Good friends and fellow cruisers, Carol and David, from Vancouver/Whistler came for a visit in early October. They flew into Nadi and joined us at Port Denarau, a large marina with lots of restaurants, shops and services. Their arrival was like Christmas as they brought us a suitcase full of parts, supplies and gifts! Many thanks for all the running around they and brother-in-law, Murray, did for us!
We motored to Musket Cove in light winds and anchored for a night.
We went for a walk to see the resorts around Musket Cove before it got too hot. We were getting temperatures into the mid-30s.
Our next stop was the so-called Manta Ray Anchorage in the Yasawas. We snorkelled the channel battling strong currents but did not have any sightings of the magnificent rays. Someone told us later that the rays had not been seen in the area for a month and no one knew where they went. We do hope they return.
The next day, we motored up to Somosomo Bay where we met Steve and Kate on Blue Summit, Whistler’s boat. Blue Summit had just jumped off the World Arc.
We all went for a hike to find the old WWII plane that had sunk on the other side of the island. It was a disappointment when we finally found what was left of the very tiny plane’s skeleton in 6 feet of water, but it was an adventure! I hate to admit it was my idea. The guide book made it sound more interesting!
We carried on to the Blue Lagoon. Scenes of the movie of the same name with Brooke Shields were shot in the lagoon at Turtle Island, now an exclusive private resort. Yachts are not welcome! Next to our anchorage was resort with a long shell covered beach. We all went for an exploratory stroll along the white sand beach.
We ended up circumnavigating the little island. One end of the island is “private”, set up to receive parties from the cruise ships. Passed that, we came across a section of the shore that was underwater and lined with heavily wooded mangroves. We waded through a foot or two of water hoping that we would make it around.
We eventually saw where we might get back to the shore again so we carried on.
Once back on land again, we discovered a brightly painted cafe called Lo’s Tea House! It was run by a cheerful local gal. We ordered coffee and chocolate cake, which was about all she had on the menu.
After a brief stop for refreshments at the cafe, we carried on our hike which took us to the top of the island with beautiful panoramic views of the lagoon.
It was very hot, so we continued on, back to the resort’s beach where we started our hike. The resort had a little store where we discovered ice cream bars in the freezer. Though cold, the ice cream was stale. Not everything is perfect! Beer would have been a safer choice but it was too early in the day.
One evening, we dinghied with a group of cruisers to the home in a local village for a Fijian feast. We all sat on the floor as is tradition and ate a sampling of the local cuisine including fish cooked in coconut and kumara. It was a memorable experience, though sitting on a floor is a bit uncomfortable for some.
We were monitoring the forecasts and heard a big blow was coming. We decided to leave Blue Lagoon as it did not appear to have enough shelter. We motored back to Musket Cove with 20 knots on the nose and rough chop.
When we arrived, we surveyed the anchoring options which were not great. One mooring ball appeared available. We called the marina office and were told we could grab it if no one’s float was attached. It was a blessing to get a mooring as the winds had picked up to 25 knots by this time. The marina was full of boats thinking as we were, to find a safe place to ride out the storm. We hung out in Musket Cove waiting for the storm to pass through. It came the next day, fortunately during the afternoon. The winds got up to 45 knots on our wind gauge.
It was crazy watching boats around us dealing with anchors dragging and broken mooring lines and snubbers. A couple boats that had broken free were motoring around those anchored and on the moorings, trying desperately not to hit anything. Dark smoke poured out of one 60 foot boat that had not been run in at least a year. The marina’s small open skiff helped it maneuver in the busy mooring field and fend it off the other boats.
Another boat was dragging its mooring around between a couple boats. A Canadian boat directly in front of us had its snubber break and then the lock on its anchor chain let go, so it was paying out its chain until the solo-skipper got it stopped. His boat was getting a bit close to us for comfort, so he ran his engines to take the pressure off the anchor until the storm blew through. We stayed put on the boat for the night and dined with the skipper of the Canadian boat in front of us, celebrating the end of the storm.
Many cruisers said they had never been at anchor in such a strong blow. What made matters worse was that the wind switched direction by 180 degrees in minutes and Musket Cove was not protected from that direction.
The next morning, it was a relief to get off the boat and have a relatively calm day. We all went for a round of golf.
Just as we were walking up the last hole, we saw dark clouds approaching. We rushed back to the boat just in time to close the hatches as an unexpected squall rolled through the anchorage.
We decided to head out to Navandra. It was a lovely day, but no wind. David and Carol were getting a bad impression of “sailing” in the tropics!
For more on Navandra, see our blog entitled “2016-10-14 Navandra”
As we headed south to Musket Cove again, David was excited to have something large on the line. It was one ugly fish, a barracuda! We played Heart’s song, “Barracuda”, and could not get it off our minds for the rest of their visit!
The night before David and Carol were to fly out, we ventured down the west coast to Robinson Crusoe Resort for their famous Fijian cultural dinner show. We were joined by our friends Frank and Lisa and their guests on Mango Moon. The resort was a not a fancy operation, more of a back-packers’ spot, but they offered a nice discount to cruisers coming to the dinner show.
On the way there, David brought in a mahimahi! Now, that is good eating!
At the resort’s feast and show, David and Carol were summoned up to the stage for various ceremonial and fun activities.
We were sorry to see them leave! We had such good fun and hope they will visit us again soon!