Vanua Levu and Navadra

Fri 28 Aug 2015 00:07
17:25.454S 177:02.563E

Vanua Levu. If I was clever I’d have stitched these two together… 

Now Jon had gone there was no excuse for not getting on with the jobs that needed doing, but, we reasoned, why not go somewhere nicer to do our jobs, where we could walk on the beach and snorkel in between getting things done, so we headed for the twin islands of Vanua Levu and Navadra, they have a pass between them, where the water flows over the reef, but together they form a bay giving quite a bit of shelter from wind, but it’s still pretty rolly as the swell gets in.

The sail out was good, we were trying out our new navigation program, SASplanet, along with lots of maps that Gustaf, from Caminante, had passed on to us. It uses satellite images, cached locally on your computer, combined with your GPS position and is very accurate. Charts in this part of the world often have bits missing, or whole areas labeled ‘Incomplete survey’, but reefs and islands can’t hide from Mr Google or Mr Bing. 

One of the islands we passed wasn’t marked on our main Navionics chart at all, and on the most up to date version we had only showed as a rock: some rock!

Uncharted island en-route, but it showed up clearly on SASplanet satellite pictures.

We were the only boat when we arrived, it was lovely to feel that sense of space and being away from everything, but we were still really pleased to see a convoy arrive the next day: the Kiddie Cats had found our paradise!

Kid boats arrive, led by Fieldtrip. 

Within a couple of days there were 12 boats in the bay and about a dozen kids, ranging in age from 5 to 14, had taken over Navadra, camping over night for three nights, leaving Vanua Levu for the grown ups to visit.

Kid camp, paddle boards lifted well above the tide line.

Meanwhile we’d been spending time kayaking to the reefs to snorkel, loving the wonderful underwater world. 

Grumpy fish and massive plate coral - 15ft across.

We did do jobs too, it wasn’t much of chore in that environment, although to be honest we’d have got on a lot quicker if we’d been doing them elsewhere.

Jib repairs on the foredeck, machine balanced on the upturned dinghy.

I don’t remember if Darwin and The Beagle made it to Fiji, but if not then I’m sure he must have returned as an older man because there he was, complete with full beard, watching over us. His hair had got a bit sparse and needed a trim but otherwise he was looking good. 

‘Darwin’ rock.