GIPSEA: CONNECTING WORLDS
Ihave always harboured romantic notions about sailing but until recently had not had the pleasure of being out on the water on board a substantial yacht. Reading up on what activities were available on my recent get- away Fiji holiday I discovered Gipsea.
Gipsea is a 50 foot yacht built in Tahiti in the late 70’ s. She sailed extensively in the South Pacific before finding her new home in Fiji. During 2013, she underwent an extensive refit in order to accommodate guests in comfort. She sounded like the yacht for me.
The three crews were friendly and welcoming; helping me to decide which of the many options available were the best fit for me. Gipsea caters for surfers, couples, families and friends looking for private charters. You can also join a scheduled day trip or a sunset cruise. She can accommodate up to 25 passengers.
After consulting with my three travelling companions, we decided that a private charter ( always fully crewed) would suit our needs. We wanted to have a hands- on experience but still have the option to relax. I barely slept the night before our departure in anticipation of spending three days living and sailing on a yacht. From the second we first arrived on Gipsea we knew we had made the right decision as the crew were fantastic; instantly put us at ease and encouraged us to get involved with helping hoist and set the sails and even steering the boat.
Once we were underway, I checked out the facilities on board and was pleased to find that Gipsea was comfortable inside and out. There are wide shaded areas, cushioned seating, an indoor toilet, outdoor showers, a spacious galley, nine beds and even a good sound system.
As we approached the islands, I was blown away by their natural beauty. The Mananucas are surrounded by stunning coral reefs, translucent waters and picture perfect white sandy beaches.
It was the perfect way to start our adventure. We had the use of the yacht’s fishing gear, floating lilos, hammock and snorkeling sets, and I was keen to get in the water and check out the abundant marine life. We were anchored in a beautiful lagoon beside “Cloud Break”, just a mile away from Tavarua Island. The water was inviting, ideal for snorkeling and minutes away from the best waves in Fiji.
After setting us up with snorkeling and fishing gear, Doni, our captain got the tender ready to take my friends for a surf. The conditions were perfect and the guys were going to have the best session of their lives. This area offers a variety of breaks suitable for most levels. In a five mile radius you can surf “Cloud Break”, “Namotu Left”, “Restaurants” and “Wilkes Pass”, just to name a few. Fiji has already seduced some of the best surfers in the world.
After building up our appetites snorkeling, fishing and taking in the surrounding beauty, it was time to relax and enjoy a healthy, and tasty lunch prepared and served onboard by the crew. Gipsea does not include alcohol in the package. However, we were encouraged to bring our, own and they provided ice and cold storage. It was bliss to sit back and relax with a cold beer. We had opted for our meals to be catered so we could really enjoy our time on the boat without a care in the world. The food was plentiful, healthy and varied and seemed to just magically appear exactly when needed. Later that afternoon, Gipsea was repositioned beside Namotu Island, just a few miles away. We all sat down on the deck and watched the sun go down in deep contemplation with the most
amazing sunset I had ever seen.
The following day dawned calm and clear. It was wonderful to have the next round of fun and adventure right at my fingertips. I went for a quick dip in the water before sitting down to breakfast and a desultory chat with my friends about how to spend the day. Surfing and exploring this island were at the top of the list. The surfers would enjoy what “Swimming Pools” ( a locally well- known break) had to offer; meanwhile, we would explore the island. The Fijian staff welcomed us, and we were lucky enough to have a nice walk around the beautiful island. After lunch, we decided to go sailing. Again, the crew encouraged us to participate in the manuouvres, and it was a great opportunity for a beginner like me to get hands- on experience. We cruised over the most amazing lagoon and even caught a big Spanish mackerel. We sat anchor in front of “Cloud 9”, a unique floating lounge facing Malolo Island. The surrounding was just unreal and while the others went spear- fishing with Doni, I jumped into the water and swam to “Cloud 9”, just a few metres away. I had the most refreshing mojito and went to the top deck; Gipsea looked even better from there. That evening, Luc cooked us a succulent dinner of mackerel.
The Charter Cruise was the perfect opportunity to enjoy the company of my good friends. The three days flew by with wining, dining, and entertaining activities. The staff were discreet, and we had privacy when needed. The experience from a group perspective was fabulous fun, and I imagine it would be a lovely romantic option for couples wanting to get away from it all.
My plan was to spend the next two days back at the resort on Denarau before winding up my holiday with a Sunset Cruise on the Gipsea. After two days on land, I was eager to get back out on the water. I headed to the marina just before 4: 00 pm on the day of my Sunset Cruise. Gipsea set sail towards the Mamanuca Islands. I relished sitting back sipping on a cool drink while Gipsea cruised around the bay of Nadi. It was the perfect way to relax and meet new people. As usual the crew were friendly and the service impeccable. They passed around a variety of soft drinks, snacks, and fruit platters. The sun began to set, and the picturesque beauty of the islands came to life. I had been incredibly lucky to have such great experiences on Gipsea. If you only have a few hours to spare, the Sunset Cruise is for you!
Gipsea has a very special way to connect people with the elements. This professional team accommodated our every need and provided some magical times on the water. I will never forget my fantastic experience and would jump at the chance to do it all over again!