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.

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Early morning photo before it got busy.

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

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Houses by the marina.

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Kapowai alongside at sunset.

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Success

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.

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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!

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Moored alongside.

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

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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.

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We spent two nights there and enjoyed the visit.

Clouds

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.

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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.