Fun in Fiji and Then HomePosted: September 25, 2001
September 25, 2001
We have tired in the last seven months and the events of Sept 11th have changed us all. We realized that this leg of our journey was over and it was time to go home. We simply were not giving our best effort. So off to Fiji (425 miles) on our fastest sail in the Pacific so far. With 25-30 knot winds on our stern for some very good sailing. We made our landfall at Savu Savu in Northeastern Fiji on the island of Vanua Levu. I broke all the rules and made a night entrance after we heard the light marking the reef entrance was indeed working (they often are not). Radar, GPS, and a new chart program on the computer makes this sound easy, but in the Pacific the charts all date back to Capt. Cook and can be inaccurate. The GPS is correct, but the land is not quite where the chart says it is. A night landing with 30 knots of wind driving into the entrance is not the smartest thing to do, but as usual, radar proved to be the most valuable tool and we had no problems. Rounding up inside the reef and sailing into a flat calm under the hills with the smells of the flowers and trees we realized we had found a special area. A very well protected harbor next to a nice town that has all the cruiser needs. What a treat when you are a bit tired. I slept there better than anywhere in the Pacific. We were now away from the "herd". Only five cruisers here beginning and finishing voyages from all directions in contrast to 87 boats in Neiafu, the main town of the Vavau group in Tonga. Fiji has two ethnic groups that rarely mix -- the East Indians, brought here by the English as indentured servants to harvest sugar cane, and the native Fijians. The Indians control a good part of the economy and the Fijians own most of the land. With an even split in population and a military that is completely controlled by the Fijians, there are a lot of injustices and political problems. The effect it had on us was nil, as both cultures are very friendly. The Fijians are naturally friendly and the Indians realize we are a source of business. In many ways Fiji is an easier place to visit than French Polynesia because they are not living on a subsidized economy. Businesses have to survive in the real world and people live on a more realistic basis. There are some world-class dive sites here so we hooked up with a professional dive operation at the Cousteau Resort and took the twenty-mile ride to the most spectacular dive I have been on. Incredible soft coral in vivid colors.
October 7, 2001
Rob on CAVIAR (we have seen these Australian circumnavigators off and on since Maine) warned me about Savu Savu saying it was too easy for cruisers and some get stuck here too long. So we decided to leave and head toward Malolo Lailai to give us time to get the boat ready to sail to New Zealand and do some maintenance in preparation for leaving her in New Zealand when we go home. From now on we have only day sails to western Fiji so we dropped down to an old leper colony called Makogai pronounced Makongai (Fijians always sound "N" before the "G"). We had heard one cruiser stayed here for six weeks, a lovely harbor with an aquaculture research station growing clams and turtles. An interesting place that is losing its funding and falling into disrepair. There are two settlements here with all the abandoned buildings and interesting history of the leper colony for a good part of the Pacific. It closed in 1969.
October 11, 2001
Ovalau on Levuka, 15 miles from Makogai, has been declared a historical district being the original capital with a beautiful collection of brightly painted buildings. The town is well worth a longer visit with its history as the center for colonial plantation owners, but we had good weather and wanted to cross the fifty miles of reefs and shoals in good light. The northern shores of Viti Levu and Vanua Levu have extensive reef systems with inside passages which are unexpectedly quite well marked. Over we went to the northeastern corner motoring through the reefs and into a nice anchorage at Nananu-I Ra near several backpacker resorts.
October 15, 2001
After several days of diving and hiking, we continued behind the reefs and motored to the west end of Viti Levu with a lot of wind behind us all day. Not finding an acceptable anchorage near Lautoka, the second largest city in Fiji, we stopped into our first marina since Panama, Vuda (pronounced Vunda) Point Marina. We had heard about this new facility, but were pleasantly surprised to find a clean pleasant basin that is becoming a crossroads for a lot of voyagers. Two travel lifts and a good town to get work done, this is the starting and ending point for cruisers going and coming from north or south of the equator, west to Australia and Vanuatu, or south to New Zealand -- an independent group with a lot of interesting voyages.
November 17, 2001
We caught the plane from Nadi in Fiji for a direct flight to LA -- a change of plans! We found we could be home a month earlier by storing the boat on the hard in Vuda Point Marina so when our friend Chuck ended up under his horse and could not join us for the trip to New Zealand, we decided to stay in Fiji. CHEWINK is now stored on-the-hard in a pit with tires all around her to hold her up. We are looking forward next season in Fiji and will drop down to NZ in November 2002, a year later than planned.
Where to now?Previous Log Entry: 9/11 in Tonga
Next Log Entry: Society Islands and Bastille Day!
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What is Cabot's Log?
The following log and pictures are from Cabot and Heidi aboard CHEWINK, their Lyman-Morse Seguin 49 which Cabot built in 1987 and has sailed more than 62,000 miles. The log follows them as they began their second circumnavigation in 2000 through their current adventures in the Caribbean.