Sunday 4th June 2017
The rising sun pops out above the surrounding high hills and the anchorage at Viani Bay is suddenly bathed in sunlight. With not even a whisper of wind the dark, silky water reflects the hills, the only ripples are created by the occasional local small motor boat passing in the distance. The misty silhouette of Taveuni Island dominates the horizon, bird song drifts over from the wooded rim of the bay, a crowing cockerel, chatter and laugher reaches us from the village. It is so good to be back to our Pacific idyll.
With the fridge struggling to cope with copious mounds of spinach, lettuce and tomatoes, the freezer topped up with steak, chicken and tuna and the fruit bowls bursting with pineapples, manderines and coconuts, we headed out of the marina a few miles down the coast to an anchorage off the Michelle Cousteau (son of Jacques) Resort.
Despite all this food onboard, we decided to spoil ourselves and take lunch at the resort restaurant. As they were only 50% full they were happy to let outsiders in, the service was friendly, with nice but pricey food and the best Mojitos we have had since Panama.Out of the marina we delighted in being able to just flop off the back of the boat into the fabulous warm water. Things got even better when we discovered some nice snorkelling a couple of hundred metres away. Split Rock was as discribed, a large coral bommie carved in two by a deep gulley. Hundreds of reef fish crowded around the surprisingly healthy coral, including two large Clown Fish diligently guarding their Sea Anemone, a couple of bright turquoise and pink Parrot Fish and a large shoal of stripy Sergeant Majors. We had bought some stale bread with us which created a feeding frenzy, so many fish So close was quite scary especially when they started nipping at us instead of the bread. The prevailing winds over Fiji are the SE trades, so travelling south or east has to be timed carefully. Saturday the winds were forecast to be extremely light with calm sea, so at 7am we set off for the 46nm due east to Viani Bay. With what little wind there was directly on the nose, this was always going to be a motor sail but the engine and the early start ensured we reached the pass into the bay with the sun high in the sky. Moonshadow were conveniently an hour ahead of us which meant we could watch their path through the reefs into the bay and confirm our route in.
Anchor safely down we swam and relaxed, thumbs up for Fiji so far.