After a somewhat delay start (the crew was on the phone), we made it ashore and headed into the market. It was packed with great stuff - a real treat. We managed to get all that we were looking for plus some extras on top. The big news was managed to find popcorn! We also restocked our kava supplies as we would be visiting a few more villages before we get back to more provisioning.
Bags full and very heavy, we headed back to the boat where I got on with getting ready to depart and Ania stowed all the supplies. It didn’t take us long before we were hauling up the anchor, then putting it down again to wash the sticky mud off it! Then we raised the mainsail and headed towards the pass out of Suva’s harbour. It wasn’t long before we hauled the genoa out and were cracking along at 8 knots towards Beqa island. Confusingly, Beqa is pronounced Mbenga or Benga as you hear most people say.
We had the lines in as we exited the pass, and mid-way to Beqa i noticed that we had caught something - a lovely rainbow runner. 2 meals worth - very pleased with that!
Our plan was to anchor in the lee of Nanuku Island - a tiny thing used by a resort as a ‘day escape’ - much like Namara in the Astrolabe. However it was clear underway that the conditions were a bit too lively to stop there - so we proceeded on to Malumu Bay - a deep cut into the island on the north east side. One yacht was anchored on the edge in about 4m, but for me thats just a bit too close to the shore - so we pressed on to the end of the bay and dropped the hook. It took 3 times to get it to bite, each time a little bit shallower - but eventually I was happy with things. Though we had some big gusts of the hills, it was pretty flat.
Yvonne, now back in the UK, told us that she knew someone who was on Beqa - or rather was now in hospital, having contracted Dengue Fever very recently on Beqa. So we were in full anti-mosquito mode with the coils burning and all windows covered. I did find one in my cabin, but killed it before it had chance to nail me!
Next morning we headed out to Nanuku. Conditions weren’t great for diving but we managed to snorkel along the pass. It’s pretty uninteresting, but we did see a turtle the largest nurse shark I’ve ever seen. So not bad really.
we were considering a dive, having dinghied over to a dive boat to see about using their moorings, but as we were contemplating it - we saw some dolphins mooching around. We went over in the dinghy to get some better photos and the dolphins decided to come and play under the bow of the dinghy. Incredible stuff - and we did managed to get some video, and even the odd underwater shot.
Tomorrow we’ll try and dive one of the bommies the dive boat pointed out. Maybe even two dives if we have time....