Blog 63. Nacula and Waya Islands

David Batten
Fri 8 Jul 2016 19:01
Thursday 30 June. Another lovely day and a short and uneventful motor to Nacula Island just south of Yasawa. Another lovely bay with a very tidy, up together village and another quite brief Sevusevu, this Chief being quite old and apparently quite tired. Then a walk down beach and through the village, meeting the local rugby team in training, while Anthony walked the hills. By afternoon the weather was clouding over and the wind strong enough to discourage a swim, so we watched the children coming home from school from the bigger village in the next bay and walked again in that direction, but avoiding the village as we getting short of Kava.

Friday, 1 July. We set off in good time, aiming for a bay on the west coast of Naviti some 17nm away rather than the Blue Lagoon, with very little guidance from Sail Fiji or any other navigational source other than our Garmin charts and ISailor, both of unconfirmed accuracy and full of disclaimers. With Anthony on the bow and Skipper with his iPhone on Google Earth for the satellite images, we were motoring cautiously between the just visible reefs in the early morning light and all was well until we were approaching the Blue Lagoon entrance where we were in clear water according to ISailor and where the echo sounder started reading a rapid reduction in depth. Shouts from the bow confirmed a reef or coral head, so with the echo showing 4m, it was rapidly into reverse and then an abrupt change of course to starboard to avoid the obstruction. In fairness to the Garmin, it's chart did show us just missing a danger line, but with the cockpit chart plotter out of action, it has not been a huge help when all hands are needed on deck for eyeball navigation and communication.

Heart rates somewhat elevated and proceeding very slowly, a Swedish yacht miraculously appeared behind us and it transpired that they had a safe track through these reef strewn waters and were happy for us to follow them. It was not a totally relaxed passage because they motored at 6 knots, had a shallower draft and did not fully appreciate our second episode of rapid heart rate when the echo sounder dropped from 30m plus to less than 6m over some coral. Again an alteration in course to starboard put us in deeper water and we never saw less than 16m after that, but by this time the wind was getting up, the sun was disappearing behind the clouds and it was surprisingly rough. We opted to continue following them on to Drawaqa Island where we could snorkel in a pass famous for manta rays, rather than stopping at Naviti, but by the time we got there, it was blowing 20 to 25 knots with a lot of south in the wind and the anchorage looked most unpleasant. In the end, we followed them through the Pass, very narrow and exciting and on to Nalauwaki Bay at the top end of Waya Island. At least the sea was starting to get calmer even though it was gusting up to 30 knots over the deck on the approach to Waya and we dropped the anchor as close inshore as the Skipper's wife would allow in relatively calm waters and a bit less wind. We had passed Zoom going the other way, destined for the anchorage off Drawaqa, but they also agreed it was unsuitable and continued north to Naviti and the bay we were originally heading for. We had our Swedish guides over for a drink to say thank you and had an undisturbed night.

Saturday 2 July. Having whizzed past most of the Yasawa Islands, we had a day or 2 in hand, so spent a very pleasant day in Nalauwaki. After saying goodbye to our Swedish guides who wanted to get to Vuda marina in the now light winds, we set off for the village with Kava, some lollipops and some give away clothes. We are nearly able to keep time with the Sevesevu clapping now, this time with a very much more lively Chief who was baby sitting the position until a new chief was elected. Ceremony completed, we had to negotiate the cost of a guide for Anthony for a strenuous walk up the nearest peak, distribute lollies to the children who helped us get the dinghy in through the reef lining the beach and walk ourselves and take photographs.

Tomorrow we will go to Denarau to stock up for the next three weeks. Countdown to New Zealand has started.


Sent from my iPad

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