Arrival to Sawa-i-lau in Fiji

Sailing into Sawa-i-lau, Fiji

Sailing into Sawa-i-lau, Fiji

We had a wonderful sail over to the Yasawas. We left Nanunanu (I love that name!) at the crack of dawn with s/v Jackster and s/v Stray Kitty. Once out of the pass, we all raised sail. It was a straight downwind sail. Our spinnaker had to be retired on the passage up to Fiji, so we configured our sails wing-on-wing. Mainsail out on one side, and jib sail out on the other. By tying off the jib to one of the cleats on our wide hulls, we are able to get nearly the equivalent of having a spinnaker pole.

Jackster has two headsails and two poles. A very nice set-up if you don’t have a spinnaker. Stray Kitty had a new spinnaker, and they were looking quite pretty out there. In the early hours, the winds were a bit lighter. Jackster actually went a bit faster than Tahina. But, as soon as the winds got to around 15 knots, Tahina picked up a little speed and we were soon in the lead. Stray Kitty is a PDQ Antares design. They are a very nicely laid out boat, but they are a smaller boat and just don’t have the water line for a faster speed. Even so, they only ended up about 30 minutes behind after a 60 mile trip.

We arrived at Sawa-i-lau, which is a stunning anchorage, about 2 PM. The nearby volcanic mountain has some of the most beautiful rock we’ve seen on the trip. It also juts up into the sky with sheer cliffs reminding us of Moorea in French Polynesia. It’s most popular attraction are some caves which we read about in our cruising guides. The pass was a little daunting with large sharp hull-eating rocks and waves crashing just a few meters from the waters we needed to pass through. But, visibility and our charts were good.

What Stray Kitty lacked in speed, they made up for in catching fish. Actually, when trolling for fish, a slower speed (less than 8 knots) is definitely better. Neither Jackster or Tahina caught a thing. Stray Kitty landed 4 fish – a Mahimahi and three yellowfin tuna! They later gave the Mahimahi to the village as part of the sevusevu ceremony. We went over to the nearby village and made our sevusevu offerings and were soon welcomed by the village to explore the area. We made a short walk over to the village school and were given a nice tour by one of the class 7 student boys (12 years old). When we got back to the village, the ladies had laid out some jewelry and fruits to sell. This is not normally a Fiji tradition, but the Yasawas are visited by a lot of tourists. Some cruise ships visit here. So, the village people have adopted new traditions to help with their economy. After our village tour, we headed back and were soon over on Stray Kitty for fish dinner – Jackster and Tahina brought our foods over to add to the meal.

View from at anchor

View from at anchor

The anchorage here is truly beautiful! An awesome view of the mountain to the east with beautiful tropical vegetation filling in between the colorful rocks. A few coconut trees poking out above a white sand beach just add to the spice. Then there are some long strips of white sand under shallow water adding a full palette of turquoise and blue waters to the view. The view in the picture on the right is just in front of Tahina. Pretty nice huh?!

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