Monday, July 25, 2016

Picking up Anna and delivering supplies to cyclone damaged Vanua Balavu

Savusavu is a friendly small town with two marinas, restaurants (Chinese or Indian), a lovely market, grocery stores and various yacht services. We provisioned, had the arch reinforced, filled our water and cooking gas tanks and even changed the oil in the engine.  We motored out of Savusavu straight into the SE trade winds, aiming for the northern tip of Taveuni Island.

We motored about 2 ½ hours and decided to pull into Naidi Bay for the night. It was a good holding bay, well protected from the wind, but rolly. We were happy to hoist anchor the next morning and motor to Fawn Harbour.

Once we were anchored, Arthur Pickering kayaked out to say, Hello. He is the patriarch of the Pickering clan that lives in Fawn Harbour. Arthur invited us to his home for tea and asked if we could bring a volt metre with us… Arthur’s two solar panels weren’t working. After tea, some homemade biscuits (fried dough), and a trip to the hot springs, Malcolm was able to fix one panel and diagnose the problem with the other. We left Arthur with extra electrical wire and he gave us way too many eggs.
View of Fawn Harbour from Arthur Pickering's house
From Fawn Harbour we tried to sail to Taveuni, but there was no wind. We motored to Matai, on the NW tip of Taveuni Island, right by the airport. The next day our friend, Anna, from Toronto, arrived. We gave Anna the choice of either exploring some islands and going snorkelling, or heading out to the remote islands of the Lau group where we had to deliver the Sea Mercy supplies we were carrying. 

Anna chose the Lau group, so we departed Taveuni for the famous Matagi (or Matangi) Island and anchored in its beautiful Horseshoe Bay. There a pod of dolphins entertained us as they swam in unison feeding in the bay. The next day we motor-sailed Eastward, into the sunshine and into the SE wind, for about 8 hours to Wailagilala Island.  We don’t like sailing into the wind. The island looked lovely, with a beautiful sand beach, but we just had time to drop anchor on the inside if the fringing barrier reef, have sun-downers and get some rest.

Motor-sailing, again, South into the SE wind, again, we arrived at Vanua Balavu after about 5 hours. The Garmin charts were not accurate so we poked around and used Navionics and eventually anchored in the Bay of Islands.
Rock formations (raised coral) at Bay of Islands
The rock formations were amazing and the snorkelling was excellent. The next day we hopped in Tubby and explored around all the little coves and coral heads. Later that day we expected to rendezvoused with Jonathan, on Chez Nous, who was directing Sea Mercy activity in the Northern Lau Group.