DAY #20 Thursday May 21th, 2015
LTY Stats update:
LTY (local) time: 17:25 Thursday May 21st, 2015th (LTY time = UTC +12)
LOCATION: in front of small logging & government station at Nabouwalu on SW corner of Vanua Levu.
POSITION: 16 59.643 S 178 40.958 E (can cut & paste into Google Earth)
SOG: ZERO!! We’re firmly anchored! (SOG = Speed over Ground)
COG: Zero (COG = Course over Ground, our GPS based compass heading)
WIND: 7 kts SE
SEAS/Swell: none tucked inside a small reef that juts out from shore
WEATHER: Started out overcast this morning and slowly cleared up to beautiful evening as we came across the straits and through Yadua passage and down the SW coast of the big island of Vanua Levu. However winds continued to howl the whole way reaching 35 knots at times in the crossing.
SAILS: After our late start, we motored hard into the 30-35 knot winds to make it over to this first anchorage before we lost the sun.
AIR TEMP: 75.7F 24.3C
SEA TEMP: 84.2F 29C
DISTANCE TRAVELED today: 31nm
TOTAL DISTANCE TO GO: (to Fiji): About 45 nm to go to Savu Savu to check in to Fiji.
Day #20 ALMOST THERE?
With luck we should be able to reach Savu Savu tomorrow afternoon and officially check in and “arrive” in Fiji. We made about 30 nautical miles today across the very rough seas and winds in the straits between Yadua Island and the big island (2nd largest in Fiji) of Vanua Levu. That leaves us about 45nm to go along the inside passage between the southern shores of Vanua Levu and the outlying reefs and then make our way up into the very protected port of Savu Savu. This is one of the four Ports of Entry in Fiji where you can clear into the country and until we do we are not supposed to go ashore. We will try to get an early start at first light tomorrow so we can arrive in Savu Savu before the Customs, Immigration and Bio Security people quit and we can check in.
We all enjoyed our first full night’s sleep with no watches last night, though we both woke up at watch time, and were up to an overcast day but with some sun to enjoy this beautiful little harbor we found for the night. We thought we were about to get a good start and leave right after our breakfast but the electric fuel pump wasn’t sounding too happy and I didn’t want to risk having engine problems (no fuel pump, no engine!) so I did my best to change out the old one for the new spare which of course I had in the spare parts room that doubles as our boat. Still took several hours and we didn’t get away till 11am so we needed to keep our speed up to make it across to this anchorage on the SW corner of Vanua Levu as it is pretty much the first one on the way to Savu Savu. As I’ve mentioned before Fiji waters are filled with coral, which is great for snorkeling but not so great for boats and so we really don’t want to have to go into places, especially new ones, unless we have lots of sun overhead that will let us do the necessary visual navigation through reefs and into little harbours.
The overcast morning continued to clear all day as we crossed and we are having another beautiful sunset as I type this. However the winds climbed even higher today and were up a bit over 35 knots at time as we crossed the straits between Yadua and Vanua Levu. Our course of course was right straight into those big winds and the accompanying big waves so it was more like being on a galloping horse than a boat until we squeezed through the reefs at Yadua passage and the seas laid down along with much of the wind as we came into the lee of the big island and the surrounding reefs. Mr. Cummins seemed to like his new fuel pump and pushed us across at 6-7 knots all day and we dropped anchor with just enough height in the sun about an hour before it set. Keep in mind that we are headed into winter over here in the southern hemisphere and so the sun is now setting earlier each night and was down at 17:42 tonight.
It is a bit of a stretch to call this a “harbor” as it is really just a tiny indentation in the coastline but the big saving grace that makes this a nice little anchorage is that there is a good bit of reef sticking out from the southern tip of that indentation and that forms a nice natural break from the seas. The shoreline is quite steep and so the SE winds are being deflected from the last bit of those hills and we are now very peacefully at anchor.
There is a very small little “station” ashore and now directly in front of us here in Nabouwalu as this area is home to some significant logging activity. There is a spot about 3nm north of here where they have built a pier out from shore to get to the 650 foot cargo ship that was docked there and is taking on sawdust as best we could tell. Down here in Nabouwalu there is a small dock for the tug boat that helps that big fella get in here and then a few buildings for the government and logging workers. It was all quite beautiful being lit up by the rapidly descending sun opposite it as we came in and dropped the anchor.
And so this is “home” for tonight where we’ll enjoy another night at anchor and then be up early and off to Savu Savu to officially “arrive” in Fiji tomorrow afternoon. Savu Savu is a very nice spot and town and one I’ve been to several times over the past 5 years now of coming back to Fiji. I’ll tell you more about that in the coming days and we can also start posting some pictures next week after we get setup with WiFi and cellular connections. For now I’ll wish that you have as calm and peaceful a night as we will.
Wayne, Christine, Barnacle Barney and Ruby the WonderDog