Fiji - 17:46.175S 177:11.226E

Alex Belmont
Thu 16 Aug 2012 01:21
Moondance made it to Fiji. We landed in Suva, the capitol city of Fiji as well as a port of entry, last Monday. On our approach I thought we would have to wait a day in order to avoid weekend overtime charges for our check-in, but luckily realized that we had crossed the date line. This meant it was Monday while just a few hundred miles east it was still the weekend.

Our check-in was a bit of a hassle. A couple of years ago Fiji customs made a rule that you have to report your arrival at least two days in advance. I guess this is to coordinate space of the wharfs for big shipping, but is nonetheless required for yachts as well. We didn't know about this new requirement, so I had to go back and forth to the customs office a few times to clear it all up. Our customs official said this was the first time she had ever seen this, very serious. Over the next five days though, we talked to two other boats that had not known about the new requirement. Anyway, it is all worked out now. No big deal.

Rose signed off of the crew to wander the country over land for a couple of weeks until she flies to Australia in search of work, which gave me a few days to sort out the boat before Carley, an old friend from university, flew in to join me for a few weeks. Carley and I hung out in Suva for a few days while we went through more official forms signing her onto the crew, creating a cruise permit, and finally getting clearance to cruise within Fiji - all at different offices of course. Fiji seems to have a lot of rules and paperwork for sailors.

We were happy to sail out of rainy Suva (In the week I was there it rained all except for one day) and head northwest around the big island of Viti Levu towards the Mamanuca and Yasawa groups. It took us a day and a half to make the ~100 miles from Suva through the Navula Passage and into Momi bay, where we anchored last night. For the most part it was nice sailing. Tuesday night we were becalmed, but the rest of the passage we had breeze aft of the beam. This morning we had a lovely three hour sail from Momi Bay to Malolo Lailai.

It seems like a good place to be. There are quite a few sailboats and a couple of resorts around, but the anchorage is well protected and sunny, and the island is very pretty. Within about ten miles of here they filmed Castaway and Blue Lagoon, and maybe more that I don't know about. It certainly is picturesque.