Sunday, 4 October 2015

Bua Bay and Coconut Point and More Maintenance in Exotic Locations

On our way to Savusavu we broke up the trip by having short stops in Bua Bay and Coconut Point.

Bua Bay was nice and relaxing after our somewhat tenuous anchorage on the east side of Yadua.  Great protection from the sea, shallow, no reefs and tons of swing room.  Minor downside ... no access beyond the mangroves so this was just a spot to let the winds calm down a bit before heading further south.

Coconut Point was also a short stop on the way after a few hours in classic wind against tide unpleasantness..  Not as much room to anchor but still solid in the more settled conditions.  Coconut Point has an important ferry terminal so it was a bit busy and noisy with the comings and goings.

Bua Bay - Not as pretty as Yadua but I slept better

Great holding in thick mud - Johnathan cleaning the anchor chain.

Bua Bay to Coconut Point - Classic wind against tide conditions straight into wind between the reefs

Meanwhile Benjamin doesn't care about the seas.  He has the iPad.

Arrived Coconut Point - time for a swim

Benjamin's playground

Of course we went spearfishing ... Tim got a coral trout.  

We are anchored just downwind from the ferry dock so a tad noisy

Time for maintenance - Victoria whipping lines.

Of course we needed a jackline between Exodus and Fluenta.

Not fair says Benjamin

More maintenance in exotic locations - dyneema chafe guards for the lifelines

Liz repairing our dodger while Benjamin tests the electronics.

More walu !

Great filleting by Victoria

Creative location for chin-ups


Saturday, 3 October 2015

Namena Marine Reserve - Sea Life

Of course, the highlight of the Namena Marine Reserve  is the sea life.  In our short time there Tim and I dove on "Chimneys" and "Grand Central".  Liz, Deanne, Victoria and I also did a short snorkelling trip on the west end of the island as well.

Amazing to see the difference no fishing makes: compared to our snorkelling only 25 nm away there were significantly more and larger fish.

Some pictures:

Soft coral

No lack of small fish

A snorkel-mouthed victoria fish

None of my shark photos seem to be much good this season.  A grey reef shark in the distance ...

There were lots of large grouper.  Here two amble by knowing they are in a marine reserve.

Can you see the octopus ?  He was flashing white and blue.

The Exodus boys on the hooka. 

More soft coral

Sunday, 27 September 2015

Namena Marine Reserve - Red Footed Boobies

We spent a few days anchored in the Namena Marine Reserve.  More posts to follow with pictures of the marine life but one of the first things we noticed when we arrived was a density of the bird life. This is the only place so far where there was lots of bird life.  The birds, mostly Red Footed Boobies, showed very little fear of humans and it was a lot like Isla Isabella in Mexico.  And there is no lack of fish for the birds to feed on.

Here are a few pictures from our hike ashore:

Tough day at the office

Benjamin checking out the birds

Bird checking out Benjamin

The blue blur behind the bird is ...

even the bugs are colourful in Fiji
Not always sunny in the tropics ...

On the beach

Saturday, 26 September 2015

More Fishing - Trolling and Filleting

We are always dragging lines behind us when we are on passage.  Last year we arrived in New Zealand with the freezer full.  This year we had a slower start but things are looking up recently.

Time to upgrade !  The rapala get prepared !

and on the next passage ... a yellow fin tuna ... my favourite.

Biology time: we found shrimp in his stomach.

Hmm ... appears that a shark wanted some of this walu.  It was interesting as the conditions were rough and I was just returning the line into the water when we caught the walu and then briefly the shark.

So cool that the kids - the bigger two anyway - can fillet fish now.  Benjamin supervises the processing in Bua Bay.

One  nicely processed walu.

Biology part 2 - "Eye" see you.

Friday, 25 September 2015

Spearfishing School

I have been pretty lucky this year to spend some time spearfishing with some experienced and keen spearos especially Tim from Exodus and Gary from Nirvana.  I still have lots to learn but making some progress.  Liz has written a bit about fishing but here are some photos:

The big dogtooth tuna that Tim shot but five sharks took most of it.  The head and flesh back to the pectoral fins weighed 35 lbs.  The walu I am holding I shot but the head of my spear came off after hitting it so Tim had to chase it and shoot it again. (Exodus photo)

The next day Brendan, aged 12, got a walu and I got the large one I am holding.  I was very glad to have Tim there to help haul it in !

We decided that we would share the smaller walu between our two boats and give the bigger one to the village.  They said it was the biggest one they had ever seen.

The village headman, Mele, holding the walu

The Fijians are rather faster at processing fish than we are: Mele using a cane knife to chop the fish.

Very much enjoying the challenge of spearfishing and still lots to learn.  Even on the days I do not get a fish, which have been plenty, it is still an amazing experience.  It is also a chance to go snorkeling in places and times you would likely not go for "just" snorkeling: long, rough dingy rides, five hour swims, crazy currents etc.  We also get to go to reefs that seem untouched and see lots of marine wildlife,  Lots of sharks of course - normally white tip reef and grey - but also two hammerheads and one oceanic black tip (I think).  Lots of sea turtles and rays too which seem not too concerned by our presence.