Namenalala Island

Leaving Cousteau for Namenalala

Leaving Cousteau for Namenalala

We left Cousteau a little before noon on Friday to sail to our next destination. It was a little over 20 miles, but and there was plenty of wind. About 20-25 knots. We got the sails up before rounding the point, fortunately with two reefs up. We were soon making 9-10 knots. As soon as we got around the point, the swell was up to 2-3 meters and very choppy. The waves were on the beam so it was a bouncy ride. But, at this speed, it took just a little over 2 hours to get there.

The winds eased just a bit, and a break in the overcast skies formed over us, and so we could see the waters well enough to make sure our charts were right. We entered a wide pass in the outer reef around the island. The pass is called on our chart: “Save-a-tack Passage”. Very aptly named! The other passes would have require circling around to the other side.

Namenalala is a marine reserve based on an agreement of 11 villages in the area. As a result, the diving here is said to be spectacular. We needed to get a scuba tag from the resort here to be able to dive. It cost FJ$25.

The next day, I first did some kayaking around the coast of the island. The island has a lot of birds – mostly red-footed boobys, and frigates. The resort here is also a nature preserve and they have minimized their development on the island. It’s a private island.

Later, I went into the resort and got the tags, and spoke to the staff about the dive. It turns out the information I got from our dive master in Savusavu was all upside down. I got the data corrected on my map and GPS. I spent the morning getting our gear ready, but Karen was not feeling well. When it came time to get ready to leave, we decided it was not safe with Karen being sick, so we had to postpone our dive for a day. I did some snorkeling instead and there was a lot of fish on the nearby reefs.

In the afternoon, a big motor mega-yacht showed up. I estimate it is 50m in length and it has at least 6 decks. The top deck has a pool/jacuzzi. They had 4 big jet skis, 2 smaller ones, and a bunch of other water toys. I saw at least 10 crew on board. They have two large launches (about 30 to 35 feet each). There were 3 or 4 families on board and they spent the afternoon playing with the toys and snorkeling the reef.

[UPDATE: See the photos of our time on the island here.]

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