After a 3 day sail from Tonga in mid-September, we cleared into Savusavu, Fiji.  It is a familiar town to us.  We were lucky to meet up with friends on Marilyn and Mustang Sally. We reprovisioned and went out to some Chinese, Indian and Thai diners in town.  Dining out is cheaper than eating on board!

S/V Marilyn, well equipped for cruising and FISHING!

We heard from Colin of Korosun Dive that the hammerhead sharks were around.  Our friends, Keli and Jeremy from S/V Marilyn, decided to join us for a dive.  Jeremy is a trained dive instructor and offered to do a refresher dive with us the day before the shark dive.  It was a great opportunity to get familiar with our new dive gear and do a short practice dive around our mooring line.

The next day, we didn’t actually see the hammerhead sharks but one diver did get some photos of one, so one was there.  We saw lots of barracuda and tuna, which was a good indicator the hammerheads were in the area but the current was apparently wrong that day.  It was a pretty advanced dive with lots of swimming in marginal visibility following our dive master.  We got down to 35m depth, a first for Monty and me.  Jeremy watched over me and held onto my second stage most of the dive so that I couldn’t do anything unsafe.

Our second dive was to see some purple soft corals, spadefish, scorpion fish and do a few swim-throughs.

Monty on the dive boat

Keli and Jeremy from Marilyn with Margy on the so-called hammerhead shark dive.

We met some Canadians from North Vancouver who were sailing their Dufour to Australia, with plans to sell her there. We had a brief visit and learned we had been going to Bluewater Cruising Association meetings around the same time.

Robin and Fiona on MonArk (

We wanted to get to Nananu-I-Ra, a kiting spot.  We first sailed south to Makogai, (pronounced “Makongai”), a former leper colony.  We went ashore with our friends on Mustang Sally and another Canadian boat.  

Looking at the small government station on Makongai, which is still looking bleak after Cyclone Winston that hit the island 18 months ago.A couple Fijian children met us and took us to meet their dad who was in charge of the government fisheries operation. They have large tanks where they raise giant clams.  When the clams are grown enough, they are sold to resorts around Fiji to improve the health of the life on their nearby reefs.

Having a look at the giant clam nursery.

The baby giant clams lined up in the tanks.

A closer look at the baby giant clams (about 2 inches long) in the nursery.

The kids then gave us a tour of the ruins of the colony, including a graveyard, theatre, church and other structures being taken over by jungle vines.

Being shown around the former leper colony.

Graveyard in the old leper colony.

Many gravestones were for the fathers and nuns who came from Europe to care for the lepers.

The old movie theatre

The children were happy to have some distraction.

We also enjoyed some excellent snorkelling seeing reef sharks, giant clams (one about 4 feet long) and numerous sea anemone fish (Finding Nemos). It was a worthwhile stop.