We had a beautiful sunrise the next morning. What do they say about a red sky at dawn?
The next morning, we headed off down Somosomo Strait for Paradise Resort on the southern tip of Taveuni Island. It was a cloudy day and the winds were light. We unfurled the jib, but kept a few wraps on and turned off the engines.
Just after 10am, we heard the fishing lines zinging, both again! One fish jumped and freed himself. Monty slowly reeled in the other one. She was the biggest mahimahi yet!
I stayed on the helm, as we were getting into the narrowest part of the strait and the ocean was churning with the currents. The depth gauge was reading 4 metres and then infinity. We were going through at close to slack, but it was still quite violent, with white water everywhere around us. We knew we had deep water below us, but it is always a bit disconcerting.
We had booked a mooring ball with Paradise Resort the day prior and were looking forward to some pampering. We saw Chara on the AIS as we approached. They called the resort on the VHF asking for a mooring, but all were taken or reserved. They would have to anchor.
We picked up a mooring ball on our own, from the boat, another first. I thought Monty was all tied up, but he wasn’t secured. When I went out on the bow, he asked me to hold the mooring line with the boat hook, I could not hold on as the boat swung round and he grabbed it from me. In a flash he was flat on his back, and the boat hook was in the ocean, sinking to a depth of 25 metres below the boat. Monty got quite the bruise on his back from the impact of falling on the deck. Of course, the whole thing was my fault! Monty got on the paddle board and eventually got the boat secured to the mooring ball.
Mauliola came in tying up to the last mooring. They were staying for several days.
We paddled ashore on our boards, as it was too much work to lower the dinghy and put the engine back on for a short stay. We asked the dive master if someone could possibly help us retrieve our boat hook from the bottom. He agreed on a trade, one hook for a beer in the bar, but it would have to wait until tomorrow.
We met the friendly manager and were offered a tour of the boutique resort property. It was nicely maintained and had attentive staff. We were welcomed to use the facilities including the fresh water pool and showers, diving facilities, restaurant and bar. He mentioned they had not anticipated how popular offering free moorage to cruisers would be. They started with two moorings, but now have five, with more planned. Most of us would agree it was a smart move to welcome the cruisers.
We took in Happy Hour and our first Fijian tropical drink. It was delivered by one of the smiling staff to the gazebo overlooking the ocean where we watched the sun set.
We really felt we had finally arrived at a tropical paradise! Serenity, some creature comforts and an ice cold drink can have that affect on us!
The next day, we visited with some cruisers and had a leisurely walk down the road. We picked up a few items from the resort gift shop and bought some green beans and a cauliflower grown in their organic garden. It was so nice to have some fresh vegetables with our mahimahi!
Late that afternoon, one of the dive staff swam in to shore with our boat hook. It was really deep, she said. We bought her and the dive master a beer. We joined them and some cruisers and resort guests for Happy Hour again the second night, our last before heading to Savusavu.