Paradise Found



Musket Cove Fiji

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.

Bad marine chart

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 Hembrow

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 .


Port 2 Port Rally

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 and Trish Knight

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

Musket Cove from above.

Coming in the channel with folks walking on the reef to our port side.

reef Walking

Anchoring with exposed reef at low below to our stern.

exposed reef

And even more reef to our fwd port quarter.


more reef

Senses and Hope join us from the marina for a little R&R. Word has it Mr Google arrives today!

senses and hope yachts

Fifi looking adorable.


Bianca and I head out in the tender to explore.

Bianca Ellingford

Inside the marina with its turquoise waters.

Tender blue water

Pendana at rest.

Pendana Nordhavn

Arrived at tender doc to find fish galore!


fish at musket cove

Looking back down the Marina at Musket Cove

Musket Cove Marina

Main beach at Musket Cove

main Beach musket cove

Claire and Bianca enjoying the GIN clear waters

Gin clear waters

Claire and Abi looking beautiful


Abi and Claire Ellingford

Looks like a professional photo but it’s easy to take great shots in paradise.


musket cove

Just a picture perfect shot.


paradise south pacific

Pig on spit being cooked for tonight’s dinner.

Pig on the Spit Musket Cove

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.

Safe travels




11 thoughts on “Paradise Found”

  1. Tamara Lansky

    SUBJECT: Re: Paradise Found

    LOVELY!!!! gorgeous. i understand the decision about moving on. not much to do in these beach destinations.PLEASE do send mote pictures of the family!!! Love to you all. Tamara Lansky0041 76 537 9449
    From: http://WWW.PENDANABLOG.COM
    To: t.lansky@y…
    Sent: Thursday, May 21, 2015 8:52 AM
    Subject: Paradise Found

  2. SUBJECT: Re: Out of office

    We are currently overseas on a boat and will only have access to email every few days. We will be back in NZ on 5 June.

    If you are enquiring about a charter on Gladiator within the next five days please call Marcus on 021 329900

  3. SUBJECT: RE: Paradise Found

    This is an automated reply to your email.

    Please be advised that I will be out of the office and unable to retrieve or
    respond to your email between the following dates:

    May 21, 2015 through May 26, 2015.

    I will do my best to respond to your email as soon as I can upon my return.

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  4. SUBJECT: Re: Paradise Found

    Brilliant blog very jealous.
    I am off soon myself.
    PNG this time, but I will continue following your journeu.
    Sail Safe,
    Date: Thursday, 21 May 2015 4:52 pm
    To: Tim Smith
    Subject: Paradise Found

  5. SUBJECT: Re: Paradise Found

    Thank you for the fantastic report , paradise found , fantastic people met ,nice fotos it is so nice to see pics of the girls , and Claire , pics of captain James next time please. Best wishes lots of love Silvia Black

    Sent from my iPhone
    On 21 May 2015, at 4:52 pm, “WWW.PENDANABLOG.COM” wrote:

  6. Thanks for sharing your experiences.
    We keep you in our thoughts as you live
    your dream. Dream Big! You do.

    Randy and Carmen Basalt Colorado USA

  7. Fabulous blog with great photos. A little bit of escapism for us stuck on the land. Thank you. Love it when a plan comes together! You spent a lot of time planning to travel, meet new people and have great adventures…. and now it’s happening! Enjoy – we are! Lol

  8. O'Brien, Justin

    SUBJECT: RE: Paradise Found

    Thanks James and Claire, the more I think about your world journey , the more it becomes appealing ……. J

    From: http://WWW.PENDANABLOG.COM [mailto:blog-46517-comments@t…]
    Sent: Thursday, 21 May 2015 4:52 PM
    To: O’Brien, Justin (IWM)
    Subject: Paradise Found

  9. SUBJECT: Re: Paradise Found

    Hello James and Crew! When do you expect to be in the PNW? If your plans include visiting Port Townsend, Washington (a very quaint Victorian town) we would love to host your family and Caesar The Magnificent at our home for fresh salmon dinner and you would be very welcome to borrow our car (the nearest rentals are one hour away) and explore this magnificent area. (PS my husband and I have twice taken our little 39′ Kadey Krogen down the mighty Columbia River up to SE Alaska twice before we sold her and are just days away from towing our new very fast but small 28′ fishing boat to SE Alaska (we are 66-years old and decided six-knots was too slow as we have a lot of ground to cover before old age sets in!) I truly enjoy following your adventure.Safe Travels! Joyce GordonNordland, Washington

    Sent from my iPhone
    On May 20, 2015, at 11:52 PM, http://WWW.PENDANABLOG.COM wrote:

  10. Russell Meggitt

    SUBJECT: Re: Paradise Found

    Hi james hope your having a great time if you get a chance send me Julie’s number regards Russell (tomkat) From: http://WWW.PENDANABLOG.COM Sent: Thursday, May 21, 2015 4:52 PM To: r.meggitt@b… Subject: Paradise Found

  11. Hi guys – so pleased you found your way to Musket. Fiji has so much to offer and Musket at least gives you some insight to the treasures and beauty of Fiji – better than Denarau hey. Looks like we’ll be at musket next week so will miss you unfortunately if you’re on your way to Samoa. Happy cruising guys. It was a huge pleasure to meet you all, extended furry family included. And Abi and Bianca are just gorgeous. See you somewhere sometime again I hope.

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