Friday, September 27, 2013

From Momi to Mana

It has been a while since we posted, so here is an update on the last week. We sailed to Musket Cove (Malolo Lailai) from Momi Bay and stayed there for a couple of days while the winds howled and the rain poured down. There are three resorts on the island, an airport, and rental and private houses. Roads lead all over the island and provide some fine walking with views in all directions. It was a bit of a shock sharing an anchorage with 40+ boats after so many weeks on our own! The anchorage is deep (about 15 meters) but the holding very good and we safely sat out gale force squalls and torrential rain.

View over Musket Cove

Anchorage at Musket Cove

Next we sailed to Lautoka and anchored off the container pier and sugar refinery. There were several boats in this anchorage, about half of which were in the process of checking out of Fiji to head for Vanuatu and New Caledonia. We were here to meet our guests - friends we had last seen in Auckland. The next morning, we awoke to a boat coated in a fine layer of black ash from the sugar refinery. I would not want to spend more than a day or two here because of this. We rowed in, re-provisioned, and returned to the boat where I left Rani to pack things up and returned to town to meet our friends.

Anchorage at Lautoka

Ash from the Lautoka sugar mill

Chris and Vladka were waiting in the market when I arrived and we returned to Ladybug and set sail for Tivua, an island we had passed on our way here. The winds were gusty and strong and we put two reefs in the main and beat our way out of the anchorage, with our guests taking turns at the helm. An hour later, we dropped the hook off an extensive reef and went for a snorkel. The visibility was not great here, probably because the higher winds had stirred up the sandy bottom.

Our guest Chris kicks back on Ladybug

Vladka prepares a salad for the potluck.

Today we sailed to Mana Island, stopping for lunch and a snorkel at a sand quay that lies south of Elevuka Island. The pass into the lagoon at Mana Island is very narrow with a dogleg. Strong gusty winds swept across the channel and the sun was in our eyes, making the whole experience hair-raising, despite the poles that clearly mark both sides of the channel. However we made it safely into the lagoon, seeing nothing shallower than 9 feet below our keel. Our friends, Bruce and Craig on Gato Go are anchored here and we are just back from a very pleasant potluck evening on their lovely catamaran.

We plan to stay at Mana for a couple of days snorkeling the fringing reef and hiking on the island.

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