Albert Cove - Rabi 16 26.730S 179 56.290W
Mike and Liz Downing
Mon 25 Jun 2012 09:07
It was only a 26 mile sail across to Rabi and up it's western shore to get to Albert Cove at the northwestern corner, but it involved negotiating quite a few reefs on the way and we do that very slowly! So it took 6 hours and we arrived early afternoon. The bay is without doubt one of the most picturesque that we have seen so far in Fiji - a half-moon bay with a golden sandy beach backed with palms. We haven't checked out the reefs yet and neither have we been ashore yet to check out the beach, but the jury is still out on the anchorage. It's another deep one - we're in 70ft and definitely cannot see the bottom - not good. The offshore wind was doing a good job at keeping us off the shore, but it dropped out as soon as it got dark and we're swinging every which way. We may need the stern anchor again, but don't fancy the thought of deploying it tonight. There are 3 other boats here. One was here when we arrived and 2 others arrived later this afternoon. There's only room for about 6 boats, so it's quite snug.
The reefs and strong wind made the passage 'interesting', as did zigzagging back and forth across the dateline (the 180 degree line). We started the passage in the west, crossed over to the east and are now back again in the west. The dateline means nothing here in terms of the date changing; the whole of Fiji operates the same time as New Zealand regardless of longitude. But it does have implications for the navigator. Each time we cross it our longitude changes - either east from Greenwich or west from Greenwich. So if you're going west and are east of the dateline your longitude increases, but continuing to go west once across the dateline your longitude decreases. It's very easy to make mistakes. particularly when putting in waypoints.
Rabi is not populated by Fijians, but by Banabans from the Gilbert Islands. Their original home, Ocean Island in the Gilbert Islands (a thousand miles to the northwest), was destroyed by phosphate mining and the British Government agreed to find them a new island home. Rabi is it and was bought from the Fijian Government.