Fulaga, Southern Lau

19:08.944S 178:33.983W

 

Thursday 16th July 2015

 

Distance run: 149 nmiles

 

By 0900 yesterday we were out of the Qilaqila pass and into deep water where we raised the main and motorsailed through the gap between two islands, into a fairly strong current that kept our speed down for a couple of hours.  There is another pass down by Daliconi village which would have avoided this part, but we decided we preferred to go back out the one we were now familiar with, following our inward track.  Once out from between the islands, the wind settled and we raised the headsail and were able to sail close-hauled, so off went the engine.  With winds of 15-20 knots we sailed close on the wind for much of the day, using the engine only once when we needed to avoid an island and couldn’t make it by sail alone.

 

As the sun went down the wind and seas picked up, and for several hours we beat into the wind in lumpy seas – not a very comfortable passage which made sleeping difficult.  By morning however, the sea had eased and the wind had moved a little round to the east, making it much more comfortable, and with time to spare we decided to tack towards Fulaga rather than motor into the wind.  We needed to time our entry into the pass for slack tide, which would be at about 1500, so we had plenty of time.

 

We arrived at the pass around 1430 and went up close to take a look.  At first it was not immediately obvious where the pass was, as there were some waves there, suggesting the tide was still coming out.  As we waited around watching, the waves eased and the pass became obvious, so we lined up and headed in.  It was indeed a narrow pass, and at one point it was necessary to pass very close to a large rock, but all went well and we heaved a sigh of relief as we entered the deeper water of the lagoon and headed towards the village anchorage.

 

Here again were the little islets sticking out of the water, and we wove and picked our way into the anchorage, where there were already half a dozen boats at anchor.  We found a good spot in 5-6 metres off the beach and dropped the anchor, which bit immediately.  Another stunning spot – surrounded by mushroom-shaped islets and sandy beaches.  Too tired to head ashore now, we settled down to enjoy the surroundings with an anchoring beer.  Tomorrow morning we would visit the village for sevusevu.

 

I was far too concerned with getting safely into the pass to even think about taking photos, but Pepe on Beez Neez, just behind us as we entered, always has her camera to hand, and took these great photos:

 

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We passed rather close to this large rock to avoid underwater rocks on the way through the pass.

 

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Making our way across the lagoon in deeper water.

 

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Towards the village anchorage

 

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Views from the anchorage.