Bula from Vanua Balavu, Northern Lau Group…..

Dear F&F, July 26th-27th, 2011 (Eastern Hemisphere). Despite actually being back in the Western Hemisphere, we\’re politically in the Eastern Hemisphere. Welcome to Fiji!

We thought we were in for a \”downwindjoyride\” to the Northern Lau for the 50 mile sail. However, we got a one day too late start and the wind went poof. We motored the entire way, yuk!

As we approached Vanua Balavu, it reminded me very much of our approach to the Tuamotus in 2009. Ironically, we had just left s/v \”Migration\” at Matangi Island and the Tuamotu Archipellago is where Cindy and I first met Bruce and Alene on s/v \”Migration\” at that time.

I was very anxious upon arrival here as I was pretty sure the charts wouldn\’t be right on. They weren\’t! The charts were done from surveys of \”yesteryear\”, before the days of GPS accuracy. It is still amazing to me that they were only a quarter of a mile off. We have a device on our electronic chart plotter that let\’s us \”slide\” the charts to the correct position once we are on site. For the most part, it worked pretty well, but the scale of the chart here is slightly off as well, so a WATCHFUL eye is critical as well as daylight only navigation. We came through the outer reef at 1:30 p.m and worked our way through the \”Bay of Islands\”. (Stories to follow!).

We found the German monohull, \”Kira of Celle\” out of Cuxhaven, Germany anchored in the \”Bay\”. They spoke perfect English and despite having a native German speaker aboard in Anja, we did the entire \”hi how are you?\” in \”Beach House\’s\” native tongue. Detleff and Beata had been here two years in a row and had us follow them to the main village of Dalconi, 4 miles further past the Bay of Islands. We\’ll anchor there for the night and \”check in\” with the local village Chief where we will have our first \”sevusevu\” experience. This is giving the ceremonial gift of Kava to the Chief, whereupon we will be accepted for life as locals of the village of Dalconi.

Stay tuned! KIT, Scott with Anja and Sandrine