October 7, 2020 ; 12:22 PM
19°14’S, 178°53’E – Kadavu, Fiji
It was a very soggy overnight sail to Kadavu. And for the first time- a chilly, soggy sail. The good news is we got to wear our super cool foul weather gear for the first time, and I remembered what it was like to spend a few hours not sweating. The bad news is that I didn’t put my patch on early enough and the seasickness that I’ve been running from for 9 months got me.
But now we’re in Kadavu, the island Admiral Anne was maybe most excited about, so it’s all good. Our first afternoon we went directly to land for provisions. Our freezer and floorboards had never been so empty. And we were happy to find a fresh market open and a small bakery! Oh, and cases and cases of Fiji Gold (beer).
Unfortunately for all of us (especially Admiral Anne), there isn’t a whole lot to do here. All our guidebooks rave about this place, but the hurricane in 2016 took a big toll on the reefs and tourism has been down since then. The great snorkeling and diving will take some time to recover.
Still, we had to check it out. We spent a long morning of making sure the “dive shop” had enough gear for Maximillian and us. Luckily, Max has some of their own gear, so they were able to mix and match. They also had some trouble finding us a boat since their dive boat was out of commission.
But eventually we got it together and went to dive the yellow wall. It was pretty as we rounded a large, purple stone wall covered in yellow soft coral. The colors were so vibrant and contrasting that they almost looked psychedelic. But it wasn’t very fishy. It certainly didn’t have the same feel as the other awesome dives we’ve had the pleasure to experience here in Fiji.
In fact, we all agreed that the best part was the 5-minute safety stop, where we hung out at the top of the only coral head really covered in fish. The other highlights were 2 reef sharks and a giant, speckled triggerfish with a giraffe pattern I’d never seen before.
But my favorite feature of Kadavu is the waterfall. We hired a local to drive us to the swimming hole, which was a series of falls just off the road with a large, deep pool. And yes, I spent much of the time jumping off the cliff into the icy water, and then climbing back up to do it again.
The falls were surrounded by gorgeous rainforest and we had a wonderful afternoon laughing and splashing with good friends (Max).
There are some gorgeous beaches here to walk, sunbathe, and swim. I have to be honest, I’m at a point of needing to limit my time in the sun after a lot of beach and sun time in Fulaga. My skin just can’t take it! But I’ve been checking it all out in shorter intervals.
Oh! And Admiral Anne took a bird watching (or listening, as it were) hike!
We’re also starting to make arrangements for leaving the boat and what happens when we get back to the good old US of A (we land in Tampa on Halloween!) We’ve spent mornings getting that work done to clear our schedules for a weekend full of fun and competition at the Musket Cove Regatta.
So although Kadavu isn’t all our guidebooks made it out to be, we’ve had a nice stay. And last night was the perfect send off- our first dinner not on low provisions and not on Amazing Grace since before we went to the Lau group. It felt so good to have an evening without scourging the floorboards for something to throw together! And we appreciated the non-canned meat and fresh veggies.
After dinner (a wonderful chicken dish with French onion soup and corn pancake pie) we sat and drank kava with the employees at the resort (including our dive instructor). They played guitar and sang and it felt like an impromptu after dinner kick back at home. It was fun to be a part of their normal, relaxed culture without anyone putting on a show for us like at a kava ceremony or a resort regularly catering to international guests.
Now we’re getting Gracie Girl ready for our last overnight passage of the trip- back to Musket Cove. It should be 18-20 hours in light wind. We’re excited to meet up with what’s left of SOLA, welcome Island Wanderer to Fiji, and swap stories with others we’ve met along the way! According to the sailors we met on the radio in passing, it’s the best party in the South Pacific and we cannot miss it.
First mate, Amazing Grace
TLDR: Although kava is certainly an experience worth trying in Fiji, we prefer a night cap of rum. Then again, we’ve always been pirates at heart.