The Great Southern Route : 2013 - 2014
GSR|95 Cruising the Fijian Archipelago CAPTAIN’S LOG FIJI By Captain Steve McDonald – Noble House Fiji comes as close as any other region to being tropical paradise. in the year that M/Y Noble House has spent here in charter with its owner, we have covered a lot of ground. However, with 332 islands to explore there is no shortage of places to discover. Lying between latitudes 15° and 22° south of the equator, Fiji possesses an outstanding climate, palm trees, rich tropical rainforests, beautiful white sandy beaches, pristine coral reefs and crystal clear water. Forget the plastic waste so often encountered while cruising, instead you’ll see coconuts floating past. Perhaps the most enduring memory carried away from Fiji is that of the people; their friendly nature and hospitality are legendary. Tradition is strongly maintained, especially in the outer islands. it is customary to present “Sevu Sevu”, a ritual undertaken when arriving in a new area. You can buy half kilo bundles of pepper plant root (Yaqona or Kava) at the markets, usually wrapped in newspaper and tied with string. When entering the village you should ensure all are wearing shirts that cover shoulders and a Fijian Sulu to cover the legs, no hats or sunglasses should be worn. Upon landing, a representative of the chief will normally accept your bundle of Kava. The representative will present the Kava to the chief and some short traditional speeches will ensue, culminating in your being welcomed to the island. Small gifts are always greatly received. We always carry school supplies, fishhooks and lines, flashlights and other items. My new favourite gifts are small solar powered lights which are a great help in reducing the reliance on kerosene lanterns. WeaTHer The principal cruising season is the southern winter with east to south easterly trade winds of 15 to 25 knots and temperatures around 30°C during the day, 15 to 22°C by night. The cyclone season is the summer months from November to april. at this time the trade winds die down and offer a great opportunity to cruise the more remote islands in much calmer conditions. Weather information is such that cyclones are easy to track and avoid in places of refuge. Having said that, i couldn’t really recommend cruising during this season for those without a good level of local knowledge. MariNaS Port Denarau Marina is only a twenty minute drive from Nadi international airport, the only Fijian airport with direct international flights from United States, Hong Kong, New Zealand and australia as well as clearances for private jets. Set in the middle of the Denarau island complex, Port Denarau Marina is walking distance from a retail centre, marine repair and maintenance Fiji’s 332 islands, of which only 110 are permanently inhabited, remain the gold standard for a truly tropical cruising destination. services, high-end hotels and restaurants. it is also the base of operations for Yacht Help Fiji, the premier superyacht agent (www.yachthelp.com). The entrance channel and marina have been dredged to five meters and there are eight berths for up to 60 meter yachts with power, water, fuel and Wi-Fi . The face dock can take 70 meter or larger vessels. This is the only substantial marina in the islands and is the perfect starting point for a cruise to the Mamanuca or Yasawa Groups. ProviSioNiNG once you have left the main island of viti Levu there is very little available: no fuel, stores, shopping or spare parts. We carry everything we need and usually replenish at preplanned provisioning points. Many of the outer islands have airstrips and irregular barge services so planning is essential. an agent, such as Yacht Help Fiji, can also assist in importing high-quality food items from australia and New Zealand. HaUL-oUT aND MaiNTeNaNCe There is a floating drydock in Suva and haul-out slips in american Samoa and Tahiti. i could not recommend them for anything apart from routine work. For maintenance i suggest going to australia or New Zealand. There are some basic chandleries in Port Denarau and Yacht Help Fiji now stocks some more large yacht oriented supplies. CoMMUNiCaTioNS GSM cell phone coverage can be found almost everywhere apart from the southern Lau Group. 3G data is available close to the main towns.
2010 - 2011