Posts Tagged ‘kava’

Makogai, Ovalau and a Big Ole Yellowfin

Thursday, February 20th, 2014

We stuck around Namena a day longer than zee Germans. There was a northerly wind forecasted so they bugged out to get back up to Cousteau before they had to bash the whole way. We decided to go with the flow and head south to Makogai.

We had a forecast for 10 knots out of the north for our trip south, but it never materialized. Instead we motored in flat calm seas pulling two fishing lines behind us. Mélanie spotted a bunch of boobies going crazy over a bait ball and we abruptly changed course. The first hit came fast on the rod. Mélanie worked hard to try to get it in, but it was too strong and nearly spooled all the line off the reel before it shook the hook. It did create a knot which we didn’t get fully worked out before we got another strike. This one too through the hook as we didn’t have any drag setup because of the knotted line. I worked out the knot and got the reel ready to go again for the 3rd hit, but even with maximum drag, the fish spooled me. These guys were just too big for my rod and reel setup.

Instead we turned to the handline. We switched out the blue squid, which the tuna had been ignoring, for a blue rapalla. Fortunately the fish were still in a feeding frenzy as we circled around for another pass. The handline went taught and Mélanie started dragging it in. Unfortunately the fish spooked when he saw the boat and she wasn’t able to handle the line. We lost another one.

We came up with a new plan for fish number 5. When the handline went taught again, we kept motoring along for 5 minutes to tire the fish out. This tactic worked like a champ. Mélanie wrestled the fish alongside the boat and I hit it with the gaff. I don’t know how big the other fish were, but this beautiful yellowfin tuna was 30lbs and nearly destroyed my port visor above the nav desk during his death throws. It took us an hour, but we finally had our fish. We set off for Makogai.

We anchored off the old leper colony and took in the yellowfin carcass and ¼ of the meat for Camelli and the crew. It turns out that the Minister of Fisheries for the Eastern Division of Fiji was visiting the research station. Camelli didn’t have much time for us, but was appreciative of the tuna.

We went back out to the boat for a nice sashimi dinner including some ginger that we’d picked ourselves over a month ago for just this occasion. Afterward I went in for a music/kava session with the fellas at the research station. It was interesting chatting with the Minister of Fisheries. He was by far the most worldly, educated Fijian that I’d ever met.

Unfortunately the wind picked up out of the NW and gave us quite the rolly night. We had to bail on Makongai. The waves were wrapping around any protection, so we decided to take advantage of the northly to head down to Ovalau 25 miles to the south.

We had a great sail in 15-20 knots of wind. The highlight of the day was passing through a pod of pilot whales. They were holding on station and we got a good look at lots of them, but it was too rough and I didn’t have my camera out.

The pass into Ovalau was easy to navigate in the clouds and we continued our boisterous sail down the west side of the island to Wainaloka bay. Wainaloka is listed as a hurricane hole. It’s certainly a beautifully protected anchorage with great holding, but it’s a bit big to use as a hurricane hole. Still if you’re caught in the area, this is the place to go.

We were running a bit low on supplies, so we took the skiff in through the mangroves to the village and started walking towards Levuka, the old capitol of Fiji. Unfortunately we missed the 8:30am truck and there was no traffic of any kind on the road. After a couple of km we ran into a fisherman who’d also missed the truck, though he didn’t know it. Eventually we were able to call a taxi to take all 3 of us into town.

The cession of Fiji to the British took place in Levuka back in the 1860s and the town hasn’t changed much since. Walking the streets, you’d think you were in an old west town, as long as you didn’t look to the east towards the Koro Sea.

Mélanie and I walked around town and checked out the sites, poking our heads in and out of the various shops containing lots of things we didn’t need. We visited the small museum and saw a good shell collection and some of the history of the place. In the end Levuka was a poor provisioning stop. Fresh veggies are hard to come by except on Saturday. We ended up with some apples, carrots and beer from the MH and that’s about it.

We spent the last two days hanging out at a sandbar between the anchorage and Moturiki. It’s completely covered at high tide, but has a wonderfully sandy beach that appears at mid tide. Of course we had another photo shoot, played crib and generally had a very mellow time. From here it looks like we’ll be heading south to Leluvia and eventually Suva. The wind is looking light for the rest of the time that Mélanie is going to be here, so there’s probably going to be lots of motoring in our future.

Happy New Year from Viani Bay!

Thursday, January 2nd, 2014

We pulled into Viani Bay on Christmas Day thinking that we’d celebrate the holiday with a snorkel and maybe some Fiji Gold. I’d picked an anchorage that looked like it had pretty good shelter from the south easterly winds. I couldn’t tell from the chart that there was a house right there, nor that the only place to drop the hook was about 150 feet from the beach right in front of that house. Indeed while we were looking for a place to drop the hook a respectable distance away, a very European looking Fijian man came out to the beach and directed us to the one good spot to anchor. Mélanie and I immediately dropped the skiff into the water and went ashore to say hi.

The man on the beach turned out to be Jack Fisher. I’d heard of Jack, as he is well know in the cruising community. He takes yachties out diving to all the good spots in the area at a dramatic discount over the local dive companies. The house belongs to his Aunt Francis and the whole Fisher and Evans clan was over for Christmas. Lunch was just about ready to be served. Our timing was impeccable and naturally we were invited.

I didn’t have my camera around for lunch. It consisted of an overwhelming spread of fish and curry dishes, boiled crabs, salads and of course cassava. I think that we each had 3 plates. Then it was time for desert and kava. Mélanie and I excused ourselves and went back to Bodhran to change out of our grubby sailing clothes and to grab the camera and instruments. We got back just in time to sit under the mango tree and get the party going.

I brought in a bunch of “pop-its” that I had left over from Diwali. The kids found it to be great fun exploding these on the back of their Uncle Johnny. Johnny is the definite black sheep of the family. Very entertaining, but he doesn’t work and spends a lot of his time scamming off everyone in the bay, so even Jack’s wife Sofie got into the game of blasting him with “pop-its.”

Went the sun got too low, we shifted from the mango tree to the almond tree for shade, but the grog party went on all night. We pulled into Viani Bay without expectation and ended up having a Christmas celebration that I’ll never forget and making lots of friends that we’ve been hanging out with for a week now.

We stayed in the anchorage off Francis’ house for 3 days. We’d go in for tea from time to time, but mostly we hung out on the boat with Jack and Sofie’s daughter Elizabeth and her husband Tukana. Tukes is the family’s singer and guitar player who takes Fijian culture very seriously. I left my spare guitar on the beach for him for the three days and you could hear it being played all day long. Naturally Tukana and I hit it off, but it was Elizabeth who adopted us. She came out and spent the better part of two days hanging out on Bodhran snorkeling, fishing and carrying on. She brought us out buckets full of hermit crabs for bait and even baited our hooks for us. Of course all the catch ended up going back to the house.

On the 4th morning, Tukana and Elizabeth were heading back across the bay to Jack’s house. Jack has a couple of moorings that he put in for yachties. We figured that would be a better place to hang out, so Tukes and Elizabeth came on board and drove us over. The next day we had a pizza party and then decided to go out trolling on the outer reef. Jack joined us on Bodhran and took the helm. We had three lines out, but didn’t get a single bite.

The next day we had Jack’s whole family out for a shopping run over to Taveuni. We were running a bit low on fresh stuff and wanted another try at a fish. The morning was flat calm. Jack took the helm and steered close to a number of bombies, but we still didn’t have any luck. We anchored off Waiyevo and took a cab to the MH in Somosomo to buy groceries. We had quite an entourage with us for whole shopping trip.

It took 3 trips in the dinghy to get the groceries and Fisher’s back on the boat. The wind was up and we sailed off the anchor. We had a rousing good sail with Jack steering the whole way back. The wind was blowing 15-20 knots slightly ahead of the beam as we blasted across Somosome Strait at almost 7 knots. Sofie would whoop with glee every time the boat heeled over. Still we had no bites until Mélanie pulled in the handline and found a small barracuda on the end. Once we were off Jack’s place we finally started the motor and picked up a mooring.

That was New Years Eve. Both Mélanie and I had been feeling sick for a few days. We wrestled with going into the village for New Years or not. Reluctantly I took the skiff in to tell Elizabeth that we were going to bail. She met me on the beach and immediately asked if we wanted to have Tukes and her back out on the boat for a tanoa or two. This seemed like a much better plan. As it turned out, the village New Years Eve celebration consisted of 2 hours of church until midnight. Mélanie and I were both pretty happy we missed that one.

The real party was on New Years Day. The tradition is to douse people with water or even better pick them up and throw them in the water. This helps wash away the old year and bring in the new. We missed the morning mass dunking of people on the beach, but went in for lunch. The massive lunch was followed with a procession from the neighboring village women. They came marching through the village wearing makeup and their sunday finest, banging on pots and pans. The women from this village then proceeded to douse them with buckets and pans of water, including one filled with curry stained dirty dishwater. Waste not, want not.

We then settled into the familiar kava/music session under a mango tree. Like so many other places that I go in Fiji, there were plenty of musicians, but no instruments. So my uke and two guitars were passed around until it was time for the women to all leave for their own wetting at the other village. A bunch set out on foot for the 2 mile walk. Mélanie joined the crew that went by boat a short time later. I thought it best to leave the women to their business and stick around the village with the fellas.

I moved from the kava session to the volleyball court. I got in 4 good games, winning two and losing two, but burned the crap out of my feet on the black sand. It was hot enough to give me blisters on both feet. I had to bow out of the volleyball game. It was OK, the fellas were more impressed with my camera skills than my skills on the court.

We left at sunset after a nice swim and freshwater shower. The forecast is for no wind for the foreseeable future, so my next blog post might be from Viani Bay as well.

Albert Cove a Year Later

Wednesday, December 25th, 2013

Mélanie and I took off from Dakuniba on a Saturday morning with light southerly winds. We’d delayed our departure by a couple of days while we waited for a trough of low pressure to pass. These lows are the price of sticking around during cyclone season. They’re filled with lots of rain and lightning, but so far haven’t been packing much wind. At least the water tanks are staying full.

We took the small boat pass out of Dakuniba towards Viani Bay and transited without problems. Our destination was Matei on Taveuni. The big northerly swell that we found once we rounded the eastern tip of Vanua Levu made us rethink our plans. So instead we scouted out the potential hurricane hole up Naqaiqai Creek and then settled into Buca Bay for the evening.

I’m sure that the village in Buca Bay would have been worth a visit, but the rumble of busses and trucks on the road turned us off. We didn’t even launch the skiff. Instead we got underway the next day and had a great sail north to Albert Cove on Rabi Island.

Riki and I visited Albert Cove last year and had an excellent time with Panea, Terry and Mariana. I was looking forward too seeing everyone again. I was surprised to an entirely new population to Albert Cove. I went to Panea’s house and found Keke sitting there. He lives on the other side of the island in Samale Bay. We’d met last year and we sat down and started catching up. Terry and Mariana were in the village for Christmas. No surprise there, but then Keke told us that Panea, at the age of 74, had gotten married and had a new born! He was still in his new bride’s village. Panea’s new brother-in-law, Peter, and family was staying in the house.

I brought in a couple hundred grams of kava, but that only filled two tanoas. They didn’t have any way to pound the kava at Albert Cove, so they made it up green instead. Basically you boil a bunch of newly harvested kava root. Once it’s nice and soft, you pour off the water and then pound that in a bowl with a piece of wood. With dry kava you normally pound it in a steel container with a long steel rod. Once the green kava was pounded, water was poured in until in formed a thick slurry. The slurry was then put in a cloth and water poured over it to create the final mix. The resulting drink was too strong for Mélanie and myself. We politely excused ourselves after two bilos and went back to the boat.

The next morning I noticed the overly ripe smell wafting down from the bananas. So it was time to make banana bread. I knew that you could use the pressure cooker to do it, but I’d never tried before and didn’t have a recipe. We just followed a normal recipe out of a cookbook and poured it all into a pot that we fit inside the pressure cooker on a trivet. We added a cup of water to the bottom of the pressure cooker and left the weight off. After 30 minutes cooking, the water was gone, so we added another cup. After an hour we had a perfectly cooked, moist loaf. I probably could have used the weight to make it cook faster, but I was afraid of it being too moist. Either way it sure came out better than using my temperature challenged oven.

While we were waiting for the banana bread to cook, a greatly overloaded boat of picnickers from Peter’s village 5 miles away showed up. The boat, Rise Again, was blaring music while they went by and hit the beach like an invading army. Rise Again beached herself at a sandy spot where the creek hits the beach and people piled off. A volleyball net was setup and the party started. Mélanie and I decided to go for a snorkel while we let the banana bread cool.

The snorkeling was great with warm water, medium visibility and lots of good fish. I spotted a lobster down underneath an overhang in the reef, but made sure not to tell anyone where he was. We ended up snorkeling all the way down to a beach at the south end of the bay, but the wind was up and it was too cold to stay out of the water for long, so we turned around and had another nice long snorkel back to the boat.

After enjoying a couple nice hunks of banana bread, we went for a walk down the beach and then joined the party. We brought in the guitar and uke. The battery for the stereo had gone flat. Peter used to be in a band that toured Fiji and was great on the guitar belting out boogie woogie rock and roll rhythms as well as singing a bunch of traditional Bonabin numbers.

I went out to the beach to take pics of the sunset as the party broke up and the boat left to go back to the village. Peter sat inside Panea’s house and provided the soundtrack as every left. I didn’t get any really good pics so I drained a couple of bilos and said goodnight. Peter hadn’t had a guitar to play in years, so I left him mine for the night.

The next morning, Mélanie and I were listening to the SSB radio when we heard about a tropical depression forming and heading our way just after Christmas. Albert Cove was no place to be during a cyclone, so we brought a bunch of Christmas presents in for Peter’s kids, picked up my guitar, said our goodbyes and took off.

As we sailed south past Nuka, we picked up internet and saw that the depression was going to pass right over the top of Vanua Levu. It was still a few days off, but I wanted to have time to get to a good cyclone hole. We intended to go back to Nasasobo, but the SE wind convinced me to stay on the other side of Kioa. We had a rockin good sail close reaching in 20 knots of wind, though Mélanie was a bit worried at times. We headed up the cyclone hole at Naqaiqai creek for the night.

This morning’s weather shows the depression strengthening into a full cyclone and passing north and east of Fiji. Nasasobo is still a better spot than this if we get any big seas from the north, so we’re making our way there for when the cyclone hits. We’ve still got a few days, so I think we’re going to hang out in Viani Bay where we can get some good snorkeling in and hopefully have internet so we can see how the storm progresses before we go into informational blackout in Nasasobo.

Overly Long Maintenance Break at Vuda Point

Thursday, November 21st, 2013

I can’t believe that I was in Vuda Point for 3 and a half weeks! It’d actually be longer than that if I’d been able to get into the marina.

Christian and I sailed back from the Yasawas a month ago. When we got to Vuda Point we found 4 boats waiting outside to get in. On top of that there were boats rafted up 3 deep in places along the marina walls where I’d never seen a boat tied up before. We quickly diverted off to Saweni Bay 4 miles north. I’d been to Saweni many times over the years. I’d never seen more than 4 boats in there. When Irie and Bodhran dropped their hooks it made over 20. It was apparent that the peak season was here.

Every year about this time boats start worrying about cyclone season. The most popular options are to sail to New Zealand or leave your boat in Vuda Point. The less popular options are to sail on to Australia, Asia or north up to the Marshall Islands. My aim was to sail up to the Marshall Islands, but I had some work to do first.

My autopilot and windlass both crapped out on me back on Vanua Levu. I was able to order windlass parts from Scotland and have them shipped to Vuda. I looked all over the web for a suitable used autopilot but couldn’t find anything, or at least I couldn’t find anything that was a good deal. I ended up dipping into the kitty and ordering a brand new Raymarine EV400 autopilot. It was more than I wanted to spend, but only about 30% more than what people wanted for 15 year old used systems on ebay.

I ordered these parts from Saweni Bay and settled in to wait. Christian took a couple of days to provision and get some last minute boat projects in. Then he was off down to New Zealand. He had a good ride, making the passage in just under 9 days. A very respectable passage for Irie.

It took me a week before I was able to get into Vuda. The place was busting at the seams, but they squeezed me in and welcomed me like returning family. I spent the first night back playing music with the boys up in Navetau and then set to work on the windlass the next day.

One of the two idler springs had broken which prevented to double action on the windlass from working. You’d pull the lever, the chain would come in, you’d push the lever back and the chain would go out. Not very useful. Stripping the windlass turned out to be a bit of a chore. I spent a couple days trying to get the high speed gear spindle out before I took it up to Baobob Marine and had them punch it out with the hydraulic press. Once I had it apart, changing the springs was no problem and I’m happy to report that the windlass is now working like new.

Next I pulled the mast and hauled Bodhran to redo the bottom paint. I’d completely replaced the rig back in 2005, but 4 of my turnbuckles were galled and very difficult to undo. One actually snapped as I was taking it off. Thankfully Riki had donated a spare after I had to use my own spare on one that was bent during cyclone Evan. The mast came off without a hitch and I set to reglassing the mast step, running the radar wire and replacing the terminals for the tri-color and spreader lights.

I’d tried cheaping out on bottom paint by using the $40USD a gallon Apco anti-fouling paint instead of my usual International Ultra which goes for $300USD a gallon here. Alas the Apco was so ineffectual that I had to scrape my bottom a month after painting it. Normally you get at least 6 months to a year growth free with good paint. After 3 multiple hour bottom scraping sessions, I bit the bullet and re-did the bottom with Ultra. It was a record turn around. I sanded the bottom, got two coats of paint on and went back in the water in 24 hours.

When we went to put the mast back on, I ended up breaking another turnbuckle. I didn’t notice that the backstay buckle was lying on it’s side when we tried to straighten the mast to hook up the headstay. We kept moving the crane forward trying to get the headstay attached until Marika finally pointed out the bent over turnbuckle to me. So now I was shy 1 turnbuckle and had 3 galled turnbuckles that I really shouldn’t have been using. It was time to order a whole new set of 7 from the states. It’s a shame to have to replace them after only 8 years, but I definitely didn’t want to be worrying about my rig during the passages to come.

We put the mast back up on a Saturday and I was planning on leaving the following week, so Siteri had planned a going away lovo for me that Sunday. Of course now I had to wait around for 10 more days for the turnbuckles to arrive, but the party went on as scheduled. A lovo is a traditional Melanesian way of slow cooking food. You start out by getting a good hot coal base going. Then you bust up a banana stalk and spread it out over the coals. You put the food on top of the banana stalk and then cover it with banana leaves and palm fronds. You then cover the whole thing with dirt. Then a hour and a half later, you dig it out and lunch is served.

I came up early to watch a bit of the Rugby League World Cup and then went to Church with Nina. When I got back lunch was served. It’s always a bit uncomfortable to eat first, but it’s the Fijian way. I sat down and ate my fill along with the children while all the adults sat around a drank kava. After fending off attempts to fill me up beyond the bursting point, I finally was able to digest and settle into a nice long afternoon kava drinking session.

It took 10 days for the turnbuckles to arrive. In the meantime, I got the autopilot installed, got the radar/chartplotter up and running, did a little painting and took care of lots of lingering little projects around the boat. The main highlight of that time was taking a bunch of post Diwali sale priced fireworks up for the kids in Navetau to light off. Needless to say a good time was had by all.

During most of my time in Vuda, I’d made up my mind to sail up to the Marshall Islands and then make the long voyage back to Seattle from Majuro in May. It was a good plan. The Marshalls are north of the equator and safe from cyclones. They’re supposed to have amazing snorkeling in beautiful water. The only thing that kept me a bit queasy about this plan was the passage from Majuro to Seattle. It’s 5000 miles with no place to stop along the way. You have to sail well north of Hawaii to pick up the westerlies. It would entail me being alone at sea for 40-50 days. Then I got a message from a friend friend on facebook asking if I needed crew for sailing around Fiji for 3 months. I initially told her that I was heading up the Marshalls and that it was too expensive to fly in and out of there. I suggested that it’d be better to find a boat in New Zealand, Mexico or the Caribbean. Then I started thinking; I helped Greg on Willow sail back from Fiji to American Samoa in March 2009. The trade winds break down during cyclone season and it’s possible to make eastward passages. Why couldn’t I hang out in Fiji until March and then island hop back to Seattle via Samoa, Christmas Island and Hawaii? That’s the new plan. I’m still planning on sailing home for a few years, but I’m not done with Fiji yet.

My turnbuckles finally arrived. It took a day to get them all replaced and to get the rig tuned up. I went out for a test sail to fine tune the rig and test the new autopilot. I had one more Sunday going away party up at Navetau and then took off for Savusavu. The wind was on the nose the entire way, so I motored for four straight days to get here, but I arrived at Savusavu this afternoon. I’ll be taking off tomorrow for the French island of Futuna 250 miles NE of here. I’ll just do a quick check in/check out there to reset my visa and import status on Bodhran. From Futuna, I’ll sail back to Savusavu to check back in to Fiji.

The plan is to cruise around the Lau during cyclone season. I’ve scouted out a few good cyclone holes and have identified a few more on Google Earth. Here’s hoping I don’t get hit, but either way it’s going to be an adventure.

The Yasawas

Sunday, October 20th, 2013

The Yasawas are a chain of islands 20 miles northwest of Fiji’s main isalnd, Viti Levu. Much like the San Juan Islands back home, they’re in a rain shadow from Viti Levu’s high mountains and enjoy a drier climate than most of Fiji. The fine weather and beauty of the islands make it a natural spot in tourism. Resorts and backpackers lodges are sprinkled throughout the chain. Normally I shy away from “tourist” areas when I’m out cruising, but I’d done the passage along the north end of Viti Levu 3 times now and figured it’d be nice to sail across Bligh Water and down the Yasawa chain on my way back around to Vuda Point to do some work on the boat before cyclone season.

Christian and I anchored off Sawa-I-Lau after a roaring good sail across from Yandua. We went into the village and did our sevusevu. We learned about the caves on the island and asked about trails to the top of the mountain. Sawa-I-Lau has two water filled caves that they run tours through. To get from the first to the second, you have to swim underwater through a short passage. There aren’t any resorts in the bay, but lodges send pangas full of tourists up from the Blue Lagoon 10 miles south. We were told to get to the caves early to beat the crowds, but alas we didn’t listen and ended up in a group of about 40 people. Most of them were honeymooners and young backpackers and it was kinda nice to get away from the cruiser crowd for a bit.

After the caves, all the boats cleared out and Christian and I were the only ones left. We wanted to hike the “trail” to the top of the mountain. We asked one of the locals about the way and he immediately offered to guide us. Generally Fijians figure that us soft cruisers can’t walk down the beach without a guide to keep us out of trouble. If we’re looking for company, we’ll accept the guide and then give them a present at the end for their trouble. On this day, we could tell the “Guide” didn’t really want to go, so we asked him to just show us where the trail started. We had to take our dinghy down the island 100 meters from the cave site, land on a small beach and were told to follow the crack all the way to the top.

Christian and I set out scrambling up the crack expecting to find a trail a short distance from the beach. The trail never did materialize. Instead we alternated between scrambling up loose rock through the bush and climbing up short rock pitches. The last hundred feet of elevation had a couple of pitches that I wasn’t sure that I’d be able to climb back down, but the view from the top made it worth the effort.

After watching the Seahawks come from behind to beat the Texans on the surprisingly good internet connection, we left the next day for the Blue Lagoon. Made famous by the very mediocre Brook Shields moving back in the 80s, the Blue Lagoon is the heart of the Yasawa tourist scene. We anchored off the Blue Lagoon Beach resort and decided to see what the place had to offer.

It turns out that the best thing it had to offer was good protection from the 20-25 knot winds blowing from the other side of the island. They run on a cashless system there and we weren’t allowed to buy drinks at the bar or to have dinner. Still there was some great snorkeling there. In fact a number of snorkelers from the lodge swung by to check out Bodhran. I had a number of them up on the boat, including a Kiwi fellow who swung by with his daughter then had to come again the next day with his son because his daughter was bragging about it too much.

We did have one good night in at the lodge. Christian I walked down the beach to take some sunset photos. On the way back we stopped in and drank kava with the band for a few hours. It was an interesting scene, sitting the floor with the boys under the bar while the guests all ate sitting at tables above us.

From the Blue Lagoon Beach resort, we made our way down to the very fancey Nanuya Lodge, but were unimpressed with the scene. We sailed further on down to Korovo Eco Lodge and spent a couple of days waiting for poor weather to pass and watching the Seahawks lose a heartbreaker to the Colts. Again we set sail and ended up anchoring in front of Octopus Lodge on Waya Island.

I’d heard good things about Octopus, but the anchorage out front was untennable. Coral covered most of the bottom with just a few small patches of sand to try and drop the hook into. The wind was forecast at 5 knots out of the southeast, but it still was kicking up a big swell causing the boats to pitch wildly. We went into the resort and were welcomed to come in and use the facilities. After a couple of Fiji Golds and a swim in the pool, we decided that we needed to move the boats before dark.

We pulled into the anchorage on the north end of Waya and anchored off a beach with a path across the ridge to Octopus Resort. We’d been out in remote Fiji and decided that it’d be nice to enjoy the hospitality of this beautiful resort. We settled in and spent a week splitting our time between the villagers and the resort. The highlight of which was Fiji Day.

Fiji Day celebrates the day they gained independence from Britain. The whole village was over at the resort celbrating with a joy that’s so typically Fijian. The volleyball tournement was surprisingly intense with teams fielded by each of the departments at the resort along with one for the villagers who don’t work at Octopus. The day ended with 3 kava circles and music late into the night.

From Waya, Irie and Bodhran set sail for Vuda Point. We had to motor most of the way, but had a nice, mellow sail for the last hour in, but alas the marina was full. It seems that the whole cruising fleet is backed up here in western Fiji getting ready to escape the coming cyclone season. We had to divert 5 miles north to Saweni Bay and wait. I’d never seen more than 3 boats in Saweni Bay. When we dropped our hooks there were close to 20. Very crowded, but it’s a good spot and there’s a good intnet connection.

So here I sit in Saweni, waiting to get into Vuda Marina. I’ve got part for my broken windlass on order as well as a new autopilot. I’ve been changing my mind on a daily basis, trying to figure out what I’m going to do next. I’ll probably change it 10 more times before I leave Fiji. I guess that I’ll let you all know where I’m going once I leave.