Stolen Kiss

Stolen Kiss

September 28, 2012

Our Cruising Facts on Fiji

For the cruisers……………………….

Due to our limited time here, we will unfortunately miss many great anchorages.  Too much to see with such little time. Be sure to keep an eye on the weather and travel in good visibility to eyeball the reefs and plan your travel!

*      From Tonga we decided to take the more northerly route in Savu Savu. Reasons being to miss the stronger, reinforced wind and bad weather that seems to hang around the southern Lau group, Suva and the bottom of Viti Levu.

*      Koro Sea has mostly re-inforced winds as well due to the funneling effect between the islands. Same for Bligh Water and between the two major island s of Viti Levu and Vanua Levu. This often extends out to the Yasawas. Be aware of this in the forecasts.

*      Koro Sea kicks up steep sharp waves when wind picks up.

*      We entered into the Koro Sea via Lembaka Passage; wide and open at night. From there you can clear the islands, turning north around 17 56 S 178 40 E and aim to keep Vatuvara Island to Stb and then towards Savu Savu. Look for Maafa Rock on your chart as it is not on some, although it is not on the track towards Vatuvara, but off to the WSW.  We did find information on an uncharted reef around 18 40S 174W but we were not near there either. Savu Savu Light is not on the end of Point Reef so be aware of this.

*      Coming into Savu Savu, we called Copra Shed Marina who came out to meet us and took us to a mooring. Cost was $10 Fiji/night and have cyclone moorings. They also have a small dock. Waitui Marina has moorings also and they will do the same. They are a little more down market than Copra Shed but very nice. Their moorings are helix moorings which are booked out for the cyclone season. Savu Savu is a hurricane hole and there are many others around Fiji. Both marinas are right in town, which is fantastic and a great place to hang out. Amazing food for such little money! Washing at the Copra Shed was only $10 Fiji per large bag, compared to $80 USD they wanted in Bora Bora!!!!! We got our alternators fixed in town. They did a brilliant job!

*      Best cruising seems to be around to the NE of Vanua Levu towards Viani Bay and Taveuni. We were very sad to have missed this.

*      In Savu Savu, there is a guy called Curly who provides a lecture on suggested anchorages around Fiji. He also gives the low down on how to do the SevuSevu or Kava ceremonies. Curly and others also smooth the troubled waters where other cruisers have done wrong in the villages. This year a German Yacht was caught catching Iguanas on one of the islands with intent to them smuggle out of the country!!!!!!!!!!!! Hence yachts are now banned from the island. For the Yasawas, download the Moorings Cruising Guide from the internet. (Although reports from other cruisers….it’s inaccurate!) We picked up a current Fiji Marine Guide in Tonga which gave excellent contact numbers of services, marinas etc. A yacht called Soggy Paws has spent some time here and elsewhere and has an excellent website with lots of info on specific areas.  Look for their Fiji Compendium. The most comprehensive guide to Fiji is A Yachtsmans’s Guide To Fiji by Michael Calder, which is a little outdated but still used.

Anchorages we used. (Waypoints are where we were sitting, not where we dropped anchor!)
*     Just south of Savu Savu is Cousteau Resort. We came in at right angles to the beach just north of the jetty, keeping the jetty clear. Nice flat sandy bottom, 14.4m
16 48.612 S 179 17.264 E

*      From there we did the bash south to Makongai Island. A stunning island where we did our first Sevu Sevu, which was very relaxed. Good protected anchorage. We anchored in sand around 17 26.472 S 178 57.171 E

*      From there we could have stopped at Naigani Is but due to good winds and excellent visibility, we decided to go on to Toba Basaga Bay. Nice village. Anchor in mud 15.2m 17 32.496 S 178 22.831 E.  Maybe not so flash in strong easterly winds.

*      From there it was a short hop to Viti Levu Bay. We could have anchored another 300m or so closer to the village and tucked up in the corner, but we lost visibility as we went to find an anchoring spot. Nice sticky mud…anchored 10m
17 27.079 S 178 15.432 E

*      Many anchorages to choose from when around Nanana Island. We chose to anchor near Voli Voli  resort due to the weather. Most yachts anchor off the resort but it was a little windy when we got there. We anchored a little south of there. Calm but a little gusty to keep us cool. Watch out for the rocky reef coming off the shore.  Nice sticky mud, 10m 17 19.435 S 178 10.530 E

*      In order to break the trip, we anchored in a no-name bay. Wind comes off the shore every night so nice and calm! Easy to get into. Anchored in 4m mud
17 25.717 S 177 44.966 E

*      Another hop around to Seweni Bay in the Loutoka area. NW breeze in afternoon but swings onshore at sunset! 7m mud 17 38.596 S 177 23.589 E

*      From Seweni Bay, it’s a short 6 miles around the point to the south to Vuda Point Marina, (Ch16) 17 40.87S 177 23.2E. There is a yellow buoy that marks the entrance to the channel, which can be difficult to see as yachts sometimes tie up on this buoy. The gap through the reef is an all tide gap if you draw under 6’6 and is marked by sticks. Like everywhere else, Vuda staff are very helpful and welcoming. They have outdoor movie nights 3 nights/week and live music on Sundays. Bit of a challenge getting off and on the boat in springs!!!

*      Musket Cove also has a marina and moorings. Call on Ch 68. On your approach at approximately 17 47 659 S 177 12.813E look for a red marker on your port side in the binoculars and Black Rock (reef) on your stb side. Both are a little tricky as there is a reef which extends to the WSW behind the red buoy and the reef continues to run past the rocks you can see to stb. There is a very small stick (NOT the one on top of Black Rocks) in the water marking the end of the reef that is VERY difficult to see. A Kiwi who frequents Fiji has marked some such reefs as many yachts have hit them. Always….eyes out the boat!! You can see the reef coming into Musket Cove off the point of Malolo Is, which is marked by two green markers, and the rest of the reef between the point and the anchorage, moorings is marked by sticks. Go in there for the first time with good visibility. Lots of anchorage space but we hear from NZ yachts that frequent here that anchoring over to the west by the mangroves gives better holding in bad weather.

*      Port Denarau Marina has moorings and berths and can be contacted on Ch14. Very westernised but handy for bits and pieces and getting into Nadi and Lautoka. Lots of restaurants that are more expensive than the towns but still a good price, and cheaper than the east Pacific. At the time we were there, September 2012, they had introduced a booking system, which works fine until the problem of you wanting to stay longer and someone else has booked your mooring. When the weather changes for the worst…….people really don’t want to go!!!!!!!!!

      Clearing out is relatively easy. However, you are required to anchor off the wharf in Lautoka to do this. A bit bumpy in NW winds but relatively good holding in mud. Leave the dinghy in the corner of the wharf by the slippery steps. Customs and immigration located there....a little tricky to find as once in the corridor, customs is the door marked 'keep closed'!! You have to leave Fiji within 1 hour of clearing immigration. Reality is left to your imagination!!

All is all, paradise has its cost! Look out for the reef and the weather and all should be fine!! Not the most relaxing place to cruise for your first time there. Wonderful places to explore ashore and awesome places to eat!!!

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