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.

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A traveller and seafarer he has signed on Kapowai.

Anchorage

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.

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The reef filled gap between Navadra and Levu.

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Little Lailai joined to Levu by a sand causeway.

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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.

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The beach on the other side, while swimming.

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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’.

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A close up as we were looking for the cave.

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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.

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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