Musket Cove, Malolo Lailai 17:46:19S 177:11:38E

Zipadedoda of Dart
David H Kerr
Fri 1 Aug 2008 00:55

Well this is the fith attempt to get this blog thru’. VERY, VERY frustrating!!


We arrived in Musket Cove on the afternoon of 7th July, after a very boisterous passage from Lautoka.


Peter Seymour was once again presiding over Rally operations and we were encouraged to hurry in to the lagoon on the Island, thru the reefs, as the tide was dropping fast. Apparently there was to be an exceptionally low tide, and Peter was very keen to get us sorted out in our berth in the marina that afternoon. So trusty Perkins was given his orders and we surfed along at 9.5 knots…..doing wonders for our carbon footprint……………………..


Now this is an entrance that is strewn with rocks, sand bars and reefs. So going flat out on a falling tide was not ideal. Especially as it was gusting 30+ knots. By the time we arrived in the lagoon adjacent to the marina I decided it was just too gusty in the marina, with very little water and room to manoeuvre. Especially as we would be required to anchor stern too the pontoon, So we picked up a mooring buoy and spent a charming night aboard, that is after a run ashore in the dingy to join the BWR gang at a reception, hosted by the owner of the island, Dick Smith.


The next morning we dropped the buoy and headed in to the marina, where there were many pairs of helping hands to secure us alongside, still in very gusty conditions. In fact too many pairs of hands. It all got very confusing with different folks all suggesting I park the boat in different ways. Jennie was not a happy person at this point. BUT, it all went well in the end and we in fact ended up at the very end of the row of boats in a private “end of dock” spot…near to the famous four dollar bar.


  The Marina


It has to be said that this is a truly beautiful spot.


  Island View


The Island was originally purchased by Dick Smith. An Australian billionaire, who is rather like Richard Branson, in so far as he is a generous and kind guy who made his money out of an electronics components company, similar to RS Components in the UK. He is also a sponsor of good causes throughout Australia.


The Island has three resorts. Musket Cove is the “up market” resort with the marina, then there is one for families on a lower budget and then one for couples only….no children allowed. (This one was virtually empty, with just a few Japanese honeymoon couples). There are also some time share properties and finally some stunning and expensive properties.  On our walks around the island, we noticed there were dozens and dozens of plots marked out, and all with services laid on. So there is some serious development to come some day. No doubt once the political situation stabilises in Fiji.


It has a well stocked store, fuel dock, and “our” resort had a single restaurant and bar, which did Australian resort cuisine. Not to everyone’s liking it has to be said. They would certainly benefit form a new Food & Beverage Manager!! There was also one other café which served dreadful food.


They also have an activity centre. Here they rent out Wind surfers, kayak’s, and Hobby Kats. These are huge fun and it was great to go sailing close to the water with the spray splashing warm water all over you and the thrill and sensation of speed as one of the hulls flies. Also Scuba diving. Did a couple of dives. Very good dive sites but somewhat too laid back dive masters. They got the second dive completely wrong and it could have turned nasty. But, in the event it was a magnificent dive, with impressive wall diving in 12 to 30 metres of warm, clear water.


The landscaping and layout of the whole Island is simply magnificent……..



With more stunning beaches……………….


  Where is that Bounty Bar when you need it?


The staff are simply delightful. Warm, friendly and always smiling. They were almost exclusively ethic Fijians. I only saw two staff of Indian extraction the whole time we were there.


One night, after a Pig Roast Buffet, the staff gave us a performance of traditional song and dance. This was very well done and delivered with great enthusiasm…………..



Whilst there, I had arranged for spares for the generator and the Mast Head Unit to be sent out to us.  At this point a special mention has to be made for Judy Smith, Dick’s daughter. She is a great character, and nothing is too much trouble. The spares got held up in customs. Judy got on the case and they were on the next ferry from Nadi! Wonderful can do service!!  Once we had the spare parts, the Generator was sorted. Next, Brin and Luke from Spectra came aboard and removed the MHU from the top of the mast. The PCB pod was full of water. I changed the PCB over, and then Brin fixed the MHU back at the top of the mast. Hey presto it worked. Marvellous. It took me three weeks to convince the B&G “product expert” back in the UK that it was a dud MHU that was the problem with the wind instruments. Then it was their New Zealand dealer who pulled out all the stops and got me the correct spare parts.

Finally, I got the “quality” information I had been waiting for to get the Main Sail hoisting properly. This involved adjusting a valve on the hydraulic motor in the Boom. It now works like a dream.  So, for the first time since the Crash Gybe back in The Marquasas, every thing on the boat was working 100%. Hip Hip Hooooooooray!!


The other two notable events in Musket Cove were the 50th Birthday party for Pat Cage from Hakuna Matata, and the departure from the rally of Hakuna Matata.


  Pat & Jeremy marvel at the words of the song composed for them by Robert & Wendy


It was a great party for Pat. Her 80 year old mother had flown in from the USA to be there. There were two special songs composed for the event. One by Robert and Wendy from Heidenskip. This was very funny and was all about the Hakuna Matata crew and the BWR. The second by Peter and Dorothy was all about….beer. All around the BWR route. This was hilarious, with the Neva’s belting out their song with max enthusiasm.


It was to be Bradley’s 13th Birthday during their passage from Musket Cove to Brisbane, where they would be leaving their boat (for sale) and returning to the USA, to start their new lives. So Jennie had the idea of giving Bradley a CD player for his Birthday. Several of us clubbed together to give him the CD Player. Judging by the response we got he was pretty pleased with it.


   Bradley & CD player     Elena and Jeremy at the poolside


So it was (a tearful) farewell to the Hakuna Tribe. It was great knowing you and thank you for all the Hakuna events. Good luck with the new job Jeremy.


Finally, it was here too that Peter & Liz from Moonshadow were to leave the BWR. Liz is returning to the UK to teach and Peter will be sailing Moonshadow down to New Zealand in October. Meanwhile she was off to Vuda Point Marina for a mini refit.


WE just loved Musket Cove. It was idyllic. We went for long walks, we partied, we chilled out and had a great time. Sadly all good things……..and so the time came to leave. Once again we were royally looked after by Judy. She even arranged to have customs and immigration officers brought over from the mainland to do the clearing out paperwork from Fiji. This made the whole Musket Cove experience, painless. What is more, Jennie and I are now lifetime members of the exclusive Musket Cove yacht club. Complete with membership cards and club burgee.


We would most definitely come back here again. Even if the food was a little disappointing. In fact the whole Fiji experience has been very special. We have meet some amazing cruising folks. Like the Slovenian lady on her 28 foot boat who set off for a three year circumnavigation….seven years ago. She had been cruising Fiji for 2 year with her pet Dog. She said the only reason she was moving on was to get back home to see her father. Two years in one country….wow! WE got just 23 days.


So it was that on the 16th July we departed Musket Cove and Fiji waters and headed for Port Vila on the Island of Efate in Vanuatu. A mere 553nm hop. Or as Jennie would say “Just one Biscay”.   See you there………………………………………….