Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Adventures in Viani Bay

VB 1
An overview of Viani Bay
After several days of waiting for a good weather window, we finally made our way northeast around Vanua Levu to the famed Viani Bay in early June.  This is where you anchor if you have any interest in diving some of the best areas in Fiji – the “White Wall” and “Rainbow Reef”. 

LogAfter taking the “Cruisers Seminar” offered in Savusavu by Curly – a seasoned cruiser who gives advice, warnings and waypoints to the newly arrived – we were definitely “scared straight” about all the potential reefs  on which we might run poor Bella Vita aground.  Curly basically spends several hours beating it into your head that about 200 boats each year go aground in Fiji and 4-5 are totally lost.  Serious stuff and not to be taken lightly!  So we approached Viani Bay with all of the caution of a brand new boaters….and we're glad we did!

Just can't resist a sweet pooch!
With myself (Stacey) on the bow, walkie talkie in hand and Brett behind the wheel, we carefully entered the bay trying to find the perfect spot to anchor – really just a spot where we wouldn’t hit one of the many coral heads if we spun on our anchor in shifting winds.  Here’s an excerpt of me on the walkie talkie to Brett, “Okay….hard to see as the water is a bit murky but it looks okay for about 200 feet ahead.  I see a bomie at 2:30 about 40 feet out…..another bomie at 9 o’clock…..but the path ahead looks totally clear….STOP!!!!!  STOP!!!  BACKUP!!  REVERSE!!!  REVERSE!!!”.  With visibility at about 10 feet the coral heads would seemingly loom up out of nowhere.  This scene was repeated about 10 more times.  It was completely nerve-racking. 

Jack Fisher in Viani Bay
After spending over an hour looking for a spot we finally just took one of the mooring balls offered by Jack Fisher.  Normally we avoid mooring balls as you never know how good they are so we don’t like to trust them, but at this point our nerves were shot and we just didn’t care.  Shortly after taking the mooring we were visited by the infamous Jack himself – a local Fijian who has made it his business to meet every cruiser that comes to the area.  Jack is a very friendly guy and often takes cruisers out to the reefs to show them the best dive and snorkel spots (for a small fee) and will take care of your boat (or dinghy) while you are in the water.  Jack has captained many boats and is generally a good guy.  We spent a fair amount of time with Jack (fishing and snorkeling) and since he’s a very talkative guy we learned his life story in pretty short order!  Suffice it to say that Jack has done many things, and has a very, very large family! 

Caz & Jim
Caz & Jim from Somerset - good times.
When it came to diving Brett choose to dive with a certified company – namely Dolphin Bay Divers.  They were an excellent outfit and we would recommend them to divers of all levels.  If I ever get over my fear of tight places and breathing underwater I would definitely go to them to get dive certified as they were a wonderful group of people.  Brett ended up doing four dives with them and felt they were some of the best of our trip so far. 

School Entrance
The entrance to the school grounds - fancy!
While in Viani Bay we took a stroll through the village and checked out the local school – quite a nice “campus”!  It was really neat seeing the kids from around the bay all loaded into a panga – their version of a school bus – traveling back and forth to school each day.  Each day they would pass us and we’d wave and shout BULA (the local greeting) and they would all get really excited and wave and shout back.  I think it might have been making the driver a little nervous though as the boat was loaded to the hilt and low in the water – better to stay calm and not rock the boat! 

The main schoolhouse

One of the fish I caught!

If you are into fishing, Viani Bay is a definitely a good spot to cast your best lure!  While out with Jack, Brett and our friend Jim from Somerset we caught a good sized Walloo – which made an excellent dinner that night!  Jim and I caught another one a couple days later and between the two fish and Jim’s lessons I’ve now got a pretty good idea of how to fillet a fish.  I can’t believe it’s taken so long, but I’m definitely getting into fishing – big time!

All in all, it was a lovely stay in Viani Bay.  A big thanks to Jack for making our stay so great!

VB 2
The rest of the view of Viani Bay

No comments:

Post a Comment