Cruise in Company Pt.1 – 2021

Bula Rendezvous Cruise in Company Update. Pt 1

What is a Cruise in Company? Just that, a group of cruisers exploring together. With C&OC though you also get the club resources and local knowledge.

For the Bula Rendezvous CIC the use of resources started at Savusavu and an introduction to the Head of the Covid Response team. With a rough itinerary and government contacts we were able to pave the way with the local villages for the fleet and giving the locals peace of mind that we were Covid Safe.

First muster after Savusavu was Viani Bay where we spent a week allowing some of the later yachts to catch up. Marina and Jone from the Dive Academy, a local dive operator with a few bure’s for guests put on some events and a Lovo, a Fijian ground oven feast.

Also Providing a guide we went for a bush walk, culminating at a family community where we were invited back for lunch the following day. The family farms the area and river adjacent to the hamlet and provided fresh water prawns, mud and coconut crab and other local delicacies. It was the first “Real” local Fijian interaction for many in our group. We made it a pot luck with each of the boats bringing a dish to share.

Viani Bay from the top of the hill, the village was about an hour into the bush.

With a good Weather window opening for the passage to the Lau the group decided to head all the way south to Vulaga a passage of around 160nm. The jump off for this passage was from the SW end of Taveuni at Paradise Taveuni Resort. The resort has a number of moorings and a great anchoring area on firm sand, enough to accomodate the whole fleet.

With time to spare some of the group hired a van and driver for the day and headed into the “Big Smoke” Somosomo for provisioning. On the outskirts of Somosomo you cross the date line or 180 meridian. While the dateline bends around Fiji and Tonga it was fun to straddle the line of today and tomorrow.

On the way back we stoped off for a swim in the river where the adventurous had a go at the rockslides.

Paradise at Sunset, The Dateline, Rockslides.

The passage down was uneventful and we arrived on the last of the incoming tide making the reef pass an easy transit.

Vulaga from the Sail Fiji Cruising Guide and by drone looking West.

Vulaga, sometimes described at Vulanga or Fulanga is one of the southernmost inhabited islands in the Lau group, Fiji’s eastern group. Almost 3 degrees south of Savusavu it is noticeably cooler both in and out of the water, making snorkelling a tad chilly but great for a good nights sleep.
The lagoon is 5 miles by 4 miles with one main island circling most of the perimeter and literally hundred of islands and motu’s dotting the lagoon.

We were met within an hour of our arrival by the village headman and the nurse. After a brief chat we did Sevusevu for the fleet and bid them farewell while they went back and reported to the Chief and village elders. They returned the following morning with good news, we were welcomed to the lagoon and to interact with village members as long as we stayed away from the village proper and adhered all be it loosely as it turned out with the Health Department protocols for social interaction.

The view from the top of the hill, Entertainment and Lunch, Sundowners on the beach. All while staying in our Bubble and social distancing.

There’s lots to do in Vulaga, snorkelling, diving, walks (which also included some rock climbing) shelling, birdwatching and more. We shared a lunch with the village twice at one of the spectacular beaches and were treated to fruit and veg and a carving market. The highlight was a Lovo on our last day there, again on the same beach, Where we brought our Guitars Uke’s and a Flute, and were treated to some fabulous singing and dancing, all while practicing our social distancing.

Next stop for about half the fleet was the island of Ogea, just west of Vulaga but that’s another story yet to be told.

OGEA From the Drone looking South to Ogea Driki.