Tuesday, 9 July 2019

5-2019 Blue Lagoon to Muscot Cove Fiji

 Hi from Clare,                    5-2019 Blue Lagoon to Muscot Cove Fiji         8th July 2019

The Track across island
Back packer huts

We were looking forward to spending a week of relaxation and fun in The Blue Lagoon, Yasawa Islands in western Fiji. The Blue Lagoon is a lovely calm anchorage with sandy beaches, snorkelling, a small resort and good walking tracks. When we arrived a visiting small cruise ship was busy ferrying their guests ashore to The Blue Lagoon Resort for meals, drinks and a walk on the beach. They also took their gusts by dinghies to the other side of the island to the well published attraction, Lo’s Tea House. It was a lovely sunny day and so we walked the three kilometres across the island on a well used track taking in the views and enjoying the exercise. Lo’s Tea House (Fijian Style), despite its rather grand name, is just a shed but it has a reputation for great doughnuts. I was quite looking forward to a juicy hot doughnut, but not to be, the day we went, the menu was lemon sponge or lemon sponge. The cruise ship people arrived and we chatted to two ladies over (you guessed it) ‘lemon sponge’ only to discover that one came from Shellharbour, which is about a fifteen minute drive from Kiama, NSW where we live. So any romantic notions I had about dining in a quaint ‘Tea House on a Tropical Island with a magnificent vista’ were shattered when we found ourselves sitting in a shed, having lemonade and lemon sponge whilst chatting to a local lady from home.
Lo’s Tea House
Inside Lo’s Tea House

We had been watching the weather for a few days as a trough was forming which would bring thunder storms, torrential rain and cyclonic winds. By the following morning it was apparent that the worst of the weather would pass over The Blue Lagoon in two days time. We decided to sail fifty miles south to Musket Cove to get away from the thunder storm. So, our planned one week in The Blue Lagoon became one day. As we travelled south the weather became very calm and we had to motor most of the way. We caught a nice Mahi Mahi which is always a welcomed treat. We had one fine day in Musket Cove before the rain started. We used the time to shop, do laundry and have a few drinks at the Sailors Bar with Aussie friends Annie, Liam and family on ‘Gone with the Wind’. The trough came through the following day bringing torrential rain and 50 knots of wind through the anchorage but fortunately no lightning, so the plan worked. A few boats dragged their anchor but no damage was done.
Andrew with his Mahi Mahi

 Liam and Annie from Gone With the wind

We had a very social week in Musket Cove having dinners out, fish on the BBQ at the sailors bar, morning coffees at the resort restaurant, catching up with friends and celebrating Canada Day with the Canadian cruisers.
Fish BBQ with Andrew, David ‘Anahata’ Scott ‘Muskoka’
Celebrating Canada Day with cake and sparklers

The weather was very changeable, overcast with heavy rain to brilliant sunshine. So we just seized every opportunity and did day trips to small sand islands or to the nearby floating pontoon for snorkelling. It was very pleasing to see lots of very healthy coral and many tropical fish. But one day, that’s not all we saw. We anchored the dinghy and snorkelled over to the floating pontoon. Andrew found a brand new pair of swimming goggles on the sea floor. They still had the protective plastic on the lenses. Then when we pulled the dinghy anchor up, attached to the anchor was a new pair of Tusa diving goggles - quite a haul, a profitable day!
 Beautiful unspoilt coral

Lots of tropical fish (we hope this works)

Andrew with his Go Pro

So now all the nasty weather has passed, we are heading back north up the Yasawa chain. We want to visit all the spots we sailed passed on our dash down to the safety of Musket Cove. We spent the last two nights with a New Zealand couple Ailsa and Hamish on ‘Halo’ who are here for a month as they time share their catamaran with another couple from NZ. They had too much NZ meat in the freezer after the last change over so they gave us lamb chops and some beef steak. This is the first red meat we have had since we left Oz. We are looking forward to lamb chops tonight.

We are currently twenty five miles north of Musket Cove and we have been in some rolling anchorages recently but today we have relocated to a lovely calm bay. The sun is shinning, the washing is out and the breeze is gentle. The weather is perfect with temperatures in the high twenties, a warm breeze day and night. We sleep with the hatch open above us and only a sheet over us. In the daytime it is all sunshine and blue skies. It doesn’t get any better than this.
A beautiful sunset

We are planning to spend a bit of time here catching up with boat chores. Andrew wants to work on the water maker and the engine. I have some cooking to do. These are the jobs that get pushed aside for more enjoyable pastimes like snorkelling, walks on the beach and fun in general.

Hopefully we will slowly head back to The Blue Lagoon, stopping off at Mantaray Bay on the way. The Mantas feed here on the plankton, but they have been very scarce lately. So, until next time, all is well on Eye Candy and we are having a lovely time.

Love Candy xx

Sunday, 23 June 2019

4-2019 Savu Savu to Yasawa Island Group

Hi from Clare,     4-2019 Savu Savu to Yasawa Island Group     Sunday 23rd June 2019

We left Savu Savu to sail west between the two main islands of Fiji, that is Vanua Levu to the north and Viti Levu to the south. This is a well known wind funnel and so best to transit in calm weather. We went through a very narrow pass at the bottom of the north island and anchored in Bua Bay. We caught up with English couple John and Stella on Exocet Strike for morning tea. We spent about three hours chatting non stop…. who said sailing was a solitary life?

Coral at Yadua Island

Our next stop was Yadua Island which is one of two small island in the middle of the pass. By this time the wind was building and so we stayed there four days enjoying some good snorkelling and walks on the beach. Because of the strong wind two small fishing boats came in with six fishermen from the mainland. They waved madly and called greetings of “Bula Bula”. After they anchored we dingied over to meet them. They were very glad of some company as they had been out fishing for two weeks and were running out of conversation. They gave us some lovely Wahoo and said they had been eating fish every day and were sick of it. So I cooked them pasta for dinner, two loaves of bread and gave them 500g of Flora. We all had dinner together on one of the fishing boats. They were nice guys and this was a good experience that we will remember fondly.

Clare with two of the fishermen
Our delicious Wahoo

The next morning we left and had a very sporty sail to Yasawa Island with a 20-25knot wind behind us and up to a two metre swell. We made good time averaging 7 knots for the 55 mile trip. We anchored mid afternoon at Yasawa Island in the very clear sparkling blue and aqua water, alongside a beautiful sandy beach. We planned to go into the village the following day to meet the Chief and do the Sevusevu ceremony. However before we got there a motor boat came out from the village and did Sevusevu behind our boat and after receiving our Kava told us we could now walk on their beach and go snorkelling. I was a bit upset by their attitude because it felt like a commercial transaction and Kava was the payment. Our previous experiences have been that we offer Kava to the Chief as a goodwill gesture and then the Chief welcomes us as temporary members of the village community. In doing so we are then welcome and free to enjoy the village and surrounding waters. However for us, doing Sevusevu in a dinghy behind our boat took away from the tradition and it was disappointing.

Sevusevu at the back of our boat
We went into the village the following day and were welcomed by the people. We firstly met Sarah who is the Kindergarten teacher for the village. She offered to show us the school but she needed to drop something off at her mother’s house first. We met Sarah’s mother who is the sister of the Chief. She was skinning bananas in preparation for the evening meal. The village was hosting a teacher’s cluster meeting that night and the teachers from the other five villages on the island would be attending. Sarah offered us a bowl of sweet bananas boiled in coconut milk, a local dish which was very delicious.

The village church, roof missing since Winston
We then went to the school which has two classrooms. There are ten children in the Kindergarten classroom and ten students in the other classroom which is a composite class for grade one and grade two. The school is very nicely done with brightly coloured teaching aids and the children’s work proudly displayed. Classrooms for the higher primary grades are located in the other villages.

The school

Grade 1&2 classroom
We ventured on, meeting as many village people as we could. Without exception they were welcoming and called us into their homes and the community hall. We were given papaya and bananas to take back to the boat and invited to come back for lunch on Sunday.

Clare with the Chief’s sister
The community hall
We met Nelson an elder of the village who used to be the captain on the ferry going between the islands and the mainland. He told us of his experience during Cyclone Winston. There was no suitable protection from the strong winds, so after speaking with his employer who said “it’s up to you”, he decided to beach the ship at full speed. He stayed on the vessel and then re-floated the ferry after the storm passed over. We have heard some amazing stories around Winston, but we thought this one was way up there.

Andrew meeting the locals

We were with two other boats here, ‘Muskoka’ from Canada and ‘Tres Bien’ from New Zealand. We all had a very enjoyable evening on ‘Muskoka’ a few nights ago and we also did some snorkelling together. Yesterday we all left the anchorage and went in separate directions. We are only a few miles further south, but we couldn’t sail pass this beautiful beach. We are anchored in sand with no outcrops of coral to worry about. The beach has thick soft sand with a backdrop of tropical growth and coconut palms. The water is warm and clear with gentle waves lapping the shore. We have seen many beaches in our travels and this beach is one of the best. We enjoy late afternoon walks along the beach, a swim in warm water and then a little relaxation in setting sun, in total peace and isolation.

Our footprints on the beach, Eye Candy far in the background

We will continue down the chain of islands which make up the Yasawa Group. We have some water caves to stop at and then the Blue Lagoon which is a very popular stop for Cruisers with shops and restaurants. But, that’s for next time.

Love Candy xx