Beqa, Naiseuseu, Vaga Bay. 18:24.3S, 178:06.01E

Serenity of Swanwick
Phil and Sarah Tadd
Wed 25 Sep 2019 05:38

We left Lami Bay yesterday morning and motored out passed the wrecks which adorn Suva Harbour and the reef. The wind appeared to be right down and the forecast was good for a downwind passage to Beqa Island, actually we still had gusts of 20kn and a lumpy sea but made good progress with just a reefed genoa.

Wreck on the reef, Suva harbour.

As we were sailing along we wondered about all the strange weed on the water surface but then it dawned on us that actually we were sailing through patches of pumice, the remains of a possibly 90sq mile patch of pumice which had formed near Tonga from an underwater volcanic eruption and broken up as it drifted west. Most of the pumice was in small pieces but some were about football size.  The worry we had was that if we used the engine, pumice powder would be sucked into the water intake and could possibly damage the water pump, we were able to sail up to the reef surrounding Beqa Lagoon and there was only a small amount inside the reef.

Some of the pumice which was washed up on our deck.

Entering the reef by the NE pass we had a long motor into the wind to reach a deep inlet called Malumu Bay where we anchored for the night in 8m depth and the anchor in good solid mud which held us firm in the gusty winds we had overnight. We were surrounded by mangroves and could see no villages but there were people out with torches at night fishing in the mangroves. We decided that there was nothing here for us and this morning moved around to the west side of the island to another recommended anchorage but again very gusty, we hope our anchor holds for the night but we will be checking regularly.

As we are off a village here we went ashore this afternoon to give Sevusevu and were met by Ben who took us to the chief, also Ben, and after the ceremony we were introduced to Ben’s uncle Ben, and his grandmother and grandfather. We asked and yes all of the village are related.

Naiseuseu village

The village as always is very tidy and they have just had four new houses built by the government as replacements for some lost in Cyclone Wilson, Four lucky families will be getting new houses although to our eyes they are about the size of a garage.

Back to Serenity and we scrubbed off the beard of weed grown over the past few weeks, we will have to snorkel and  clean all of the hull before we sail for New Zealand, all that is allowed on arrival is a film of slime and some gooseneck barnacles. They are very worried about invasive creatures.


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