For a child living on a boat in the Pacific, quality time with other kids is so important and precious! Without the social interactions of a school classroom environment, Kai and Jaiya spend weeks, sometimes months without meeting some-one else of a similar age. We had briefly caught up with two kid boats in Tonga a month before, but the Tika rug-rats were again feeling starved of company by the time we were making ready to leave Kedavu….
Our time in Fiji this season was short and we knew a bunch of friends would be around at the same time so we set up a 5 day event in Navadra in the Mamanuka islands on the west side of Fiji. A face-book post on the “kids for sail’ page and emails and messages to many of the boats we met crossing the Pacific and, before we knew it, a kid invasion of Navadra was a thing! We even put a call out on the radio nets to tell other sailors to stay well clear if they were looking for a nice, peaceful location to swing in a hammock with a good book
We pulled anchor at 5.30am for a 12 hr sail up to Musket Cove Resort (Mololo Island) and arrived just on dusk. We flew past the viewing platform and reef surf break at the world famous Cloud 9 (below) There wasn’t much of a wave on this day but there were plenty of surfers in the water and lots of wind for us! We were having a blast as we scooted past doing 9knots… we wanted to get into the reef-fringed anchorage before the sun (and any visibility) sank to the west.
We enjoyed 30hrs of Musket hospitality; a mini provision in the expensive but mouth-watering general store, stocked with such delights as avocados and crisp lettuce; a lounge by the resort pool as the kids splashed and shrieked with friends; a load of washing in the marina laundry; the obligatory Fijian resort sunset photograph (overlooking the pool, through the palm trees to the beach and aqua sea beyond); a bbq at the beach bar with friends in the evening and; an early morning yoga class on the grass overlooking the bay….. tick, tick, tick! ok, done! We can leave now…
Below; Russ, Geoff (SV Enough) and I in the classic, Musket Cove Resort shot; photo credit- SV Enough
We took off to Navadra with two extra children aboard. The parents from S.V Sangvind would be meeting us in beautiful Navadra the following day…
As we motored in wind-less conditions into the anchorage off the island of Navadra (above) a large pod of dolphins escorted us in. The water was gin-clear with a deep, royal-blue tinted backdrop. The slick bodies of the pod looked like they had been airbrushed onto the glossy surface as they ducked, dived and went nose to nose with Tika’s bows. We all looked on, delighted….
Above and below; Dylan and Jayden (from S.V Sangvind) dolphin watching. The picture of Jayden below is one of my all-time favourites. Captures the life of a boat-kid dontcha think?
Above left; the Sangvind brothers watching in anticipation as we approach the anchorage and check out who has arrived before us. These boys have spent most of their lives living on a sailboat…
7 boats, 22 children, 16 adults. It was an epic kid-boat catch up!
A massive beach camp out. Some kids basically moved ashore for 5 days, others periodically moved back onto their boats for nourishment, a wash and much needed sleep before another night of multiple fires, midnight feasts, and other activities not privy to us adults (who were banned from the island after 10pm) Dinghy sailing, skurfing, snorkelling, beach games, beach fires, bow jumping, crab catching, marshmallow toasting, paddle boarding, wind-surfing, hiking and hill climbing were all activities consumed during these action packed, sun-soaked days.
The beach-kids with their boats anchored behind them; Tika, Skylark, Lil’Explorers, Outer Rim, Pesto and Enough. Sangvind was yet to arrive, but of course, both the Sangvind boys are here.
Above right; we loved watching the twins from Outer Rim rowing their banana boat- some days they went to and from the shore 6 times or more- even in 20 knots! Such a perfect little dinghy for kids- it even had a glass window in the bottom
Above left; the boys off on an adventure in Tika-Taka and; above right; Alex from Pesto looking very Brazillian-cool at the back of Tika
Above left; a towering boulder, attached to the west side of Vanua Levu by a sand spit isthmus, provided a steep climb up to a great view of the island and anchorage. Most days, there was a gaggle of kids ascending and descending the hill. The Enough boys were always up for the challenge.
Above right; a women’s creative morning on Tika; sketching, colouring, beading, jewelry-making, coffee, cake and henna tattoos! Missing was Louise and Natalia from Skylark who had to leave Navadra early and Natalia from Outer Rim who took off back to her family before we managed to grab the shot.
There was even a spot of guitar by the fire thanks to Frans from Sangvind…
Above right; Geoff (SV Enough) sailing his self-made dinghy next to Tika-Taka.
Meanwhile, I got to snorkel the fringing reefs and play with my go-pro….There are a couple of interesting channels and a deep drop off where we chased a turtle, a white tipped reef shark and the usual display of tropical fishes and coral reefs…
Above; Bright green turtle grass sprouting between dusty pink coral.
Brain maze coral (above left) and (below) long tentacle plate coral (often mistaken for anemone)
The windsurfers are always a great way to hang out on the water. The twins from Outer Rim had some lessons from Russ and were absolute naturals!
Above; enjoying the view from the rock.
Thomas from Outer Rim spent a good couple of hours zooming the kids around the anchorage skurfing.
Above; Kai showing off his balance abilities…
Above left; like petals from a giant, leathery rose, the tiers, plates and folds of the yellow scroll coral…
Above; the troop of kids from Lil’ Explorers (plus Albert from Outer Rim)
Below; the Navadra boat kid gang! (missing- S.V Skylark) Please note that Kai and Jaiya are way way too cool to make a silly face for a silly-face photograph
Thanks to all 7 boats that made Navadra so much fun! We hope to see Skylark and Outer Rim in Vanuatu but fair winds and perfect sunsets to the rest of you lovely, salt-of-the-earth (and salty) families!. Such a great community of kindred spirits with shared values!
And goodbye Navadra- the perfect place for kids and adults to frolic and free range….
After saying our goodbyes, we took off to Denarau for a 24hr stop for haircuts, a deck scrub, a diesel fill and a rubbish drop. Then we popped to Vuda Point for another whirlwind 24 hr stay where we picked up limited available currency for Vanuatu, did a quick load of laundry, got a rigging report required by our new insurance company, replaced a stay that the rigger found to be cracked, provisioned, checked out of the country and, feeling slightly frazzled, took off on passage in 25 knots- Venuatu here we come!
Next post; staring into the explosive crater of a live volcano in Tanna, Vanuatu…woah!