Global Voyage

A Story About Sailing Around the World

Ray & Jenny aboard the ketch Suka

3 years, 35,000 miles, Nov 1982 - Jan 1986

Ray & Jenny Jardine

Chapter 6: The Fiji Islands page 59 of 109

Mara Island


Zoom out to see where we are.

After whiling away a few days anchored near the village, we set sail for the uninhabited island of Mara, three miles distant. There we anchored under the island's lee in 20 feet of the clearest water imaginable. Fronted by a magnificent white sand beach, Mara Island was lush compared to over-cultivated and cyclone ravaged Ndravuni.

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Sailing for the uninhabited island of Mara.

After many hours snorkeling, unfettered of toggery as befitting the local custom on this uninhabited tropical island, we pulled ashore and climbed to the island's highest summit. There we met with a stunning view in all directions. Discernible in the distance lay the great Astrolabe Reef, barely awash and extending across the eastern horizon as an unbroken line of pale green, backed by the deep blue of the Pacific.

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Suka anchored in the tranquil waters of Mara.

Although the sun shone hot, the gentle trade winds provided ample air conditioning, so the day was most pleasant. We wandered down to the beach, and in about two hours strolled around the island's perimeter. The beach combing was more rewarding that we expected, for we found a World War II artillery shell, presumably live and left undisturbed. Also two chambered nautilus shells and a particularly beautiful swimming cove, dived into with abandon. We also found attractive little white goats that scampered away up the hill every one save for one youngster left behind, which then tried to adopt us in its mother's stead. And as the result of our afternoon spear fishing forays we dined on grouper the subsequent few evenings.

The place seemed the epitome of tropical utopia, however the villagers had related that a few years previously a lone yachtsman sojourning here had drowned when his craft sank during a cyclone.

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While beachcombing for sea shells, instead we found an artillery shell - a grim reminder of long past conflicts.

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Jenny strikes a pose.

A few days later we pulled anchor and motored out of the pass, with the skipper perched aloft in the spreaders as pilot while the mate responded to his arm gestures that warned of the random coral heads. Once clear, we enjoyed a pleasant sail back to Suva.

Return to Suva

Hailing a taxi into town, we commenced scurrying here and there, preparing for our Fijian departure. We received our Australian visas at the consulate. We collected a newly purchased, duty free piano-keyboard. At the market Jenny bought a few bags of fresh vegetables, then we enjoyed a fish and chips lunch, our favorite 50-cents Suva special. The following day we motored the dinghy to the yacht club dinghy wharf and back to Suka many times, lightering water in all manner of buckets and jugs.

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New keyboard purchased in Suva.

More than two weeks ago, our French friends Yves and Louisette aboard their yacht Dy Chior had departed Tonga, bound for Suva. But sadly, they had not been seen since. Their disappearance was the main topic among we yachtees, and we had all but given them up as possibly lost at sea. The alert was out via the ham operators, and the officials in Fiji and Noumea were supposedly searching for them. Gravely concerned about Dy Chior, we breathed a collective sigh of relief when the familiar blue-hulled ketch motored into the harbor. It seems that Yves and Louisette had spent two weeks anchored pleasurably at Totoya Island, while disregarding pratique.

The cruising season was fast approaching its untimely end, and the necessity was fast upon us to leave the South Pacific's cyclone belt. How disappointing it felt to be in some of the world's most fertile cruising grounds, with islands everywhere beckoning come explore, but to have to pull stakes. Most of our cruising friends would not be sailing beyond the South Pacific, but would soon lay a course for New Zealand, with plans to eventually return to the states via the long windward slog or by sending the yacht home aboard container ships. Originally, Jenny and I had planned on visiting New Zealand also, but now we felt the urge to generally come to grips with the circumnavigation. So sailing for Australia seemed the more expedient course of action. Bound for the Indian Ocean and points beyond, we were reluctantly parting company with the majority of our cruising friends, who were plying the standard "coconut-milk run."

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A dance troupe from the Gilbert Islands.

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Paperwork and errands finished, we attended the yacht club's traditional Sunday night barbecue. This time it featured a song and dance troupe from one of the atolls of the Gilbert Islands. The star of the show was a small boy, perhaps 10 years of age, who twirled and tossed his machete as though it were a mere baton, this to the accompaniment of the adults who sang and chanted to the beat, pummeled on makeshift drums.

September 19: We weighed and motored to King's Wharf, from where Jenny scurried into town for one final shopping spree, in order to expend what remained of her Fijian currency. Then when the customs had granted us an out-bound clearance paper, we stowed the mooring lines, hoisted the canvas, and sailed out of the harbor.

The story has 109 pages. This is page 59.
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Page Links
GV 001: Title Page
GV 002: TOC
GV 003: Dedication
GV 004: Preface
GV 005: Prologue
GV 006: Beginnings
GV 007: Work Done
GV 008: Making Ready
GV 009: Departure
GV 010: Sailing Credentials
GV 011: First Lesson
GV 012: Sextant Navigation
GV 013: Safety Harness
GV 014: Murphy's law
GV 015: Spirit of Adventure
GV 016: Holding On
GV 017: First Big Storm
GV 018: Storm Intensified
GV 019: Rolling Violently
GV 020: Mizzen Sleeping Bag'sl
GV 021: Freeing the Propeller
GV 022: Visits by Birds
GV 023: Crossing the Doldrums
GV 024: Nearing First Landfall
GV 025: Land Ho
GV 026: Fatu Hiva
GV 027: Trek Inland
GV 028: Anchor Watch
GV 029: Passage
GV 030: Hiva Oa
GV 031: Skin Diving Circus
GV 032: Almost Like a Jungle
GV 033: Polaris Missile
GV 034: Taiohaie Bay
GV 035: Cascade Hakaui
GV 036: Taipi Bay
GV 037: Cyclone Lisa
GV 038: Cyclone Nano
GV 039: Passage of Patience
GV 040: Tuamotu Archipelago
GV 041: Tahiti
GV 042: Cyclone Reva
GV 043: Secret Sharer
GV 044: Moorea
GV 045: Cyclone Veena
GV 046: Aftermath
GV 047: Good Weather in Papeete
GV 048: Huahine
GV 049: Raiatea
GV 050: BoraBora
GV 051: Rarotonga
GV 052: Tonga
GV 053: Fresh Air
GV 054: Tongan Feast
GV 055: Excursion to Maninita
GV 056: Mariner's Cave
GV 057: Fiji
GV 058: Ndravuni Island
> GV 059: Mara Island
GV 060: Aneityum
GV 061: Noumea
GV 062: St Elmo's fire
GV 063: Breakwater Reef
GV 064: Bundaberg
GV 065: Life on the Burnett River
GV 066: Engine Sabotage
GV 067: Flying
GV 068: Aground in Round Hill Creek
GV 069: Gladstone Confinement
GV 070: Tropical Queensland
GV 071: Trip into Townsville
GV 072: Cairns Sojourn
GV 073: Cramped Cooktown
GV 074: Lizard Island
GV 075: The San Michelle
GV 076: Lost Mummy Cave
GV 077: Land's End
GV 078: Darwin
GV 079: Christmas Is
GV 080: Passage
GV 081: Cocos Keeling
GV 082: Crossing the Indian Ocean
GV 083: Rodriguez
GV 084: Mauritius
GV 085: Reunion Cirque de Mafate
GV 086: Reunion Cirque de Salazie
GV 087: Passage to Africa
GV 088: Kruger National Park
GV 089: Richards Bay
GV 090: Durban
GV 091: Port Elizabeth
GV 092: Cape Town
GV 093: Storm Passage
GV 094: St Helena
GV 095: Passage to Brazil
GV 096: Fortaleza
GV 097: Passage to Caribbean
GV 098: Bonaire
GV 099: Passage to Panama
GV 100: Panama
GV 101: Panama Canal
GV 102: Medidor
GV 103: Costa Rica
GV 104: Passage to Acapulco
GV 105: Acapulco to Cabo
GV 106: Baja
GV 107: Home Port
GV 108: In Retrospect
GV 109: Next Time
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