
Left the dock and went to the fuel dock and took on 84 litres of diesel...F$200 approx...so that's about A$1.20 / litre...cheap !
Set off motoring towards Musket Cove...breeze cam up a bit and we're reaching at 6 knots..nice
There’s a container ship approaching us from Lautoka..he’s heading for Suva, we see him on the AIS, call him up on Ch16, he sees us and is altering his course to starboard…and announces it with his horn, we alter
course to port and we pass without incident…the hull on that boat must very efficient, there was hardly any wake as he went past ……
....fishing line went zzzzzzzzzz...a fish !...well as seems to be the norm...he got away as I was pulling him in ... one day !!
Navigating through the marks on the reefs to get into Musket Cove and all my notes from last time are wrong...the buoys have been replaced with sticks that have little green flags on them !!...much better.... maybe
that was for the race ?
On the way in we passed an Amel Super Maramu on the way out...looked nice and was sailing well with main and jib, no mizzen, close hauled doing 6.5 knots (AIS info)...took some video of it going past.
At 6/16/2011 01:14 AM (utc) our position was 17°46.37'S 177°11.15'E
Sunday June 18
All the lights were on in Musket Cove last night as usual..
This morning big black clouds came over and it bucketed down for about 2 hours !!
The wind direction changed to NW and then to NE..then back to NW..and then it was all over.
We picked up the anchor and motored up to Castaway Is..it has a Fijian name Qalito ..anyway..there's Castaway Is Resort there so everyone calls it Castaway.
We're anchored just on the SW end of the island away from the resort.
Opposite on Malolo Is there's another 3 resorts...one with bures on stilts in the water...and a tiny little island, shown on the chart as a reef only, with 4 houses on it and the obligatory "Private property" sign...
Its very calm and quiet here...except when the seaplane or the helicopter arrives ferrying resort guests to and from (Nadi I suppose)...will go up a bit further to Mana Is tomorrow and see what that's like...still haven't caught any fish...BUT I dived under the boat today and got my Wahoo lure back...it was wrapped around the propellor shaft...the line is still there, but I managed to untangle and cut off the wire trace with the lure on it
intact ...so thats good..got some gear back !
I'm doing fried rice for dinner after the 1800 Russell Radio sched...
At 6/19/2011 12:59 AM (utc) our position was 17°46.36'S 177°11.15'E
Monday June 20
Quiet night at Castaway Is..... this morning Gunilla went for a snorkel on the nearby reef...wasn't very interesting apart from the small fishes.
Left Castaway at 1030 and motored up to Mana Is.....resorts here too but one of them is a backpackers and it certainly looks pretty down market !
Observed that the chart plotter is out here by about half a mile S and the same W. I noticed that 2 days ago at Musket cove...we were anchored on the reef according to the plotter...and today we apparently motored over a
reef...we didn't of course...but its the original charts that the electronic ones are derived from that are out..and you'd think well why don't they just adjust them...well the problem is that the error is not constant over the area, so everything would need adjusting individually and that would be a mammoth task .
Anyway the anchorage here is a bit rolly with all the little boats zooming in and out, but we'll go ashore and take a look around, and it should be calmer this evening when all the "activities" stop.
Lunchtime and its already calmer..there’s at least two backpacker hostel thingos here with bar and “restaurant” most of the guests seem to be young Brits and Americans.
the main resort at the W end of the beach says Welcome !..and then bona fide guests only, trespassers prosecuted…nice and friendly !!
At 6/19/2011 7:40 PM (utc) our position was 17°44.31'S 177°08.07'E
In the afternoon another yacht comes in, its Apogee from Cairns, Steve and Rachel, last seen in Vav’au June 2010…Steve dinghies over to say gidday and tells us a shocking tale about a woman that went missing from a launch in the Blue Lagoon… it seems she decided to go for a skinny dip at 0200 and never came back…she was the wife of the launch’s owner. The skipper organised all the neighbouring boats to do a sea search in the bay, Steve went ashore to see if she was there..but no sign..they organised a helicopter to do an aerial search…nothing…then got some divers to dive down …and they found her body on the bottom. Police were called and came in Fijian time, but were delayed because they had to investigate the possible theft of $50 from
the bar till at the resort !!!!
Had dinner at the backpackers restaurant on the shore…wasn’t great but not bad for the price..they have internet there too for F$10 / hr..the backpackers have a package that includes meals so when the bell rings at 1830, they all rush in and queue for their rations.
Tuesday June 21
Went ashore with snorkelling gear and crossed through the (no trespassers) resort to the other side of the island where the snorkelling was, we were told, very good. Well it wasn’t really, the reefs here have no colour and there aren’t that many fish around.
But the beach is beautiful and there was hardly anyone there…so there’s some pictures of that in the next post which will be photos from the market in Lautoka, Vuda Pt then Musket Cove, Castaway Island and Mana Is.
Making yoghurt today…its really good. Plan is to stay here today..go in later for cheap beer and internet to post All this and catch up on other stuff, then tomorrow to go to Yanula Is just north of here…then head back to Vuda Pt over the next 2 days
So cheers from Mana Is !!!!
Here are some photos of the trip towards Lautoka. The posts in the water are navigational marks ! The resort is Dolphin Island...A$7500 a night !!!!!!
And amazing shots of blue/purple jellyfish the size of dinner plates, seen coming past the boat!