Rache – 12th June. Levuka, Ovalau. Fiji

After arriving at Savusavu on 22nd May we initially just enjoyed being on land…and in Fiji.  Enjoyed the kick-back friendly little town, surrounded by lush tropical jungle, exploring the market and town, an across island bus trip to Labasa, conversations with locals, fresh fruit for brekky and debriefing with other arriving yachties.

Savusavu

Savusavu

Savusavu

Savusavu

Washing day at the water tap. Waitui Marina

Washing day at the water tap. Rache and Jarrah at Waitui Marina

Yacht decorations aka drying clothes.

Yacht decorations aka drying clothes.

Justin and Jarrah at Savusavu market.

Justin and Jarrah at Savusavu market.

Labasa gardens

Labasa gardens

Can you beat  a piece of market watermelon on a hot dusty day?

Can you beat a piece of market watermelon on a hot dusty day?

We checked out a local rugby union game....and were very glad we weren't out there getting flattened!

We checked out a local rugby union game….and were very glad we weren’t out there getting flattened!

Justin thinking life's not bad...deck over looking my boat, sunny day, beer in hand...

Justin thinking life’s not bad…deck over looking my boat, sunny day, beer in hand…

For a few weeks we weren’t able to get far from where we landed in Savusavu – back and forth a few times to a nearby reef for snorkelling and a change of scenery.  We prepared to leave a few times, but rough seas and strong winds were against us (and lots of other sailors and fishing boats), so we weren’t able to go.  It was cruisy in Savusavu and in fact we were a bit daunted by the renowned difficulty of cruising in Fiji – you know reefs – good for snorkelling, not good for hitting with boats.  Paper and electronic charts are poor and inaccurate, so we’ve done lots of talking and soaking up local knowledge for anchorages we might like to stop by and waypoints through narrow reef systems.  We have our bundles of waka (kava) to present to local village chiefs for ‘sevusevu’ (ceremony where visitors to seek acceptance into a Fijian village) and a rough plan of the route we’d like to take for our now seemingly little time in Fiji. We will enjoy where ever we get as it all looks amazingly good.

So we left Savusavu on 4th June and anchored about five mile away, at Passage Point, hoping that the wind would drop off and give us a window to head east out to Taveuni, Qamea and beyond to Vanua Balavu in the Lau group.  The forecast was for the wind to remain strong and the sea rough so we were prepared to see if we could tack (bash) into it or if not give up on trying to head east and head back to Savusavu or further south-west.

On the morning of 5th June we left the shelter of our anchorage and the protection of Savusavu Bay. We entered a rough sea with 20 knot SE winds, so it wasn’t long before we decided Taveuni was too difficult and changed our course to south west and Namena Island.  Actually it has been hard to ‘give up’ on getting to the Lau Group and we kept open the possibility of maybe getting there later, by watching for a break in the predominant Easterly trade winds.

We entered Namena through the torquoise reef waters off the Namena Marine Reserve which surrounds the island. We spent a few days at Namena with excellent snorkelling off the back of the boat, with beautiful fish and coral, turtles, sharks and bird life.

At anchor Namena Island and Marine Reserve.

At anchor Namena Island and Marine Reserve.

Coral Reef blue, clear to see in the full sun.  Departing Namena Marine Reserve.

Coral Reef blue, clear to see in the full sun. Departing Namena Marine Reserve.

All hands on deck ready for 'reef lookout' as we depart Namena.

All hands on deck for ‘reef lookout’ as we arrive at Makogai Island.

From Namena we sailed to Makogai.  There we met a band of beautiful kids and village head Kameli who generously welcomed us into their village.  We spent about five days there, all of us enjoying the people, the island and spectacular snorkelling and we found it hard to say goodbye.

Kid games on Makogai Island.

Kid games on Makogai Island.

Brekky at anchor Makogai Island.

Brekky at anchor Makogai Island.

Makogai.

Makogai.

Asenace, Jarrah and Rosie. Makogai.

Asenace, Jarrah and Rosie. Makogai.

1,2,3 Jump! Rosie, Jarrah and Asenace. Makogai.

1,2,3 Jump! Rosie, Jarrah and Asenace. Makogai.

Always many hands to help the dingy off the beach. Makogai

Always many hands to help the dingy off the beach. Makogai

Makogai kids - Rosie, Asenace, Littea, Lai, Junior

Makogai kids – Rosie, Asenace, Littea, Lai, Junior

Junior the 3 year old boatman was on the beach to haul in and send out every dingy, usually up to his chest in the water.

Junior the 3 year old boatman was on the beach to haul in and send out every dingy, usually up to his chest in the water.

Asenace teaching Rache some singing games.

Littea teaching Rache some singing games.

Justin showing off his dance moves.

Justin showing off his dance moves.

Makogai games

Makogai games

Anni and friend

Anni and friend

This little fella was an amazing dancer, he did not miss a beat and other older children looked to him for dance directions!

This little fella was an amazing dancer, he did not miss a beat and other older children looked to him for dance directions!

We are tonight in Levuka, the old capital of Fiji.  We plan to leave at first light tomorrow to hopefully catch a window of lighter variable winds to attempt to head East to Vanua Balavu in Lau.

7 thoughts on “Rache – 12th June. Levuka, Ovalau. Fiji

  1. Wow Rache! Amazing experiences…worth every minute of rough weather and momentary doubts along the way! The snorkelling alone would be worth it! So great you get to mix with the locals!! Don’t get that here after 2 1/2 yrs!!

  2. Hi Justin,

    It’s always so good to see your family’s posts. I wish we could be sailing alongside you, and had the skills to do it!

    Some might call your trip ‘a journey of a lifetime’. However, looking at the joy in your faces, and thinking about how rich an experience this is for your lovely kids, it seems to me it’s more like a part of a lifetime of journeys.

    Anyway, it beats reports!

    I took your advice and made sure I stayed home until I was well enough to go back. Well, I just had to go back to meet my Year 7 & 8 Metal classes so that I could see them the three times I’ve done so far before I have to write their reports!

    Anyway, enough of that. Just thought I’d let you know what I’m doing while you lot are soaking up the splendours of the Pacific!

    May the winds be kind,

    Ubaldino

  3. warm weather, calm seas, singing, dancing, fun times. Hope you managed to make it through the reefs as you hop islands. Looks and sounds like lotta fun, and awesome experience. hugs n kisses simes n franks xo

  4. Hi Justin. Very nice Pictures,I Think that you have a nice time with your family.
    I am back from a trip from Den Helder, Holland, to La Coruna Spain . I helped a friend
    to take his boat, ( Sweden Yacht 38) over the Biscaya. Now he will contiune to Mediterian and Turkey. Kristin and I
    leave soon for sail in Baltic with our grand children.
    Take care, regards Tom and Kristin

  5. The local village kids look absolutely adorable… Especially little Junior! 🙂 What a great experience for your kids to be able to mingle with children from other backgrounds and learn some new games, songs and dances! (Good to see you getting involved in the dancing too Justin!) What an amazing trip you’re all having – you look so happy and relaxed. Definitely what life is all about. Enjoy the rest of your journey. Will keep checking for updates. 🙂

    PS: Justin, your hair is looking a bit longer than usual… ;p

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