Sailing to "Long Island"

Anchored off Daliconi, Vanua Mbalava, Northern Lau Group

17° 13' 0" S, 178° 58' 0" W

Cruising in Fiji

After a wonderful 12 days in Fulaga we had a 24 hour window to make our way back north before the South Pacific Convergence Zone (SPCZ) rears its ugly head again for a few days, followed by a period of big winds and seas as a strong high is expected to move from Australia across NZ, compressing the isobars up here. So we weighed anchor yesterday (Thu, 11JUL) at 1330 local time to exit the pass out of Fulaga after it had calmed down from full-tilt tidal stream. Our destination was Vanua Mbalava ("Long Island"), a 130nm/24+hr sail to the northern Lau Group. Conditions were nice on a beam...broad reach. We needed to maintain an average speed of 5.7 kn to make it through the pass and to the anchorage in Vanau Mbalava before the sun was too low. So as the wind dropped during the night we had to recruit the engine after midnight to help the sails keep up that speed. This morning then first had us despair when a barracuda got off our fishing hook at the last moment. We were however redeemed only an hour or so after throwing the lure back into the water when a nice size skip-jack tuna fell for it - this one we got successfully on board. Sashimi for breakfast and fried tuna for dinner! We dropped the hook here off the village of Daliconi just after 3pm, went ashore to do Sevusevu and are now back on Namani, ready to catch up on some sleep. Vanua Mbalava looks beautiful and surprisingly different from Fulaga. Higher hills with lusher green. With a total island population of 3500 it is easily 20 times the size of Fulaga where the biggest of three villages had a total of 80 people... We're curious to explore more over the next week. Fulaga will remain a very special memory for us. There's probably no point in trying to write about it without being able to share pictures. Update to follow once we again have an internet connection...

PS: The picture above is was taken a few days after this post in our anchorage here in Vanua Mbalava's Bay of Islands, with Namani next to Caps Tres

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