Welcome to the Maunie of Ardwall blog

This is the blog of Maunie of Ardwall charting our adventures as we sail around the world. We're sailing up and down the east coast of Australia after a summer back in Britain.

Sunday, 7 September 2014

Intricate pilotage around the north of Viti Levu

We're now on day 2 of some very intricate navigation along a passage that zig-zags inside the reef along the northern shore of Viti Levu. Actually, it's the sort of sailing that Graham's Mum would enjoy (she isn't a keen sailor, unlike Dad, and will only countenance a trip in a sailing boat if the mast remains vertical and the water's like a millpond); we've had a good 15 knot wind behind us but the reef has kept the water perfectly calm.

Stay in the white bits! The brown is hilly island and the green patches are reefs. Before you get too impressed with the annotation on the chart, we should admit that we borrowed it from Warren and Wendy in NZ and the track marked is theirs from several years ago. The paper chart is a nice back-up to our chart plotter.
At low tide, the reefs appear, looking like mud banks. Very crunchy mud, though. There are a few markers on the extremities of some , though many charted marks are missing so we don't rely on them.
After the lush green forests of the south and east sides of the islands, the north side is decidedly parched. In the flatter areas it's prime sugar cane growing land and we can see the plumes of smoke as the fields are burnt off after harvest. 
Looking back at our wake - it's hard to believe that there are reefs either side of it (this was at high tide) 
We're aiming for Port Denarau tonight on the west side of Viti Levu, just south of the town of Lautoka. It'll be something of a culture shock to us as it's a new, purpose-built marina with several hotels and restaurants around it. It's very much designed to attract super-yachts so Maunie should feel at home! We're here to meet Graham's Goddaughter Amy who is flying out from mid-Wales (via Hong Kong for a few days) to join us for 10 days. Amy was one of our bridesmaids and is a keen sailor so we're hoping for some fun sailing up in the Yasawa Islands to the north west of Viti Levu. This is normally the dry and sunny side of Fiji but it looks as though she'll be bringing rain with her for the first couple of days; being from Wales she should feel at home, though it'll be a tad warmer than she's used to.

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