Sunday, September 17, 2017

End of an interesting Fulanga visit

There are lots of empty, remote and evocative beaches among the islets in Fulanga’s inner bay. No footprints on this one till Chris and I defiled it.
Interesting erosion on the volcanic rocks making lots of mushrooms and arches. That’s Chris standing under the arch in the clear shallows.
The eels like the shallows too. This one had a skin pattern that would sell out quickly on some Texas cowboy boots.
There were a lot of live shells among the corals when we dove inside the passages. We put this marble cone in the catch-and-release category. Although given how toxic to humans they can be with their harpoon it would probably be fair game to take him.
FulangaP9080107 There were a lot of live cowries among the coral. Really beautiful shiny shells. Being defenseless, we also put them in the catch-and-release category.
You can see how big these pretty creatures are.
We did a good snorkel in the main pass. You head out, preferably with two dinghies for safety as the tide starts to turn inward. This clears the water and gives you a good drift dive along the outer reef and into the pass. We saw three black-tipped reef sharks, a decent sized barracuda and a ton of reef fish sporting their usual colors. I’d show you all the schools, along with daring close-ups of the sharks but my underwater camera’s lens completely fogged up. I guess the desiccant I put in the housing was too far past its due date.
The wind finally filled in and we left Fulanga for an overnight passage to Kandavu. It was descent downwind sail but when got near Kandavu it was still very overcast. We decided to continue moving on as the time we have to make Australia this season is getting short and sail to Port Denarau. We arrived at the pass through the reef at about 3am after being hit by the heaviest downpour we have experienced in the Pacific since we left Central America. We have been through this cut before and it is used by large ships. It has a brightly lit and functioning set of red range lights that line up with the pass, so we decided to head in at night, something we rarely do. It’s a little nerve racking knowing that you are so close to the breaking reef while passing in in the dark.
We arrived at the anchorage in front of Port Denarau about 7am and crashed out for awhile to catch some needed rest after the two day passage. Then it was two days of getting ready to sail to Vanuatu. Load up the tanks of fuel for the main boat, petrol for the dinghy and Propane (actually butane) for the galley cooking. Then a couple of big shops for food stores and beer and wine.
With a little bit of luck we will clear out of Fiji in Vuda Marina on Monday and start a 3 day sail to Vanuatu. We emailed Vanuatu Customs to request permission to stop first in Port Resolution on the island of Tanna. This is not normally a port of entry. Tanna has a very active volcano that is pretty easy to visit – we’ll see.
We will probbaly have limited connectivity while in Vanuatu so the blogs will pile up, like they have for the Lau Group.

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