Rainbows and Cabbage Patches: 16:44.9S,179:53.8E
We spent 2 nights in Fawn Harbour. The day in between was Sunday and, in contrast to Saturday when there were several boats out around the lagoon fishing, the only sign of life was the singing ashore from the several services during the day.
The village at Fawn Harbour. The Hibiscus Highway runs between the houses – we noticed
about 2 cars a day passing!
Our anchorage in the lagoon was protected by this island
Mangrove growing on the reef
We left on Monday morning and, with even less wind than on Saturday, motored the 20 miles to our current anchorage in Viani Bay, having to go round the reef to the pass to get in. The reef protecting the bay is known as the Rainbow Reef and is a world famous diving site – the Great White Wall being particularly well known. We had a bit of trouble finding a good spot to anchor amid the coral; when Sarah snorkelled after our first attempt she found a huge coral outcrop alongside us, but at second attempt we found a sandy spot for the anchor in 15 metres of water and we believe we are clear of anything that might snag the chain.
We went ashore on Tuesday and found that the head of the bay is occupied by a dive school and resort and the local primary and junior schools. We arranged to be taken out to the reef on Wednesday to snorkel and took a short walk up the hill behind the bay. We mistook our route and in pushing our way through some undergrowth Sarah dropped her sunglasses without realising it. As we walked back we met two boys from the school carrying a bag containing two tuna fish. The older one had enough English to explain that they were taking the fish to the younger boys grandmother – we then realised that the younger one was holding out Sarah’s glasses to her – an exchange was done for the only thing we had on us, namely a banana for our lunch.
Fiji Dive Academy – looking out to the anchorage
View over the school building and Viani Bay to Taveuni in the distance
There is no road access to the bay and the children walk to school along the beach or footpaths, or come in by boat. When they reach High School age they have to go to the neighbouring island of Tavueni, where they board.
The Junior School building
The primary school ‘bus’.
On Wednesday morning we were collected by the dive schools boat and taken out to the reef where we snorkelled on a site they called the Garden of Eden, then after coffee and cake on the beach back at base we went back out for a second session on the Cabbage Patch. We have never seen so much coral and so colourful in one place and a great variety of fish – though mostly small;, we have seen pictures that friends who dive have taken here and they are stunning.
The Cabbage Patch was a mass of these cabbage like growths – but too deep for us to get a photo
We kept finding ourselves surrounded by huge shoals of small fish
Colourful coral in the Garden of Eden
Since we arrived in Fiji we have found that our batteries have been running out of charge faster than we expected. It may just be that the fridge is having to work harder now we are back in the tropics, and the water is warmer so our keel cooler is less effective, but Phil has been checking through the systems to see if he can find a problem (are the batteries OK, is the alternator diode working, is there a voltage drop to the fridge) today he looked at the connectors on the solar panels, which have been in place since we left Antigua. We’ll see if it makes a difference.
Maybe this was part of the problem
Boat maintenance in exotic places
There is some windy weather due over Fiji at the weekend, though the forecasts show the worst to the south of us. We looked at moving to an anchorage to the north of where we are now, but the dive school tell us that this bay is usually sheltered in the lee of Taveuni, and it appears the strongest winds will be from north of east which would make this the best place to be. So we are going to stay here in the company of a couple of other boats and keep and eye on how it developes. There is lots of snorkelling we can do within this bay without the need of the dive school to take us out.
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