Passage to Nelson

Our guests flew back to NZ so it was time to keep and eye on the weather and pick a departure date. Put it back twice but eventually it looked like we had a 7 days which would work, albeit with one day of 25 kts + approaching North Cape. Time to go.

We had used Asia Pacific Superyachts for the paperwork with our guests and they did another excellent job with the departure paperwork. Like other places once you get the clearance you don’t have long to let go.

Clearing the slip, by this time a number of boats had left for NZ and Australia – hurricane season the explains that.


Down the island heading toward the reef passage, a beautiful day.


Looking toward Musket Cove


Through the reef


Maybe not quite as calm outside


Goodbye to Fiji, an enjoyable two weeks. Good anchorages, friendly people, cold beer and warm weather.

The first day was OK, the second flat calm.


The third passable and then it got worse.


25 kts gusting 3o but a lovely 5 metre swell running through on an 8 second period.


Our first Albatross


We passed North Cape just after midnight, caught the tidal stream nicely and ran through at 11 kts. Our first site of NZ was off Taranaki. Didn’t see Mt. Egmont until later due to low cloud.


And then past my old stomping ground, Maui A platform.


The rest of the day was forecast for 25 kts but as we approached Farewell Spit it was a good 35 gusting 40+ with a rough beam sea. Even with the stabilisers we did some impressive rolls.

Arriving pleasure craft are not allowed to anchor in NZ so it was in and alongside at 0300. Customs and Bio-Security on the wharf waiting. Both were professional and courteous. Lois lost all her house plants and we lost all food items to do with birds including hard boiled eggs, any meat with bones in and any meat of doubtful or unidentified provenance. Plus any citrus including frozen sliced limes. The officer even wanted to take our breakfast but in the end let us cook the last of our bacon and the eggs in front of her and then took the shells and packaging.

18 years after we left we were back in NZ – what will we find.


Port Denarau

Port Denarau was a good place to base ourselves while cruising the islands. Close to Nadi airport, supermarkets, local markets and with a chandlery on site. The port is also where all the ferries to the resorts and water activities depart from. There is also a good mixture of restaurants including Rhum-ba where we had two meals.


Early morning photo before it got busy.


The other end of the same street. These were taken on the morning we left. After we all realised we had no photos.


Houses by the marina.


Kapowai alongside at sunset.



In Central America I had tried a new dish suggested by CJ – stuffed pineapple. Never quite got it right.

In Fiji managed to get some very fresh pineapples. Peeled, the core removed, stuffed with herbed sausage meat, wrapped in bacon and baked.

Here it is ready to serve, the first time it worked well.


Musket Cove

After a pleasant night at anchor and a morning swim we left after lunch for Musket Cove. Short trip through the islands. Unfortunately two of the new crew had suffered a wee bit so a more sheltered location was needed.

Entrance to the Marina after threading through the moored fleet outside. You can see a few masts above the trees.  Follow that boat!


Moored alongside.


Once again the Kapowai magic does the trick and we are an easy walk to the Musket Cove Yacht Club Bar.


Its a lovely spot, sand deck, great conversations with both other boaties and visitors from the various resorts, cold beer and pizzas delivered. We had a chat with a fellow kiwi couple who has been coming every winter since 1986.

From my point of view the crew were never that far away.

They also had BBQs so you could cook your own or with a bit of planning they would provide the food.

You can get a lifetime membership to the Musket Cove Yacht Club if you sail there from a foreign port, we joined.

The beach next door. At low tide you could walk across this bay.


We spent two nights there and enjoyed the visit.


Looking back toward the mainland late in the afternoon. Some nights there are terrific down pours, rain that thumps down and any idea of going outside is quickly forgotten. Strangely not a lot of lightning when we were there.


Castaway & Rescue

After passing the ‘Castaway’ island we talked about the movie and what had happened to Wilson.

The next day we landed on Levu and came across Wilson’s Kiwi cousin Gilbert. He had been there for some time and was very pleased to be saved by some kiwis.

We brought him back to Kapowai and listened for hours to his tales of shipwreck, hunger and desperation as he battled to stay alive on his own.

Here our hero relaxes with a beer, we had some as well.


A traveller and seafarer he has signed on Kapowai.


Our anchorage for the night was in a cove formed by three islands, Navadra, Vanua Levu and tiny Vanua Lailai.

What you imagine a south pacific island would look like, the northern end of Navadra.



The reef filled gap between Navadra and Levu.


Little Lailai joined to Levu by a sand causeway.


The beach we landed on for exploration and swimming, the causeway to Lailai running off to the left. There were hermit crabs everywhere, even under the trees.


The beach on the other side, while swimming.


Good holding but a swell caused rolling so for only the second time we put a flopper stopper out. It worked well until the two of the chains snapped. Recovered it was quickly repaired and re-deployed.

We had a BBQ on the back deck and swam off the back of the boat – perfect tropical holiday.

Monuriki Island

After coming back inside the reef we passed Monuriki Island, made famous by the movie ‘Castaway’.


A close up as we were looking for the cave.


From where we were there were other islands in view, one of which had a big resort. The film crew must have chosen their angles with care not to blow the loneliness.