North Astrolabe Reef

We’re now in Fiji. Had a pretty pleasant sail over from Tonga. We checked into Fiji in Suva, and spent the better part of a week there running errands and provisioning. Maybe it will rate a post of its own (from Erika). Mom left us by plane and headed back to San Francisco (where it is considerably warmer than it is here) and our friend Joan flew in and joined us. We had a week of pretty good weather in Suva, but as soon as Joan joined us it started raining, and raining, and raining…

On Sunday we made the impulsive decision mid-day to head south toward Kadavu and get out of the rain clouds. Given our late start the only place we could reach in daylight was going to be North Astrolabe Reef. We’d read a review that this is the best snorkeling on the planet. Not sure we’d go that far, but it is nice. North Astrolabe Reef is a sunken atoll – there is no land. Except for a little tiny rock in the center that is entirely taken up by an old lighthouse:

Otherwise we are surrounded 360 degrees by reef. At low tide it is pretty nice, but at high tide the wash comes over the reef from multiple directions and it’s not quite as comfortable. Unfortunately it seems the we get about 4 hours of reef protection and 8 hours of wash with each tide cycle, so it’s not ideal. Still, really quite interesting being anchored in what really looks like the middle of the ocean.

We did jump in this morning and went for a snorkel on one of the reefs inside the lagoon. It was quite nice; lots of live coral, interesting coral structures, a fair number of fish (some of them new to us), a turtle, and several Christmas tree farms that had to be seen to be believed. We’ve both seen a lot of Christmas tree worms while diving, but certain coral heads here had colonies that looked like farms. Dozens and dozens, and in a whole range of colors – some of them two or three colors. Wish we had an underwater camera.

Tomorrow we’ll move down to Great Astrolabe Reef and try to find an anchorage with a little more protection behind one of the islands.

One thought on “North Astrolabe Reef

  1. Dear Don and Erika
    Greetings from OZ.Hope you guys are heading this way as would be great to catch up.
    I note Anduril has gone to a new custodian.Hope they do her as proud as your family.
    I’ve just returned from an 8 wk cruise to the southern GBR. But yearn for the Sth Pacific and still can not get the Tri bug out of my system.May need a consultation with you don!!!!
    Enjoying your blog.Safe sailing
    Simon

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