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Wild, Somewhat Wet Florida
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 Photo Info
Posted By: Nickens, Dan
Date Posted: Jun 9, 2017
Description: Another SuRi trip to Fiji? Yawn. Just more flying in the same old tropical paradise? More crystalline water, brilliantly colored reefs, white sandy beaches, palm trees. Sure. Why not. Easy.
Date Taken: May 2017
Place Taken: Sawa-i-lau, Yasawa, Fiji
Owner: Nickens, Dan
File Name:    - Photo HTML
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Category: Yacht_Tending_Fiji  
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Read what others had to say:


Nickens, Dan - Jun 6, 2017   Viewers  | Reply
    We started out in the usual spot, Musket Cove. It's a short flight from the Nadi International Airport for SuRi's guests. Just as important, it's well protected water. It was cyclone season. A tropical disturbance southeast of Viti Levu threatened to end the trip before it began.
Musket Cover, Malolo Lailai, Fiji
     Attachments:  

2 Pacific Parking 0242
2 Pacific Parking 0242


    
Nickens, Dan - Jun 6, 2017   Viewers  | Reply
    An extensive outer reef provides a first line of protection against marauding storm waves. It also offers internationally renowned surfing locations.....for experienced surfers. The reefs provide potentially painful landing areas for off board excursions.      Attachments:  

3 RoRo Reef 0151
3 RoRo Reef 0151


    
Nickens, Dan - Jun 6, 2017   Viewers  | Reply
    The big waves battering the seaward side of the reef were quickly transformed into churning sea foam. Though white bubbles looked like fun for SeaRey skimming the underlying danger prompted a modicum of prudence.      Attachments:  

7a Wavescape 0283
7a Wavescape 0283


    
Don Maxwell - Jun 5, 2017   Viewers  | Reply
    Yow, those are TROUBLED waters, for sure. (Do they need a bridge? Not a Searey bridge!)     
Nickens, Dan - Jun 6, 2017   Viewers  | Reply
    My marine chart showed the name of the reef to be Malolo Reef. The local guide called it Roro Reef. I just called it impressive.      Attachments:  

4 Reef Cruising 0200
4 Reef Cruising 0200


    
Nickens, Dan - Jun 6, 2017   Viewers  | Reply
    The inner reefs were more placid. This one protects Qalito Island and makes for some nice SeaRey water.      Attachments:  

5 More Reef 0202
5 More Reef 0202


    
Nickens, Dan - Jun 6, 2017   Viewers  | Reply
    The water covering the inner reefs was clear enough to see through. Unfortunately there weren't many big fish to see: just an occasional turtle and shark cruising the edges. The local guide said there are more fish on the outer reef. The inner reefs have been subjected to too much human activity.      Attachments:  

6 Reef Lines 0206
6 Reef Lines 0206


    
Nickens, Dan - Jun 6, 2017   Viewers  | Reply
    Out on the Mamanutha Reefs a gray hulk could be seen from jutting above the waves.      Attachments:  

7b Reef Wrecked 0695
7b Reef Wrecked 0695


    
Nickens, Dan - Jun 6, 2017   Viewers  | Reply
    The local guide told me a Chinese fishing boat came to grief in bad weather. He wasn't sad about it. He told me the foreign fishing boats are illegally scavenging Fiji's fish resources.      Attachments:  

7c Bad Day Fishing 0690
7c Bad Day Fishing 0690


    
Nickens, Dan - Jun 6, 2017   Viewers  | Reply
    The wages of illegal fishing? The boat has been confiscated by the reef police. But not without cost. You could see the track of the boat in the smashed reef underneath. The guide said the boat is dosing its way across the reef to a deep resting spot on the far side.      Attachments:  

7d Shadow of Boat 0702
7d Shadow of Boat 0702


    
Nickens, Dan - Jun 6, 2017   Viewers  | Reply
    The threatening tropical disturbance rotated on the far side of Viti Levu, sending us some clouds and wind and keeping the yacht in its protected prison behind the reefs.      Attachments:  

7e Darkening Clouds 0166
7e Darkening Clouds 0166


    
Nickens, Dan - Jun 6, 2017   Viewers  | Reply
    The resorts on Malolo Lailai have a private airport. The airport manager allowed the SeaRey to visit overnight relieving the SuRi crew for one last daily duty.      Attachments:  

8 Island Airport 0246
8 Island Airport 0246


    
Carr, Frank  - Jun 5, 2017   Viewers  | Reply
    I'm curious Dan. This Island is how far from Fiji's main island?     
Nickens, Dan - Jun 5, 2017   Viewers  | Reply
    It's a fifteen minute leisurely flight in a SeaRey, Frank, to the Nadi International Airport. Or ten minutes of high anxiety by jet helicopter. It's more like a sweaty hour if you have get a ticket and wait at the gate for the irregular resort flight. Or, catch the Cat back to Denarau for a half-hour bumpy ride then get a cab to Nadi (another half-hour bumpy drive). See the attached aeronautical chart for an aviation perspective.      Attachments:  

FijiChart
FijiChart


    
Carr, Frank  - Jun 5, 2017   Viewers  | Reply
    Dan, I understand, thanks. My only visit to Fiji was with Vantage and probably Air NewZealand and thought Fiji was a single island on
the way back from New Zealand to LAX. Nothing seems as if it was.
    
Nickens, Dan - Jun 6, 2017   Viewers  | Reply
    Staying at the island resort was an attractive option, but getting back to a comfortable cabin on SuRi was too easy with a short ride in one of the tenders.      Attachments:  

9 Home Port 4227
9 Home Port 4227


    
Wayne Nagy - Jun 5, 2017   Viewers  | Reply
    OUTSTANDING PICTURES, DAN!     
Nickens, Dan - Jun 7, 2017   Viewers  | Reply
    Unlike last time in Fiji, SuRi now has new parking accommodations for the SeaRey.      Attachments:  

9a New Parking Pad
9a New Parking Pad


    
Ken Leonard - Jun 6, 2017   Viewers  | Reply
    Dan - is that a custom made, inflatable bladder? Pirep please.     
Nickens, Dan - Jun 6, 2017   Viewers  | Reply
    Yes it is, Ken. I'll post it on STS for dull, technical details.     
Nickens, Dan - Jun 7, 2017   Viewers  | Reply
    For now the seaplane platform is attached to the back of the boat. There is a much larger inflatable platform coming with room for jet skis, tenders, and even a swimming pool. Too much? I'm told it's never too much.      Attachments:  

10 Back Station 4241
10 Back Station 4241


    
Nickens, Dan - Jun 7, 2017   Viewers  | Reply
    The inflatable dock makes it easy to park next to the boat. No worries about getting into and out of wave tossed tenders. Just step into the SeaRey, push off, fly, coast back in. So easy. Proof is in the video.      Attachments:  

Docking in Fiji
Docking in Fiji


       Attachments:  

11 Softly Docked 4234
11 Softly Docked 4234


    
Don Maxwell - Jun 6, 2017   Viewers  | Reply
    GREAT dock, Dan! The photo is good, too, and just sharp enough to read the manufacturer's label and URL, www.FreestyleSlider.com --which takes us to: http://freestylecruiser.com/gallery/#freestyle-docks and photos of jetski docks with pointy openings. (But I'll bet Suri's dock is custom made.)     
Nickens, Dan - Jun 6, 2017   Viewers  | Reply
    It is custom made for SuRi in Australia, Don, and I can confirm it is GREAT!     
Nickens, Dan - Jun 7, 2017   Viewers  | Reply
    When the weather permitted SuRi moved a short distance to the outer edge of the Mamanuca Group. Parked off Kadomo there was some swell, but the scenery was fine.      Attachments:  

13 Postcard Perfect 0384
13 Postcard Perfect 0384


    
Nickens, Dan - Jun 7, 2017   Viewers  | Reply
    Oh, sure, it looks inviting, but it was off limits. Or so we were told by the TV producers of the Survivor Series. It turns out they had leased several of the islands to make their show. The local guide confirmed land was officially off limits.      Attachments:  

13a Shore Alure 0374
13a Shore Alure 0374


    
Nickens, Dan - Jun 7, 2017   Viewers  | Reply
    So close yet so far! Turns out the land wasn't the only thing restricted. The sky was too.

First we got a visit from the TV crew. "Stay away. Flying around will ruin the illusion of isolation." Then they added something completely unexpected: "And the airspace is subject to a Temporary Flight Restriction. You need to get our permission to fly within 2 nm of any of the islands we are leasing."

TFR? What TFR? I found out what when I got a call from the CAAF (Civil Aviation Authority, Fiji). It was the same guy I had met with before the trip to get a briefing on local rules and regulations for flying in their airspace. Back then there had been no mention of filming or TFRs. "Didn't you get the notice when you called in your daily flight plan?"

No, I did not. I blame local politics.

Fiji Airways is the private corporation that manages airspace for the CAAF. Turns out there is a lot of antagonism between the two entities. CAAF expected Airways to tell me about the TFRs. Airways said it was CAAF's responsibility to let me know. (A partnership between government and a quasi-private corporation? This is what is being proposed for operating U.S. airspace....because it works so well elsewhere. Right. The unicorns are running wild!)

No harm, no foul. The TV guys weren't too upset. They were taking a two week break anyway. And I like the island way of resolving the issue with communication instead of armed interceptor jets.
     Attachments:  

14 Island and Cloud 0423
14 Island and Cloud 0423


    
Nickens, Dan - Jun 6, 2017   Viewers  | Reply
    Spoiler alter. If you are a "Survivors" fan don't read the coconut message laid out in the sand. It's a made for TV proposition.      Attachments:  

12 Perishable Proposition 0223
12 Perishable Proposition 0223


    
Nickens, Dan - Jun 7, 2017   Viewers  | Reply
    The fringes of the tropical depression came and went. When the crew found out how easy the new inflatable dock made loading guests the SeaRey was exiled to an off boat anchor. It was just a well because I wasn't flying in the wind and rain anyway.      Attachments:  

14a In the Middle 4183
14a In the Middle 4183


    
Carr, Frank  - Jun 7, 2017   Viewers  | Reply
    Dan, Maybe you've addressed this, but I missed it; what's the configuration of bilge pump(s), redundancy, etc?     
Nickens, Dan - Jun 7, 2017   Viewers  | Reply
    Just the standard LSA bilge pump, Frank, with ship's watch as backup.     
Nickens, Dan - Jun 7, 2017   Viewers  | Reply
    It's the end of a long day when you barely avoid getting grounded by TFR violations, then get shut down by wind and rain.      Attachments:  

15 Long Day Done 0343
15 Long Day Done 0343


    
Nickens, Dan - Jun 7, 2017   Viewers  | Reply
    Is there something a bit romantic about a flying boat floating in tropical waters under a full moon? Maybe it would be more romantic if I was carrying the answer to the perishable proposition written in coconut.      Attachments:  

17 Moonlit 0347
17 Moonlit 0347


    
Nickens, Dan - Jun 7, 2017   Viewers  | Reply
    Approach lighting provided by the moon and SuRi.      Attachments:  

18 Dark Approach 0408
18 Dark Approach 0408


    
Nickens, Dan - Jun 8, 2017   Viewers  | Reply
    With the weather improving, SuRi moved into the protected waters of the Yasawa Group of islands near the Turtle Island Resort. Vanuya Levu was one of the shooting locations for the movie "Blue Lagoon" (actually both movies, the really old one and the 1980's update).      Attachments:  

20 Protected Place 0463
20 Protected Place 0463


    
Nickens, Dan - Jun 8, 2017   Viewers  | Reply
    There were plenty of blue lagoons, turquoise shallows, white sand beaches and palm trees.      Attachments:  

21 Island Passages 4270
21 Island Passages 4270


    
Nickens, Dan - Jun 8, 2017   Viewers  | Reply
    Many shades of blue.      Attachments:  

22 Blue Lagoon 4345
22 Blue Lagoon 4345


    
Nickens, Dan - Jun 8, 2017   Viewers  | Reply
    One island was different. Sawa-i-lau has a distinctive texture. Inside it is rotten to the core. It's got sea caves inside.      Attachments:  

22a Holey Inside 4435
22a Holey Inside 4435


    
Nickens, Dan - Jun 8, 2017   Viewers  | Reply
    The reason the island is different is visible on the outside too: it sports ragged limestone edges.      Attachments:  

23 Ragged Edge 4320
23 Ragged Edge 4320


    
Nickens, Dan - Jun 8, 2017   Viewers  | Reply
    Limestone? In a volcanic island arc? How did that happen?


The limestone is a minor intercalation within the mostly volcanic arc (formerly a part of the "ring of
fire", plate boundary between Indo-Australian and Pacific plates). The islands of the Yasawa group
are mostly submarine basaltic volcanoes in an ancient subduction zone gone quiescent.
     Attachments:  

24 Inland Reef 4321
24 Inland Reef 4321


    
Nickens, Dan - Jun 8, 2017   Viewers  | Reply
    The limestone formations resemble that of Raja Ampat in Indonesia, Palawan in the Philippines, Ha Long Bay in Vietnam, and Yangshou in China. These remarkable examples of extreme karst topography formed from fine grained homogenous limestone, in warm wet tropical climates, with slow tectonic uplift. Not so much in common with the volcanic islands of Fiji.      Attachments:  

26a Sharp Shoreline 4325
26a Sharp Shoreline 4325


    
Nickens, Dan - Jun 8, 2017   Viewers  | Reply
    The shallow channel between two limestone islands was nicely calm for SeaRey.      Attachments:  

27 Rocky Pass 4290
27 Rocky Pass 4290


    
Nickens, Dan - Jun 8, 2017   Viewers  | Reply
    A local native village is responsible for administering the caves on Sawa-i-lau, resting place of the ancient Fijian god Ulutini. They perform a small ritual before entering the caves in exchange for a modest admission fee.      Attachments:  

28 Native Style 4299
28 Native Style 4299


    
Nickens, Dan - Jun 8, 2017   Viewers  | Reply
    Combination of wild karst, white sand, and clear water.      Attachments:  

29 Rippled Shore 4403
29 Rippled Shore 4403


    
Nickens, Dan - Jun 8, 2017   Viewers  | Reply
    It would be a tricky shoreline to climb on.      Attachments:  

30 Armored Rock 4390
30 Armored Rock 4390


    
Nickens, Dan - Jun 8, 2017   Viewers  | Reply
    Reminder of more Paleolithic times.      Attachments:  

31 Dinosaur Rock 4395
31 Dinosaur Rock 4395


    
Nickens, Dan - Jun 8, 2017   Viewers  | Reply
    Sandra, the chief Stewardess, is a native of Fiji but she has traveled to the ends of the world on SuRi, returning home in style.      Attachments:  

32 Native Stewardess 4424
32 Native Stewardess 4424


    
Nickens, Dan - Jun 8, 2017   Viewers  | Reply
    After a fine day of flying the bird comes home to roost.      Attachments:  

33 Approach to Landing 0334
33 Approach to Landing 0334


    
Nickens, Dan - Jun 8, 2017   Viewers  | Reply
    On Sunday a quiet time was observed for local Fijian church services. Between 10 and 12 the SeaRey was parked. After the religious curfew was lifted the Captain decided to move to a new location. I was sent off to explore options, flying the length of the big island of Yasawa in search of quietly beautiful water.

    
Nickens, Dan - Jun 8, 2017   Viewers  | Reply
    Only a remnant of land remains as the volcanism and tectonics subside.

    
Nickens, Dan - Jun 8, 2017   Viewers  | Reply
    The northern end of Yasawa with nothing left ahead but big water.

    
Nickens, Dan - Jun 8, 2017   Viewers  | Reply
    A breakthrough?

    
Nickens, Dan - Jun 8, 2017   Viewers  | Reply
    At low tide it would be an easy hike. Historically there wasn't much commuting at all for tourists. Yasawa was off-limits to non-natives for the longest time, with all prohibitions lifted in 1986 allowing for a sharing of the land with outsiders.

    
Nickens, Dan - Jun 8, 2017   Viewers  | Reply
    Not much shade on the beaches.

    
Nickens, Dan - Jun 8, 2017   Viewers  | Reply
    There is a "road" threading from one end to the other of the long island. It would be a fine cruise for the quad-skis.

    
Nickens, Dan - Jun 8, 2017   Viewers  | Reply
    This is where the Captain decided to park following my exploration of Yasawa: Namatay, between the Thakaumbalavu Reef and Yateyate Island.

    
Nickens, Dan - Jun 8, 2017   Viewers  | Reply
    The shallow reef was deep enough for SeaRey operations on its protected water.

    
Nickens, Dan - Jun 8, 2017   Viewers  | Reply
    Not long after SuRi anchored a boat came speeding towards it. An official looking party boarded SuRi. The island police had arrived with managers of the French Survivor show (Survivant?). Apparently SuRi's low flying seaplane had interrupted their production.

I wasn't onboard to defend myself. The local guide took up the cause, stating that there was no marine or aviation notice of the local production restrictions. He argued that in the absence of state endorsed restrictions local prohibitions held no sway with operations in state air and water space. The police chief countered that notice had been given through agents of the French to the Fijian government. Well, apparently they hadn't paid enough because there was no official announcement of the French production. The Captain graciously agreed, however, that we would henceforth avoid over flight of the on-going video production.

It was just as well. The wind came up and ended SeaRey operations anyway.

    
Nickens, Dan - Jun 8, 2017   Viewers  | Reply
    To avoid irritating the French tv audience, SuRi moved back to the islands of Mamanuca. We parked next to the Castaway Resort on Qalito. To mitigate any further incitement of local contempt I went by boat to the resort and met with the manager. He had no worries about SuRi's seaplane operation. I gave him my phone number just in case.

The resort is serviced by turbine Otter. The Otter was leaving when I was arriving from my first flight. I announced that I was landing near the Turtle Island Resort. By the time I caught my error, he was gone. Oh well. There was no close encounter.

It wasn't long before my phone rang. It was my contact with the CAAF. He had received complaints from other operators claiming I wasn't using the radio to properly report my operation, and that when I did I was reporting my position erroneously.

Well, that was half right. I told him that normally I only used published reporting points whereas other airplanes were using local "uncharted" positions. He said I needed to get better local knowledge. I obligingly told him that I would get with our local guide and learn the names of the resorts being serviced by seaplane. That was enough for him to note in the record that I had been admonished and agreed to remedial action.

I didn't argue that the Fijian AIP (Airways Information Manual) specifically stated that broadcast in the Mamanuca Sector on muticom was "recommended" not mandatory. I didn't argue that there were reporting points charted for a commonality of understanding. I just agreed to a local familiarization flight. "Please don't throw me in that briar patch, Brer Fox!"

    
Carr, Frank  - Jun 12, 2017   Viewers  | Reply
    Dan, Not to be picky, I have to inquire about the term "Parking" as used when stopping SuRi the boat. i'm betting this is from the
British, or French, or local Fijians, or perhaps those down under haven't adopted Chapman's term of "anchoring"?
    
Nickens, Dan - Jun 12, 2017   Viewers  | Reply
    Dunno, Frank, but "Park My Yacht" is described on the Apple Store as a realistic 3D game where you can test your maritime skills
with no risk of scraping paint. I've not tried it yet.
    
Nickens, Dan - Jun 9, 2017   Viewers  | Reply
    On the last day of the trip the poorly developed tropical disturbance made its way back towards SuRi.

    
Nickens, Dan - Jun 8, 2017   Viewers  | Reply
    In "The Merry Wives of Windor" Shakespeare wrote; "Pray thee, no more prattling: - go. I'll hold: this is the third time; I hope good luck lies in odd numbers. Away, go: they say there is divinity in odd numbers, either in nativity, 5 chance or death. -Away." If "third time's a charm", then the fourth visit to Fiji was too much. Five then is sure to be much better.

    


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