We stayed in Savusavu only for a few days to rest up and wait for a decent weather window to cross over to other island of Viti Levu, where Vuda Point marina is located and where we had a scheduled haul out to do some work on the boat. The Koro sea (to the east of the islands) and the Bligh waters (area between the two main islands) create a very localized weather scenario as wind wraps around the islands in different directions and between the islands, the wind effect is accelerated. Additionally, there are many reefs, some that are submerged so traveling during daylight hours we thought would be a prudent strategy.
There was a local VHF net for all the cruisers and “Curly” was our host who is an expat now living in Savusavu for many, many years. He loves cruisers, we are told and read and helps cruisers make passage plans for weather etc. We, Slow Flight with Mayo as crew and SV Me Too, left on a Tuesday for a 3 day (traveling by daylight) to make it to Vuda Point. As we are leaving the bay, we say “goodbye” over the VHF net and Curly basically said…to everyone listening to the net ….we are crazy to leave in these conditions and should head back to Savusavu NOW. We had looked at weather, no issues… but we did not have the local knowledge he had. So we turned back to re-assess the weather just to be safe. To his credit, the seas were big, the clouds cut into our visibility to see reefs, but the wind seemed fine. After all of it…we thought we would of been ok….last famous words!!!!
SV Me Too left the next day, keeping the original 3 day sailing itinerary. We needed to make sure Mayo could get to a ferry (faster than sailing with us) that left on Thursday from Savusavu so she could continue her search for a boat to take her to Vanuatu so… we took a different approach…an overnight passage through deeper waters but we had to head closer to the Koro sea and then though some passages to get to the more protected waters of the main island Viti Levu.
Oh SHIT!!!! – Well, it’s always hard to take photos when shit is hitting the fan, but in words… it’s about 3am in the morning and Trevor is taking us through the pass in the photo below. However, I wake to the motor on and lots of waves hitting the boat! The wind had shifted on us as it wrapped around the islands (we were headed south and close to the Koro Sea) and we were headed directly up wind. This means even with the engine on, we were only moving forward at a speed of 2-2.5 knots! Our sails were up and reefed so we were getting pushed a bit to the NW and to boot….a ferry went by us to the island!
Anchorage, photo opportunities, and welcome to the “dry side” of the island – We finally made it to the north side of the main island of Viti Levu and though the outer coral reef to a decent anchorage… the one SV Me Too would meet us. The landscape reminded us of Mexico and the Sea of Cortez with a desert landscape and magical blue waters. The next morning, we motored to an anchorage called Saweni Bay very close to Vuda Point Marina and inside the reef where the wind and waves were calm and protected. Both Me Too and us took advantage and took photos of each other’s vessels…maybe our Christmas card this year? All is well!
Next up, Trevor’s Birthday and Vuda Point Marina and our “yard” family…..