Posted by: catamarantwooceans | October 3, 2010

With Gili in Fiji (2)

30.9.10 – Thursday – In the morning I took a walk around Vuda Point marina, which is unique in two respects: one is its circular shape with all boats connected to anchoring point in the center and the second is the way they store yachts, monohulls only, for the hurricane season. They put them in holes in the ground, topsides supported by tires.

Vuda Point marina

in the pit

As I was walking, clicking away with my camera, a familiar boat name was revealed between two big catamarans; “Carpe Vita”, Mike and Mary’s cat! First time for Gili to meet this lovely couple, but we could not stay for long because we wanted to go out to the islands, specifically Navadra, 24 miles away.

You may ask yourself how do I decide to which Island or bay we will sail. It’s easy when you have a good cruising guide; You choose according to the author’s description. But we have no guide for Fiji, save for a little booklet for tourists, giving little information relevant for sailors. My main source in a situation like this is the net. A typical search would be for “sailing Fiji” and then looking for yachties blogs. I was lucky to find one who described his Fiji cruise in 2001, and learned from it about the area we were about to cruise. This guy (I have to identify and give him the right credit) said Navadra was his most favorite anchorage in this area, with white beaches and superb snorkeling.

With almost no wind, we had to motor all the way. Navadra was, just as promised, great. It is basically tree islands, two joined by a sandy isthmus and the third by a barely submerged reef. There are huge rocks and some thick vegetation in places. There were two sailing yachts and a motor boat in the bay, but it was big enough for all of us.

Navadra

We went ashore and walked around. a motor boat brought a few Japanese tourists for a short visit. We spoke to their guide, who said that if we came ashore, snorkeled or wanted to fish, we had to put some Sevusevu offering (a Kava bundle will do) for the landowners on the altar-like structure we found in the woods. We’ll do that tomorrow. I’ll put in a picture of the altar later, it got lost somehow!

Fishing was not very successful. Although we could see nice, big fish passing below, we only got two smallish snappers, one of which we put back as live bait. A big fish took it, but let it go when I started pulling it up.

1.10.10 – Friday – First some maintenance: My engines are “eating” belts too quickly. Somebody told me the reason could be corrosion on the inside surfaces of the pulleys chaffing the belts. I took off all the belts and polished the pulleys with fine sandpaper. Let’s see how that works.

Next, Kava to altar, snorkeling (Gili saw a big grouper) and then we left Navadra for Waya island, aiming to anchor in Nalauwaki bay where a village with the same name nestles.

Approaching Nalauwaki

The village was still having its afternoon nap when we came ashore at five minutes to 4 pm, few people out of the houses, some sleeping on the beach. We approached a man sitting on an elevated wooden platform and asked for the chief. He identified himself as Lai, said he was the mayor and that the chief was not available at the moment. “I will give him  the Kava, you can now walk in the village and snorkel in the sea”. This seems to be the standard “clearance” for yachties in the islands.

Mayor

So walk we did, past the numerous pigpens and over the ridge to the resort in Likuliku bay. What a contrast between the high class tourist facility, belonging to a “Kiwi” and the traditional, far from affluent village!

Village house

When we came back everybody was up and about. People greeted us, invited us for tea and wanted to speak to us. a young man was working a big, metal mortar and pestle. “What is this?” I asked. “Kava” was the answer. Kava again!

Kava pounder

Difficult for us to grasp, but Kava plays a big role here. I asked an older man who sat there about the chief. “His name is Ratu, he is the grand-dad of all of us”.

After dinner the wind strengthened and came from the north-east. We were barely protected and a some waves made the boat hobby-horse a bit. I put out more chain and downloaded a new forecast. South-easterly, maximum 15 knots. Of course some local phenomena cannot be predicted. We did see 20 knots a few times during the evening.

2.10.10 – Saturday – We sailed to Yalobi bay on the southern part of the island, where Wayaseva island is connected to Waya by a sandbar. Nice anchorage, with a reef near the Waya shore and also what seems to be an abandoned and ruined resort. A result of a hurricane? In the evening I saw some villagers starting a fire on the mountain above the village. This developed into a major conflagration that covered a vast area and went on into the night. Is this their system of preparing the land for cultivation?During the night we could smell the burning weed and when we woke up we had a lot of ash on deck.

3.10.10 – Sunday – Gili is leaving tonight. We motored and then sailed when some wind came to Vuda Point marina.

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Responses

  1. This is my first time visit at here and i am
    truly happy to read all at one place.


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