August 31, 2011

Namena Island

Diving daughter
Namena Island (Namenalala I in Michael Calder's guide) is a marine preserve and private island. For the annual fee of $25 FJ/ person you are allowed to dive/snorkel and swim here. Because it's a private island and resort there is an additional $50 fee for landing here. We are big believers in marine reserves, and somebody has to pay the park wardens who keep the fisherman away. Our understanding is that the fees also compensate the Fijian villagers who lost their fishing rights in the area. While the fee is a bit high for a one night visit, the snorkeling and diving was quite good. (OK we paid for 3 tags for our 5 persons aboard).
We anchored on the NW end of the island, in mostly sand/some coral heads 35'. There is 1 mooring buoy that was also available for bigger sailboats and a smaller buoy closer to the island reef that the park guard said was too small for sailboats. The reef 2 miles to windward didn't do a great job of knocking the seas down, but it was windy so most of the chop came from wind waves within the lagoon. The wind was from the E but in a SE it would be more protected. There is room for about 4 boats or so.

Our waypoint (WGS84) for the North Save a Tack passage was 17d 03.6' 179d 06.4'. The pass is not like a Tuamotos pass - it's easily a mile wide so you don't see the reef to the north of the pass, just the south reef. Neither beacon was visible. It was an easy entrance with no appreciable current. There is a visible 4 fathom patch in the pass which might break in rough seas, but I wouldn't had this way in strong winds either.
From here we will head through South Save a Tack Passage to Nandi Passage to Nambouwalu village to the west.
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