Thursday, July 19, 2012

Savusavu to Dakuniba

July 5, 2012

Getting way behind on my blog, have to catch up!!

Though we had originally intended to go out and anchor off Cousteau Resort (3 miles south of Savusavu mooring area) the night before we left, the 4th of July party organized by Far Star and Ogopogo kept us on the mooring right off Copra Shed for that last night. It was fun, but no fireworks (too many boats in the harbor to shoot any flares).

We dropped our mooring at just before first light, which around here in the wintertime is about 6am. As it almost always is, it was calm in the harbor. As we motored south around Cousteau and Reef Point, we put our main up. We knew we weren't going to sail, but the main helps even very close to the wind. The forecast was for 10-12 knots ESE.

The wind picked up after getting around the point--to about 20 knots for a short while, and the seas started building some. I think there's a small venturi effect off that point. At one point, Jerry on Challenger was worrying about our progress (we were making only 3.5kts motorsailing fairly hard) and being able to make the cut in the reef at Dakuniba in good light.

I was sure that once we got a little further east, we'd get both wind and wave protection in the big bay formed by Taveuni and the reef we were headed for. So we encouraged Jerry to keep going, and it turned out to be the right decision. A few days later, Far Star was experiencing the same thing, and unfortunately turned back.

By the time we were off the point just before Fawn Harbor, the seas were down, the wind was down, the sun was out, and our speed was up to 6kts.

We made our waypoint off the Dakuniba reef entrance at about 2pm, with no problems, motorsailing the whole way. The light wasn't perfect when we arrived, but we had waypoints for the pass, we had a pretty good Google Earth Chart of the pass, and Dave said he could see well enough. So we motored on in, with Challenger following us.

We even felt bold enough to go check out a couple of sand spots out by the reef for a reef anchorage the next day.

Maxsea shows this place as 'Dakuniba' but Google Earth has it labeled Nasasobu. They are a pair of bays about 6 miles east of Fawn Harbor. Mid channel waypoint is 16-46.168S / 179-49.534E. The pass is easy, but you need a good lookout on the bow as there are occasional bommies once inside the pass.

These are the waypoints we (Soggy Paws) used, and they worked for us, but we also had a good lookout on the bow. Use the waypoints to find the entry, but your eyes and common sense on going through the pass.

DAKUN1 S16°46.5997' E179°49.3001'
DAKUN2 S16°46.1688' E179°49.5346'
DAKUN3 S16°46.0512' E179°49.6722'
DAKUN4 S16°45.8628' E179°49.7657'
DAKUN5 S16°45.8441' E179°50.2099'

Note that this pass is where the sailboat Touche was lost in May 2012, exiting, following their inbound track, in 25 kt winds. We have never heard exactly what happened, but based on our snorkel reconnaissance, if a large SW swell is running, the pass may be breaking in areas that weren't breaking on calmer days. Or maybe they weren't exactly on their track--it's really hard to stay on track, especially when the wind and seas are up.

We chose to go to Dakuniba because it is linked by an inside-the-reef route into Viani Bay (takes eyeball navigation, but saves some miles of open ocean). If weather conditions were such that we couldn't make Dakanuba in time, our plan was to stop at Fawn Harbor instead. But we got going at 6am, on a light easterly day, and motorsailed and made Dakanuba at about 2:30pm.

We went inside the eastern bay (Nasasobu) and anchored in 40-45' mud/sand, great holding and great protection. This would be a good place to be in a blow, and is in fact one of Curly's "hurricane holes".

Anchorage position: 16-54.07S / 179-51.05E

Google Earth also shows a catamaran anchored at: 16-45.29 S / 179-51.10E, right off David's house, but we found that to be about 60' deep, and so anchored further in, in 45'.

We ended up with 6 boats in the bay and there was still plenty of room. The bay is completely mangrove-lined and offers some interesting exploration by dinghy and kayak, as well as some hiking ashore. We met one boat who had been there almost 2 weeks.
Sherry & Dave
Cruising Fiji for the next few months

At 07/17/2012 7:07 PM (utc) our position was 16°41.59'S 179°53.66'W

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