Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Dravuni Island

After more than a week in Suva, we sailed from our anchorage near Lami at 5 am yesterday. Getting out of the anchorage was a little tricky in the dark, but we followed a series of GPS waypoints from when we arrived that took us between two small islands and the fringing reefs. The wreck of a fishing boat on the reef to our starboard was visible in the light of my headlamp - a reminder that careful navigation is required in these waters.

Rani walks up the hill on Dravuni. Ladybug is anchored halfway between Rani and the small island.

We had waited an extra day for the winds to swing more into the east because the course to the Great Astrolabe Reef is just slightly east of south. The prevailing SE trades would have made this almost dead to windward. We had to motor to clear the wind shadow and rain squalls that seem to prevail off Suva, but about 6 miles out we started to feel a wind, which filled in and came from well to the east of south. We were able to lay a course for the Herald Pass, close reaching into 8 to 10 knots of wind.

An interesting variegated leaf - red at the base.

The big island of Kadavu and numerous smaller islands including Ono and our destination of Dravuni are protected by one of the world's largest barrier reefs. The Great Astrolabe Reef (not to be confused with the Astrolabe Reef in New Zealand) was named by the French explorer Dumont dUrville for his vessel Astrolabe. This is an area famous for clear water and good diving and snorkeling.

On Dravuni there is a path just inside the jungle that runs between the beach and a series of plantations.
We plan to spend a couple of weeks here, working our way south, visiting Ono and Kadavu, and snorkeling some passes and reefs.

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