Monday, July 11, 2016

Yadua to Yasawa Islands – July 9 – 11 2016, S 16.42 E 177.34

Continuing on the Road less traveled!

Despite our longing to stay and enjoy this wonderful anchorage, we had been waiting for a weather window to make our passage to the Yasawa Island chain.  Typically this is done by transiting the Bligh Waters. 
As the name suggests…there is something less than desirable about this passage.  It is an area of very deep water rising rapidly to reefs in a bottle neck on the western end that with any wind at all becomes a stretch of very uncomfortable seas.  There is however, the path less traveled…Uncharted waters no less.  This route from Yadua Island to the north end of the Yasawas was only 53 miles…but just long enough to make a full days sail at 6 knots of 9 hrs.  This doesn’t sound to bad…however, leaving and arriving thru reef infested waters demands good light on both ends to see the hazards…that can be difficult to find over a 9 hr. period.
Despite the chosen route being thru uncharted waters…we were quite certain from what information we had that our prevailing depth was 100 ft. and with good light we would see any ‘hot-spots’…shoals, rocks, reefs, disturbed water etc. that we needed to avoid.
The day was lovely, the sun was shining, and winds were light and the passage pleasant.  We finally hit the Bligh waters about noon…perfect to see any shoals on either side of the Yalema Kalou Passage (Round Island Passage).  This route ensured the least amount of time transiting the Bligh…only 6 miles from side to side.  We were thru and no sooner had we turned south when we hooked a small Sierra (Mackerel) reward enough for dragging the line. 
We continue on to our intended anchorage appropriately name Champagne Beach.  It lived up to its name…sandy bottom, good holding, and a white sand beach that stretched for miles.
Unfortunately for us, the weather changed and brought brisk south winds into this open road-stead.  This made for a rather rolly uncomfortable anchorage and we decided to head for ‘The Caves’.

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