Giant Clams, Sea Snakes and Suva. 18:06.6S, 178:23.8E
We stayed another day in Makogai as we were told that there was good snorkelling just off the beach and there were some Giant Clams to be seen. Nearer our anchorage were some area of reef to explore so we started with those and saw lots of fish and some worms like we had seen at Paradise Resort, these are like little Christmas trees and very colourful. Then moving in by the jetty and beach we had a look at the Giant Clams and corals that have been bred by the Agricultural Centre at Dalice and slightly further out some huge clams about 3-4ft across. Unfortunately the GoPro is broken so no photos from here.
Christmas tree worms on coral (picture from the internet)
Giant clam (picture from the internet)
We considered visiting the old capital of Fiji, Levuka on Ovalau, but the anchorage is reportedly not great, slab coral, just down wind of the tuna canning factory and with no shelter from the trade winds. As the wind was supposed to be going east and picking up we would not have been comfortable. We decided to sail straight down to Suva. So Saturday afternoon we left Dalice and sailed out through the reef and headed south for the overnight trip of about 70 miles, expecting the winds to be light we had reckoned on sailing at about 5 knots, we were soon doing 6-7 on a beam reach. This was great until just after midnight when, as we turned to head west the wind dropped and we were left rolling in the swell with the sails banging about. Time for the engine and a few hours of motoring to arrive in Suva as the sun came up.
There are two places to moor in Suva, either off the Yacht Club near the town or in Lami Bay a short distance to the west. If you are arriving into the country then you have to use the anchorage at the yacht club on arrival to clear customs and immigration but there are horror stories told of ships and yachts dragging anchors in the soft mud, while in Lami Bay there are moorings which can be used free of charge. We went straight to Lami picked up a vacant mooring and at a sociable hour phoned the owner to check that it was okay. As we had entered the harbour it had started to rain and this was probably the heaviest rain we have had in Fiji. We managed to catch about 70 litres to fill the tanks and another 70 litres in the trugs for using as washing and cleaning water, it poured for hours.
Serenity moored in Lami Bay
Water collection in Lami Bay
Monday we walked into Lami town, and bought some veg from the market, we can probably stock up here without needing to go into Suva city, but we did want to visit and did that on Tuesday. In Lami Bay you land at the ram-shackled police pontoon and tie up, being very aware that there are likely to be sea snakes on the pontoon and they may get into your dinghy while you are away. (So far we have seen one on the pontoon and one up on the main quay!) Sea snakes are not usually aggressive and have very small mouths so a bite is unlikely but they are extremely poisonous.
Black and white banded sea snake on the pontoon, you would need to take care picking up a coil of rope!
Having been out on the islands and in small towns the noise of the city was a bit of a change, first time we’ve seen large stores since New Zealand, we had a look at the market, lots of very ripe fruit, wandered downtown to see the colonial buildings and visited the museum. Sarah says we must have been very bored to go to a museum! Phil managed to buy some tee shirts and shorts so is now stocked up with clothes for the next year – Fiji produces nice lightweight cotton fabrics and makes garments from them.
Suva produce market
Double Trouble came into the bay today to shelter from the next lot of strong winds to come through so we may also stay here a couple more days before heading west. We are now starting to take a broader look at the weather to pick up the patterns of weather systems between here and New Zealand as we need to head back down in the next month.
Sent from Mail for Windows 10