s/v Vingilot - Fiji

20 June 2021 | Musket Cove
18 June 2021 | Likuliku Lagoon, Malolo Island
17 June 2021 | Navadra Island
16 June 2021 | Drawaqa Island
15 June 2021 | Drawaqa Island
14 June 2021 | Drawaqa Island
13 June 2021 | Drawaqa Island
12 June 2021 | Drawaqa Island
11 June 2021 | Drawaqa Island
10 June 2021 | Waya Island
09 June 2021 | Navadra Island
08 June 2021 | Navadra Island
07 June 2021 | Navadra Island
06 June 2021 | Likuliku Lagoon, Malolo Island > Musket Cove
05 June 2021 | Likuliku Lagoon, Malolo Island
04 June 2021 | Mana Lagoon, Mana Island
03 June 2021 | Likuliku Lagoon, Malolo Island
02 June 2021 | Musket Cove

Musket Cove - Equinox

21 June 2021
Jade Tysoe
Today was a slower start as we'd all slept reasonably well after a full roast dinner from the Musket cove restaurant.
The day started with a run for Jade with Tracy, Liam and Dylan from KTD. Josh came ashore at the same time to start a productive day of project work.
Joy and Charles came along a little later in the morning and walked around the island too.

Back at the boat Matt was enjoying his book and seemed to be irked that his peace and quiet was disturbed when we all started to filter back for some breakfast.
The day was rather steamy once again and it knocked us out a bit. The rest of the morning was spent reading books on Vingilot. The KTD crew decided they'd head out to Cloud break for some surfing, snorkelling and fishing and Matt decided to join them for the day.
Lunch on board Vingilot was a lentil salad plus cheesy rolls and some pears.
In the afternoon we mostly napped, interspersed with the skipper doing some more of his Morse code practice.
Around 4ish Jade grabbed a lift to shore from the skipper and joined Sarah from Syntropy for a yoga session- Michelle and Anna also took part.
In the meantime, Matt had returned from his energetic day out and was at the pier dutifully waiting to pick Jade up. He had not only managed to catch a wave in the surf while out but also stood up on the board! That was quite a feat for a first attempt at surfing given there are strong currents, undertows and a dangerous reef looming underneath the waves! Plus the swell can be pretty big here!

Dinner was a favourite from Jade's mums' pasta book: Puttanesca. It's a tomato base with anchovies, capers, olives, chilli and garlic with spaghetti - Yum!
After dinner, Charles, Josh and Matt went over to KTD to discuss our next movements as feet are getting itchy once again. It was decided we make our way North once again via Nevadra, Waya, Somosomo and onto Blue Lagoon!

Musket cove: laundry and re-fuelling

20 June 2021 | Musket Cove
Jade Tysoe
Another scorcher of a night was had last night so most of us were wide awake by 6am. With the kettle boiled and hot drinks in hand, we watched the sun come up over musket cove while running the genset to charge the batteries.
Around 7.30am Josh and Jade took the small dinghy ashore to go for a morning run before the heat built up too much.
Around 8.30am Matt and Charles took the Jerry cans ashore to fill them up with diesel for the boat engine and petrol for the dinghies.
Josh and Jade returned to the boat for showers followed by porridge and cereal for breakfast.
Charles and Matt returned shortly afterwards and the port fuel tank on the boat was refilled.
We all then returned to shore with the dirty laundry to put on two loads of washing. We then relaxed in the restaurant with a drink and some snacks.
In the afternoon Jade and Matt returned to the boat and enjoyed a sunbathe on the paddle board with gin and tonic in hand. Tracy, Dylan and Liam also joined them sunbathing on their boards in the bay for a little while.
Around 2.30-3pm Joy and Charles returned with the clean linen. Josh remained ashore with his computer and did some project work.
Around 3.30pm we were all invited over to SV Syntropy to see Sarah and Mike for a cuppa and freshly baked brownies! The brownies were absolutely divine and we also had some afternoon excitement as Mike had previously found a flying fish in his dinghy and decided to use it as bait to try and catch a Remora. No sooner had Mike's line hit the water, than the Remora bit straight down on the bait! Mike's glee at having caught a fish was short lived as Sarah informed him that the Remora feeds on the bottom of their boat and any waste matter that is ejected out of their holding tank! Slightly dejected at the thought of eating tinned tuna for dinner rather than a fresh catch, Mike duly unhooked the Remora and set it free to resume its under boat duties.
We made our way back to Vingilot for a quick change and to get ready for dinner with KTD. We were enjoying the rare luxury of someone else cooking dinner for us and went to the restaurant. The special of the day was roast chicken, steamed veggies and roast potatoes- it was absolutely delicious!
Tummies full and all feeling very contented, we made our way back to Vingilot to enjoy a cuppa and early night.

Likuliku to Musket Cove

19 June 2021
Jade Tysoe
Another warm night was had on board with bodies strewn across any part of the boat which was cooler than the inside berths. There was very little wind and the water was like glass in the morning. After a hot drink Jade went out on the paddle board around the bay, then Josh had a go and finally Charles stepped on board too.
In the meantime, Joy made a double batch of crackers plus a double batch of bread in the galley - she is just a superstar!
Shortly after 10am we lifted anchor and departed from Likuliku lagoon bound for Musket Cove. We all enjoyed some cereal and yoghurt underway before arriving into Musket around 11.30am and picking up a mooring buoy. We had to admit, Musket seemed really busy compared to the quiet, deserted bays we had anchored in of late. We counted 21 boats anchored here but we have to remember that it’s still small fry compared to the usual numbers!

The rubbish was cleared off the boat and taken ashore by Jade and Matt who were very happy to visit the restaurant for an ice cold beer and hot chips afterwards.
Joy, Charles and Josh joined shortly afterwards and we sat down to some lunch which included burgers, chips and spicy prawn bento boxes. Josh returned to Vingilot briefly to retrieve the gas bottles that needed to be refilled.

After lunch it was time to see what stock the food shop had to offer and our timing was fortuitous as a fresh delivery of bread and vegetables arrived as we were stood in the store. While Joy and Josh piled a lot of oats, cans and fresh food into boxes, Charles had sought out the local nurse who kindly provided some cerumol for ear wax treatment.

The nurse also informed us that vaccinations were delayed as the ministry of health were concerned about the risk that they may pose by coming ashore in Musket. The upshot is that the vaccination doses should be delivered later in the week but it will be without the ministry personnel present. Vaccine shots will be administered outside by the local nurse and any other healthcare professionals in the Musket bubble. If we are still around to coincide with the vaccinations, Charles has kindly offered his assistance.

Once Josh and Joy had filled their boxes at the food shop, we piled them into both of the dinghies and went back to Vingilot to re stock the lockers.

Dinner was then enjoyed on shore again with the KTD crew. We sat in the beach bar and used their barbecue, grilling some boerewors sausage and enjoying that with fresh bread rolls baked by Joy plus an onion and tomato relish made by Tracy. We followed up with pineapple slices for dessert and some of us among the crew also enjoyed a Margarita cocktail which was a real treat!

Nevadra to Likuliku (via Monuriki)

18 June 2021 | Likuliku Lagoon, Malolo Island
Jade Tysoe
^Drone picture of the over water bures at Likuliku Lagoon.

Well last night was a sticky one and there was a fair bit of movement in the night. Matthew descended from his deck hammock around 2am claiming to be too cold!! Josh slept in the cockpit and Joy slept on deck for a little while before coming back into the cockpit to join Josh.

Around 6am the starry night was giving way to the morning sunrise and most of us slowly made our way out of sticky beds into the morning air.

Hot drinks were made and we slowly came to life. The skipper got us going through the usual morning tasks on the boat: running the genset for an hour and a half to recharge batteries, making water at the same time with the water maker and letting the dinghy down off the back of the boat.

Joy and Jade had a quick paddle board around the beautiful bay before making the boat ship shape to lift the anchor and head south.

We departed the picturesque anchorage of Nevadra/Vanua Levu around 9.30am.

^ Traveling to Monuriki Island

Very little wind meant that it was another day of motoring which wasn't too unfortunate as it happens because we needed to run the engine to get the fridges running. The heat really is making it hard to keep those temperatures down.

Our route today took us via Monuriki island which is where Castaway (Tom Hanks film featuring the ball Wilson) was filmed! The skipper kindly anchored very close to shore in around 14 metres so we felt within touching distance of the beach.

^ Monuriki Island

The water was such an aquamarine blue and the sand looked so powder white. We could hardly wait for the anchor to hit the seabed before we were throwing ourselves overboard. After the initial rush to swim, we soon found ourselves frantically clawing at the dinghy as we realised the sea was teeming with jellyfish.

Charles remained with the boat while the rest of the crew hopped in the dinghy and went ashore. We wandered on the soft sand into the shade of the palm trees and over to the other side of the island - it was paradise! How many times have we said that already?!

Some locals soon joined us from the nearby village and Matt returned to Vingilot to look for a football so he could play with the kids. They were very excited to be given the ball.

Charles did come ashore after a short while to join us, and walked around admiring the view as well.

Around 1pm we had all had plenty of that scorching sun so we made our way back to Vingilot for lunch and shade. We enjoyed bread, cheese, pickles, houmous, kippers and some papaya.

Around 1.45pm we were on our way once again under motor. We had initially planned to stop over at Mana island tonight as we had hoped to go ashore there and reprovision our boats, however, we had come across a Musket cove friend on Monuriki island who'd told us that Mana were still not allowing people ashore. It was decided that we'd return to Likuliku instead. We arrived in the bay around 3.45pm and once again....as soon as the anchor was set, we could hardly stop ourselves plunging into the water. The heat really did feel very intense today and there was no air!

Dinner was a delicious Thai red chicken curry with coconut rice, followed by peaches and yoghurt. Our friends on KTD had caught a Mackerel while en route to Likuliku so they inevitably enjoyed their catch of the day. They very kindly sent us a taster of the crumbed mackerel - hand delivered on the paddle board by Liam. It was delectable!

Drawaqa to Nevadra

17 June 2021 | Navadra Island
Jade Tysoe
Today was going to be a day of change, the skippers just hadn't decided which island we were off to yet. We had a slow start to the day enjoying a hot drink and speaking to family on the phone. Jade had a brief paddle board session while Charles, Matt and Josh swam over to KTD to discuss our next move.

On their return to the boat, it seemed we had settled on returning to the Northern part of Waya.

We lifted the anchor around 10am which was a challenge in itself. Once we'd pulled up 10 metres, the anchor seemed to be stuck and wouldn't move any further. We had to move up and down, left and right to untangle around 80 metres of chain from the bommies below. Once we'd got free, we motored out of Drawaqa and bade a fond farewell to the Mantas.

A breakfast of cereals was eaten underway and Joy worked hard in the galley making some fresh bread.
Around 12 midday we arrived at Octopus resort which was just over a small hill on the other side of Waya village. There was a bit of a south westerly and a slight roll on the waves so the skippers had a quick radio communication and agreed that we continue onto a calmer anchorage.

Onward we motored to Navadra, a fond anchorage of ours! We arrived around 2.30pm after enjoying a lunch of fresh bread rolls, spreads, cheese and homemade houmous, plus dessert of papaya and orange slices.

Most of us plunged straight into the water on arrival as there was no breeze and the heat was intense. Jade and Liam snorkelled in the amazingly clear waters and saw a friendly face - the white tip reef shark was in his usual spot on the reef. Tracy and Brendan also snorkelled and Joy joined them shortly afterwards with the paddle board.

Sunset drinks were enjoyed on KTD this evening before we settled down to a dinner of chilli beans in wraps with cheese and a mango ice cream to desperately try and cool us all down!

Tonight is going to be a scorcher! Matt set up the hammock on deck and will likely remain there all night unless Josh manages to oust him. Tomorrow we head on to Mana island!

Happy Birthday Jade!

16 June 2021 | Drawaqa Island
Matthew Bradfield
^ Jade cutting up her birthday cake!

Today was a very special day, with Jade celebrating her birthday half a world away from family and friends. We woke early and enjoyed coffee and crepes for breakfast before once again donning wetsuits and heading out to try our luck in the Island passage, hoping we might get to see more of the Manta Rays.

^ Jade enjoying her breakfast crepes.

Hitting the water just after 10 am (slack tide) we patiently waited for the Manta Rays to come up from feeding and fleetingly grace us with their presence. With poorer visibility than before and arguably less plankton in the water for them to feed on the going seemed slow. Our patience, however, was rewarded and we did get to spend a few awe inspiring minutes observing these most majestic creatures.

3 hours later we returned from our snorkeling to enjoy a pot luck lunch with KTD as part of the birthday celebrations. The spread was immense, we had; a cheese board, pizzas, boerewors, mashed potato, peas, gravy, a fruit salad with custard and birthday cake. The day was scorching and festivities were interspersed with quick dips into the ocean.

To add to our festive moods was the exciting news that came today in the form of a revised notice pertaining to our blue lane status in Fiji which now allows us to go ashore!

Enamoured of our new found freedom we headed for shore, racing a sinking sun, to touch dry land and feel the bleach white sand between our toes. We met Rob (marine biologist looking after the Manta Rays) and Sammy (a local responsible for looking after the currently desolate resort) and headed for the hills, having to fight our way up a rather overgrown mountain while waving off a particularly vicious bread of local mosquito.

^ Rowing into the bay at low tide.

^ Our brief trek.

^ Our view from the top.

Before leaving Sammy rustled up some coconuts and Jade made friends with the resident pig.

^ Jade and the friendly pig.

Back at the boat we had a quick swim to wash off the sweat before coconuts were cracked and laced with rum (for the less abstemious crew), and a light dinner of cheese, houmous and crackers for those with an appetite after our late lunch revelry.

Mantas Take Two

15 June 2021 | Drawaqa Island
Jade Tysoe
^ Dylan from KTD diving next to a Manta Ray.

We woke naturally around 7-8am today and started to prepare for our morning Manta expedition. After a hot drink and a small cereal breakfast, we got into our gear and headed out in the dinghy. The sun was shining and the seas were calmer so we were feeling optimistic.

Once in the channel, we realised the seas weren't quite as calm as we'd thought though and our dinghies were rolling around quite a bit. We all jumped in to snorkel with the mantas again and quickly dispersed in the water.

Charles was keeping a keen eye on the current and saw that it was in fact a lot stronger than it had been a couple of days ago. He swam back to KTDs dinghy and untied it from ours and then went around retrieving a few of us who'd got into trouble being dragged by the current - it was running at 3-4 knots we estimated.

Luke and Rob joined us shortly after we arrived and also found the current troublesome to swim against. After they had carried out their ID process, they assisted us by pointing out where the mantas were. We think there were three feeding in the channel today and we managed to have some close encounters with them again, however, water quality wasn't quite as clear as it had been before.

Exhilarated and also tired after a couple of hours' intense swimming, we made our way back to the boats. Another hot drink was in order and some cookies to refill our energy stocks.

Lunch was a yummy tuna salad with crackers and homemade humous, all put together by Joy.

We then sunbathed in the afternoon, read books, practised Morse code and Josh worked.

In the evening Matt and Jade made rotis to accompany a bean beef chilli with rice and cheese. After dinner, Josh, Matt and Jade had a quick moonlight dip in the water off the back of the boat which was eerily beautiful.

Then we all settled down to the film "Lord of the Flies" in the cockpit - a somewhat dated film and one we won't be in a hurry to watch again!

Pot Luck of Dreams

14 June 2021 | Drawaqa Island
Jade Tysoe
^ The crew of Vingilot with Rob and Luke (Top row from left: Joy, Rob, Jade, Matt. Bottom row from left: Charles, Josh, Luke)

Another 6.30am start today, hot drinks were consumed and wetsuits were donned, then we all hopped into the dinghy. The sea seemed to be even choppier today so we battled a little in the dinghy over the waves. When we reached the channel, we realised that we had maybe bitten off more than we could chew. The Manta mission was aborted - we'll be back tomorrow for sure.

Back at Vingilot we enjoyed a hot cuppa and some soursop and papaya with the KTD crew.

The rest of the morning was spent reading, playing "who am I" and preparing lunch to have on KTD with Rob and Luke.

We ventured over to KTD for 12.30 for lunch and it was quite the meal! Tracy whipped up some delicious marinated chicken, coleslaw and bean salad and Dylan made some super tasty focaccia bread. We brought a lentil salad, steak strips and roast potatoes over with us so altogether it was an amazing spread.

We had a fabulous time chatting to Rob and Luke and asking many questions to gain an insight into their lives here and the project work they are undertaking - a couple of very interesting guys! Tracy, ever the amazing host had also baked a delectable apple pie and served it up for desert with hot custard.

In the afternoon a few of us had a swim and snorkel to cool off while Josh worked hard on his project.

Another awesome day had by all and we hope it is calm enough tomorrow for another Manta trip - we'll see!

Manta Rays

13 June 2021 | Drawaqa Island
Jade Tysoe
Today the alarm sounded at 6.30am as we had exciting places to be!

Brendan had kindly given a local Fijian, named Sammy, a snorkel mask and some fishing gear to assist him and his family in catching fish and octopus. Sammy kindly returned the favour very generously by tipping us off that there were two marine biologists who were staying at the nearby resort and they had been going out to monitor the manta rays. Sammy provided their phone number and it was agreed that we all meet in the channel today for us to swim with the mantas.

After a quick round of hot drinks, we were aboard the dinghy in our wetsuits at 7.30am. We met the marine biologists (Rob and Luke) in their long boat out in the channel. It was quite a choppy sea and a very strong current. After a quick briefing about the mantas and the sea state we plunged into the water and waited for the mantas to arrive. Sure enough, as soon as a large school of fish came towards us, they were closely followed by the elegant and majestic manta rays. They were pretty intimidating in the water due to their sheer size and the wide gaping mouth which stays open while they filter feed on the plankton.

We were told that Manta Rays can live to around 40 years and one of the females among this group was pregnant. Apparently the pregnancy bulge shows on the back of the Manta Ray. The Mantas come to this area from May-October to feed in these nutrient rich waters.

We were all absolutely blown away by this fantastic experience- what a privilege! We were observing them for a couple of hours and could have stayed longer.
Once we returned to Vingilot, we washed down and enjoyed hot drinks, followed by some pikelets that Joy managed to whip up very quickly in the galley.

The early afternoon was punctuated by naps, reading and some boat maintenance by Charles and Matt. We invited the KTD crew over for tea and chocolate muffins and a great chat.

Dinner was spaghetti bolognaise and early nights were had by all so that we could enjoy another early start tomorrow! What a day!!

Snorkeling off Drawaqa Island

12 June 2021 | Drawaqa Island
Jade Tysoe
Today was a slower start as we were all making the most of the calmer anchorage and having a lie in. We did hear the anchor chain in the night which was a little alarming but on the whole the crew slept much better.

The morning activity was a swim off the boat to the nearby bommie that we had anchored close to, then we continued to the nearby reef. It was another beautiful snorkelling experience with some of the most vibrant coral gardens we had seen so far. It was a brief snorkel trip before we all showered off and basked in the sun reading our books and crozzling.

Joy and Jade went for a little expedition on the paddle board to the reef that was close to the channel, and then snorkelled back with the paddle board.

In the afternoon we were kindly offered tea and scones with the Knot Tide Down crew and they were delicious! Josh also toiled in the galley making a superb cake with sauce for us to all share.

Dinner was a creamy, mushroom pasta followed by the ubiquitous papaya slices.

Drawaqa Just North of Manta-ray Resort

11 June 2021 | Drawaqa Island
Jade Tysoe
^ Anchored off Drawaqa having travelled from Waya to Drawaqa (North of Manta Ray Island Resort)

We all had a restless and unpleasant night unfortunately as the sea state had been quite unsettled. There was a lot of pacing and movement around the boat. It was discussed and agreed with the KTD crew pretty swiftly that we would move on to a new bay.

At 8.30am we lifted anchor and motored out of Waya onto Drawaqa - we were now out of the Mamanuca island group and at the southern end of the Yasawas.

The departure out of the anchorage made us realise that we'd actually been fairly sheltered as the sea was a bit lumpy. We managed to get the head sail out and turn off the engine for a brief spell which was pleasant.

Shortly after our arrival at Drawaqa, we received a visit from Biosecurity and they were keen to check our credentials. They had come all the way from Lautoka.

We enjoyed a brunch of the last of our bacon, scrambled eggs and yet more delicious fresh bread rolls!

In the afternoon a few of us napped and then we all ventured out onto the coral reef for a snorkel. The reef was spectacular in colour and variety. The fish life was so abundant and they all seemed very busy feeding on the coral or defending their turf. We unfortunately didn't see any manta rays but a small sting ray was seen on the sea bed.

Around 5pm we enjoyed some sundowner drinks on Vingilot with the KTD crew before we sat down to a chicken tikka masala curry for dinner. Tomorrow we hope to venture a little further out on the reef and see some more sea life! Here's hoping we see some Mantas!

Navandra to North Waya

10 June 2021 | Waya Island
Jade Tysoe
^ Max and his Nephew in their corrugated canoe made by his father.

We had a final swim and brief paddle board at Nevadra this morning before lifting the anchor and departing. We were sad to leave this uninhabited little piece of heaven.

We enjoyed some cereal as we motored to Waya - our next destination (a brief 18 nm away). Joy and Josh made a new batch of bread rolls as we were underway.

On arrival at Waya we enjoyed a tuna salad, egg salad and fresh bread rolls from the oven- they were the best rolls we'd had yet!

While in the cockpit, we had a visitor - a local named Max and his brothers young son. They had rowed over in their corrugated steel and wood framed kayak - it was a very impressive invention. Max offered us papaya from the local village and we handed over a kava bundle to be presented to the village chief.

After lunch, Joy, Jade and Josh snorkelled to the nearby reef just off the rocky shore. Liam also joined us from KTD. The water quality wasn't as impressive as Nevadra (I think it'll be hard to beat!)

In the evening we enjoyed a pot luck dinner on KTD of beef noodles plus roast chicken with potatoes and zucchini.

Navadra Island

09 June 2021 | Navadra Island
Jade Tysoe
We all had a slightly more rocky sleep last night. Waking up in paradise makes it all seem worth it though. Matt and Jade enjoyed their new sleeping quarters - they even slept with a blanket - that's how good the air flow was!

Joy and Jade took the paddle board out around the bay to explore and sit and wonder at the surroundings.

While they were exploring, some of the KTD crew came aboard Vingilot to discuss the plan for the next few days. Options were laid on the table to start our journey North into the Yasawa island group today or whether we leave it until tomorrow. It was decided that we are on "island time" and in no rush to leave today so we would stay another night.

We read our books during most of the morning and then settled down to lunch of lentil salad, homemade rotis (which really are a labour of love), cheese and pickles. In the afternoon Joy, Charles and Jade took the dinghy over to a different snorkelling spot where there was a sandy, circular hole in the reef. It was bustling with copious amounts of fish life! The coral was also very colourful and beautiful here. How blessed we are to have enjoyed another relaxing and beautiful day here.

Dinner was lamb curry cooked from scratch by Josh with a lentil Dahl on the side - it was absolutely delicious!

Tomorrow we plan to move onto a new anchorage and we'll be sad to leave this little slice of paradise.

Navadra - still paradise

08 June 2021 | Navadra Island
Jade Tysoe
It was another hot night and there were a few restless souls on board during the early hours....the night sky, however, peppered with clusters of stars and the Milky Way somehow made it feel worth all of the sleep deprivation.

When the morning light did finally arrive, Joy set about being very productive, making homemade bread, homemade crackers and homemade houmous! We all sat in awe of her early morning energy and enthusiasm! We all enjoyed a hot drink and cereal breakfast before venturing out on those crystal clear waters again.

We had another fabulous snorkelling session where we saw loads of different species of fish, our friendly white tip shark again and beautiful coral varieties.

Lunch was some of the delectable homemade bread with butter, cheese, pickles and marmalade. The rest of the day was spent paddle boarding, reading, swimming and doing some more snorkelling.

Matt finally relented in the afternoon and agreed that we may get a better air flow when sleeping if we moved out of the bunk room cabin into the fore peak. Matt and Jade moved the various bags out of the forepeak and moved into their new room! Exciting stuff.

Dinner was corned beef cooked in onions with rice, carrots, capsicum and omelette cooked by Matt - yum!

Navadra - a little bit of uninhabited Paradise

07 June 2021 | Navadra Island
Jade Tysoe
Last night was a hot and humid one with very little wind meaning that there was quite a bit of motion in the night as people tried to find the cool spots. When morning finally arrived, Charles and Matt rowed over to KTD to discuss the plan of action.

On their return, we were told that we needed to be ready to leave within 30 minutes. We all had a quick bowl of cornflakes with banana as we motored out of Musket cove.

The air was filled with tuneful whistles of excitement as we were happy to be on the move again. The plan was to sail 30 nm to Navadra island - a rugged uninhabited island in the Mamanucas.

The sea state was a little sloppy and the skies very atmospheric as they were thick with black billowy clouds and squalls on the horizon. The cloud cover made visibility poor so we were extra careful through certain passages. Lures were put out once again but it seems the fish have all gone on strike...better luck next time, maybe.

We arrived at Navadra Island around 13.30 and the water quality was so clear that Josh and Matt actually saw the anchor hit the sea floor 25 metres below us!

We all sat down to an exquisite lunch of homemade bread, homemade humous, cheeses, pickles and veggie nibbles, followed by papaya, pear and orange slices. Joy had spoiled us!

After lunch we couldn't delay any further and had to get out in those crystal clear waters! With fins and snorkels in hand, we jumped into the dinghy and headed for the shallows.

The underwater world that greeted us was a stunning array of fish life, there were so many different species and so many of them as well. The reef was magnificent as it kept shelving away to deeper, sandy areas and then there were shallower areas with colourful coral clusters as well. The highlight was without a doubt seeing a reef shark swimming very close to us. Josh dived down to get a closer look and the curiosity seemed to exist both ways as he cautiously stayed close to us while we swam - a fabulous experience. Back to the dinghy after that excitement for a quick change, followed by sunset drinks.

Dinner was beef and chilli bean nachos with sour cream and cheese followed by plums with yoghurt! What a day!

Sunday 6th of June

06 June 2021 | Likuliku Lagoon, Malolo Island > Musket Cove
Jade Tysoe
We woke in our lovely calm anchorage at Likuliku lagoon and after a cup of something hot, we all started to come to life. Jade hopped on the paddle board. Matt and Charles swam to Knot Tide Down to chat to Brendan and wish Matt a Happy Birthday.

Joy had a later paddle board session and then we were on our way motoring back to Musket around 9am. Lures were put out in the vain hope of catching some fish, polarised sunnies were donned to watch out for the edge of the reef and bommies. Joy also worked hard in the galley kneading and making homemade bread.

On arrival at Musket, with no fish to be had....we were a little hot and bothered. We had a quick lunch of crackers with homemade houmous and fruit.

The afternoon was spent napping for some and playing games for others.

In the evening we had a delicious meal with the KTD crew to celebrate 20 years of Matt Thompson!

Likuliku Take Two

05 June 2021 | Likuliku Lagoon, Malolo Island
Matthew Bradfield
(Picture above: The narrow passage through the reef with its "markers")

Without a doubt Mana Island is the busiest little island we have come across so far. One can only assume that with the Survivor season finale drawing near (filming will finish by the 10th) the crew are being kept on their toes. The long boats were in and out all night and given the small breadth of the lagoon we ended up anchored right in the middle of their small channel. Well I can tell you one thing, the locals are certainly friendly and have no qualms with cruising past within spitting distance at 20 kts merrily shouting "Bula Bula" as we scramble around for cups and mugs that might come alive in the following wake.

A change in wind direction had KTD picking up anchors at 11pm to move slightly up the lagoon to avoid bumping into a solid looking barge that had picked up a mooring buoy just after sundown.

Crews were up early as we had promised the Police and Survivor security team that we would vacate the bay at 9am to allow for planned filming to go ahead on the nearby shore later in the morning. With the sun low in the sky, and on the shallow side of a rising tide, we nervously approached the small gap in the reef that had caused so much excitement the day prior. With Matt in the rigging and crew manning charts, depth sounders, satellite imagery we managed to squeeze our way through with KTD in hot pursuit. We got a new low score of 2.3m below the keel.

^ A view of the reef from the foredeck as we navigated the passage.

Departing Mana Island lagoon we chugged along following our track from yesterday back to the picturesque Likuliku Lagoon. Lunch was fresh bread rolls with an assortment of cheeses and chutneys followed by an afternoon of reading and swimming as we sweltered in the heat of a dying wind.

All credit for afternoon tea goes to Tracy who rustled up some chocolate covered crunchies and pikelets covered in jam and mascarpone.

Dinner was a delicious Spaghetti Bolognese which lead me to then write this blog to avoid washing up.

I think we are in for another hot night, but I dare say my struggle to sleep in paradise will garnish very little sympathy with you.

^ Another tropical sunset as seen from Likuliku Lagoon.

Mana Island

04 June 2021 | Mana Lagoon, Mana Island
Jade Tysoe
We woke today to perfectly calm waters that looked like glass! That meant one thing and one thing only (shameless line of duty reference): the paddle board must come out!

Joy was first to step on board, followed by Jade, then Josh and finally Matt! Afterwards we enjoyed a breakfast of muesli, banana and boat made strawberry yoghurt. The rest of the morning was spent sunbathing and reading before we headed off around midday to a new bay off Mana island. This was a very quick motor trip taking us only an hour. It was, however, rather nail biting! We negotiated a very narrow 40 metre entry into the bay with coral reef on either side of us and the depth only 3.5 metres at one stage! The skipper dog legged in, following various markers and creeping at a very conservative speed.

Mana island is an idyllic island in the Mamanucas, shaped like a crabs claw and is also where the reality series "Survivor" is currently being filmed. Unfortunately they are still filming so we are only permitted to stay the night and need to vacate by 9am tomorrow. As soon as the anchor was set, we enjoyed a lunch of lentil salad, tuna salad and mini toasts. Around 3pm we ventured out to the nearby reef for a snorkel and after swimming over a lot of sandy grass, we finally found the coral. There were some very interesting fish around including puffer fish, a large moray eel, some angel fish, moorish idol and oriental sweet lips.

We later enjoyed a yummy dinner of burgers- what a fabulous day! We are feeling so privileged to be having this amazing adventure.

^ Reef spotting on the way to Mana Island.

^ Idyllic conditions as we potter from Likuliku to Mana Island.

^ A picture of KTD as we travel in convoy to Mana Island.

Likuliku Lagoon

03 June 2021 | Likuliku Lagoon, Malolo Island
Jade Tysoe
Today we departed from our Musket Cove anchorage around 11am. Both skippers were keen to hit the figurative "road" again. While en route, Joy prepared a delicious brunch of mushy pea fritters, scrambled eggs on toast and bacon. The mushy pea fritters have a little back story!

They were bought as dried Punjabi lentils that we thought we could make curries or salads with. Alas they turned out to be blue peas aka what you use to make mushy peas! Jade was undeterred and cooked them, then mashed them with butter, salt and pepper and they really weren't too bad! We weren't too sure what to do with the mashed peas afterwards so they were turned into fritters.

We motored for around 90 minutes, navigating slowly past some coral reefs with Josh up the mast, Matt with lures out to catch fish and the skipper diligently checking his charts. Around 1pm we arrived at a beautiful and secluded bay off Malolo island called Likuliku lagoon. It was quite literally paradise! There was a stunning resort overlooking the bay with bures (little wooden villas on stilts in the ocean). We had been told not to go ashore so we swam around the boat, Joy and Jade did some yoga and then we enjoyed some sunset drinks and snacks with the KTD crew around 5pm. Dinner was fresh bread rolls with a tuna salad.

Another fabulous day was had by all!

^ Anchored up at Likuliku.

^ A view of KTD anchored at Likuliku with the Bures overhanging the water in the background.

Musket Cove (28th May - 2nd June)

02 June 2021 | Musket Cove
Jade Tysoe
Since 28th May up until 3rd June we have been enjoying all of the delights that Musket cove's anchorage has to offer, including: paddle boarding, snorkelling, swimming, fishing, playing games, reading, yoga and generally enjoying a slower pace of life.

Skipper has been diligently persevering with his morse code on a daily basis. Josh has been working hard and also helping others with their various technical needs! Matt has been up KTDs mast again to attach a soft shackle to the staysail halyard. One big boat chore was also completed: the wires in a few of the bulkhead lights had become oxidised so Matt, Josh and the skipper got to work on repairs while Brendan offered his moral support.

We also made yoghurt, crackers, rotis and bread rolls on board.
Tuesday was spent hunkering down as the rain and high winds hit the bay.

The spare parts for KTD, (autohelm and chain counter) also finally arrived which Brendan was pleased about. Once KTD had fitted and calibrated their spare parts, a plan was hatched to leave the anchorage as the skipper had itchy feet for a new horizon.

^ Watching lures en route to Namotu Island

^ The boys coming back from their surf at swimming pools off Namotu Island. We hung around the back of the break making water and (hopelessly) fishing.

^ The boats anchored at Musket Cove. We are told there are normally many many more boats crammed in here during a normal cruising season.
Vessel Name: Vingilot
Vessel Make/Model: Cavalier 45
Hailing Port: Auckland, New Zealand
Home Page: www.sailblogs.com/member/svvingilot/
Vingilot's Photos - Main
26 Photos
Created 17 May 2021
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Created 17 April 2021