Tuesday, October 4, 2016

To the Yasawa group of Islands, Fiji

With light winds forecast we headed west from Budd reef to the Paradise resort on Taveuni. We called on the VHF radio to book a mooring and looked forward to relaxing at the resort but when we arrived the mooring they allocated put us too close(10ft) from another boat and there were no alternate moorings so we headed across the Somosomo strait to Fawn harbour. To enter the harbour you have to navigate through a narrow channel between the reef and with poor light and with poor Fiji charts it was a bit nerve wracking but perfectly fine in the end. We anchored in 55ft of water off an island and settled down for the night and planned an early departure for Savusavu in the morning. 
Fawn Harbour

We tied up to the fuel dock at Savusavu at around 11am and said hello to our friend Bongi and started our list of tasks: fill water, fuel, propane, food, phone top up etc. We ended up staying 2 nights and managed to complete all our tasks and have two Chinese meals, yum. 

Route from Savusavu to Yasawa Is. Click to enlarge
Route from Savusavu to Yasawa Is. Click to enlarge
Unfortunately our time is running short in Fiji and we want to visit the Yasawa islands which are located in north west Fiji so we departed early in the morning on the 120 mile passage. The route takes us through a few tricky reefs and across Bligh water, a large body of water fringed by reefs, which we plan to transit at night arriving at the pass at the northern end of the Yaswawa chain at dawn. The wind was a pleasant 10 knots on the beam in the morning as we navigated through the reefs and into Bligh water and then the wind built to 20-25 knots but the seas were only about 1 mtr. Nice. The problem was that we were going too fast as this would mean that we would arrive at the northern end of the Yasawas at around midnight and we need daylight to make passage through the islands. I shortened the sail taking down the mainsail. Still going too fast so I furled the headsail to the second reef. Still too fast. In the end I took all our sail down and we were still sailing at between 4.5 and 5.5 knots dead downwind. Why is it when you want to go fast there is no wind and when you want to go slow there is too much wind? With all sail down and heading dead down wind the ride was a bit on the rolly side. We could heave to and wait for daylight but then the wind might become light as the forecast was only for 10 knots. We carried on and eventually arrived at the northern end of the Yasawas forty minutes before dawn. We navigated through a couple of islands and around some reefs and headed for Yasawa bay and with the aid of Google earth images dropped the anchor in 25 feet in clear sand. 

Wow! What a beautiful bay. In front of us stretched a white sandy beach and clear blue calm water we could not wait to go ashore and explore but first SLEEP as its been 24 hrs for me with no sleep.

Anchorage in Yasawa Bay
Yasawa Bay

Later in the afternoon we went ashore and stretched our legs. This anchorage certainly lives up to expectations. We walked the length of the beach and relaxed in the water. I can see this is going to be a place we will stay longer than we should. 

Katya being a geologist....

Sunset over the Yasawa islands

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