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.

Tuesday, 9 June 2015

Local Knowledge, Jack Fisher.

So we are anchored in Viani Bay looking out towards the 'Garden Island of Fiji', Taveuni. you can see our position on Google Earth by clicking this link. The island is hilly and, lying as it does on the SE corner of the big island of Vanua Levu, it catches the prevailing SE wind and rain so it's lush and green.

The view from our anchorage, looking SSE towards Taveuni
Viani Bay is home to a great local character called Jack Fisher and his extended family. Jack is of mixed Fijian and European stock and has been a fisherman and diver over the years and has hundred of entertainingly tall tales to tell!

Jack Fisher and his wife Sophie on board Exit Strategy
He now offers a wonderful service to visiting yachts, guiding them to the best snorkelling spots on the outer reef where he comes out in your boat, shows you where to anchor perilously close to the coral and then follows the snorkellers in the dinghy. He also guides boats over to a safe anchorage close to the shore of Taveuni and organises a taxi to take you up to the beautiful waterfalls on the eastern side of the island so that's what we did yesterday:

The view looking SE from the hike on Taveuni

At the third waterfall, at the top of the trail through dense bush

The Third Waterfall
It was a hot and sweaty hike so a swim in the first waterfall was wonderfully refreshing before we climbed back into the extremely-rattly minivan for the 80 minute drive (on mostly dirt tracks) back to the main town of Somosomo, with a quick stop to get some more groceries. We climbed back aboard Exit Strategy and arrived back in Viani Bay just as darkness fell. It was a great day and we were glad to have done the tour in good weather; Jack charges just $10FJ per person for his pilotage and boat-watch and the taxi was just $100FJ for the day so, with a $15 per person fee for the Waterfall trail the whole day worked out at about $42FJ per person, or about £14! 

Our snorkelling trip with Jack the day before, aboard Ithaka this time, took us to a section of the reef called the Fish Factory; well named:

Tom from Exit Strategy free-diving

Clown Fish

Kin from Exit Strategy

The Fish Factory

A Crown of Thorns starfish. They cause lots of damage to the coral and are extremely poisonous - don't touch!! 
Wonderfully-coloured Parotfish

Having all this fun here meant we missed a reasonable weather window to sail SE to Fulanga so we'll wait around here and explore some of the nearby anchorages for a few days to see how the weather settles down. It looks as though it might be a bit windy towards the end of the week so we'll settle for a good anchorage and a good book if necessary!

Finally, the beauty of good email access here allowed our nephew Gary to tell us the fabulous news of the arrival of Jessica Glen Armer on the 4th June so that's Great Uncle and Great Auntie x4! Many congratulations to Gary and Becky. We look forward to meeting her and her new cousin Erin via Skpe soon.

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