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Socializing ….

Some folks left the anchorage (Tahina, Dreamtime), a couple more arrived (Passages, Scream). Mike from Callisto popped by to invite us to drinks Thursday night. Steve & Darusha popped by and invited us for dinner Friday night.

During the day we just amused ourselves aboard the usual way. I decided to condition the batteries and ran the generator for most of the morning. I had planned to do more routine checks of the boat but put it off to today.

Drinks aboard Callisto was fun and went on til late. Also there the Kilkeas and Passages’s.

It’s nice here but we need to get out. All this socializing is hard on the body. The bloodstream at least.

Lavena Coastal Walk

15 cruisers (including us) got together yesterday to take the bus down to Lavena and walk the coastal walk. We had mixed information about the bus departure time which ranged from 9am to 10am. The most specific advice was that it was due at 9:15 but we could have to wait until 10am. We were all ashore by 9:30 and caught the bus at 10:30. It’s called Fiji time by the locals.

The bus was the typical open window (ie, no window) kind which offered a cool breeze and fantastic views of the coast and the villages we passed through. After an hour or so we reached the village of Lavena where we paid to enter the Bouma National Heritage Park and for a couple of guides to take us on the trail.

The trail took about hour and a half to reach the waterfalls at the end. The pace was slow to allow chances to listen to the guide tell us about a few of the things we could see and to take photos. The final section of the path took us up to a shaded spot on a river where we stopped for a swim and to eat lunch. From this spot we could see one of two waterfalls a little way up the river. We swam up to the bowl beneath this waterfall where we were able to see a second waterfall pouring into the same bowl which was not previously visible. Of our group I was the only one to climb the slippery rocks behind our guide and slide down the slick chute created by the second waterfall.

After our swim we rested and had a bite to eat before following the trail back to the starting point. Our return was a quite a bit quicker as we had no need to stop so often. By now school was out and we were greeted by happy, smiling children. It’s wonderful to see the innocence of small kids not having had to be scared off by the boogeyman of strangers.

We headed back to Matei in two minivans and decided to eat at one of the local restaurants. The food turned out to be delicious. Helen and I ended up on Kilkea after the meal where we were plied with beverages that are still working their way out of my head.

On the maintenance front we progress slowly. Permissions have been sought and now fully granted to have the Lagoon techs perform the work in the Norsand yard. We’re close to knowing if/when/where the replacement charger will be sent and we should soon have the details of the sex-change worked out.

Having made the decision to slow down and spend the whole season here in Fiji there is no stress involved in staying put for a while in one place. We’re really enjoying the beauty and tranquility of Taveuni as well as this breezy anchorage. Sharing time with our friends here makes the experience priceless. So all is good.

Even better, we’ve received confirmation from our good friends, Anne and John, that they will be with us early August. Much to look forward to.

25th, East of the Line

Once the sun was well up I headed out to say hello to some of the new arrivals in the anchorage and make sure the folks who hadn’t received my earlier email knew they were invited. I didn’t have to go too far as we ended up with a few dinghies/kayak congregated around Gerimar so I managed to get the word out.

While there, six local officials/policemen came out in a fishing skiff to inspect the paperwork of the boats here. We came to the conclusion they were bored and wanted to see the boat show in the anchorage. Only one fellow did any paperwork / inspection and all were very friendly and keen to look around.

After this unexpected interlude Helen and I went out to snorkel one of the nearby coral patches. On the outside of the reef the water was fairly clear and the coral diverse and abundant. The fish were small but colourful and we managed to see a beautiful but dangerous (to the reef) crown of thorns starfish.

After our swim we went over to the lobster pot. The only thing in it was the extremely stinky fish frame which had now collapsed and got stuck in pieces in the netting. It was a disgustingly smelly job to clean it all up. It took me a while to get the awful smell off my fingers.

In the evening we had our public anniversary party. Along came the Borees, Callistos, Dreamtimes, Gerimars, Jaranas, Kilkeas, Tahinas and True Companions for a fun evening. Bert from Boree made us all smile with a bit of a speech presenting Helen and I with hats they’d made earlier in the day appropriate for the celebration.

Quite a few of us are interested in going down the coast to the Bouma National Park, some to see the falls we’ve already seen and some to do the coastal trail. So it looks like today a crowd of us will go down on the public bus returning by taxi. Should be fun.

Viani Bay

Shortly after 7am we were off out of Fawn Harbour. As we made our left turn into the cut we put out two fishing lines and once out of the cut out out two more. The sea was flat and the westerly wind we’d had forecast was there, but it was just one knot. So we motored all the way to Viani Bay. We had one catch, a small Barracuda, just out of Fawn Harbour which we put back. Despite hearing that other boats caught Mahis we did not.

Viani Bay is famous for it’s encircling reef – Rainbow Reef. Famous for it’s clear water making for excellent diving and snorkeling. As we approached we noticed Jackster exiting the reef so we hailed them. It turned out they had the Tahinas and Garimars aboard and were all off diving with the local guide, Jack Fisher. We asked if we could follow them to their first spot and upon consultation with Jack it was deemed ok.

We were soon anchored on a shallow patch on the outside of the reef and then into the dinghy with our gear following the divers up the reef. We were in 20-100s+ feet of clear blue water with a health reef below us. We had the company of a lone white tipped reef shark and thousands of other fish. At one point we saw a turtle. We had intended to snorkel the reef so this lucky opportunity got us in and wet without having to sort out a guide.

Helen and I made the swim all the way back to the boat getting a little stung at the end by jelly fish larvae. A little irritating but ok once you know it calms down fairly quickly. Judy and Colin stayed near our dinghy allowing the current to take them down the reef.

Back on the boat we headed into Viani Bay and anchored near Stray Kitty where we quickly readied lunch. We shared a bottle of wine with lunch setting the stage for a sleepy afternoon. Later in the afternoon our guests headed off in the kayak. It was funny seeing Judy doing all the paddling for a while while Colin messed with his fishing line. I would never get away with that with Helen.

In the evening Helen cooked up another portion of the mahi we’d caught on the way to Fiji – quite delicious.

Now that we’ve snorkeled the reef here we have the opportunity to press eastwards. We like the idea of reaching Matagi to the east of Taveuni and staying there a couple of nights before heading (and perhaps even sailing) back west to the tip of Taveuni and going for some hikes ashore.

I’ve managed to upload four albums of photos for my regular readers a short trip back through the last few entries will reveal them.


To the sound of the occasional cockerel ashore we all awoke around dawn and roused ourselves shortly after. Colin wasted no time and had his fishing line in the water catching a foot long trevally on his first cast. We decided this would make a good gift for the family ashore instead of additional cava root.

The weather was none too brilliant at first but by around 8am the light rains had eased. Frank from Tahina was keen to go ashore so he picked us up in his higher powered dinghy and the five of us went ashore. As the tide was going out we left his dinghy about half way up the mangrove tunnel and waded the rest of the way before climbing the muddy track to the ‘main’ road.

We climbed up to Arthur and Sandra’s house and we introduced the newcomers to them. Again we were invited in for tea and biscuits and a long chat with our hosts. As we already knew the way to the hot spring we were allowed to head off there ourselves. Arthur offered to share some cava with us on our return which we accepted.

As a result of the previous nights rains the river was a little deeper than before and the trail certainly more muddy. We reached the hot springs and all found our spots alternating between hot and cold as we did before. On the way back we first went down to the dinghy to move it further out as we could see the area already drying out. We then climbed back up to Arthur’s and were treated to a sharing of cava. We sat around a mat and Arthur prepared the cava in front of us and then shared it with us. A single coconut cup was used, filled then passed to each of us in turn. As each of us drank we’d clap three times. Not quite sure if we were doing it right it was still fun to do. The cava in Fiji tastes a lot better than that in Tonga which tastes a lot more like mud. After each round we’d pause for a few minutes before another round was handed out.

Soon we all had tingling lips and tongues and were feeling somewhat relaxed. Concerned about the tide we bade our farewells. I’d offered to share some music with them as they used their phones for listening. I took a memory chip from one of their phones with me back to the boat. Unfortunately it was of a kind I could not access despite all the electronic junk I had aboard.

After lunch Judy and Colin took the dinghy out to the pass to snorkel. They had a good time seeing a lot of fish. Through the afternoon three more boats came in including True Companions and Boree. I went over to each and shared what I’d learned of the place. As I was planning to go back ashore one final time to return the memory chip I offered to show them the way.

This resulted in the five of us heading ashore around 4pm. I’d warned them about the mud but I think there was some surprise as to the actual amount. We made our way up to the house and I introduced the next set of cruisers. They all headed inside while I returned the memory chip. It turned out their other phone had a chip I could access and as Bert and Ingi were definitely coming back I took this chip back to the boat. I was able to put a few songs on it. I also had a similar memory chip spare so I filled that with similar music and bagged that up with the original.

Bert and Ingi showed up later to pick them up and we invited them aboard for beer and wine. We shared their company up until dinner. They’d had a good time ashore. They’d learned one thing from Arthur which is worth knowing if you’re reading this blog and intend to come to the bay and visit the hot spring. Quite a few cruisers in the past have gone into the village of Bagasau and given sevusevu there then walked over Arthur’s land without permission to visit the hot spring. Arthur won’t do anything about it as he doesn’t want to confront folks but we all feel that if you’re coming to visit something on someone’s land they should be formally asked and permission obtained via the local custom of sevusevu.

Once dinner was ready we turfed Bert and Ingi off the boat. By now the skies were totally clear, the stars were out – a fine evening was had.

The current plan for today is to head east to Viani Bay. That thinking is based on yesterday’s weather forecast. This may all change following today’s which I’ll get when sending this blog entry out.