South Pacific Cruising Videos


To start each video below, 
click the arrow in the middle of it's picture.
To view full screen, 
click the little box in the lower right corner.


Fatu Hiva -    After takeoff from the deck of Moonshadow, we took the drone for a quick spin around the stunning Bay of Virgins on the island of Fatu Hiva in the Marquesas.  The place looks like a Steven Spielberg movie set, but of course if it was, everybody would say Steven took it too far.  No place looks like that!  Surreal!

Conttroller's Bay, Nuku Hiva -  When we anchored in Nuku Hiva's Baie du Controleur in the Marquesas and saw our friends aboard Speakeash didn't have their laundry hanging in the rigging, we thought this would be a great chance to feature her in a drone video.

Daniel's Bay, Nuku Hiva -   Daniel's Bay on Nuku Hiva has two great things going for it, besides it's being the setting for one of the Survivor reality show seasons.  First, there is a very well protected bay which can hold a dozen or more visiting yachts.  Then there is the valley with 2000 foot shear cliffs on the west side, and one of the world's highest waterfalls deep within the rugged steep terrain.

North Anchorage, Kauehi Atoll - Our first experience anchoring in a lagoon infested with coral "bommies" was in the Tuamotu archipelago at the North East anchorage of Kauehi Atoll, just off the small village of Tearavero.  We loved seeing Moonshadow's shaldow on the sandy bottom.

South Anchorage, Kauehi Atoll -  Kauehi's south anchorage was a beautiful stretch of deserted sandy beach and easy almost coral free anchoring.  We had a beach barbecue and bonfire here with four other boats.

Rotoava Village, Fakarava Atoll -  Fakarava's Rotoava Village is in the NW corner of the Atoll, and this year they installed six mooring buoys for cruisers.  This is good because anchoring in coral strewn water deeper than you can free dive isn't a great idea.  The town has a few stores and restaurants, a pearl farm, and internet (involves a dinghy ride and a 15 minute hike), so cruisers stay a while.  The 360 view in this drone shot gives you an idea of just how big Fakarava's lagoon is.

Tukaega, Fakarava Atoll -  Heading south from Rotoava Village, a bit more than half way down the eastern rim of the Fakarava Atoll, is this beautiful protected anchorage called Tukaega, where with cruiser friends Mark and Deanna aboard Speakeasy, we stayed for two days.

South Pass, Fakarava Atoll -  Navigating the south pass of Fakarava from above in the drone is easier than driving your home through these same waters.  We studied this video carefully before attempting our exit, but in the end it was no problem.  Just after takeoff, note the coral wall where the drift dive takes place.

Southwest Anchorage, Fakarava Atoll -  Just west of the south pass at Fakarava is an anchorage protected everywhere by dangerous reefs and coral heads.  Getting in and out is a nail biter, but so worth it!

Snorkling the South Pass, Fakarava Atoll -  The south pass at Fakarava is renowned for it's amazing drift dive, where you dinghy to the outside entrance and let the beginning flood tide carry you past a mile long wall of coral, tropical fish, and a shark or two, or twelve.

Oponohu Reef, Moorea -  Just East of the entrance to Opunohu Bay, in the lagoon between the reef and the rugged mountains of Moorea is a "secret" anchorage in about 20' over a sand bottom.  From here a narrow dinghy channel leads further East to the shallow spot in white sand where stingrays frolic with humans while black tip reef sharks patrol nearby.

Cook's Bay, Moorea -  A record 70 yachts sailing from dozens of ports in North, Central and South America gathered in stunning Cook's Bay Moorea for a weekend of fun and games to celebrate their arrival inFrench Polynesia.

Fare, Huahine -  Just inside the pass at Baie Fare is a shallow ledge between the reef and the deep lagoon where yachts can anchor.  We found a space just big enough for Moonshadow, and ashore discovered a friendly shop keeper who offered to have us to her house to watch the NBA finals!

Faaroa, Raiatea -  Just across the lagoon from Raiatea's Passe Iriru Ou Maire is a deep bay called Faaroa with a well protected anchorage.  At the head of the bay are two rivers.  In the dinghy, following the one on the left will take you to gardens and plantations where James will insist upon providing a guided tour and providing the freshest fruits at the best prices.

Tau Tau Motu, Tahaa -  On the Northwest corner of the lagoon surrounding Tahaa there is a shallow shelf with a sand bottom suitable for anchoring with sunset views of Bora Bora.  Nearby is the Tau Tau Motu with a 5 star resort and a coral garden with fish so tame they practically swim inside your mask!

Vaitape, Bora Bora -  Anchored in front of Bora Bora's iconic Mount Otemanu, Moonshadow is swinging around the same spot we dropped anchor aboard the schooner Fairweather 45 years ago. Back then the only evidence of mankind's presence here was the red church steeple poking up through the vegetation which extended right to the water.

Motu Piti Aau, Bora Bora -  You have to almost circumnavigate the island of Bora Bora inside the lagoon to reach Motu Piti Aau where we found a large sandy bottom with the best view of Bora Bora's Mount Otemanu.  From here there is an excellent snorkel spot a short dinghy ride to the south.

Anchorage Island, Suwarrow -  Anchorage Island provides a beautiful and protected stopover for voyagers sailing from French Polynesia to the Kingdom of Tonga.  Ashore, two park rangers live six months each year without re-supply.


Neiafu, Vava'u, Kingdom of Tonga -  Described as a "hurricane hole", the bay at Neiafu, Vava'u offers protection from every direction, but it's deep.  So deep, that the only anchoring here is just along the shoreline where there are moorings placed by the charter companies and an enterprising dive company.  From here there are nearly 40 beautiful anchorages just a couple hours away.

Port Maurelle, Vava'u -  Hardly what you would expect for someplace called a "port", Port Maurelle is a well protected bay with a beautiful white beach, perfect for paddle boarding and swimming.  A short dinghy ride to the Northwest point is the amazing Swallow's Cave.

Swallow's Cave, Vava'u -  A composite video of two caves at the northwest tip of Kapa Island in Vava'u Group of the Kingdom of Tonga, each with an opening to the sky and a deep pool below.

Whale Swim, Vava'u -  Topside it was a wet, grey, rainy day in the protected lagoons of Tonga's Vava'u Island Group..  Then we joined the humpback whales below the surface, to see the world from their perspective: serene and peaceful...  rain above creating glitter on the surface. These whales, resting motionless after a session with mother teaching calf how to breach, seemed quite happy to allow us humans time to approach and stare in awe as they let the rain tickle their dorsal fins.


Savusavu - Our landfall was Savusavu, a bustling one street town with a yacht harbor that draws all the yachts passing through Fiji.  This is the nearest port of entry for yachts arriving from the east of Fiji, so that explains most of the boats here. Moonshadow was the 157th boat to check in through Savusavu this year. The harbor is just jam packed with cruisers.  Moonshadow was too big for the available moorings, so we took a slip at the Copra Shed Marina.  The slips were just 30 feet long, so we Med-moored with our anchor out in the channel, and our stern lines tied to the Savusavu Yacht Club.

Viani Bay - Across the channel from Taveuni Island we found Viani Bay, which appears to offer great protection from weather approaching from any point on the compass.

Albert's Cove, Rabi Island - Albert Cove is on the north end of Rabi Island.  Like most of the anchorages here, the water is deep everywhere except along the shore where it quickly transitions from well over 100 feet to 30-40 feet sand with coral bommies, to solid coral that dries at low tide.  There is just one family that lives here in Albert Cove.  This mother's (we forgot her name) Great great grandfather was relocated here from his ancestral home of Banaban by the British in the early 1900s.  Banaban, maybe 600 miles to the north, is is not part of Fiji but rather belongs to the Republic of Kiribati.  The relocation was done when Banaban was rendered uninhabitable by phosphate mining operations.

Yadua - Imagine our surprise when we arrived at Yadua Island to discover an overturned barge.  2 weeks before our arrival, the barge rolled over in heavy seas a few miles from Cukuvou Harbor, losing all of it's cargo of palletized fertilizer.  The crew managed to bring the upside down barge here in hopes of salvaging it.  We watched for three days as two massive tugs struggled to right the barge.

Yasawairara, Yasawa Island Group - Our next destination after Yadua Island was a bay called Yasawairara at the northern end of the Yasawa group.  When we arrived the color of the 30 foot depths over pure white sand changed from the iridescent blue above to a turquoise so beautiful it made your eyes hurt.

Navadra Island, Fiji

Matagi Island, Fiji

Cochise's Sea Trials - Musket Cove, Fiji - We were invited to ride along while Steve Dashew put Cochise, an newly launched 78 footer, through her paces as part of his data collection and shakedown prior to his upcoming voyage to Florida, then Greenland next year.



You can expect more videos of our cruising destinations 
in the months to come 
so come back here to find them.  

In the meantime, if you need to see more, 
check out some of our older videos here.

No comments:

Post a Comment