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Boat Day

Sam was keen to get on with his studies so we were happy to have a boat day. Helen and I mainly read while Sam got on. We had a visit from Jack in the morning when he left us his visitors book which we filled in. In the afternoon the Lardos came over to learn about the places we visited last year. In the evening we watched a bit of TV.

Snorkelling on the Rainbow Reef

As the light brightened, Helen noticed that our chain was wrapped around a few bommies. It turned out we’d picked a pretty poor spot the night before. So before anything else, we raised the chain and anchor carefully manoeuvring around the bommies. We found a better spot nearby and dropped the anchor there.

Just as we were finishing breakfast, Jack, the local guide to the spectacular reef, rowed by. He is renowned for taking sailboaters out onto the reef which he knows very well. We knew the Lardos were keen to go out as were we. We called the Lardos on the radio and they were good to go. Jack went over to their boat to pick them up while we prepped Dignity for the trip out to the reef.

We motored Dignity out to the part of the reef that Jack had in mind and anchored there. As he is familiar with the currents and tides the spot we had was safe for the duration of our time in the water. We all (bar Dennis who still has a sore foot) headed out in the dinghy out to a point on the reef where we could drift back to the boat. Jack stayed in the dinghy keeping an eye on all of us. The water was very clear and the marine life abundant so we had a spectacular swim.

Back on the boat we headed back to the anchorage. We were invited over to Lardo for lunch which we accepted. We took everyone over in the dinghy and kicked back and relaxed while Mary Lee looked after us. After a while I was feeling drowsy and rather than repeat my previous nights falling asleep on everyone we headed back to Dignity to relax.

The rest of the day was just R&R for Helen and I while Sam got on with his tutorials. I finally finished the fifth Game of Thrones book with some relief. The series started well but is now dragging on. With each book muscling in at 1,000+ pages it’s become a bit of a drag getting through them.

We finished the day watching a couple of shows on the TV before retiring feeling very tired.

Viani Bay

The morning was a wash out with heavy rain falling. The forecast suggested it might ease after lunch and it did. Shortly after making the decision to stay another day I made the decision to leave. The seas outside the pass were pretty uncomfortable causing Helen to demand we turn back. Knowing we were to fall off the wind and soon get some shelter from Taveuni I overrode her request and pressed on. Initially we were motoring only but once we did fall off we had enough of an angle to get the head sail out to help us along. It also meant we could drop to one engine. Later, when we were able to make more of a turn we could turn off the remaining engine and sail. We could have gone faster if we’d raised the main but we were too lazy.

Having been through the pass before a few times it was less nerve wracking than the first time entering Viani Bay. We’d made contact with Lardo who we knew were in the bay and agreed to meet up with them for a meal. We ended up anchoring not too far from them in fading light.

By 5pm Mary Lee and Dennis were over. Helen cooked up a great chilli dish. I was an imperfect host when I fell asleep before they left. A long day.

We’ll probably stay here a few days. Sam is keen to put some time into his studies and it’s possible we could get some diving or snorkeling in here on the reef.

Fawn Harbour

About 7am, just after dawn, we raised our anchor and headed off. The wind was under 2 knots and the seas flat so it was pure motoring. We ran most of the way on the starboard engine in order to postpone the port engine oil change. We only ran the port engine when raising the anchor and entering the reef at our destination, Fawn Harbour.

On the way we encountered a pod of pilot whales which were just hanging out not doing much. We radioed back to Lardo, a boat we know, who were behind us and let them know where the pod was. They also managed an encounter with them and were happy to have had the heads up.

We arrived shortly after midday then ate lunch before resting through the heat of early afternoon. Just before 3pm we went ashore. The timing was good as this was just before high tide allowing us to make it almost all the way ashore through the tunnel in the mangroves that led to the Pickering property.

Ashore, we headed off to Arthur and Sandra’s home to pay our respects, say hello, catch up and ask permission to visit the hot springs. On the way up to their property we passed through Mona’s home (at least her brother’s home where she stays). She was on the fishing boat when we went out last year. She invited us in for tea but we said perhaps later on the way back as we were on our way to her uncle Arthur’s.

Arthur and Sandra were home and invited us in for tea. We gave them some cava and some biscuits. They had one of their daughters there with them and a two year old who they’d adopted.

After some time there we bade our farewells and headed off to and up the river to the hot springs. The trail was quite muddy but we made it. The spring felt hotter than last year but we all spent time in there. The top pool was particularly hot. It was nice for a bit but soon we had to get lower down where the hot spring poured into the cold river.

It was beginning to get dark so we headed back down the river to the road and then back to the village. We stopped by Mona’s to say hello but she was out. Her older son John invited us in as it was beginning to rain. We stayed and chatted for a while but as it was getting darker outside and the rain had stopped we again bade farewell and headed back to the dinghy and then the boat.

We had a BBQ for dinner and watched a couple of shows on TV which rounded off a nice day.

There is no internet here so we’re cut off from the world again. Kind of nice to be unable to do anything about anything. Let’s us off the hook for a while. No doubt things are already piling up.

Overnight we’ve had a lot of rain, perhaps associated with a front which hopefully will bring some wind today.

We plan on moving on making our way to either Viani Bay or Taveuni. But for now we’re staying put as the overnight rain continues to fall. It’s just over 17nm to Viani Bay so we have time to wait for better weather.