We headed further north, up to Viani Bay. Bounding the bay are a number of world famous dive sites. We snorkeled the Cabbage Patch. Can you guess how it got its name? These are large, hard corals. The image above is probably a 12 or 15 foot square view. The actual portion of the reef area that is practically all cabbage coral is maybe 150 by 40 feet. The overall reef goes on for miles.
Our intrepid dive guide, Jack
When we first arrived, we anchored in a sort of sub-bay called Daveta Bay. (55ft at 16*45.36, 179*54.31) Definitely a coral rubble bottom with some shallower bommies around. It got pretty windy overnight. In the morning, Jack Fischer rows up to the boat in his tinny, aka aluminum skiff. That’s Jack talking with Chris above. He handed us more papaya than we could possibly eat and then asked if we wanted to go out to the reef. He would guide us out in our boat to a small sandy spot where we could anchor while he showed us where the best reefs were. For $10 Fiji a head ($5USD) we decided to go for it as the wind was laying down and the sun was really trying to come out. Jack took us out to a small sandy spot about 3.7 miles out of the bay.
Jack has an interesting story and does enjoy talking. His grandfather came over from England working on a four masted schooner. He was a skilled seaman and had some money saved when he arrived. This area was owned by the Chief on the opposite large island, Taveuni.
The grandfather purchased the land rights in Viani Bay from the Chief. Over the years it has been a Copra plantation and sugar plantation. It is still a functioning copra plantation. They harvest the coconuts once a month, husk and dry them. Then they are sold for somewhere between $200 and $600 a ton. Jack and his family, including 11 grandkids, still live on the original property.
This is some of the healthiest coral we’ve seen in a long while. Not a ton of fish, but a great display of coral colors.
This gives you a feel for the scale of the reef. That’s a miniature model of Chris using her GoPro.
Not many shells, but always worth taking a look
Even though it wasn’t that bright a day, the clear water gave us great color contrasts.
After diving we motored into Viani Bay and picked up one of Jack’s moorings (16*44.998, 179*53.265). It cost us a can of salmon. We are moving more slowly than we had planned working our way toward the Lau Group. They are about 150 miles to windward, making getting there a planning exercise. Hopefully we’ll be able to get out to the Lau when the winds lay down a bit, and see some of the more remote islands of Fiji.