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MAMANUCAS AND THE YASAWA GROUP                                                                        

Musket Cove
 The Mamanuca group has 15 resorts on 14 islands, five local villages and numerous uninhabited islands. Musket Cove, on Malololailai Island is about a 4 hour sail from Vuda Point. The Musket Cove Yacht Club is a favorite hangout for cruisers because it offers all sorts of amenities and yacht services.
June 13
We spent several days back in Musket Cove, enjoying the company of our friends who had arrived from Kandavu and other points. We relaxed, snorkeled the sand bar and reef on the other side of the island, and watched the locals fish (pic right). We hiked to the top of the bluff, which commanded a beautiful view of Musket Cove marina. We also circumnavigated Malololailai Island by beach, then took the dinghy around Malolo Island, so we really explored the area very well and had a look at all the many resorts blanketing the shoreline.
Pig Roast
On Becky's birthday, so we all celebrated by going to the Pig Roast at the Musket Cove Resort. A special table was set up on the beach for us all...Stardust, Freebird, Island Sonata, Babalona and Ascension.
After dinner, the resort put on a Meke, a performance of the dancing of Fiji.
June 16 - Music Night on Island Sonata
We got together on Island Sonata, Gord with his guitar and MJ on keyboard. We had a great evening of pizza and music.

Several days later, we had another jam session, this time Marit (Petrell) joined us with her guitar.


Mamanucas                                          


June 20
After waiting longer than anticipated for a break in the windy weather, we set off toward the Yasawas.  After searching for a suitable anchorage we ended up at Navadra Island where the anchorage is protected by 3 uninhabited islands with white sandy beaches. We found the snorkeling to be the most amazing yet with lots of colourful soft coral displays. We enjoyed a couple of days relaxing in the sun.

June 22
Change of weather. Swell built and rolled into the bay making for a very uncomfortable night so next morn we pulled anchor and headed for the next group of islands.


Ascension anchored in Navadra

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The Yasawas                                           

Stretching for some 90 kms, the Yasawas is a chain of volcanic islands with beautiful white sand beaches, clear water lagoons and rugged landscape.  These remote islands are sparsely populated and have little int he way of services or shops although shell markets are held at the villages during the arrivals of the "Blue Lagoon" cruise ships.

We could see the Yasawa group of islands in the distance and made our bearing toward Waya, the southernmost island in the group. Waya is quite mountainous and with its rugged skyline, it really reminded us of Fatu Hiva, our favorite island in the Marquesas.

WAYA ISLAND

June 25-26
We anchored in a quiet bay at the southern tip of Waya Island called Yalobi Bay, Waya. Went ashore to have a beer with Petrill and Maestruk at backpackers resort on sandy spit.

 

Papayas delivered to our doorstep
Children from the nearby School village paddled out to our boat on a surfboard (using a palm frond) to practice their English and see if we had any candy. After it was discovered that we were an easy mark we had a constant procession of children taking turns on the surfboard, arriving at our boat with expectant faces. Fearing we would soon be out of candy and pens, we asked a young boy if he could bring us some papaya in trade and h
e was very excited to oblige. Next morn, at around 7 am he appeared beside the boat in the choppy rough water, calling "Gordon, Gordon" sporting 2 beautiful huge papayas!. We sent him and his friend back to shore with some school supplies and soap for his Mom.

Amazingly enough, when we returned to Yalobi Bay 3 weeks later, that same young boy immediately appeared alongside the boat shouting "Gordon, Gordon!!" And I regret to say, that I cannot remember HIS name.

Church Service in the Village
Octopus Bay

June 27
Joined Island Sonata at Octopus Bay, an anchorage in front of the Octopus Hotel on the  western side of Waya Island. We all met the following morning on shore for breakfast, then took a hike over the hill to the village of Nalauwaki to attend the church service there.

Breakfast with Island Sonata at Octopus Resort

We hiked up a rocky trail, through the trees, past pig pens and plantations and came to a pretty bay that bordered the village of Nalauwaki.

Surprisingly, modern technology had found the remote  village .... satellite dish and solar panels planted amongst the wandering chickens! We assembled on the beach until the children to finished Sunday school. We removed our shoes and were invited to enter the Methodist Church.

I watched out the church window as a young man beat the drums to announce the beginning of the service.

 

After a lovely church service with magnificent singing from the choir, MJ poses with some of the village children.

We wandered around the village, which was a combination of corrugated metal and traditional thatched roof bures.

The cooking areas are always outside and separate from the sleeping/living quarters

The island is well known for its Rugby and pictured here is the official laundry of the village team.

To end the day, we all went snorkeling but found it hugely disappointing as the coral was dead and drab with not many fish. That evening there was a big BBQ party on shore with games and activities but we opted to save the $30/person and listen to the fun from the boat.

NAVITI ISLAND

June 28
It started to get windy so we set out for a more protected location on the northern tip of Naviti Island. We arrived in a quiet bay near Somosomo but anchored in a beautiful uninhabited anchorage called Vuniyawa Bay. Fringed with long white sandy beaches, the surrounding reefs promised great snorkeling.

 

June 29
First thing the following morning, we joined Island Sonata, and Petrell to snorkel on reef. It was really fantastic! Lots of fish, interesting coral and great visibility.

Spitfire Lagoon

That afternoon, we hiked across the island to the lagoon that is the home for a sunken WW2 Plane. The elusive trail over the island was interesting, as MJ, John, Frode, Marit, Gord and myself waded through dense grass much taller than we were.

Eventually, we came to some buildings and found the caretaker and her husband weaving mats on the ground. We stopped to chat and were told where we should snorkel to find the plane.
There was an amazing "shell garden", all gathered and arranged by the old woman, to mark the entrance to their property from the beach.


Pristine beach

After walking down a lovely beach we got our snorkel gear on and waded into the lagoon in search of the Spitfire sunk over 50 years ago. After about an hour we were unsuccessful in finding anything but the prop. However, we had a fun time. Later we found out that we were only within feet of the whole plane.
MJ dives down

Prop is home for fish

Marit has a closer look

June 29
The water maker was doing its best to force us to turn back as it blew the hose apart every time we used it. Gord was doing a good job of jury rigging, but it was just a matter of time before we would have to go and pick up the new hose that we had ordered from the US and was being delivered to Musket Cove.
We took a break from boat repairs and walked along beach where we found some beautiful cone shells. Unfortunately, trying to get the dinghy over the shallow reefs to the beach proved too much for our oar and we broke the end off. Nothing like being out to sea without a paddle!

Since we had been away from any stores for several weeks, we were running really low on food, certainly nothing fresh and no meat. Just when I was trying my best to come up with something creative, Halani, people from Hawaii that we had met in Vuda Point, offered us some delicious Trevali fish that they had just caught. And then the next morning, they brought us some Wahoo too!

June 30
Another water maker repair. This time the hose has blown too far from the fitting to cut off and reuse so the hose had to be rerouted to get the extra length required for another repair. We had planned to head back to Musket Cove anyway to get our new part but also to attend Fred's (Mary C) wedding. However a wind warning of 20-25, tomorrow 25-30 changed our plans and we decided to stay put for a couple of days.

July 1-2
I kayaked ashore with MJ and picked up some more shells. The remainder of the day was spent onboard as the winds built. It blew to 26 knots that night.
The following day was blustery with bumpy seas so we just stayed on board. Since Island Sonata had agreed to pick up Fred and take him to Musket Cove for his wedding reception, they left despite the weather. We were disappointed that we would not be attending but decided that it was not worth taking the chance on sailing in bad conditions.


International Day

July 3
We had crepes prepared by Frode for lunch on Petrell (Frode & Marit), from Norway. The lunch turned into an all-afternoon visit and it was followed by spaghetti dinner on Maestruk, an Italian boat (Andrea and Kiki). Afterward, Kiki, Marit and Gord played their guitars and sang. Andrea told humorous stories of some of the experiences they have had while chartering their boat.


July 4
The weather settled so we pulled anchor and headed for the BLUE LAGOON.

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