Savusavu - Fiji 16:40:00S 178:49:00E

Zipadedoda of Dart
David H Kerr
Thu 17 Jul 2008 14:18

The passage to Savusavu was a pleasant combination of sailing during the days and motoring at night. This was due the twin facts that the Main Sail hydraulic furling boom has a major problem in so far as the tension is too tight on the mandrel. So much so we have already broken one sheave with the force required to hoist the sail. So until it can be fixed we cannot use the Main Sail. The other issue was the fact that the Wind Instruments failed early into the trip, so we could not use the wind pilot to safely sail down wind. To add to the joy, the generator output frequency is running far too high, so it looks like the capacitor bank has failed again…fourth time in 12 months. This makes it impossible to run the watermaker. There is clearly a compatibility problem between the Water Maker and the generator that Fischer Panda (who supplied both) are unable to sort out.


On the bright side, the fishing was going VERY well.  Shortly after leaving Tonga, we caught a 30 inch long Yellow Fin Tuna. He (she) was a beauty. Very plump and weighed a lot, judging by the effort it took to land it. But Jennie doesn’t like Tuna, so back to the deep it went.  At this point I started to use a Wahoo lore. The logic here was that my Dorado lures were catching Tuna so just maybe………….


On day two of the passage we hit a BIG(ish) Mahi Mahi (AKA Dorado), just as we were doing a sail change!


  The Proud fisherman


Now you may recall we had been staying at a Game Fishing establishment two nights before. So this gave Jennie the perfect opportunity to try out the new cooking suggestions. The main trick it seems is to just cut off the two side fillets and then soak them in a bucket of sea water for 30 minutes. (Discard the rest).

Then let them rest in the fridge (or as there was so much a lot went in the freezer). Then simply pan fry it with olive oil and butter, starting with a low heat. Add seasoning and presto!!!  The yummiest  Mahi Mahi ever Just delicious. Jennie also now makes Mahi Mahi Chowder. This too is just delicious!!


The trip from Tonga to Fiji is one that requires very careful pilotage. Fiji consists of two main Islands, Vanua Levu to the east, which was to be our first stop, and Savusavu is on the south coast. The second Island to the west is Viti Levu. These two islands are fringed on all sides with barrier reefs and coral islands. Most of these do not have working navigational aids. Some of the Islands, such as the Lau group on the East side are now a restricted area, and it is virtually impossible to obtain a permit to visit them.  So, sailing the rhumb line between Vava’u and Savusavu is simply not an option (especially as electronic charts have patchy accuracy in these parts). So we took the long way  (and safest) up the north east side of Vanua Levu, through the Nanuku Passage,  We were in company with other BWR yachts for most of the passage as we had all been told not to arrive before the World ARC were due to leave Savusavu, and in addition a second “other” rally from New Zealand were also in town at the same time. This resulted in some “jockeying for position on the morning we “allowed” to arrive and there were one or two near incidents as the boats converged on the entrance to the Nakama creek south of Nawi Island , which is home to the Savusavu Yacht Club. Some of this was really silly, and I will not dwell on it. Peter Seymour from BWR was on hand as Rally Control and with the assistance of “Dolly” the marina manager at the Yacht club all went like clock work, with some World Arc boats being robustly asked to leave, to free up our pre-booked moorings and berths.  Some boats moored stern too the Copra Shed dock others like us elected to pick up a mooring buoy.  All at the princely cost of £3 a night!!


Along the way we hoisted the Fiji courtesy flag as is our tradition now.



The setting for the SSYC and its moorings. Centred around the restored Copra Shed is just magical. Especially as the sun sets over the creek.



The SSYC is within the confines of the Copra Shed. This as the name implies is a restored building that used to be used to store Copra, for collection from the dock side in the creek by ship, in the days when coconut and its by product copra were an important part of the local economy. The building now houses the SSYC, two restaurants, a bar, a small chandlery, and various estate agents, and gift shops. Plus a few rooms for rent. Ideal spot for Rally Control. The whole place has a terrific and lively atmosphere and the yacht club has a very active program. Particularly for spotting young sailing talent and then training and supporting them right up to Olympic standard!!


The SSYC had laid on an intensive four day program for us. Most of which (curiously) was centred around the bar…………


One the first day of the program, we were treated to a formal welcome ceremony by the local Chief and members of his family and tribe. This was conducted with great dignity and with much respect for the chief and the traditional ways of the original Fijian people.



After the initial welcome address and a prayer for us. The chief proceeded with the famous Cava ceremony. He personally mixes this unique drink from Cava root and specially prepared water. All in a traditional hand carved wooden bowl.



Five “members” of the BWR group had been selected to formally partake of this drink, which enjoys a rather mixed press with western tastes. Not helped by the fact that it looks like dirty dish water. Have to say I did not find it at all offensive, but it does leave your lips “tingling” after a couple of cups of it………………


Once that part of the welcome was over, there was dancing by young warriors




and also traditional  dancing by the “Ladies” of the village………



After this they played traditional songs for us and this was followed a conga line of local dancers and BWR yachties. There was then a “Pot Feast” laid on, but by this time we had been introduced to the Surf N’ Turf restaurant in the Copra Shed………..just stunning food and drink, all at unbelievably low prices….especially by comparison with Bora Bora.


It was a wonderful start to what was going to be a very rewarding couple of weeks in Fiji.