Fiu in Adriatic
Fiji - 2 June to 8 July 2005
Crossing from Tonga from Fiji was in a way uneventful - good wind, good sailing, fishing, all the 'usual stuff!
However, there was a 'catch' - back in our minds there was a serious concern - according to some un-official reports that are circulating between cruisers, there are over 30 reported but NOT CHARTERED REEFS in the waters between Tonga & Fiji!! Susan marked carefully position of all these un-chartered 'reefs' on our charts (see the copy below) with the idea that we'll do our best to steer away from those suspicious areas - but .. this is not all ... This area is notorious in Pacific and known as Bermuda Triangle of South Pacific - this is the area with the most active volcanic activity within the (in)famous Ring of Fire. Islands are appearing and disappearing every year! As they say, seeing is believing, while in Tonga, Allen, the owner of a small and lovely resort on Mounu Island, showed us a photo that he took two years ago of a small island. Island was created on the Metis Shoal, some 50 miles SW of Vava'U Group. He was there and had a chance to take a photo of the 'new-no-name' island while it was still 'hot' and all in steam and smoke and practically created in front of his camera. Few days latter the island disappeared into the depth of the deep blue ocean! We would certainly like not to have the opportunity to take similar photos during our crossing from Tonga to Fiji - and decided to keep on a safe distance from the Metis shoal and all other 30+ un-chartered reefs marked on our charts - chartering new islands is definitely not our favorite pass time!
Three days latter arrived safely to Fiji - luckily did not 'charter' any new reefs and sailing was a smooth as it can get. However, an interesting encounter should be mentioned here - although we have no proof but you should take our word for it. We were some 50 miles E of Suva, Fiji's capital, sailing slowly when suddenly noticed on the horizon many birds - usually indication of a tuna or dorado feeding frenzy - ideal opportunity for us to catch a fish on our trolling lines. So Ivo steered in that direction and soon we realised that this time we are not heading towards tuna feeding ground but towards something else. Ahead of us there was a big humpback whale! But why so many birds around the whale - they usually don't attract birds?! The mystery was soon revealed - the whale was giving birth and it was surrounded with a big-dark cloud from the broken placenta on which birds were feeding! Unfortunately we did not see the calf as Susan was afraid the whale might be irritable and attack us if we hang around for too long or too close - so we sailed off .. and missed one in a life time opportunity!!
In Fiji, Jagoda and Paul's partner Jan were due to join us for ten day holidays. We spent three days to clear the mess and tidy up all the cabins, heads, saloon - and after a lot of 'sweat, tears & beers' Fiu was as new - see attached photos. Conclusion - it is certainly beneficial to have VIP guests!!
Next day off we went to explore this little island ...
Next day sailed north to the famous Yasawa group of islands. Yasawa group is a semi-remote area not frequented by tourists. When visiting such areas it is a common practice to pay respect to a village chief, give him a present (usually kava, a mild and very common drug that is greatly enjoyed by mainly male population of the South Pacific Islands - we bought loads of this drug in Fiji - mind you, in this part of the world this is all legal stuff ) and his family/villagers (things like pencils, notebooks, batteries, T-shirts, etc. are highly appreciated). Once the permission was granted by a village chief we were allowed to roam around and talk/trade/barter with villagers. It was a very pleasant and unique experience to all of us - especially to our girls, Jagoda & Jan.
Few more photos from the famous Yasawa Group - curtsey of Colin, our cruising friend from Manu Tara who had more luck with the weather while cruising in this Island group.
After a week we sailed back to the Vuda Point marina, booked the haul out and the following few weeks spent on the dry dock in Vuda Point Marina. It was a good opportunity to put a new antifouling on Fiu which was already due and at the same time to change the oil, check rigging, polish the hull and fix dozens of small-little problems that were on To Do list for a while but never enough time to fix them.
During our stay in the marina made many new friends and spent many evenings in nearby resorts and yacht club chatting over a beer or dinner.
One weekend went sailing with Roquie on his Lagon 55 catamaran to the neighboring Beachcomber resort - it was a welcomed break for us. We spent a lovely day in a company of nearly 20 people whom Roquie invited for sailing.
Next - Vanuatu - sailing west to Tanna, Vanuatu
Next - Vanuatu - Sailing from Fiji to Vanuatu