The last week, 17:45.5S, 177:23.2E

Serenity of Swanwick
Phil and Sarah Tadd
Thu 10 Oct 2019 06:00

Good intentions of updating the blog have been thwarted recently by poor internet signals and frequent moves.

Our night in Manta Bay was windy and rolly and we weren’t tempted to stay much longer there. We did however go and snorkel the pass at high water, quite impressive but no Manta’s.

Serenity in Manta Bay

Along with the crew of Forever we decided to head further north and shelter from the forecast easterlies at Somo Somo, a bay at the north end of Naviti Island. This is a large bay with good anchorages both off the village and in a smaller bay on its eastern arm. We went in here with Forever and some other yachts including Pennygowan who we had met in Fulaga.


On the Eastern side of the island, a short walk from where we were anchored, there is a crashed World War 2 plane in shallow water. A visit to this was Saturday’s challenge. First we had to find a route across the ridge to the bay through forest, head high grass and coconut plantation, satellite pictures and GPS helped keep us on route. The beach on the east side was covered in a thick layer of Pumice, the same stuff we had encountered round the south of Viti Levu and when we swam out to find the plane we were swimming through a fine layer as well. We had a rough idea of where the wreck was and we did eventually find it complete with a guardian Lion Fish, these can be aggressive and inflict very painful stings so we were careful not to get too close.

With Marino, Peter and Michelle, Yacht Forever.

Pumice on the beach

Lionfish (taken from internet)

On Sunday we were going to move down to the village present our Sevusevu and possibly spend some time there but the forecast wind again changed our plans, easterly becoming strong northerly. Forever left to go to Blue Lagoon and we went down to the south end of Weya, a good move as it gave us excellent shelter. Soon after we arrived a barge came in full of building supplies, pulled up to the beach and was tied up to coconut trees. Overnight these were unloaded using a JCB which drove on and off through the water.

Building supplies arrive

The mooring lines are walked ashore!

Monday we went ashore met the headman Tom who accepted Sevu sevu, his daughter who was finishing off a woven mat and the village mayor or headman who was happy to sell us some Papayas and Bananas.

Toms daughter weaving her mat.

Again this was a well cared for village with a mix of housing from thatched huts, through Corrugated iron to stone build with verandas and gardens. The school was across a stream from the village and this was where the building supplies were bound for.

In the afternoon Phil cleaned the carburettor and plug on the outboard engine which had been playing up, while Sarah snorkelled under Serenity and made sure that the bottom was clean enough to be allowed back into New Zealand. Photos were taken of the clean bottom to back up our statement that the hull was cleaned.

We would have moved on on Tuesday but torrential rain and poor visibility persuaded us to stay, we were collecting rain water at a rate of about 2 mins per litre, our tanks were soon full.

Yesterday we did move on, to Port Denarau Marina, who luckily had a space available for one night. We wanted to have a look at the marina and find out how easy it would be to clear out of Fiji from here.   It seems pretty good -  the marina arrange all the officials if you are booked in there, at no extra cost, but as we discovered they might not have room when you need it. We were able to top up our food and fuel, and Sarah was able to get blood tests done, the holiday complex here has a 24hr surgery. So all done with only one night alongside.

Our space in the marina was right at the end of the visitor pontoons on one of the superyacht berths, we were sandwiched between two vessels over 200ft long. The one immediately alongside, Rocinante, has a crew of 27 and caters for 48 guests, they wouldn’t tell us who owned it. The crew were having a pontoon barbecue and happily provided us with beers.

Alongside Rocinante.

This afternoon we have anchored just outside the marina for the night, and hope to sail to Musket Cove in the Mamanuca group tomorrow.


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