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Tacking On

In the Koro sea between Viti Levu and Vanua Levu lies the Namena Barrier Reef which is bisected by Save-a-Tack Passage. For the name alone the passage has been on the bucket list for some time. This morning after a leisurely breakfast, a lap of the market, and coffee we departed Savusavu for Namena Island via Save-a-Tack Passage. The trades are a gentle 12 kts from the SE and ahead Namena Island is slowly rising out of the sea. It was once home to a popular dive resort sadly destroyed by Cyclone Winston and not yet rebuilt but the corals and fish are still there.

Savu Savu has been fun, as usual. This is a town on the move. Lots of building work going on including a several hectare resort being reclaimed out of the swamp 300 metres across from the mainland.

Many shops have signs advertising for workers. There is a general feeling of prosperity. The many eating places are filled with not only yachties but also local families. 

Beryl flew back to Auckland on Thursday but not before a flying visit to Labasa on the north coast. It was great having you onboard Beryl and sorry for not spotting the 50 sign.

Beryl paying her speeding ticket at the Labasa LTA.

We met up with our old friend, Liz Thurston, again. She lives in very nice house in Savu Savu. She had been away visiting her new grandson in Australia. Her house was burgled the first night she was home. But everything was recovered because the thief was spotted wearing her Akubra hat. Phew! We first met Liz sailing with their children and us with ours. 

Time to move on. We are looking forward to catching up with Kim and Will, cousin Hortense Idoine and Sue and Brian. We are well provisioned but a fish or two would be welcome. 

D B

It’s been a sailing day today. The wind has kept us amused shifting between NE,N,NE, E,SE, and varying from 10 to 30 knots, mostly in inconvenient ways so as to not allow us to set a direct course. Apart from that and the flying fish it’s been a quiet day at the office.

By 10pm we should see the first outlying Fiji island. Then thread our way through the reefs and if the wind cooperates we will get to Savusavu in time to clear customs before they close tomorrow afternoon.

Happy birthday Mindy, hope you have had a fun day!

All’s well onboard Bruce Dinah and Beryl.

Wallis Two

Wallis is behind us and Savusavu, Fiji in front of us as we sail approximately SW.

Wallis is beautiful, if a little frustrating. Friday we found there were no rental cars for the weekend, and there are no taxis – Bruce helped out a solo yachtswoman by selling her some diesel, thus saving her a several km route march with her jerrycans. We traded some Francs for dollars with another yacht as exchanging money is a challenge too. As Dinah said ‘it’s amazing how they can live in a little isolated shell’. For all that, it looks more prosperous than any of its neighbours and the baguette is mmmmm.

It was a blustery start this morning as we headed out from the shelter of the lagoon. We hoisted the sails, put out the fishing lines and bounced along before the wind. Beryl called the fish and lo-and-behold one answered! Dinah landed and filleted a nice fat little tuna.

With squalls all around we bounced on in 30 knots however by mid afternoon it settled to a comfortable 15. We have dined, the sun is set, we will pass Futuna during the night and the forecast and sky are looking good.

All’s well onboard Bruce, Dinah and Beryl.

Wallis it is

We arrived at the reef pass at 10.00 this morning after a pleasant passage. And discovered wifi! Wallis has just been connected to the rest of the planet via a fiberoptic undersea cable. Unfortunately it isnt yet marked on the charts and we must move Margarita immediately. Ops!

B D B

To Wallis

Yesterday early, much too early for some following fish & chips and margaritas aboard Neiafu’s finest, newest and only floating restaurant, we delivered Grant to the taxi stand for the first leg of his journey home. RealTonga really did it this time and he is probably home already with the heat pump on max. For the rest of us there are a few more islands and two more countries to go. This dawn finds us well on the way to Uvea (Wallis of Wallis and Futuna). The weather? There’s nothing wrong with it. A fresh warm trade wind will push us another 200 miles to the NNW past the Niuas and we will be there tomorrow. To this former outpost of the Tongan empire and now, by some quirk of history, a current outpost of the French empire.

All’s well aboard

B D B

Suwarrow the Movie

Nod to Niue

As dawn cracks in Niue the resident dolphin pod has come to farewell us. They cruise through the anchorage in the unhurried manner of those who are truly at home. We leave with reluctance. We hoped for another week or more in this particular paradise but must leave this morning. The weather gods have decreed it. A random trough threatens to bring fresh westerlies to this exposed anchorage. When it does, life onboard will become extremely uncomfortable and landing impossible. Destination Vavau, northern Tonga. An hour behind and a day (in a chronological sense) ahead of Niue. Soon we will head ashore one last time, crane our dinghy onto the wharf with the public boat crane, explore one last chasm, surrender the rental, crane our dinghy back into the water, stow and set sail. With a small dollop of luck we will beat the westerlies to Nei’afu.

D B Z

bye bye Beveridge

A brief cool-as visit it was. One other yacht on arrival. Six yesterday and three left behind today. We snorkelled on the various wrecks in the clear waters, incredible visibility and the best coral and fish we’ve seen so far. And It was cold! The water temperature was only 25 and at times the air was even colder.
We enjoyed sundowners and some spectacular sunsets with the other yachties, many of whom we will see again in Niue or Tonga. Dinah spotted some white water not long after our departure this morning to which we sang out “reef?…no. Fish? WHALE!” And watched on as a group of Humpback whales put on a brilliant show, breaching high into the air.

Niue is only 140 miles to the WNW so arrival tomorrow is definitely likely for sure. If there is fast internet available we will post some photos and maybe even some video.

D B Z

Beveridge Reef

We arrived this morning to a rather grey day. Something big took our lure as we approached the reef so only one small mahi-mahi for the passage. The wind is from the south and it’s much colder than we have become accustomed to. The water is only 26 deg. Brrrrr! We share the lagoon with two other yachts. One from Brisbane, the other from France. We will all probably leave on Sunday to arrive in Niue on Monday. They don’t do Sunday clearances there. On arrival here we didn’t need to wait for the border control officials. Another strange feeling in an altogether strange place. As we look out over the anchorage all we see is the 360 deg line of surf on the reef and the sharks cruising the lagoon. They seem friendly. Maybe some swimming tomorrow. There is at least one old very broken up steel wreck here but no obvious sign of the catamaran that ran onto the reef last year. The steel wreck from long before GPS is understandable. The catamaran less so. However there is no official chart. The reef appears as a random out of position blob on the ocean charts. Visiting yachts rely on unofficial sources including Google Earth and waypoints reported by previous visitors. The reef pass is at exactly 20 deg south latitude and the line of approach is exactly east. Easy enough for most, if a little heart-in-mouth in poor light.

B D Z

Goodbye to Suwarrow

Today we leave Suwarrow. At 10 we will raise anchor, wave goodbye to friends old and new and set sail for Beveridge Reef 500 miles and three days to the south east. In a week we will be in Niue. We leave behind an uninhabited atoll, a national park teeming with life. Ashore coconut crabs, hermit crabs and seabirds run riot. In the lagoon sharks, manta rays, turtles and a myriad of other fish cruise the crystal waters. We have had a great time but sadly it is time to go. Our fresh fruit and veg are down to a piece of pumpkin, three onions and a pair of wrinkly grape fruit so sadness is tempered by dreams of a crunchy salad in Niue. Other stores are also running low. The shopping list runs a full page. The good merchants of Niue have as much to took forward as we do.

B D Z