It’s a long haul through Nasonisoni Passage between the reefs made more difficult due to the loss of marker which appear on the chart but nowhere in reality. Overfalls caused by the tide being forced between the reefs adds to the challenge.
Setting out. Beware of mines.
Once out of the lee of the land and the protection of the inner reef the wind increases and the seas rise with good metres worth on the nose pitching us up and down as we make our way some 35 miles across the bay.
Once clear of the reefs we alter course for Savusavu and are able to fly the Jib which in less than 15 knots boost our engine driven speed up to 6.2 up to 8.5 knots
Once on the otherside and in the lee again calm returns as we turn into a beautiful deep water anchorage behind the sheltering, tree covered Nawi Island and the mainland. Coconut Palms with Mangroves forming the waters edge on the island side, while a pleasant park with the shop fronts of town the other.
The town. The town dock.
The only sad sight is that of a large steel yacht washed up on the beach which appears to have been a victim of a cyclone and/or possibly caught fire as all paintwork apart from the bow has been replaced by rust though it’s well exposed even at high tide.
Burnt out? Bula
Having been allotted a mooring and suitable attached, its off to the “Copra Shed” which has been restored/converted and houses several restaurants, the yacht club, a boutique, and a travel agents etc. Around the old jetty are the finger pontoons full of a visiting Australian rally boats.
Having booked with the restaurant for dinner it’s into town. What there is of it seems to be a main street of low rise buildings housing the usual assortment of shops including a couple of supermarkets on the one side and on the shore side is the bus station, a covered market selling mainly vegetables and fruit and the town council offices.
Council offices with lions Main street
The market Negotiating lemon prices
A verdant jungle of coconut palms and vine covered trees cover the steeply rising hills behind the town, the mass of which is only broken by the odd large house and cleared patch of trimmed grass.
In the supermarket we bump into a bunch of young ladies who enquire if were off the boat with the Welsh and Swedish flags. Turns out that they and the single male are in the troupe are trainee doctors from England who also arrived this afternoon. They are invited for happy hour but have to take a rain cheque as they have and induction meeting which clashes.
Dawnbreaker on the mooring
Returning to the yacht club we take a beer and watch a bit of the rugby 7’s while waiting for Tonton, who’s gone to get his phone card sorted out, return.
As we sit in glorious sunshine the dreaded black cloud sneaks up on us and with seconds the heavens open.
Everyone appears to have been caught unawares with hatches wide open. The rush to the launch dinghy’s was worthy of a Le Mans start as with a roar of engines the race back to ones yacht began. We were lucky, the toilet and galley floor below and in the wheelhouse and home of four computers, only Tonton's phone which was on the Captains seat was wet but not enough to do serious damage.
By 7pm and in time for us to go ashore for dinner it had stopped and remained that way until we returned when it restarted with renewed vigour and continued on and off for most of the night.
By morning Tonton’s coke can ashtray was half full of water which probably equates to several inches of rain! Welcome back to the mainland.
Bob the Blog
It’s still pouring with rain which settles like Scotch mist shrouding the whole of the loch like bay. The sun has struggled to come out and given up leaving a colourful rainbow arching over the Copra Shed
Rainbow More rain
On the big jetty at the entrance to the bay, a medium sized ferry is unloading while waiting in the wings is a much larger model, bow doors open, tailgate down impatient to dock
As we will be heading back out to the islands we need to do a stock take of food and beverages. Having checked the contents of the bath, our wine cellar and bottle fridge, we then have to multiply consumption by 30 days less our stock. This comes out as needing; 48 bottles of wine red, 12 bottles of wine white, 96 cans of beer, 36 cans of tonic etc.
An audit of the freezer reveals some 15kilos of meat various plus our Mahi Mahi. This will need to be augmented by vegetables, milk, cheese, sandwich meat, eggs etc. Then there are the dry goods, pasta and rice etc. plus spices etc. and finally bread.
There’s a lot of shopping to do but we aren’t going anywhere in this rain!
13:00 a window of opportunity as the rains stop and we jumps in the dinghy and head for the shore. Our first stop is lunch at the Coral island café, fish and chips and a beer for $10 can’t be bad. Then, clutching our beverage inventory, we check in one of the supermarkets on the way for a price comparison before entering the wine store and delicatessen next door.
Prices compared Tonton introduces the stores assistant to the art of negotiation when making a bulk purchase. She finally cottons on and soon she’s bargaining back. At the end of it all nobody’s sure who got the best deal, but it was very entertaining.
The other Yacht Club and meat store
Then over the road to the meat store we had been recommended where we purchase 4kilos of ground beef to supplement our stock. The other Yacht club whose mooring we are on is located in the same ancient building where we meet the man in charge. A multi faceted gentleman who also runs the diving school, DHS parcel service and who knows what else.
Not a posh club
We register with him as set off back to the other club, the rain having started again. By now were getting used to being wet and luckily as it’s a warm rain and a warm wind you soon dry off, though were turning a little green!
They say they’ll deliver to the yacht club so off we trot for a beer and await there arrival. Within half a beer their there and the dinghy, loaded to the gunwales makes it’s way to “Dawnbreaker” on the first of its trips to unload its precious cargo.
1st round 2nd round
All safely aboard we settle down and let the rain pound down for the next hour or so and as sunset arrives the sun valiantly pokes its head through clouds to say farewell and the rain ceases in time for us to go ashore for a Pizza at the yacht club.
Rugby is on, the 7’s; Wales convincingly beat Chile whilst Tong beat Fiji 40-0!
Bob the Blog.