Wilkes Passage

Over the next two days we had 4 new crew join, our niece Jess and her boyfriend Connor first. Then a couple of days later Lois’s sister (Jess’s Mum) and her husband Ken.

With everyone on board we sailed from Port Denarau to go for a cruise round some islands.

Approaching Wilkes Passage looking to port

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First we went out through Wilkes Passage into the open sea and did some trolling but without luck.

Ken in charge of fishing

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We worked north along the Malolo Barrier Reef:

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Jess & Connor not spotting any fish for her Dad

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We then came back inside the reef heading for an anchorage.

 

Suva to Port Denarau

After a day in Suva we were keen to continue so left at 0300 to enable a daylight arrival in Port Denarau.

After dawn cruising along the coast west of Suva.

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Approaching the Navula passage through the reef. Possibly an earlier structure lost in a hurricane to the left.

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The dryer countryside on the west coast

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Approaching Port Denarau Marina, our base for the next two weeks.

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Suva

On arrival we were instructed to anchor off the Royal Suva Yacht Club and await the various officials. We were anchored at 0900, granted pratique at 1230 and cleared in at 1700.

At anchor looking shoreward.

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The harbour had several of these rafts of fishing boats, not sure why they were all laid up in Suva.

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Once cleared in we went ashore, mainly to get a sim card for internet. Fiji proved excellent for coverage and we had data while cruising round even when well off the coast.

The next day we spent longer ashore getting all the required cruising permits in place, this entailed visiting 4 different offices spread round Suva. So we had a good look round.

We also visited the market for some fresh produce, nice to get some hot chillies.

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I offered to buy the crew one of these for dinner but they were happy with a meal at the yacht club.

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Rarotonga to Fiji

To avoid arriving in Suva on the weekend it was time to leave delightful Rarotonga. Strangely you have to leave immediately the clearance is issued but they did give me 30 minutes to walk back to Kapowai.

6 day passage to Suva, Rarotonga astern.

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We ran a lure during the day and caught this fish, a good fighter and it took me ages to land it. It smelt terrible and was very slimy so went straight back overboard. Hopefully alive. ¬†Getting the lure out was a worry as it had enormous sharp pointed teeth. We didn’t know what it was but from the photo more knowledgeable people said it was a barracuda.

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Passing through Tonga, unfortunately not enough time to call in.

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Landfall in Fiji, still a good day away from Suva. Nice passage, nothing rough.

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Suva harbour in sight. Nice passage, nothing rough.

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Avatiu Town

Avatiu is an attractive town, the shops etc are all down the landward side of the street and the seaward side is a park. At the other end of town from the port was a nice pub, “Trader Jacks” where we had drinks once and a lunch another day.

The shops were mostly tourist related with the big supermarket in the other direction from the port. There is also a daily market with a few sellers that has Saturday as the main event.

Being associated with New Zealand there is a lot of NZ goods for sale. After 18 years away it was an introduction to the names we have not seen for so long, Watties, Tip-Top, Edmunds, Steinlager. We stocked up on Watties baked beans to have for breakfast.

There was also an excellent grog shop, ‘The Bond’ whose owner, Richard, visits every Nordhavn. He stocked the local beers so bought a few to try.

Looking down the main street.

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The coastal side

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Another view

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the coast, there was a billboard up showing a plan for future development of this area including a swish marina – that will really make this beautiful island an attractice cruising location. I would come back.

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Avatiu Harbour

Avatiu is the administrative seat for the Cook Islands. We arrived and medi-moored, clearing in was quickly done and we were free to wander round.

It was a school holiday so we quickly became a swim platform for the locals. Friendly bunch full of local knowledge.

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The port was busy with several inter-island traders and one container ship.

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Kapowai alongside. We were told that there was an excellent chippie close to the port so we had fish & chips for dinner that night. Very nice they were too!

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Another view

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Passage to Rarotonga

Next morning I got a taxi to the airport to clear out. Found the correct office whereupon the officer said “where are the rest of the crew”. This despite being told by various people that only the Master was required. Back to the taxi, who was waiting, back to the boat, get Lois & Mark, back to the airport. They never got spoken to and the officer seemed a bit embarrassed – I guess she had been corrected later.

No harm though as we all stopped at the supermarket on the way back.

At the boat with all the paperwork we let go and headed off down the reef to the passage out. The reef with Moorea in the distance.

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The reef passage

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Looking back at the marina and mooring field – would you swim there?

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Almost out at sea, bit lively on the last bit with the contesting water flows.

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Moorea to starboard

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Looking back at Tahiti after a few hours

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The Pacific as it should be and is so seldom

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3 days later landfall at Rarotonga, a lovely trip.

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A bit closer, looks nice to me.

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