The simple truth is that there aren’t any good anchorages near Lautoka or Nadi. Which is unfortunate as the airport at Nadi and customs at Lautoka give this area a huge draw to cruisers. We’ve anchored in a lot of places in the Lautoka area, and here is what we can say.
- Lautoka ( 17˚36.1 S 177˚26.3˚ E ) ★★☆☆☆
This is the Queens Wharf / Customs Quarantine anchorage. Technically every vessel visiting this part of Fiji has to anchor here when checking in and out. It is exposed to the NE and W, which are the only directions the wind ever came from in the five nights we’ve spent there. Anchor east of the line made by extending Queen’s wharf. 10m to 12m, mud.. The nearby container ships can make this anchorage unnerving. The dinghy dock is at the base of Queen’s Wharf along the east side. Expect 0.5m wind wave opposing your return to your vessel in the afternoon, so try to do your business early in the day before the wind builds.
- Bekana Island ( 17˚35.5 S 177˚26.7˚ E ) ★★☆☆☆
Just north of the Queen’s Wharf anchorage, this location offers a little shelter from the NE winds. 18m, mud.
- Vitogo ( 17˚33.7 S 177˚29.9˚ E ) ★★★☆☆
This little-visited bay, North-East of Lautoka, offers good shelter from S through E winds. 8m, mud
- Saweni ( 17˚38.7 S 177˚23.55˚ E ) ★★★★☆
Easily the best anchorage in the vicinity. Saweni is delightful in easterly, southerly, or westerly winds. There is a beautiful beach and a nearby orchid garden. A bus runs twice a day into Lautoka. A cab back from town with your groceries is only F$10. Unfortunately Saweni is uncomfortable during the northerly part of the weekly cycle. Watch the reefs that narrow in on both sides of the approach 100m north of the anchorage. 8m, sand.
- Dreketi ( 17˚39.6 S 177˚22.9˚ E ) ☆☆☆☆☆
This location offers the best wind protection in northerlies. Unfortunately northerly wind wave wraps around the point into the inlet, hitting the beam while you point into the wind. A safe anchorage, probably comfortable in calm conditions. 7m, mud
- Denarau ( 17˚46.0 S 177˚22.0˚ E ) ★☆☆☆☆
The shallows between Yakuilausewa island and the resorts at Denarau are picturesque in a tourist way. Unfortunately the normal afternoon sea breeze kicks up a south west chop that spreads into the anchorage. 6m, sand.
These ratings are probably a little generous.