Bay of Islands – Mbvatu Harbor & \”Back to Matangi\”……

Dear F&F, July 28th – August 4th….

We upped anchor around 9 am for the 8 mile trip to Mbvatu Harbor just around the point to take the hike up to the top for the overview of the Bay of Islands.

We had previously entered our lovely anchoring spot over a shallow reef at high tide. Well, yours truly didn\’t check the tide and when we attempted to leave by the same route we \”kissed\” the reef with the starboard dagger board. I was look out and it was my mistake. Anja was following directions at the helm. I came back to the helm and she lifted the daggerboard and we quickly drifted off. Disaster averted! Very small scrape on the bottom of the board, \”no harm, no foul\” as they say in basketball.

We motored around to Mbvatu Harbor and picked up the mooring that was there. Just one. A very protected harbor, but difficult to anchor in as it\’s just deep right up to the sides. We went ashore for the hike over to the Bay of Islands and quickly found a lovely set of very nice wood stairs to get us to the top of the plateau. (See photo gallery).

From there we wandered around a bit until we found a local who was so nice, he actually took us to the over look which was quite a bit out of his way. The views were spectacular, (see photo gallery). We spent an uneventful night at Mbvatu and decided the next day to take advantage of the lovely sailing conditions and head back toward Matangi Island. Despite the fact we could have gone to the southern Lau. It was losing appeal as the diving might be seriously compromised by the recency of Cyclone Thomas and the anchorages and charts didn\’t seem that appealing.

We had a lovely sail for most of the day and arrived back at Matangi Island resort as it was getting dark. The winds had just quit and the anchoring spot we had before put us very close to two boats from the resort on moorings. We had to re-anchor twice during the night, once we got right next to one of the boats. The last time we anchored, was okay, but then the wind started to come up strong from the North. Our anchor was stuck good the next morning and Anja and I dove it out. Our primary lift bag tore, but we had plenty of small ones for the assist. As we wanted to stay on try the dive at Shark City, we moved to Qmena Island 4 miles to the West. Here we met s/v \”Equinimity\” with Roger and Sally aboard. We were in a lovely protected area, but then it started to RAIN!….

The gals went snorkeling in the weather breaks and we also met Rick Van Veen, a conservation biologist. He was erradicating unwanted \”American Iguanas\” from the island. His normal job is protecting iguana\’s in Jamaica. He does this project for the Fijian Govt. and may come back next year. We met him the day before he was to leave Navivivi Village. He\’d become a bit of a local celebrity to the villagers and when we went to do our Sevusevu ceremony the next day, they had \”Chief Rick\” perform it. (See photo gallery). The villagers were lovely, we wished Rick a good trip (he has relatives in Chicago and was headed there!).

We gave up on \”Shark City\” and decided we would head to Wayevu back on Taveuni for fuel and shopping tomorrow… Stay tuned.

Scott with Anja and Sandrine