Having a holiday, Oyster Island.

Mon 12 Oct 2015 03:41
15:22.34S 167:11.404E

Oyster Island, resort on the left, entrance to the lagoon on the right, beyond the anchored boat, beyond the rocks.

The strong winds stayed so we stayed tucked in, but moved up the coast again to an even more sheltered spot, anchoring just off a little resort named Oyster Island. It’s a little tricky coming in but the resort have placed port and starboard markers to show a route through the coral heads. I don’t believe we’ve anchored outside a resort before, and I don’t think we’ll be making a habit of it, but this one is extremely welcoming, friendly and helpful. We spent a week here, waiting on weather, almost as if we were on holiday like the guests in the resort. Most mornings we took the dinghy in shore and used their internet (no phone signal in the bay so no 3G or even ‘E’) to check the weather and upload the next blog post, as I gradually got us up to date. We could snorkel and kayak, of course, just like the guests, and we took a couple of dinghy trips up the two rivers, one to the North and one to the South of the anchorage, both of which finish in a deep round very blue pool. Oyster Island Resort organises a blue pool river trip for the folk staying there too. We even ate three times at the restaurant, treating ourselves to a cooked breakfast one day and going to an evening buffet and a pizza night two other days. We definitely felt on holiday.

The rivers were delightful. We went at a little too low tide for the Southern one, having to get out and pull the dinghy through shallow water over to get over the bar. The river soon widens out into a large pool, at the head of which is a road bridge. When we got there the river was pouring through, very fast, and you could see there were rocks under the water by the bumpiness of the water, we didn’t know if we had enough depth to get through but just gunned the engine to make headway through the water flowing fast towards us and, with me hanging over the front yelling ‘port!’ and ‘starboard!’ we scraped through. Quite exciting and much fun. Once past there the river was deep and easy. 

Easy to spot under water hazards.

'Autumn' leaves around the tree trunks.

It was so clear that dodging the tree trunk was no problem. The river banks looked surprisingly English in places and I realised why: there was a lot of leaf litter, there must have been plenty of deciduous trees. The trip was an absolute pleasure but if it had been difficult and troublesome it would have been worth it to see and swim in the crystal clear pool at the head of it. The water clearly percolates through the limestone from higher up the island and emerges there to form the river. As it’s come through the rock it has no sediments and is as clear and blue as Bombay Sapphire.

The Southern blue pool. See how the canoe seems to be floating on air? The water is so clear .The stick hanging down is to use to hook the rope in order to swing out over the pool and drop in. Delicious. 

The Northern river was very different but just as pleasant. It was wider and the undergrowth was denser on either side, in some places creepers flowed down over the trees to create rafts of vegetation. We discovered that there was water cress on the edge of these and harvested lots to supplement our provisions. Cheese and watercress soup, and smoked salmon,sour cream and watercress sandwiches graced our saloon table and handfuls of peppery fresh cress topped our stews.

Little Swifts, like New Zealand Welcome Swallows, darted all around, doing acrobatics in the air as they swirled and swooped down to drink from the river whilst in flight. The last place we’d seen some of the swallow family doing that was the swimming pool in Trinidad! We heard parrots overhead and saw some quite large birds fly over, with red-brown wings and tails. Where the river flowed into the lagoon we saw herons and curlews and a large bird of prey wheeling overhead. 

The Northern Blue Pool.

We had loads of company. There were some interesting people staying in the resort, we made friends with some and invited them bock to the boat to visit. Usually we make friends with local folk and have them back to the boat, this time it was resort folk, in much the same way. There were 5 other boats in the anchorage so we were back and forwards to each other’s boats, looking at charts and weather together, swapping recipes, lending tools and enjoying each other’s friendship. In particular we spent quite a lot of time with the family on Lumbaz, having the youngsters over to cook, learn to computer program, go for walks or just hang out.

It was a splendid holiday but the wind’s dropped so it’s time to move on now. We're off in an hour or so, for another night passage, up to Sola (good name!) on Vanua Lava. All holidays must come to an end I suppose, it’s back to the sailing between exotic islands, exploring new anchorages, seeing beautiful places and snorkelling in wonderful reefs. Well, someone’s got to do it.