Sailing Yacht SEA BUNNY

The Pacific 2002

Las Perlas Islands, Galapagos, The Marquesas, Tuamotus, Society Islands, Cook Islands, Niue, Tonga and finally Fiji

After transitting the Panama Canal the Blue Water Rally route took us to supported stopovers in Nuku Hiva (Marquesas), Tahiti and Mourea, Tonga and Savu Savu and Musket Cove in Fiji.  We also had time for diving in Mourea, a reasonable time cruising in the Tuamotus and short stops in Raratonga and Nuie as well as the remote Beveridge Reef.

Balboa - scrub and antifoul

An attempt to dry out on our boat legs off the yacht club to scrub off and antifoul nearly resulted in disaster as the legs collapsed when Sea Bunny was rocked by a ship's wash at the critical point of settling. Crew and onlookers worked frantically to keep the now lethal legs from damaging the boat as she settled. Fortunately another passing ship created enough wash to allow us to refloat.

Instead we were lifted out for a day and antifouled at the new marina at Flamingo Yacht Club, where the two of us did what felt like a week's work in 24 hours in gruelling heat.

Later we received full compensation of the cost of the legs, which were abandoned in the yard at Flamenco.

Chocoe indians

Chocoe indians

A trip by 4WD and outboard powered canoe up to a village of the Chocoe Indians in the national park around Gatun Lake is rewarding. Lovely muscular men and bare-chested women!

As the dry season is approaching the river level is low and the canoe is only able to get up there with some hefty punting by the crew.

Photo: David/Katie Jeffs

Las Perlas Islands - 24 to 25 February 2002

Las Perlas Islands

Our first trip into the Pacific is a day sail some 50 miles out into the Gulf of Panama to the Islas Perlas. We are in company with Hecla for this trip and decide on an anchorage on the south side of Isla Pedro Gonzalez. This was a deserted anchorage off a long sandy beach, backed by palm trees and forest, with a fresh water lake (complete with alligators) just inshore. The alligator tracks across the beach into the sea make swimming unattractive, although Katie goes in. We have a barbeque on the beach before setting off in the evening for the Galapagos. We are concerned about David, who seems to be suffering in the heat on the beach, but he says he is OK.

Panama to Galapagos - 25 February to 3 March 2002

King Neptune

Having checked our passage times we realise that we must leave Isla Pedro Gonzalez in the evening of 25 February to be reasonably sure of arriving in the Galapagos Islands on 3 March, so that we can complete the formalities before leaving on our island cruise, leaving on 5 March. Consequently we leave about 1800 following Hecla who, without the same time constraints, intend to visit Isla San Jose.

As this part of the passage is not in the trade wind belt we cannot rely on following winds, so we do not have the running rig set. In the event most of the wind we get is from the north or east and is generally fairly light after the first night. We do quite a bit of motorsailing. We also get the spinnaker up for some short periods. The South Equatorial Current seems to be giving us quite a bit of help - about 1½ knots.

About half way David sights a whale - our first. The rest of us miss it though. We also catch a small yellowfin tuna, but it gets away!

We cross the equator at 2129 on 2 March at 88º 58'.698 W. The GPS does actually register 0º 00'.000, although we had been told that it would go from 0º00.'001 N to 0º00'.001 S, dodging the issue of whether the equator is north or south. We did not go back to check what it did going the other way!

We had had our main celebration of crossing the line a bit early, before sunset, so that Father Neptune's visit could be recorded. We heard later that the male members of the crew of Windfall swam across while the ladies sailed the boat - very trusting!

Naked chef

Our dinner was cooked for us by the Naked Chef-see photo. We heard later that the male members of the crew of Windfall swam across while the ladies sailed the boat - very trusting!

Approaching the islands we are visited by several birds, including one red-footed booby who perched on the pulpit for several hours, despite being regularly beaten about the head by the genoa. We see our first sealions on the approach to Porto Ayora. It seemed as if the wildlife was willing us to visit their islands

We are at anchor by 1400 on 3 March, just ahead of Robinson.

Galapagos - 3 to 12 March 2002

Fuel delivery

Anchored in 5 metres of water with 40 metres of chain on the bow anchor and 30 on a stern anchor we feel fairly secure in leaving Sea Bunny under the watchful eye of Steve from Windfall while we all head off on a five-day cruise around the islands. Before leaving we refuel from drums delivered in a water taxi. The baja filter is put to use to ensure the fuel is clean. We have used 79 US gallons (300 l) on the trip from Panama, twice what we used across the Atlantic.

Galapagos cruise -MV Ambassador II

The MV Ambassador is top of the range of those offering cruises here and the crew are very helpful but it is somewhat dated. The public rooms are good but the cabins are rather small and a little claustrophobic. The air conditioning does work and the food is excellent.

The cruise takes in several of the islands, covering a variety of geological ages from 5 years old to a few million years, with corresponding flora and fauna, many unique to the islands. Tourists are restricted to specific sites, accompanied by guides but nevertheless see a lot of unique wildlife. The famous giant tortoises are only accessible at the Charles Darwin centre on Santa Cruz Island but marine iguanas, penguins, sealions, flightless cormorants, blue footed boobies and Sally Lightfoot crabs are everywhere - wonderful colours. Evening lectures in the ship's lounge put things into context.



Susan has her birthday on board, complete with cake and the staff and friends singing happy birthday.

Floreana post office

Floreana post office

We send mail from the "post office" on Floreana Island. It works-someone picked it up and posted it!

Getting ready to leave

After the five days we have had our fill of volcanic islands, strange wild life and plants and are back to Porto Ayora to say goodbye to David and Katie and to prepare for the big crossing to the Marquesas.

Susan bakes a large chocolate cake, topped with carrots for Katie's birthday for her to share with the friends she has made on the trip.

Susan manages to dislocate a little toe, by kicking a storm board that Richard had left in place. Having reset it herself (painful) she goes to the emergency doctor at the hyperbaric centre to have it checked - he says she had done everything possible. Then she is off to do the shopping

Fresh fruit and vegetables don't seem to be available (we've never seen such decayed specimens) but we get vacuum packed meat and are ready to depart.

Galapagos album

  • Sally Lightfoot
  • Sealions
  • Sealions on beach
  • Barren landscape
  • Blue fotted boobies
  • Equatorial penguins
  • Flightless cormorant
  • Galapagos finch
  • Giant tortoise
  • Hardy palnt
  • Heron
  • Land iguana
  • Land iguana
  • Lava flow
  • Lizard
  • Marine iguanas
  • Pelican - Galapagos
  • Pinnacle Rock
Sally Lightfoot1 Sealions2 Sealions on beach3 Barren landscape4 Blue fotted boobies5 Equatorial penguins6 Flightless cormorant7 Galapagos finch8 Giant tortoise9 Hardy palnt10 Heron11 Land iguana12 Land iguana13 Lava flow14 Lizard15 Marine iguanas16 Pelican - Galapagos17 Penguins & boobies18 Pinnacle Rock19 by v8.6

Some of the photos were taken by David or Katie Jeffs

Galapagos to Marquesas - 12 March to 3 April 2002

Cruising chute

This is the big one! Around 3000 miles to the Marquesas. Just the two of us - Bliss!

After some difficulty getting the two anchors up we leave Porto Ayora at 1345 on 12 March.

The local sea breeze around the islands dies as we clear and we have a few days of variable winds. There is a favourable current which stays with us most of the way.

Starting off with the running rig, twin headsails on the furling gear, we have to set both headsails on the same side and hoist the main. This works but risks chafe as the two sails rub against each other. Also, as they are not identical it looks a bit odd and doesn't sheet very well, especially with the wind ahead of the beam. The weather is quite unpleasant to start with but improves as the SE wind develops after about 10 days. We still get squalls, but nothing like the Atlantic.

There is not much traffic around. Blackwater overtakes us a few days out, passing some 5 miles north of us. We see lights going the other way one night and another night we overtake another unknown yacht, having to take the self-steering off and alter course to avoid hitting her! Some of the rally yachts have some close quarters incidents with a (Japanese?) fishing boat, which seems to be coming deliberately close.

We are quickly into the rythm and routine of the passage - 3 hours on, 3 hours off - making bread, keeping the log.



There are competitions going on between the rally boats - moustache growing and elegant dining photos.

April 1 brings some April Fools Day items on the rally radio net. We try to sabotage the moustache growing competition that is going on by giving a report from rally control that the local gendarme on Nuku Hiva is becoming annoyed by the number of participants who look nothing like their passport photos!

We come to the Marquesas all too soon and sight land (Hiva Oa) late on 3 April, feeling our way into the harbour on Nuku Hiva around 0100 on 4 April. Terry on Blackwater had offered to leave spreader lights on to show the anchorage, but one of the crew had noticed the lights on and helpfully turned them off! Nevertheless we found a spot to anchor close to the other boats - we were second to last in, with only Dutch Link behind us (she had not scrubbed since Europe and was reported to be developing an interesting ecosystem).

Nuku Hiva, Marquesas

 Nuku Hiva, Marquesas

We are cleared in by visiting the gendarmerie and almost immediately up anchor to go round to the next bay, Baie de Hakatea otherwise known as Daniel's Bay, for a rally “fun day”. Daniel had in fact been moved out to the nearby village to make way for a Survivor TV series filmed here. Bill and Jane from Hecla come for lunch and we give them a lift there. The British, of course, lose the cricket match against the rest of the world, even though there is no-one from another cricketing nation!

Returning to the boat we give Dutch Link's crew, who are still waiting for the boat to arrive, a lift back and they help us to get the dinghies from down below to on deck.

Island tour

Grisly remainsr

A tour of the island by taxi is very pleasant and interesting and included watching part of the Queen Mother's funeral on TV in a restaurant! There are quite a lot of historical sites. On one, a dig was going on and had recently found human skulls. The story was that these were in a pit used for tenderising the flesh.

Dramatic scenery

Baie de Hatihou, Nuku Hiva

We pick huge grapefruit from a semi-derelict orchard. The scenery is dramatic, with rugged mountains and numerous rock pinnacles

Welcome party

Welcome party

There is a welcome party at the hotel one evening, at which the photo competition and moustache growing competition are judged. Richard is runner up in the moustaches. It's a pity it had to come off but his diving mask was flooding all the time!

Horse riding

Horse riding

The Marquesans are keen horsemen, so we arrange to go riding. The trip takes us up to one of the historical sites, where there is also fruit growing wild. Our guide picks us some starfruit - nothing like the under-ripe ones sold in supermarkets in the UK!

Saturday market

None of the shops sell any fresh fruit or vegetables and the only time to buy them is at the quay on Saturday morning, where there is a market. We set the alarm and are there by 0500 -everything is gone by 0600! All produce had been weighed into 1 kg lots and bagged, very efficient. There is only one man on the island who grows produce for sale in this way.

Ua Pou

Ua Pou

Our intended departure from Nuku Hiva is delayed by a day as our laundry is not ready from the laundrette on the quay. We had not handed ours to the hotel, having heard of Kalypso's US$ 150 bill, which they succeeded in haggling down! We leave Nuku Hiva on Wednesday 10 April in loose company with other rally boats leaving from Daniel's Bay.

A short trip to Ua Pou enables us to get the fishing line out, as we are not using the towed generator. We are rewarded with a small tuna, which we share with Hecla at anchor in the evening.

At the village we find someone who will get some fruit for us - at a price! As we will be very lucky to find any in the Tuamotus, we stock up.

The Tuamotu Archipelego

A three-day passage from Ua Pou to Raroia gives a total change of scenery. While the Marquesas are dramatically mountainous islands of volcanic origin the Tuamotus are low-lying coral atolls. Most have lagoons many miles across with small low sandy islands (motus) situated on the reefs.

We aimed to visit atolls with no airports and thus less visited



The photo shows the pass into Raroia's lagoon in benign state.Several rally boats are already at anchor off Raroia village. A couple have ventured across the lagoon to where Thor Heyerdahl's Kon Tiki washed up on the reef in 1947.

A Frenchman, Regis, and his wife Sophie are planning to open a restaurant on the island. He organises a meal asjhore for the boats. It is cooked over open fires but is excellent and a real cooperative operation involving many of the islanders and great fun.



An overnight passage takes us to Makemo, where we bypass the village and head for an anchorage mentioned in Charlie's Charts, about half way along the lagoon. Depths are generally over 25 metres, with large, clearly visible, coral heads coming nearly to the surface. This is our first major experience of navigating in coral and, with good light in the middle of the day, seems fairly easy but very hard work in hot sun. Mike on Dutch Link gets heat stroke and has to rest for two days after his spell at the spreaders.

Hecla is at the anchorage and Dutch Link joins us the next day. We stay a couple of days, snorkelling and exploring ashore, before anchoring near the pass at the western end of the lagoon, ready for an early departure to Katiu in company with Hecla and Dutch Link. We team up with these two boats, agreeing to leave ample space between boats in the passes - half an hour was suggested.

Going out through the pass we observe sharks in the shallows over the reef.


Black pearl

Katiu is slightly different to most of the Tuamotus, as the pass has been closed to deep draft boats by coral growth. Thgere is however, a quay which yachts can lie alongside as long as the supply boat is not due. We go in first, cautiously, as we do not know if there will be a current setting us over the reef. In fact, the flow is outwards, but there is an eddy and slack water by the quay. We are the first yacht in this year.

We are made very welcome by local families, especially by Florentina, who also welcomed the first Trade Winds Rally during their visit in 1996, taking her guitar aboard one of the yachts and singing to them. She did the same for us and also organised a visit to the family black pearl farm.

Leaving Katiu with a 5 knot current under us in the pass and against the wind we realised that the anchor had not been secured and, as we watched, it and 60 metres of chain disappeared over the bow roller. There was no way we were going back so we headed on for Tahanea, our next stop, extracting another 60 metres of chain from the bilge and shackelling on the Fortress anchor.


Dutch Lnk

The pass into Tahanea was interesting to say the least. The outflow was a good 6 knots and stopped the boat like a wall. This resulted in Dutch Link, following us in, closing from several hundred metres behind us to about a boat length. We got in without incident though and found an anchorage halfway between the two passes.


The next evening we presented Mike with an amended picture of our stern as a memento.

As Tahanea is now uninhabited the coral is superb, especially in the passes, where we spent a couple of days drift snorkelling. Several sharks also found the fish life attractive. While there we heard that Windfall, some 70 miles west of us would return to Katiu to dive and retrieve our anchor!



The final stop in the Tuamotus was Kauehi. Here the village is 20 miles across the lagoon. The French have thoroughly surveyed the channel using side-scan sonar, so it is a very easy transit. We stay a few days, cycling round the island, going to the local church and entertaining the local children. Yacht visits are popular, with some of the children swimming out to us ¼ mile off the beach. In return for squash and sweets they sang their hearts out for us.

Fidelio of London, with Ian and Anne are at anchor when we arrive. Kalypso, with John, Judy, David and crew arrive while we are there.

Ciguatera (fish poisoning) is a problem with the reef fish here. A victim had been airlifted off the island the day before our arrival.



We arrive in Tahiti on 3 May after a 2-day voyage from Kauhi mostly under twin headsails. In Papeete we are stern-to a new quay. This has the major disadvantage that it is just where the locals come in the evening and most of the night to chat and play loud music which is easy to understand as up to a week before the area was a car park, not a quay.

Several of the rally boats are boarded by intruders at night. We escape this as we woke up when someone tried to get up the gang plank..

After three weeks without fresh food Papeete market is a treat, as are the "roach coaches" for food out in the evening. Susan goes to the market every day so she will remember the colours and smells.

Susan gets her black pearls, acquired in the Tuamotus, set.

Tahiti island tour

Island tour

The rally has organised a bus trip round the island, most impressive mountain scenery but the "mile-a-minute" vine covering most of the forest is an environmental disaster.

The Gaugin museum is a highlight of the tour.



The "uniform" for the church-goers at the temple on the waterfront is most impressive. The service is very regulated, consisting mostly of harangues from the elders, some of whom doze off on the dias.

Cultural display

Cultural display

A "cultural" display laid on by the tourist office and a reception at the French naval commander's residence oficially welcome us to French Polynesia.

Sea Bunny gets her anchor back

Sea Bunny is reunited with her anchor and chain, recovered in Katiu by Steve and Mike from Windfall, after some interesting diving in strong currents.

We present the crew of Windfall with commemorative scrolls. These we modelled on the RNLI's "Thanks inscribed on vellum" although we were unfortunately clean out of vellum, insufficient having been stowed. The incident was recorded for Yachting Monthly by Paul Gelder, who was covering the rally.



After just over a week in Papeete the rally moved on to Cooks Bay, Moorea. We found Moorea not so commercialised and so more pleasant than Tahiti. Richard completed an open water diving course - with both of the open water dives featuring shark feeding! Susan started the same course but sensibly decided to defer it until more time was available. We were fortunate to have an alongside berth, right by the dive school, for the first few days until we had to move to make room for cruise ship tenders. In company with Bill and Jane from Hecla we hired a car for a round-island tour.

We went to the catholic church and were treated to some superb singing. In the quiet spells you could hear the singing from the rival protestant church right next door.

After a few days we ventured outside the reef, round to the next bay, Baie d' Oponohu. Susan had a bout of flu so we stayed an extra day before leaving for an overnight passage to Huahine.



We entered the pass and headed straight down to the anchorage where a barbeque had been arranged. All the boat crews drew their dinghies up on the beach round a camp fire. Unfortunately just after everyone had finished eating there was a torrential rain storm and we all sheltered in a ruined house enjoying dancing and drumming in the walls in time to the rain. Our lifejackets, left in an under-seat bag in the dinghy, self inflated!

The next day we were very tired and moved up inside the reef to anchor in a very confined space off a resort hotel. Coco de Mer had already occupied the best position. Susan had a massage and we had an excellent meal. It was fortunate that we put down two anchors as another squall blew up during the night.

Boats in the main anchorage area had an uncomfortable night with at least one large one dragging its anchor through the others.

After another island tour by hire car, visiting ancient meeting places, stone fish traps and a rainforest walk, it was time to move on again - this time a short day sail to the twin islands (inside the same reef) of Tahaa and Raiatea.

Tahaa and Raiatea

 Tahaa and Raiatea

We treated ourselves to a night in the marina on Raiatea, where several other rally boats were already in residence, and a meal ashore.

The next day we moved round to the peace of Haamene Bay on the east coast of Tahaa, picking up a vacant Moorings mooring, then on to anchor inside the reef on the west side, visiting and being moved on from a hotel under construction, and then to Huemiti Bay, where we were visited by someone claiming that the mooring we had picked up was about to be occupied by its owner -

we went and anchored and the mooring remained unoccupied all night!

Anchorage on the west side, inside the reef, gave excellent sunset views of Bora Bora - our next stop.

Society Islands - Bora Bora

Society Islands - Bora Bora

Our last stop in the Society Islands was Bora Bora - fairly spectacular scenery but we had to anchor in 25 metres off Bloody Mary's restaurant. We circumnavigated the island by RIB - rays over the sand at the south.

New hotels

All over the Society Islands there are hotels under construction. Most are very similar with rooms built on stilts over the lagoon. We were convinced that someone had done a market survey showing that there was a market (pre 9/11) for 500 beds and had sold it to 30 companies, each building 100 bed hotels!

We saw a likely hotel from the anchorage and went over in the dinghy for a drink, only to find we were several months too early!

Bora Bora to Cook Islands

The 540M passage from Bora Bora to Raratonga gives us squalls, headwinds and light winds, such that we have to be frugal with fuel, not having filled up since the Marquesas.

One night we have a very close encounter with a ship that comes up very fast from astern. We have to start the motor and turn sharply to starboard. A nasty scare.

Raratonga - Cook Islands

Raratonga - Cook Islands

Checking in to the Cook Islands is the easiest yet - the harbourmaster does everything, except quarantine. The quarantine lady arrives after a couple of days; she is nervous of the gap between the quay and the boat, does not come aboard, gives us a can of insecticide and tells us to spray the boat.

We hire a car for the first few days - this involves getting a local driving licence from the police station - cost NZ$5.

On 2 June our daughter, Catharine, flies in from the UK, so we organise floral headresses and meet her at the airport.

The next day we do an island tour by car. Stopping at a woodcarver's we see a tree laden with starfruit and ask if we can buy some. We are given some steps and invited to pick our own. Apparently they are normally fed to the pigs!

Susan organises a rally dinner, with dancing, at one of the local hotels - excellent.

The highlight of Susan and Catharine's visit was the cross-island walk which many of the rally participants did. Unfortunately it was organised on the same day as the fuel bowser, so Richard stayed on board to fill up. He was also suffering from severe addominal pains, so wouldn't have enjoyed the walk much.

Beveridge Reef

Beveridge Reef

In Susan's collection of clippings from yachting magazines is one extolling the virtues of Beveridge Reef (20 00 S, 167 47 W), a mostly submerged reef 135 miles east of Niue. Having persuaded several of the rally boats to visit it we leave Raratonga on 7 June for the three day, 470 mile pasage. Once clear of the entrance we can set course direct for our waypoint south of the reef. The wind is generally from the SE, light to moderate, so there is a fair bit of motoring as we want to maintain good speed to arrive with the sun high for entering the pass.

We sight the reef from about 3 miles, the wreck of a fishing boat is clearly visible. Getting closer we see the mast of a yacht which is anchored close south of the pass. As we approach the pass this yacht calls us up on VHF to ask if we are happy with our approach. We are, but ask how it looks to them! The pass is actually quite easy. There is not too much outflow and few coral heads. Rather than crowd the other yacht we head across the lagoon to the recommended anchorage close to the wreck.

Generally there is about 10-13m depth, with a few widely separated and clearly visible coral heads. Windfall, Tulipano and Kastaway arrive after us.

In the morning Catharine says she is going for a swim. Thinking she means just around the boat we get on with our jobs, only to look up after a while to see her powering off towards the reef and the wreck a quarter of a mile away. Thinking of the message the splashing and the shiny stud in her navel would be sending to the grey reef sharks that live here we get the dinghy ready in double quick time, just as she gets back, very exhilarated, to tell of the sharks and rays she has seen. We mildly suggest that she doesn't do it again.

We spend a couple of days in Beveridge, snorkelling and, courtesy of Windfall, diving, before leaving for an overnight passage to Niue.


Rock arch

Arriving off Niue after most of the other rally yachts we were obliged to anchor, as all the buoys provided by the dive operators, were occupied. We find a spot in about 35 metres depth so some time was spent getting additional chain and warp out from the bilges and shackled on. This makes us late for the birthday party that has been organised so Richard has to go in ordinary clothes as a "party pooper" (It's a "P" party). Susan goes as the Picture in Purple and Catharine as the Painter.

Niue, one of the smallest independent states in the world with a resident population of around 1800, has been seriously depopulated in recent years. Catharine goes sightseeing by motorbike with Joao from Oasis while an island tour in a hired car takes us through semi-deserted village after village. The island is heavily dependent on aid from New Zealand.

There is no car insurance in Niue. On asking the hirer what happens if we injure someone in an accident she suggests we should leave quickly!

The coastal scenery is superb, with small sandy coves, complete with numerous sea snakes, rock arches and rock pinnacles.

Sea caves

Before returning the hire car we take trip to the exposed east coast, where the sea has carved out many coves and caves. The sea breaking over a ledge into the cave is an impressive sight.

Hoisting the dinghy

Hoisting the dinghy

The anchorage in Niue is totally exposed to the west and there is constant swell coming round the ends of the island, leaving no calm spot to leave the dinghy, which must be hoisted onto the jetty using the crane provided.

Being aware that the sea bottom has many chasms we are concerned that the anchor may be fouled. We ask the dive school to be on standby incase we have problems. In fact we don't but Windfall does, resulting in mild cases of the bends for the on-board divers who resolve the problem.

Vava'u Tonga - 18 to 24 June 2002

Vava'u Tonga - 18 to 24 June 2002

Most of the rally boats arrive off the north of the Vavaa'u group in the middle of the night and heave to or anchor to kill time until dawn. With the benefit of hindsight this was probably not necessary as the channels between the islands are steep to and the hazards are large and virtually impossible to hit!

Arriving at Neiafu in the morning we are at first invited to tie up to the very unfriendly looking commercial quay to clear in. However, the authorities then realise that a ship is due and they don't have time to handle all the boats. We go and pick up moorings and later the officials come aboard by dinghy - large Tongans, with large black boots! It doesn't take many of them to make the cockpit look crowded! In the end it is all fairly painless.

Rally social programme

There is a fairly full rally programme here - reception and feast hosted by the tourist office, a village feast night (one of many available), and a Sunday beach barbeque. A coach is also laid on from one of the anchorages to take us to church on Sunday (choice of Catholic or Wesleyan, we choose Wesleyan).

Susan took a taxi up the hill for a haircut. In the shop were a group of youths smoking and having their blond highlights. In church on Sunday they turn out to be the altar boys and, after the service, greet Susan as a long-lost friend - "Nice hairdo ma'am"!

Island tour


We also have time for an island tour by mini-bus with a good guide, seeing huge tapa pieces, kava preparation and some of the damage done by the cyclone that hit in January. With some of the other ladies Susan takes pandanus weaving lessons and hand dancing lessons. Catharine goes off kayaking round the islands with Joao and also dives into Mariners' cave.

Soon it is time to move on again, through the Lau Group to Savu Savu in Fiji.

Tonga to Fiji - 24 to 27 June 2002

We still have Cath with us for the 3-day passage to Fiji. By this time Richard is taking cover from the women in his life as they are so similar!

We leave Neiafu about mid-day, having cleared out and head out into the open ocean north of the island of Hunga. The islands on this side of the group are very rugged and mountainous, with sheer cliffs falling straight into the sea.

The passage is fairly uneventful, with generally fine weather, winds in the 20-25 knot range and some 30-knot rain-squalls.

In the conditions we opt to take the wide Nanuku passage to the north of most of the Lau Group Islands rather than the narrow but more direct Oneapa or Lakemba further south.

We arrive off the south of the island of Taveuni during daylight and at Savu Savu around 0340 on 27 June, to be met by the Yacht Club boatman who guides us to a mooring.

Yacht Club programme Savu Savu


The Savu Savu Yacht Club is very welcoming to the rally. Apart from the bar they arrange island trips, Optimist Racing, a village visit, welcoming kava ceremony and a feast at a local plantation.

Optimist racing

Optimist racing

Sea Bunny is represented in the Optimist racing, whiich clashes with a bus trip over the island, by Cath. Susan remains in support, while Richard goes on the bus trip.

Feast and games

Tug of war

The feast, organised by the Yacht Club, is one of the best yet and is followed by various games - tug of war etc.

Dance display

Dance display

While going to the local dancing class Susan has persuaded the teacher to dance for the gathering, which she does with her cousin. Very sensual. On this occasion the trend that has been developing since Tahiti for the lady dancers to be more covered as we move west has been reversed.

Farewell to Catharine

Unfortunately Cath has to leave us from the feast direct to the airport to catch her plane back to the UK and new job.

Savu Savu to Musket Cove - Bligh Water

Having obtained the charts for Bligh Water we are ready to move on to Musket Cove. Most boats take the route through Bligh Water rather than the one recommended by the organisers south of the main island of Viti Levu. This avoids some significant headwinds and unpleasantly rough seas.

The part last of the trip is somewhat uncomfortable. We have 15-20 knots on the nose and poor visibility. As we approach Malolo Lailai island, where the resort is situated, it is getting quite late in the afternoon. We are grateful for the offer of a longboat to lead us in.

Musket Cove

Birthday cake

The rally boats are berthed stern-to in the marina, right next to the "$3 bar".

A full "fun week" has been arranged, with more games, hobie cat racing and a rally dinner and prizegiving.

We opt out of some of these activities as we both have nasty sores that are proving very difficult to heal which we want to keep away from sea-water and sand. We act as judges on the "sports day".

On Richard's birthday we host a "bunny" party at the $3 bar. This also doubles as our farewell to most of the rally yachts as we, together with 3 other boats (Kalypso, Kastaway and Tulipano) are leaving the rally here.


We got as many pictures of the departing crews as possible - several were off doing other things!

  • Farewell Aquarius
  • Farewell Blackwater
  • Farewell Coco de Mer
  • Farewell Dutch Link
  • Farewell Franz Too
  • Farewell Hecla
  • Farewell Mon Cherie
  • Farewell Oasis
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  • Farewell Windfall
Farewell Aquarius1 Farewell Blackwater2 Farewell Coco de Mer3 Farewell Dutch Link4 Farewell Franz Too5 Farewell Hecla6 Farewell Mon Cherie7 Farewell Oasis8 Farewell Totem9 Farewell Windfall10
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Last updated from One15 Marina, Singapore on 26 November 2013

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