July 4, 2008
We liked Land Harbour so much we stayed there until this morning. A wind shift from the north was forecast and Land Harbour is protected from every direction except north. It was time to move on in any case.
We are now anchored in the Mocelutu Passage, a narrow strait between Yaroiko and Nanuyalabalava Islands. It was a seven hour sail through reef strewn waters to get here. We actually sailed (rather than motored) for most of it since we followed the route that we took in. That route was recorded and saved on our digital chart plotter. The wind did indeed come out of the north and this is a good place to be. Our current position is:
South 17 degrees 11.6 minutes
East 177 degrees 10.6 minutes
We did have some adventures in Land Harbour (called Nadala Bay by Fijians). On our second evening there, a small canoe came alongside and asked if we wanted to trade for fish. We had seen the lone fisherman working a handline in the hours before and were happy he stopped by. We gave him a box of cookies, some candies for his children, and pair of men’s shorts. We got two good-sized fish called “Sweet Lips.” He also said that we should go to the village of Tamasua and do sevusevu with the chief.
The next morning we dinghied to shore along with Michael and Britta of Vera to look for the path to Tamasua. It was low tide and the southern part of Nadala Bay was almost dry. It was about 1/2 kilometer to the beach from the edge of the tidal plain. We pulled the dinghies onto the tidal plain and put out dinghy anchors and hoped that they would hold since we knew that the tidal plain would be under water in just a couple of hours.
It was difficult to find a path but we finally found one and followed it inland through 2 meter tall grass and the occasional tree. This was the flood plain of the small river that drained the tall hills of southern Yasawa Island. It was 40 minutes until we got to the small, neat village perched on the windward side of the island. We were directed to the chief who performed the short sevusevu ceremony on his veranda. We presented him with two bundles of kava root, he made some incantations over it, and then thanked us in English.
We then toured the village, led by our fisherman friend of the previous day. We traded sunglasses and a t-shirt for fruit and a pumpkin, and then were led on the “short-cut” path back to Nadala Bay. The dinghies were where we left them but floating in two feet of water. That night we cooked the two Sweet Lips fish on Vera — they were delicious.
The snorkelling in Land Harbour was excellent. The coral was almost as good as Navadra and there were lots of fish, including big fish. The water was not as clear, however. The Vera’s were the only other boat in the bay all the time that we were there.
We will continue to retrace our route through the Yasawa Islands and back to Lautoka. We expect to provision and check-out of Fiji in a week or so, heading for Vanuatu about 520 miles away.