Vona Vona Lagoon

Lars Alfredson
Sat 18 Jul 2015 21:17
pos 8:18.40S 157:9.83E
Lola Island

2015-07-16 Disaster! At around 00:30 having felt the need to communicate with the fishes (Have a pee) I make my way to the stern platform, reach for the steadying rope of the dinghy to stop me falling overboard I find nothing there and no sign of the craft.

Lars is awoken from his slumbers and we agree there is nothing we can do until daybreak.

As dawn breaks we see activity ashore with the Resort’s “Jollyboat” loading fuel containers for refilling in Gizo. He is summoned across, told of our dilemma, asked to keep a look out on the way and enquire if anyone had seen our errant dinghy. If all else fails we will hire him for a search.

Off he goes, but within some 15 minutes after he has disappeared out of sight, he reappears, followed by our dinghy! A “mirable” as my granddaughter would say. Apparently our man found it drifting some 4 miles downwind of us and took it to his village for the night.

After a wondrous reunion and the parting with a “well worth it” wad of cash, thank the Lord their not into “Lloyds open form for Salvage”, we set off on our next adventure.

Today trip is to Vonavona Lagoon, a long passage of relatively shallow water running between a series of long islands, the passage itself narrows along its length and is full of many smaller islands and reefs.

As we enter the water turns a translucent green and although it is only 10 metres deep we cannot see the bottom through this pea soup. There is a distinct feeling of going up the Amazon as the islands close in with mangroves running to the water’s edge and the occasional signs of human habitation with small jetties and collections of huts.

Though we are following in the track from Lars’ previous visit which consisted of a multitude of waypoints or “Mudmap,” as they are known hereabout, he acquired from the Resort. Unfortunately things are not that simple.

The current run of extremely low tides reveals a reef breaking the surface in our route and shallows pop up out of the green without warning. After our first strike, we learn quickly that if the water goes clear and you can see bottom, be very careful. In fact after seeing what looked like a tree floating ahead of us on the plotted course we soon discovered it was an exposed reef that now lay across the path previously taken.

No Autopilot on this route, hand steering and sharp eyes being the order of the day we finally drop anchor off Lola Island Resort. Based here we had intended to dinghy out to Skull Island but at the bottom of the way is blocked by and exposed reef.

Lunch and beer we wait for the tide to rise, but in the meantime large black thunderheads have been gathering and eventually find us. Closing the hatches transforms the inside of the yacht into a sauna making it unbearable.

 We try to find a dry spot under the Bimini which covers the cockpit to keep the sun off us normally. But swinging on the anchor as the winds change direction more often than not the rain blows in from the unprotected sides.

Thoughts of going ashore for happy hour decrease proportionate to the rain increase which is enough to get Noah practising his Arc building skills. Abandoning that idea, happy hour followed by a Curry, to Clive of India’s’ recipe according to the tin. The table is laid below but the steamy airless atmosphere is too much and we risk rain up in cockpit.


It not that bad as being on the rainy side I have my trusty brolly up and the rain has abated. Clive evidently wasn’t much of a curry man as his offering is hardly going to blow you head off.

Emboldened by a nice bottle or is it two of Shiraz we set about a game of MexT. All is going well when the rain returns with renewed enthusiasm, but we’re roughy toughy sailors and refused to be cowed. By now the table is awash and the pieces are starting to float also, our last dry bits of clothing that were protected by the table are now soaked with the flow that runs off its edges.

Abandoning clothes and towelling off we retreat to the Sauna which is the cabin, for a game of Yatsy. Yours truly delivers a stunning defeat to the opposition despite having little idea of what I was doing, ignorance is bliss!

Time to retire with the beating a merry rhythm overhead.


Bob the Blog