MUSKET COVE – IN ONE WORD – WOW!
Musket Cove has a BIG reputation as being incredibly yacht/boatie friendly and a place where folks go for a week and stay ten! With this sort of reputation I felt it was necessary to pay the place a visit as we waited for the SE trade winds to stop blowing so we could leave Fiji for Samoa. Also, fellow former Nordhavn owner Adam Block, Eden N47, has kept banging on how beautiful the place was. He was right!
One thing that is becoming increasingly obvious to me is that chart detail in these faraway places is less than ideal and certainly breaches my comfort levels. With the new Odyssey charts not even showing the marina I was in I wasn’t confident that the route to Musket Cove would be well marked. I was right, pretty much useless. As I have said before, I am that guy who likes to have every detail planned out before heading out and question marks or uncertainty is not something I cope well with.
Simply not acceptable.
With paper chart in hand and a pencilled in route I took to the marina to have a chat with a few local Captains to ask their advice. “Bula, bula, no problems, lots of room between those rocks”. “You will be fine”. “It will be clear when you get there”. These answers didn’t exactly fill me with joy or the sort of detail I was after and it wasn’t until Abi and I bumped into an Aussie named Leanne that a ray of hope, in relation to getting some real detail emerged.
As it turns out Leanne and husband John had just updated their Sail Fiji Cruising Guide App. John, quickly bought up the charts to Musket Cove and also the route and waypoint data he then proceeded to go over the route with me to allay any concerns and provide detailed answers to all my questions. With iPad in hand, $37.99 removed from my bank account, and download complete I now had the detailed information I like to have before setting off.
John and Leanne Hembrow are an Australian couple who know more about Fiji and its waters than is probably good for them but I am sure glad they do. Sail Fiji Cruising Guide is available via Apple’s App Store and is worth every cent and well worth having before arriving in Fiji if you plan to move around a bit.
John handing back my iPad, all sorted!
Funnily enough, John and Leanne also run the Port to Port Down Under yacht race formally from Bundaberg to New Caledonia now being run from Newcastle (great spot – read my blog on Newcastle here!) to New Caledonia. The Port 2 Port rally information for those out this way can be found here .
Some of the events and rallies Leanne and John are involved in shown above. Obviously I stumbled across yachting royalty.
Thank god for folks on boats like John and Leanne who are obviously incredibly experienced and know a hell of lot more than I. Next time when a boat pulls up next to us at the marina I will pay more attention – note the Sail Fiji Cruising Guide Logo on side of boat! Dah!
John and Leanne’s boat Songlines pulls up in the berth next to Pendana (Senses in background).
The other day we spent the afternoon with the charming Gerard knight and his family (minus one, as she was in Brisbane at University). Gerard Knight for those of you who haven’t already spotted the strong resemblance is the Messiah’s (James Knight) brother. He is equally as charming and he wife and son were lovely. While we were here in Fiji Gerard was kind enough to let us use his hotels facilities which we did one day. The Radisson Hotel Fiji is a site to behold. Enormous swimming pools (no sharks!) and the most beautiful gardens surround what is a mammoth hotel complex and one which appears to be run very well with Gerard at the helm.
Gerard, Trish and Sam Knight about to board Pendana.
Now, I did promise NOT to turn this blog into a travel guide but, there are certain things that just can’t go unsaid. Musket Cove in a word is INCREDIBLE. The air, the gin clear water, the people, the beaches, the swimming pools the drinks, the bars, the restaurants in fact, everything is perfect. So perfect in fact, that Commander Claire and I are seriously considering spending the rest of our time right here. Yep, we have officially found paradise and if not for the Pacific North West beckoning us forth we would do just that!
There is no point in using words to explain the beauty of this place so here are a number of photos that almost capture its beauty.
Musket Cove from above.
Coming in the channel with folks walking on the reef to our port side.
Anchoring with exposed reef at low below to our stern.
And even more reef to our fwd port quarter.
Senses and Hope join us from the marina for a little R&R. Word has it Mr Google arrives today!
Fifi looking adorable.
Bianca and I head out in the tender to explore.
Inside the marina with its turquoise waters.
Pendana at rest.
Arrived at tender doc to find fish galore!
Looking back down the Marina at Musket Cove
Main beach at Musket Cove
Claire and Bianca enjoying the GIN clear waters
Claire and Abi looking beautiful
Looks like a professional photo but it’s easy to take great shots in paradise.
Just a picture perfect shot.
Pig on spit being cooked for tonight’s dinner.
There has been much talk aboard Pendana regarding not leaving on Saturday 23rd for Samoa but staying an extra a week here in paradise however, the only problem is that there is not another weather window until at least June 7th. Meaning, if we stay here and miss a 23rd departure then we are staying for at least another 14 days, best case scenario.
The decision has been made and I must say it was a hard one and that is to clear out on the 23rd for Samoa and while a hard call to make for all of us, I am sure that it is the right decision as sitting in paradise for weeks on end could soon become challenging to take. Even too much paradise becomes mundane if one stays long enough!
Anyway that’s all from Pendana for now until we reach safe haven in Apia, Samoa some 750nms away! Departure planned for Saturday morning 23rd so I guess it’s now time for me to check tide tables and start plotting a route.