If you are expecting some sort of erotic adventure I am sorry to disappoint you. The title is referring to the weather in Fiji. I have recently added code to all my webpages to include Google analytics and Google search console. Google search console lets you learn how your web pages are found by search engines, which keywords lead to your pages being listed in Google searches and which searches actually lead to people landing on your web page. I had some interesting insights.
An article (sorry it’s in German) about a boat that vaguely resembles an UFO lured people interested in aliens to my page. So I thought lets give Shades of Grey a try, it might attract some poor souls while they are googling the web for erotic delights. Search console will keep me informed about the success of this venture.
But that’s not what my travel blog is really about. The last blog ends when we leave Wallis with destination Fiji. Consequently that is where this blog starts..
The passage to Fiji was mostly unpleasant: The first night was a never ending sequence of squalls with rain and plenty of wind, followed by a day and another night of constant rain and wind. The SPCZ (South Pacific Convergence Zone) payed us a lengthy visit. Only the last day was pleasant. We raced through the reefs and atolls east of Vanua Levu into the Somosomo Strait to get through the pass between Vanua Levu and Taveuni before dark. But even average Speeds of above 7 knots only got us there by sundown and we reached our final destination Savsusavu at 3:00 am. It was pitch black in the Nakama Creek but we managed to find a vacant mooring to tie on to. I was slightly shocked when I looked around in the morning and noticed how close we had navigated Qi past a nasty reef that protruded from the water at low tide only 15 m behind our mooring. I must stop this stupid habit of sailing into anchorages at night.
Savusavu is a beautiful place, I have probably written about it already in 2014 but it can’t be said often enough. Good cheap internet (cheaper than NZ), a good variety of affordable fresh food in the markets and delicious cheep restaurants on shore. We usually get away with about 13 $US for a meal for the two of us including starters, and drinks. Fiji also features extremely friendly people and not to mention plenty of friendly cruisers. First we were a bit disappointed about the weather though. Quite a bit of rain and no sun in days. Until one morning I noticed how good it felt not to break into a sweat and get roasted by the sun while paddle boarding up the creek and I learnt to embrace the weather. It is actually quite nice to be out of the scourging sun of Wallis and Samoa.
Hanging out in Savusavu we heard about the Rainbow Reef of the Somosomo Strait and that it is one of the worlds top dive sites and I decided I would have to give it a go. Going back east against the trades is quite a challenge so I looked at local dive operators first. Well over 170 EUR per person for the 50 mile trip and a two tank dive made me change my mind. Also we wanted to take a look at Taveuni, which is said to be very beautiful. After looking at buses and ferries to Taveuni I notices that a slight change in the wind to the south was due for Thursday which might allow me to reach Taveuni in only two tacks beating up against about 20 kn of wind.
So after getting our cruising permit organized we left Savusavu on Thursday at 5:00 am. It was a rough sail, pointing as high as we could into 20 to 28 kn of apparent wind and a nasty 1.5 m sea. These are the times when you look at your rig and listen to the noises of the waves crashing into the boat and ask yourself if you are not too hard on it. It looked like my two tack calculation would not work out and I ended up setting our autopilot into wind vane mode to keep a constant angle of 40 degrees to the wind which was the best we could do in the waves. As the wind increased our averages went well above 6 kn and to our delight the wind gradually turned further to south. I recon this is partly due to the effect of closing in to the lee of the mountainous island of Taveuni, redirecting the wind in our favor. Sailing at a constant angle to the wind our track described a wide curve only just avoiding to hit land, the course gradually changing from 65° for starters to 100° in the end.
We arrived in Viani Bay around 2:30 pm and anchored outside of Jack Fisher’s place next to the Israeli catamaran Shuti. After a brief nap I payed Shuti a visit on the paddle board and they invited us to join them on their boat for a snorkeling trip to the reef with local guide Jack the next day. So the next morning we headed of to a dive site called Cabbage Patch and spent a pleasant day with the crew of Shuti and Jack. Gaylyn entertained the children with games and the delicious lunch reminded us of our Atlantic crossing with Israeli crew.