Search This Blog

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

May 30, - June 4th, 2010; Viani Bay, Fiji

Protecting Viani Bay, are the reefs that boast world-class diving and snorkeling. In fact we are again cruising in waters that a sailing yacht would not attempt to enter without plenty of direct overhead sunlight so to avoid going aground on a reef or coral bombie, of which Viani Bay had plenty. The sail over from Cousteau's was more of a beat, with winds of up to 30 knots on the nose, putting us there in late afternoon. We had difficulty finding a good area of sand to set the hook, and on the third drop decided that we would have to tolerate the sound and unpleasant reverberation of our anchor chain scraping across coral. Immediately, several of our friends dinghyed over to give us the lay of the land and to tell us about Jack who seems to be the patron of the bay, and through whom all things are arranged; diving, snorkeling, trips to Taveuni, trash disposal, etc. The next day we would dive at 9:00 AM.
Jack charges $10.00 per person to dive or snorkel. He comes aboard your boat and takes you out to the reefs, chooses the spot and then picks you up after the dive. This is serious drift diving. We hauled our gear over to "Scallywag", tied our dinghies to the back and dragged them out to the reef to dive The Purple Wall. Jack anchored the big catamaran and then boarded the lead dinghy, with ours and Jock and Leanne's in tow to the drop point. After we all hit the water, he stood watch up top and then brought the dinghies to meet us at the end of the dive. This was to be a 30-meter dive so we had to drop quickly to the bottom to avoid being swept away in the current. That was the plan. When we hit the water everyone got quickly to the bottom. I let the air out of my BCD but did not have enough weight to get down. I made the mistake of wearing a new wetsuit that was thicker than normal for me, and was only carrying 12 lbs. of weights. On top of that my right ear would not clear, so I was focusing on relaxing my body for descent and trying to clear my ear when one of my fins shot off my foot and got carried away in the strong current. I fervently swam after it and by the time I had gotten it back on my foot I'd lost my depth. I frustratingly tried to get back down and saw Jock swimming toward me signaling, "did I need help?" I had already cut into the others' precious bottom time and waved him off intending to get back to the dinghy, get more weight and then rejoin them down the way. I surfaced about 30 yards from Jack, and by the time I got to him I was worn out. He helped me up into the dinghy and I decided this was not my day to dive so I aborted, and just sat visiting with Jack. We picked up the divers who raved about what a splendid dive is - so much purple. I determined to make tomorrow a better day.
The next morning we took Destiny out to the reef and dived a different area called (I think) Fish City, a 25-meter dive. This time I wore my dive skin that is a full-body lycra suit and did much better. Afterward we were all sitting around deck relaxing and having a snack when we noticed a catamaran approaching. It was our friends, Michael and Jackie on "Lady Kay". That night they joined us on Destiny for sundowners and Jackie gave us a lesson in stargazing. We just marvel at how bright and brilliantly colored the stars are out here. We have a very clear view of stars and constellations that do not appear in our northern hemisphere.
The next couple of days were overcast and rainy so we did boat projects and had a couple of potluck dinners on each other's boats. "Lady Kay", "Liberation" and "Avant Garde" left but we had promised to wait for Kim and Bob ("Northern Winds") to arrive from SavuSavu. June 2nd they popped into the bay. We all got together that night, and then on June 3rd, everyone but "N. Winds" and us left telling us to meet them at Albert Cove on Rabi (pron., Ranbi). We enjoyed a quiet day visiting with Kim and Bob, having Viani all to ourselves.

radio email processed by SailMail
for information see:

No comments: