Humpback whales

From Fulaga to Musket Cove – About Whales, Sharks, Mantas and a huge Mahi Mahi

After 6 weeks in Fulaga we feel it is time to leave and explore other places. We go a few hours north to the cluster of Yagasa, a group of islands surrounded by a reef but with a very large passage.

Humpback whales
The first time we see humpback whales this year !

I stand on deck trying to spot any eventual bommies (coral heads) when right after a bommie I see a spray of water. “Hey , there are whales” I shout excitedly and get the camera right away.

Yagasa Lau Fiji
Yagasa – the bay is all ours

A bit later we drop our anchor onto some stones, no chance to get it digged in on this ground I quickly find out later. We already now miss the easy anchoring in 5 to 8 meters sand of Fulaga….

The next morning at 6 am one of my first glances is to our fishing rod which is heavily bent – great, there is a bit on it! Quickly I realize that I am not so happy about the catch, it is a white tip reef shark.

White tip reef shark
A small white tip reef shark has bitten into our fishing hook

I get Reto out of bed and he just wonders “you don’t want to eat it?” “ No, of course not – I want to stay friends with these guys, that wouldn’t bring any good luck to eat them!!!”

We cut the line as close as possible to his mouth and hope he will be rid of the hook soon.

A few hours later the group of whales comes by again, this time just in front of our boat. It is four of them and they are beautiful to watch.

Humpback whales
The humpback whales parade in front of our ship..
Humpback whales
…and we wonder it is it one, …
Humpback whales
…two or three??

The next morning we do the final bit of getting She San seaworthy again, and off we go with 6 to 7 knots in quite a bit of waves.

I try to sleep, my stomach isn’t feeling all at ease, when we hear the sound of the rod running out. We both jump into our life jackets and while Reto takes care of the rod I reef the sail and gather gaff, alcohol, knife and the line for fixing the tail.

The bright yellow and green colours signal us that it is a Mahi Mahi and what a big one. While I take him the last meters in Reto tries to get him on the gaff, no chance, the head of the gaff breaks off.

“Why do we always buy such a cheap crap?” Reto complains and takes the fish up on the last step, “Attention, don’t get hurt again” I remind him thinking about the last fish that jumped right into his face and we almost thought he has to be stitched…

Mahi Mahi
Our biggest catch ever – a Mahi Mahi measuring 1.55 meter (5 ft)

This time it works out quite well, Reto shoves the fish under the bathing ladder, I put alcohol down his gills, a good cut of the throat and the tail nicely wrapped and it is ours 😉

Mahi Mahi
…and although the sea is rough it needs to get into the fridge soon..

Since the boat is shaking quite a lot we refrain from weighing and taking more pictures. We measure 1.55 meter, that’s by far our record!!!

Mahi Mahi
..only the filet is about 1.20 meter long!

The priority now is to get him into the fridge. The next 6 days we have fish twice a day, the rest is either frozen or turned into a deliciously marinated and slightly dried “Bündner Fleisch” type of meat.

The next morning, just before 9 am we drop our anchor close to the pier at Naroi village on Moala. It is just enough time to do Sevusevu before we go to church…The chief is happy that we respect the tradition, takes our bundle and releases us to church.

Moala
Just in time for Sunday church service we arrive in Moala

We are almost relieved that there is no invitation for lunch this time, we are tired and also still have to deliver our package for Senimili.

We have gotten the package from Dan and Kristy from the Te Poe Rava, who couldn’t make it to Moala on their way over.

With the dinghy we try to reach Maloku, but as there is low tide we end up in front of a huge reef and decide to turn back. Reto sends a SMS to Senimili and explains that we are there with her package.

Just before sunset we hear a longboat approaching, and the laughter of a young woman. Immediately I know that this must be Senimili, we attach the longboat and they all come on board:

Senimili with her husband Ului, her daughter Buivane, son Jope and baby Eroni as well as niece Rosi and nephew Filipe. I serve Ice tea with probably too little sugar for most of the tastes, but my coconut ice cream is appreciated well.

Moala
Ului with Jope and Buivane, Senimili with 1 year old Eroni and Filipe and Rosi come to visit us on board
Moala
the next morning Senimili comes back to bring us a huge stalk of bananas and we have some time to chat…
Moala
before we have to say “Moce! Good Bye!”

The next morning they come again to drop us a huge stalk of wonderful bananas, some pak choi and a bag in return that we should take to Daku to the village of Senimili’s father. We have a bit of time to chat while Ului and the headteacher have some errands to do in Naroi before they come back and pick up Senimili and the kids.

Before lunch we go for another short visit to Moala village, especially in the store I am interested. I am happy to stock up with sugar and flour, but it is also nice to find some cookies and soft drinks (I need the bottles for the beer production…). Only then I realize that in Fulaga all that “unnecessary stuff” like soft drinks, cookies and chips was nowhere present in the little stores.

The wind is going to turn to East/Northeast, nothing for anchoring in Naroi. Around noon we get our anchor up and start the second overnight passage to Kadavu.

Solotavui
Up on the hill we find a hint of Digicel data net, but only in 2.50 meters high 😉

In the morning at 11 am we arrive at Ono, but due to a lot of gusts and no internet we leave again for Kavala bay.

There we also hardly have internet but at least the protection is excellent.

We anchor in front of the busy Vunivaivai store and walk the 15 min over the hill to the village of Solotavui.

Chief Charlie welcomes us kissing our hand and is more than happy about Reto’s self sewn Sulu. He lets us know (for the next time) that he doesn’t drink Kava and also would be happy about a fish instead. We chat for a while and before we go he gives us a huge Pumpkin as a present in return.

Charlie chief of Solotavui
Charlie, the chief of Solotavui and his wife Seru welcome us and take time for a nice chat
Kava
Everywhere kava roots drying

Next thing we check out Tevita’s Vunivaivai store and we are happy about what we find. We stock up with onions, garlic, some potatos, mayonaise, fresh bread, Digicel Topup cards, gasoline and 2 bundles of Kava for the next Sevusevus.

Vunivaivai Store
Tevita’s son Tui in the well sorted Vunivaivai Store – we can even pay with credit card!!

We can even pay with the credit card, good because the next ATM is still far away…

I ask Tui, Tevita`s son if they also get some veggies from the supply boat that comes the next day and he gives me two large cabbages and another huge pumpkin, Now we are settled with veggies for the next two weeks ;-).

Tui also recommends us to hike over to the school, on the other side of the valley. We are really surprised about the large school ground which reminds us more of a village than of a school. Indeed, we find out the the part of the secondary school is all boarding school and all teachers and students live here.

Kavala School
The school ground of the Kavala bay, the Primary School to the left and the Kadavu Provincial Secondary School to the right
Kavala School
We meet a group of girls from the last grade
Kavala School
The dormitories of th girls a tidy and all their belongings are stored in their boxes.
Kavala School
The physical formula are put on top of the bed, so they will find their way into the brain 😉

It is lunch break and we are lucky to meet the teachers right away as well as Maraia the vize principal. A young teacher shows us through the whole campus including the dormitories and buildings where the teachers live.

We are surprised to learn that starting from 9th grade all subjects are all taught in Englisch, that explains why almost everyone speaks such an excellent Englisch.

Also the agenda surprises us. every day starts at 5.45 am, breakfast, time for homework, school until the afternoon, chores, sport, dinner, two hours for homework and a 9 pm the lights are out.

At the end Maraia has another chat with us. She asks what we have learned and what advice we give to students and teachers and a few hours later our little interview is posted on the facebook page of the school.

On Saturday morning the wind turns finally back to east/southeast, so we sail up north to Vurolevu island just north of Ono. We come here because it is supposed to be a spot for snorkeling with Manta rays, but we are also happy to find some good internet.

But first in the water and up to the northern tip of the island. “What a stupid idea” I think, the water is murky, the waves are quite rough, how should we be able to find a manta ray here.
The same moment a few huge shades appear just in front of me head up to me.

Manta rays Vurolevu
Incredible giants – the manta rays swim right past us a couple of times!

“Hoaahh” I blow into my snorkel and watch 6 huge manta rays pass just right next to me.

Reto is shortly after also there but he has missed them. We wait for another few minutes and again, 5 mantas pass us right there on the same spot. We feel that this is it and head back to our boat. All in all three more times three to four of the giants pass us, we are surprised again and again!!

Daku
She San in the bay behind Daku
Daku
our “private” beach

The following morning we sail with light winds to the southwest to the bay behind the village of Daku where have to deliver Senimili’s bag to her father.

“Clever” we think, “to be sailing on a Sunday morning so we unfortunately cannot go to church ;-)”

After lunch we wait for my cake to be ready, then head into the village for Sevusevu.
Epi junior and his wive Wati welcome us with a “Welcome home” and it feels as if we’d known them forever.

After a cup of tea Epi asks us “Do you want to join us in the afternoon church service?” Of course Reto says yes, so shortly after we sit in the church in Daku ;-))))

Church Daku
We are just in time for the afternoon service in Daku…
Daku
…shortly after church a cow from the neigboring village runs through Daku in panic

Afterwards Epi Junior mixes the Kava while Epi Senior does our Sevusevu. Unfortunately we cannot stay for more than two cups of Kava, we need to return over the reef before it gets too dark to see.

Sevusevu Daku
Epi Junior prepares the Kava, first serves us and at the end also himself
Daku
Rainbow behind our bay
Daku
and another beautiful sunset
 
Children Daku
The girls always great us enthusiastically
Epi and Kata Daku
Having tea with Epi and Kata – my sourdough bread is much appreciated although the little one says ” it looks like a stone”
Banyan Daku
According to Epi one of the largest Banyan trees in Fiji

The next few days we visit the village a few times and every time we come close the children run up to us, call our names and hold our hands on the way to the house.

Then we have a chat with Epi his wife Kata or Wati or play with the children. We really enjoy talking to Epi Senior and learn about his views on things.

 
Vunisei
the Primary School of Vunisei
Vunisei
during our hike we see pine forests like back home in Europe

A freshly built road leads us over to the school in Vunisei and we continue another few kilometers on.

Per accident we find THE Digicel spot of the whole area and manage to get weather, mail and whatsapps.

Then the wind turns once again back to southeast, so we do another night turn over to Malolo Lailai in the west of Viti Levu.

Just as we arrive there a fleet of 20 boats sails out – oh yes, there is Regatta week…

Regatta week Musket Cove
“Just in time” we arrive for the regatta week in Musket Cove…
Regatta week Musket Cove
….we are really happy to meet up again with Rick from Foxy Lady..
Regatta week Musket Cove
…we are surprised about the amount of people present..
Regatta week Musket Cove
…and have fun watching the small catamaran racing.

We find the bay overcrowded and with 20 knots of wind from south also everything else than comfortable, so we go around the north side of the island where it is quite and we are the only boat.

Due to a cold we also not so much in party mood, so we only join for a few beers in the afternoon.

Here now finally there is a good Digicel data net. We enjoy it and gather the information to decide on how to move from here – the next cyclone season is approaching rapidly…

5 thoughts on “From Fulaga to Musket Cove – About Whales, Sharks, Mantas and a huge Mahi Mahi”

  1. I really enjoy reading about your adventures. Perhaps you can use your blogs to write a book.

  2. Hi Angela and Reto
    Great blog and photos. You are having such an amazing time. Lots of love Annie and Hugh xx

  3. Hi Angela and Reto
    Great blog and photos. You are having such an amazing time. Lots of love Annie and Hugh xx
    PS. Hugh asks why you go shark fishing but always throw them back?

    1. Well, didn‘t you learn that one: „sharks are friends not food?“ or something like that?

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