Our Anchorage in Vanua Balavu’s Bay of Islands (Northern Lau, Fiji)

September 18, 2013

Just before we made our final turn into the area that intrigued us, we saw a turtle, generally a good-luck sign for us. We then turned the corner and gasped at the sight. The area looked just big enough for 2 boats. On the south side small islets were bunched together. We could catch a glimpse into the area amidst them: a large jade pool dotted with rock islands. Ahead of us was a pass into a large, deep navy blue body of water, the far side of which had a wall of mountain cliffs fronted by rock motus. On the other side of us, hilly green islands formed the north side of this bay. All around us the land was hilly and very green. The water was a mixture of rich teal and intense blues. This was about as beautiful as any place we’ve been.

The bay wasn’t without some challenges as we had to anchor amid bombies; making this area actually a one-boat anchorage (maybe two if using stern anchors). We managed to find a spot and set the anchor, then settled in to admire the exotic scenery. With all the islands around us, the area had the appearance of being landlocked, adding to its magic. Interestingly, this place reminded us more of Tierra del Fuego or Queen Charlotte Sound than the tropics: there wasn’t a palm tree in sight. Yet the air felt warm, and we could hear a multitude of bird calls and barking pigeons (sounding a bit like howler monkeys) in the trees. Truly, this was paradise.

Once we anchored here we didn’t feel the need to move, but in the coming days we’d do a lot of exploring by dinghy. Below, a few photos of our anchorage, including a photo of Legacy taken from our dinghy.

We were the only boat in this particular anchorage and tended to get lulled into feeling we were the only boat in the area. Thus, the occasional passing kayak would surprise us quite a bit. I’m sure we surprised them, too, as we were never, shall we say, dressed “for company.” It’s disconcerting to be wearing just enough to be comfortable in the warm weather (which might be very little) only to suddenly see a kayak passing by when you’re caught out in the cockpit.

I don’t love the idea of putting bells on a cat’s collar because the poor cat has to hear them all the time. I do love the idea of putting bells onto all kayak paddles so a person can be warned when they’re coming. Otherwise, how are you to know? Those kayaks can be sneaky, especially for vessels who have the anchorage to themselves. Kayak bells . . . maybe not a bad idea. — Cyndi

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