Mischief - Up to Mischief Log 48 Further adventures of S/Y Mischief through the eyes and ears of Chas Baynes
Monday, 11th June 2018 - Bay of Islands, Vavua Balava, Fiji
What a glorious place this is! These anchorages just get better and better, despite the fact that the cockpit is a graveyard for mozzies and moths this morning after Dave's efforts last night with the spray can.
We all went off in different directions this morning with snorkels. I had the most marvelous swim for an hour and a half in brilliant sunlight in perfectly clear water, back in time to see the Arc fleet start to trickle in from Lomaloma, so now our secluded anchorage is less so but good to see them regardless. It seems that Someday and Amara had climbed up the hill overlooking our bay and have taken some cracking photos of us at anchor. Also, the news is that two of the catamarans on leaving the last anchorage ran aground on submerged rocks where the charted beacons were missing (as many were), one of them sustaining considerable damage unfortunately - there but for the grace of God go I, and a sharp eye out on the bow!
Despite several reminders Gary went off snorkeling without sun cream on and returned with the inevitable sunburn. He either couldn't hear as his hearing aids are kaput or as Dave put it, he was giving us a "damned good ignoring!"
We planned to set off late afternoon whilst still in daylight to head off to the island of Gau 120 miles to the west. We were going to go initially north to Taveuni - the brochure describes it as "Paradise is not a dream...it's in Taveuni"; looked very nice on the picture but we are really pushed for time to get Wendy and Dave to Nadi for the 14th so we have had to forego this one. Time for a last long swim without snorkel gear for a change and back on board to ready the boat for departure and at 4.30 pm made our way carefully out of the Bay of Islands and set the Code 0 on a beam reach in 10 knots of breeze and a calm sea.
As night fell there were looming dark clouds to windward but in the meantime, we enjoyed a star filled sky with nothing about in terms of boats of any description. It is surprising that there are not more fishing vessels out, in fact there are none to speak of at all.
Tuesday, 12th June 2018 - en route to Gau, Lomaviti Group, Fiji
The clouds eventually covered the sky completely leaving only one star visible on the horizon astern. It was one of the blackest nights I can remember where the horizon is so dark it was difficult to distinguish the sea from the sky line although it would make a light more conspicuous. In fact, Gary and Marian had one on their watch before midnight when we were passing by a small island and a search light beam switched on and shone on the boat from 2 miles away for some reason, but that was it all night.
The night sail was really comfortable with the wind on the beam at 10 knots in flat seas. Why can't it always be like this? With a little bit of moon and a clear sky it would have been perfection.
At first light I awoke to a loud 'trump' in the cockpit and Gary, with his usual classic first quote of the day, "There's a lot of wind about!". So, I had to get up after that and immediately won the Blue Peter Badge as I spotted the island of Gau, part of the Lomaviti Group, about 20 miles dead ahead. The wind was dropping a bit, so we put the spinnaker up and soon after took it down again and resorted to the "Iron Spinnaker" and motored the rest of the way to the island. A pity as the weather is great. Or at least it was until we got close to the island and it started raining.
As we approached the lagoon we were treated to the most marine mammal life I have seen on the entirety of this trip all together: a pod of large dolphins with white beaks joined us and played in the bow wave for five minutes or so one of which, probably a 'spinner', leapt vertically out of the water and did a perfect triple salco; a huge leatherback turtle surfaced right in front of us; and we were privileged to see some very rare ducks - at least ten tiny Fijian Petrels, native only to this island and only something like 50 left.
And it rained! Poor old Trevor and Gary up on the foredeck on 'bommie watch' got absolutely soaked whilst we headed for the village of Waikama further around the island bypassing the main village of Saweike as a 'sevusevu' is required there should you wish to land, the traditional passing of gifts to the Chief usually of Kava (the brown hallucinogenic powder much loved in these parts). We do have some just in case but today as its raining we are keeping our powder dry!
Gau island itself is the 5th largest island in Fiji and is most famous for producing the rugby legend that's is Serevi - quite a claim to fame. The island in the initial approach looks different yet again - very green low, rolling hills, much reminiscent of the south west of England with a few more palm trees. It looks really primitive and the chances of finding Paddy McGinty's bar here are remote to say the least. In fact, it looks so primitive the chances of finding a restaurant ashore are negligible, so we bailed on going ashore at all - the trouble is Dave's tuna he had taken out of the freezer was still frozen so me to the rescue again with a spaghetti pesto.
Although this looks a nice bay we have no time to stay as we need to be in Nadi latest midday on the 14th i.e Thursday, and its 150 miles away still. Early start tomorrow then.