Bay of Islands, Vanua Balavu
Saturday 11th July 2015
Distance run: 7 nmiles
We waited until the sun was high in the sky before lifting the anchor and making our way almost back to the pass before turning to starboard and entering the Bay of Islands. Just inside was a huge bay with very deep water. We made our way across the bay and turned to port in rapidly shallowing water into what appeared to be a narrow cul-de-sac. According to our waypoints, this was the anchorage, and so we eased our way in, avoiding occasional bommies (isolated coral heads) and dropped the anchor in sand in 5-6 metres of clear blue water. Typically for us, although we ranged the chain out over sand, we managed to settle right over a bommie. We appeared to have good clearance over it at the moment, but weren’t sure if this would remain the case at low water, so we took the handheld depth sounder out in the dinghy and checked the depth. It was 4.3 metres deep at its highest point so we did the math (as the yanks say!) We need 2 metres, and the tidal range in these parts is only about 1 metre, so we reckoned we had a metre to spare. So we stayed where we were and monitored it at the first low tide just to be sure.
This place was amazing! Tucked away out of the wind and swell, we were not in a cul-de-sac as we first thought, but were surrounded by many little islands (hence the name) which seemed to just stick up out of the sea like rocky mushrooms. There was no way to land on them as the sea had undercut them and carved into their bases. Stunning!
The trees just seemed to grow out of the rock.