Archive for October, 2010

Musket Cove

Tuesday, October 19th, 2010

Tiffany under a mango tree overlooking Musket Cove

Tiffany and I are soaking up some resort time at Musket Cove Resort on Malolo Island, a very pleasant 15 mile sail from Vuda Point Marina. The rains parted right after my last post and it’s a very hot, tropical paradise again, unless of course you’re a frog. Tiffany and I took a hike this morning up to the ridge-line that runs above the resort. Every so often on the path, we’d notice a dessicated little 4-5” long frog dehydrated down to a little strip of amphibian jerky. Yeah, it’s hot here! At least now we can jump off the boat and cool off whenever we start over heating. Unfortunately we came in on a outgoing tide yesterday and the water coming off the shallows was about equal to the ambient 90 degree temperature. So frozen drinks at the bar were in order to assist in regulating our body temps.

View from the ridge-line:

Musket Cove from up on the hill

Pangas on the beach and the Musket Cove Marina in the background:

Cooling off in the marina bar:

5 months in Vuda Point Marina didn’t do much for Bodhran’s bottom. Upon leaving the marina, I’ll pulled up to their mooring buoy, cleaned a think layer of muscles and barnacles off and then proceeded to chip away at the hull’s crustaceal armor plating. I only got the first couple of feel below the waterline cleaned up and Bodhran is making about 1 full knot less then she should while motoring. With how think the bottom is, it’ll probably take me a few more days to get it all clean. Still we were able to make between 2.5 and 4 knots sailing into light airs on the passage out to Malolo Island, so I may have to leave the bottom cleaning job for manyana.

Scrubbing Bodhran’s hull in the 80 degree water outside the marina:

Coming through the reef surrounding Malolo:

After 4 contacts at Trojan, I’ve finally got put in touch with a local distributor in Suva. I’m waiting for a reply right now. It looks like they might come up and meet me in Vuda Point and take a look at my batteries. For now, I’m just sticking close enough to internet to facilitate a meet without having to spend too much time marina bound.

………And the prize for the oddest thing that I witnessed yesterday: A man on a horse pulling a panga through the shallows between islands to pick up 3 kids from the resort and pull them back over to the island where the village is.

Rain, rain, go away! and Trojan email me back while you’re at it.

Friday, October 15th, 2010

It’s sugar time here on the West coast of Viti Levu

After a spectacular week in Hawaii, it’s been reality check time on Bodhran. Fortunately my pre-departure cleaning regimen yielded a mold free boat. Unfortunately one of my nice, new last year, very expensive Trojan batteries developed a leak in one of the cells and boiled off all it’s fluid bringing the rest of the bank down with it. So upon arriving at the boat, I immediately reached to turn on a fan, and ……nothing. I separated out the bad battery and it’s partner out of the bank. The remaining batteries measured just over 2 volts. Amazingly after getting a jump start from my neighbor, I was able to charge them up and they seem to be holding a reasonable voltage after 12 hours running my nice new Balmar alternator with the external regulator I just brought in with me from the States. I’m still waiting on a response from Trojan Batteries. The batteries are only 9 months old and I should be able to get at least the one replaced on warranty, but probably not in Fiji. As far as I can tell there’s no local distributor. I’m certainly not going to continue to hang out in the marina and wait for a reply (it’s been 2 days already.)

Tiff eating some sugar cane that fell off the truck in Lautoka:

No pics of me on the camera at all this time. Here’s another one of Tiffany Provisioning up at the market:

When I was here back in May, it rained 8 out of the 10 days I was here with only one day of truly good weather. Apparently it didn’t rain the entire time that I was gone. The hills were brown and all the grass in the marina was dead and brown. Well the day after Tiffany and I got in, so did the rain. It’s been raining almost continuously since with the exception of today. I wouldn’t mind it so much if I didn’t have a couple of rather unfortunate new leaks that developed since New Zealand. There are also a number of unmarked reefs to navigate around here which can’t be seen except in bright sunlight. Still we’re all provisioned up and are hoping to get out of here tomorrow, provided that my prop isn’t so foul that I won’t be able to motor out of the marina. There’s a buoy just outside the entrance where I can tie off to and clean the bottom, but even the cut rate Fijian labor refuse to go for a swim inside the marina.

Here’s a pick of Musket Cove Tiffany happened to snap on the plane:

I think that we’ll head over to the very popular Musket Cove and try to meet some of this years cruising fleet before making out way up to the more rustic Yasawa Islands in a week or so if all goes well.


Sunday, October 10th, 2010


So a month has passes since Tate and Betsy’s wedding and a fun filled time it’s been. I spent a week in the STCW marine Basic Safety Training class, finally fished off my Coast Guard 100 ton license packet, moved Tiffany out of her boarding house and into storage, said goodbye to friends and family back home and flew off to beautiful Oahu, Hawaii. Greg and Bonnie sailed Willow up here from the Big Island a month ago for a 3 week training course that Greg was in to get started working as an observer on the tuna and swordfish boats out of Honolulu. Tiffany and my timing could not have been better arriving 2 days after training finished.

Surf break right next to where Willow is moored:

We’ve spent the last week splitting our time between Willow and fellow Bellinghamsters Craig and Cara’s beautiful house on the hill overlooking Waikiki. Bonnie and Greg really hadn’t spent any time checking out Oahu yet, so we rented a car for the week and have been doing the rounds. A day was spent checking out the North Shore, swimming and then hiking Sacred Falls with a bunch of Greg’s classmates. Mai Tai’s and swimming on Waikiki Beach also filled some of our time, but in general, we’ve just been having a good mellow time of it trying to acclimate to the tropics before heading back down to Fiji.

The beach at Pipeline:

View from a temple site above Waimea Bay:

Trail up to Sacred Falls:

Sacred Falls:

Greg, Bonnie, myself and Tiffany at Sacred Falls:

Tiffany and I take off for Fiji tomorrow morning. I’m sure it’ll take a few days to get Bodhran back into trim, so we’ll be around the internet for a while, but Vuda Point Marina can be a hot and miserable place when you want to get out cruising. So hopefully were going to be out of contact and back cruising in paradise in just a few days.

Another big thanks to Cara and Craig for putting us up 3 nights, here’s the view from their deck:

Craig, Bonnie, Cara, Greg, Tiffany and myself: