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Fiji, Lau Group: Temporary trial clearance facility in Vanuabalavu

By Val Ellis from information sent by John Philip — last modified Jun 06, 2013 09:11 AM
Good news for cruisers visiting Fiji this year. Instead of having to clear into Savusavu first (for those coming from the East) before beating into the trades to reach the Lau Group, a new trial clearance facility will be open for 10 days in Vanuabalavu from June 10th – 20th.

Published: 2013-05-24 23:00:00
Countries: Fiji

Fiji, Lau Group: Temporary trial clearance facility in Vanuabalavu

REIYS clubhouse; © John Philip

This facility was originally set up for the Oyster Rally arriving June 10th, but Fiji customs have now extended this for a 10 day period to also accommodate the ICA rally arriving 15th June plus other general yacht traffic. Both rallies have 25 yachts participating. Customs and other clearance officials will fly in on June 10th to clear the Oyster Rally of 25 yachts. Thereafter the international clearance facility will be available to all.

The clearance facility will be at the  Royal Exploring Isles Yacht Squadron (REIYS)  on the northern tip of Vanuabalavu Island.

This yacht club has been recently established by the Philp family, who own the majority share in the 600 acre estate called Nabavatu, on which the REIYS sits (they also own Vuda Marina, Copra Shed Marina and the Yacht Shops chain of chandleries in Fiji). The private yacht club facility includes a new floating pontoon (photo) and pull back moorings for approx 6 yachts stern to, dinghy space on the back of the pontoon, a BBQ, bar, outdoor shower, toilets, fresh water & lawn.

There is ample room in the bay (Turquoise Harbour) for 30 + yachts at anchor.

Whilst the yacht club is usually only open whilst the owners are at the Estate - it will be open for the ten day period in June from 8th - 20th for all yachts.

John Philp told noonsite, “The Oyster Rally is really what has precipitated this chain of events leading up to a yacht clearance at Vanuabalavu. All of this comes at a cost and we have found sponsors to take up these additional expenses. These include a local resort island whose flying out the Customs officials on their private plane, Tourism Fiji for flying in a journalist from Yachting World to cover the rally, our family which is hosting the govt officials on our yacht for the duration of their stay & support from the Fiji Hotel & Tourism Assoc, Lau Provincial Council & the Government & border control officials of Fiji.

“We are hosting all yachts at the REIYS at no charge. Our only wish is that yachting tourists enjoy themselves, and are mindful of the sensitivity of both the cultural traditions of these islands, and the natural environment. We're looking forward to meeting a bunch of new people!”

The new floating ponton & SY Tau

REIYS contact information (+679 999-7719 / jphilp@mac.com, vhf 11 & 16)

Read Sail Yacht Mandala's report on Cruising the Lau Group in 2011.

See Fiji Formalities for full details of the clearance procedure.

Many thanks to John Philip for all this information and great photos.

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