En Route through Northern Viti Levu

We’ve spent the last five days cruising around the northern coast of Viti Levu. After my parents left, Dominic and I motored south through the Yasawas and back to Lautoka on the main island. We were going on three weeks without seeing groceries beyond carrots, onions, minced beef, and crackers. Not too shabby for outer island provisioning, but we were looking forward to some variety.

After spending a day restocking, Dominic and I set off north around the coast. Inside the barrier reef, the seas were calm, but the winds were sloppy and on the nose as we worked our clockwise around Viti Levu.

Viti Levu’s coastline is made of low-slung mountains and dramatic rocky ridges. We anchored alone in large, empty bays; blue and pink jellyfish the size of basketballs took up temporary residence along our anchor chain. The scenery shifted from dry browns and rusty reds to lush greens as we reached the rainy, western side of Viti Levu.

From there, we cruised north to the Lomaiviti islands, the group that occupies the seas between Viti Levu and the second largest island in Fiji, Vanua Levu (where we’re headed). The waters in this region form something of a highway. Locals in longboats zip between urban centers on Viti and Vanua Levu and villages and resorts on the smaller islands.

Working our way around in the coast in choppy seas and 20 knot head winds, we spotted a longboat approaching us from behind. They pulled up to our starboard side, then eventually settled about 15 meters behind us, getting a smoother ride as they drafted in our wake.

We rode in this formation for half an hour. It was fun to have the company and interaction (waving, mostly), but a little awkward to have 10 or so people staring into our cockpit. We were definitely being observed—the moment I held up the camera to take a photo, everyone stretched their arms and grinned in unison. Camera down, arms in. Camera up, arms out. Good times, either way.