More tales from the Yasawa islands

More tales from the Yasawa islands

Reaching north from the well protected Mamamuca Islands is the Yasawa Group. Things become more remote and primitive in culture, terrain and weather here. The prevailing SE trades take a bend around the main island and pick up horse power up the channel formed by the two big islands—this is also known as Bligh Waters where the famed Captain Bligh was chased by cannibals and made a heroic escape prompting his record breaking trek in a small boat.

We pick up the now NE wind along with a large westerly swell caused by a big storm way to the south so one side of the islands had big wind, 30 knots –the other swell. I picked the “swell” side only to get wind and swell!

The charts are pretty good and show the large coral reefs reasonably well considering they are organic and move but the best way to navigate is by sight—the water makes distinct color changes when it shallows. This works well in the “10 to 2” optimum time of day range and OK up to about 4—then you lose light or get it right in the eyes—not good. The time was running out so I found an OK anchorage and dropped the hook for the night.

The next day we went to the north end of Naviti Island and found the Somomo village—see log posting. After a few days in the bay we ventured to the famed Blue Lagoon. The is the most visited part of the island group and hosts several small resorts ranging from Backpackers cheap accommodations to the high end Turtle Bay resort. We anchored in front of a modest but nice place with a dive center. We found our Australian friends Cumulus and Jess reunited with the kids. Sitting in the bay we had a great surprise; Mary Powell dropping anchor next to Furthur. A dash out in the dink and another Furthur party is arranged. We enjoyed a great dinner with Melva and Steve and caught up on their travels.

The next day I did a commercial dive with the local group. They do a shark dive once a week so I signed on. I joined two couples on the dive—along with two guides and a captain so the ratio was excellent. As in the past, one look at me and my antique gear told them I was an old hat at diving—the others were very new to the sport so they left me alone and tended to the others. OK with me.

They feed the sharks at this site on a schedule and the feeding had just begun and we descended. There is a rope stretched across the rocks and we are to stay on one side of the rope—sharks on the other. I comply and fortunately so do the sharks. We saw small white and black tip reef sharks, Grey Reef sharks and a couple of big Lemon Sharks along with one of the largest Napoleon fish I have ever seen. A plethora of smaller reef fish dance about for their share of the treats—mostly fish heads and carcasses.

The one couple never made it into the water and the other were done diving although all had paid for a two tank dive—so they dropped the others off on a smaller boat and just I and the crew and the 30 foot high tech dive boat went for the second dive. Moses, the dive guide and I do a pinnacle dive and I see an amazing assortment of coral. One new treat—Mosses shows me a coral that cascades in a crystal white color when touched—like I was walking in the forest of Avatar at night. I noted that a year ago this would have been an astonishing dive and I would have been totally jacked up—ahhh the perils of being spoiled, hahah

After a few days of blasting 20-30 knot winds we all decided to head south to more protected islands; we left and went back to Musket Cove, Cumulus stopped to explore a downed WW II Spitfire we had heard was in snorkeling range and MP headed to Vadu Point for a haul out.

It was so good to see Mary Powell as I had succumbed to the fact that our wonderful cruising buddies were hopelessly split up with varying cruising plans. It was also great to get to know new friends who were heading in the same direction as us and would be crossing paths with Cumulus often I hope.

We made most of the trip down in one day, 38 miles and stopped at a fairly good mid way anchorage for the night. The next day it was an easy shot to Musket Cove. Debbie finally got to see dolphins as a pod of spinners bow rode for a good distance with us.

Back at Musket Cove we went ashore for the familiar $850 ($4.25 usd) large hot dog lunch and restocking at the store. We set Jess to distributing our garbage in the extensive recycle bins. I am dubious as to the end result of their recycling program as I am familiar with what it takes to make is all work down the road from the small buckets but I applaud any attempt.

Our time in Fiji is drawing to an end and once again I could stay here forever. We will play a few more days then head back to Vadu Pt. for some boat work; provisioning and checking out—then off to the next adventure!