Thursday, September 26, 2013

SavuSavu to Namena

Well we were off like a herd of turtles. Our 0800 start was closer to 0900. And, bye bye sun. We had enough of a rain shower to thoroughly wet the awnings, but thankfully we were so late getting off that the big one was entirely dry, and I finished drying out the small one today. It was hard for Josh to say farewell to his new friends on Far and Away, but hopefully we will meet up one more time before we all depart Fiji.

On our way towards the reef exit we calibrated the autopilot and "swung the compass". We had some trouble with our "tracks" which are helpful getting us out of places we have successfully entered - or help us to miss things we came to close to. Was one of what I am beginning to think of as a Fiji sail - lots of wind at the beginning, none in the middle and lots again at the end.

Not an uneventful trip either. First off around 1400, in squirrely winds, Dennis decided to "heave to". It was something we had been meaning to practice, and when the winds shifted and we backwinded the sails, he decided to go for it. And then guess what??? "Fish on". Paul pulled in his first fish - an very nice Dorado/Mahimahi. Yum! (Dinner tonight). Curly's lure is now 3 for 4. Once we were settled from that and moving along, I discovered that we were taking in water through the sink drains. Now, that is not a first, but it was a first to happen to all three and the first time I managed to flood the cupboards on the starboard side. Paul and I removed everything from the cupboards, bailed them out (the drains were now closed) and I cleaned them when we got to anchor. So I guess on the positive side, it did make me clean the kitchen thoroughly. Was definitely a spaghetti (comfort food) night. The pass into Namena reef is easy - we used Curly's North Save a Tack waypoints, and a mid waypoint from the compendium. Oh, and no internet.

We are anchored here behind Namenalala Island. So far noone has come to collect the 35$/person fee. We are anchored wharfside of the mooring (not that we can see the wharf, but that is the best way for me to describe it) in about 45 feet. Josh did a good job of putting the anchor down in a sandy spot. We had an early night - I think that 5 days in town with the projects and the heat, wore us all out.

Today was leisurely, I finally made breakfast around 1100. After breakfast I decided that Josh's PE for the day would be free diving to salvage my favorite pan that fell in while I was pouring out grease. Gotta love it when your mother does those things to you - dontcha?? I did a reconnaissance snorkel to make sure he knew where to go and he got in and dove down and retrieved it first try - in at least 40 feet of water! That's my boy!!! After that Paul, Dennis and I went and snorkeled the reef by our boat. Sure can tell that this is a marine reserve - the spotted grouper were almost docile enough to pet. Josh didn't go, because he couldn't stand the thought of all those big fish - and no spearfishing :(. Dennis went further afield than Paul and I, and he said he saw some marbled grouper that were quite large as well. We will probably head out to Makogi tomorrow - another 20+ mile trip.

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Tuesday, September 24, 2013


Well it has been a crazy busy stop here. And, as luck would have it the first 3 consecutive days of sunshine since we arrived!

Thankfully Sunday - the day Dennis did the first stage of the generator replumb was overcast. That project required the emptying of 4 and 1/2 storage spaces - the worst of which was removing all of our real books from their storage space. But, it is all done now. We will have to do a live undersail test, but the replumb is working and the exhaust water leak is fixed and cleaned up after. Still have some things to restow. That is on the agenda for today.

Since Sunday, it has been beautifully sunny which means - hot, darn hot and humid. My only complaint is that we are here at the marina working. No water activities for us. We have gotten a lot done though and plan to leave tomorrow in time for the usual overcast weather pattern to return. We put the sunshades up because of the rain, and have ended up thankful for their protection from the sun!

Josh has been busily doing homework and ferrying me back and forth to shore. SV Far and Away arrived on Sunday evening, so he has spent some quality time with the kids (seven!) over there. Of course he is loving the excellent internet access. Paul replaced the old latches and installed new locks on all my cupboads behind the settees. Nice, no more storage spaces opening and spewing out contents when we are heeled over in rough seas - YAY!! We on boarded 20 gal of diesel by jerry jug and filled up on dinghy gas, so we are good to go - hopefully all the way to Vuda Point. The freezer is almost full, need to pick up a few more things and I have gotten everything on my list that is available here. One thing I haven't found and this is the first place since the US that doesn't have it, is tinned butter. I hate to take up refrigerator space with butter, but oh well -no other choice. Went back to my favorite store (Savu Savu wine and spirits) to pick up blue corn tortilla chips - and they were out!!! They only got 2 bags in their shipment on Saturday and they were gone immediately. So sad here on Evergreen :( . Next shipment is Saturday, but we will be gone - sigh.....

I have also been trying to get a sim card in order to make one of our many phones to work. I need to make some calls to the US for my NZ nursing license. Let's just say that has not been a huge success. We have 4 phones on this boat and none will work with the local sim cards. I will probably have to break down and buy another darn phone - PITA, which won't work in NZ probably.. Oh well, the cost of doing business I suppose. Sure glad i started doing this license thing in APRIL!!!

In another case of "OMG it is a small world", sv AKA (Ed and Fran) came in on Monday morning. They were on the hard next to us in San Carlos Mexico in 2010! They were wonderful about giving us all kinds of charts and information about Fiji - and now they have given us information on New Zealand. Nice folks. I recognized the name, but couldn't believe it would actually be them. The cruising community is really very small. And Far and Away is from Vancouver Island - where we kept the boat before bringing it to SF. As Ed said - there are not 6 degrees of separation in the cruising world - only about 1. Is nice to think of such a small community spread out all over the world.

Not much more to report. Will be busy again today finishing things up - we are out of here tomorrow, and on to more exploration. Namena reef and the Island of Namenalala (say that fast). Supposed to be good diving there, so hopefully decent snorkeling as well.

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Sunday, September 22, 2013

Pictures - Apia Samoa

 Josh on the dock - Bika the little boat to the right is here in Fiji too - too little for me.
 Parlor of the Robert Louis Stevenson home.  We are reading Treasure Island.
 RLS home porch
 RLS home - carving commemorating the end of cannibalism.
 Bahai temple of the pacific
 Waterfalls in the rain
 More waterfalls - less rain - lots of mosquitos.  Would have been a great sunny day play spot
 Lunch at the very quiet resort
 fire dancing at the ice cream parlor
 Apia - government building
 shore power Samoan style
 Carla being taught to weave at the cultural center - fun morning of activities.
 Kava ceremony (sevusevu)
 fire starting - this guy was hilarious!
 playing with fire
 making coconut milk
 making tapa - very hard work.  This lady needed a nap when she was done with her demonstration
 the finished product  - before the addition of a design
 traditional dancing - for the ladies out there
 and for the gentlemen out there
 all together now
traditional lunch - taro (the white piece at the top, taro leaves in coconut milk - green and fish.  served on a biodegradeable plate.

Pictures - Pago Pago

 Pago Pago American Samoa.  Felt like we were parked in the caldera of a giant volcano
 Tesa's beachbar and grill
 The colorful bus station
The golden arches in the middle of the pacific

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Matei to SavuSavu

The best laid plans of mice and yacht captains. The plan was to leave Matei around 1000 with the last of the outgoing tide, and reach the narrow part of somosomo straights in time for the slack and then go with the flood current thru the straights and down to Fawn Harbor. Yes, that was the plan. The reality as with most of our plans didn't exactly adhere to the script. Not exactly sure what part of the plan was based of faulty information.... the tides (think they are out of Samoa, maybe) or the flow of the current (the compendium said SW on the flood). Regardless... We had a good sail if a bit shcizophrenic all the way to the narrows. According to Dennis typical for wind behind an island; 5-25 knots of wind varying from in front of the beam to downwind. Paul and I were on watch, so he got a good experience with our love hate relationship with the fickle b**** (wind). Right at the point where the straight was the narrowest, we could see the water get really swirly and the waves pick up. That was when the wind decided to quit entirely and with the current going not in the direction we anticipated we came to a full and complete stop. Paul and I had a mini fire drill - furling the jib, centering the main and getting the engine started. Even with the engine going we barely made any headway. Took about an hour to go one mile. Finally it smoothed back out and we were able to make better progress. And that was how it stayed the rest of the day - flukey winds and current. Dennis relieved me so I could make lunch, then I totally crashed for about an hour and a half. Paul got a full day's experience on sail trim.

We made the entrance to Fawn Harbor by 1500. Interesting, but once you get close enough to actually see the break in the reef it was fine - winds around some, but not worries - Curly's waypoints were good. The channel to the anchorage is deep and we actually set the anchor down in almost 50 feet behind a little islet. The holding was excellent - in fact Josh had to clean off the seagrass the next morning when we brought the anchor up. Had pasta for dinner and an early night (for me at least, until I woke up at 0100 and was up until 0400 - pain). The internet was spotty, and we couldn't use the wifi for the boat, Josh had to direct connect to the usb.

We were up and out of the anchorage by 0800, another day of flukey light winds. Got chased out of the anchorage by big rain clouds, rained just after we got the main up. It was another day of flukey winds. Another great teaching day for Paul. And of course after 7 hours of light winds, when it was time to jibe into the pass to Savusavu what did we get but 20+ knots. Was a pretty flawless jibe though. Couldn't see our next turn for the low clouds and rain, we got pounded a little, then it cleared just long enough for us to get on a mooring - then the heavens opened. Didn't last too long. On a side note, we called Copra shed on the radio with no response, so headed for the first open mooring ball. Turns out it was supposed to be for someone else.
"did you call",
"yes, no one answered",
"oh, well dolly will be back at 7 tonight",
"we can just stay here",
So we are parked directly in front of the Marina, and will be here at least until Monday. It has continued to rain off and on since we arrived. We had a brief break last night - long enough to go in for dinner and go to bed with hatches open a little. This morning I got up and closed them again. It is raining now, but not too hard. So here i am in the cockpit writing the blog watching it rain. We Hope to be in and out of SavuSavu pretty quick, but will stay until the rain lets up enough to see where we are going. Have a list of things to do in town, and Dennis wants to replumb the generator raw water intake to come off the engine intake. That way we can run the generator underway (a good thing to be able to do on long crossings). We also hope to see Mike and Cheryl from Hawaii - they are at their house here now.

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Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Land excursion

So what was it I am supposed to remember about tides and the full moon??? Oh yeah, the lows are very low and the highs very high. Now picture 4 people in a dinghy heading to a dock that was floating the evening before when they left it. OH NO the dock is sitting on dry land!! Good thing I hadn't put my tennis shoes on yet. We all had to get out and pull the dinghy thru 20 yards of shallow water and across dry land to the end of the dock. I know someone out there is laughing. Wish I had a picture of it. I guess that is why Greg and Debby's workers took all the boats to the island that morning. I left the guys to situate the dinghy as we knew that when we returned in the afternoon it would be floating. I met our driver for the day - Sajmir, gave him a run down of what we thought we wanted to do - he kind of smiled. We all piled in his 4 wheel drive 4 door truck for the ride down the coast. I don't think we went even a mile before the road went from paved to dirt to almost 4 wheel drive. I am sure a good rain storm would make it impassable. I guess now we know why he just smiled in his quiet way when we said he didn't have to wait, we would just get a taxi or bus back. Yeah, not so much. 100 fijian was a total bargain for a driver all day - one who knew what we needed to do better than we did. We thought we wanted to do the bush walk, the waterfalls and the Lavena coastal walk. Sajmir without actually saying we were nuts, suggested there would not be enough daylight for all that. "Which two did we want to do the most?" Well, we didn't know, but the bush walk was the first thing we came to, so we stopped to get the scoop. As it happens, the bush hike is 5 hours, lots of up and an out and back hike. Josh was not too interested in that, and frankly it sounded pretty strenuous to me as well. So we decided on the Lavena walk and the waterfalls. Being smarter than the average bear, Sajmir took us to the Lavena walk first, ostensibly because it was the farthest away and the longer activity.

The Lavena coastal walk (in the Bouma nature preserve) is a 9 kilometer mostly flat walk to a waterfall/swimming hole and back along the Taveuni coast. It was a great hike. Just about all I could handle really. (not much space for aerobic exercise on a 45 foot sailboat). We walked thru the village, past the new school (saved them a 7 kilometer bus ride at 530am each day). There are 8 teachers and 111 students. This day they had neck kerchiefs on and were learning about scouting. On our way back we saw lots of kids running on the trail, making arrows out of sticks or drawing them in the sand. Two teachers were in the middle of the boys keeping track I guess. On the way out we saw lots of flora and fuana. They grow the pandana (sp?) palm for its leaves. They use them for weaving. We also saw Kava plants and a Kava nursery. Kava is ready to be harvested beginning at 3 years old. It does not seed or flower, so must be propagated by hand using the gnarled stems. The stems are planted in sandy soil until roots are established, then transplanted. We saw bird's nest ferns that were ginormous, taro plantations, a cool caterpillar (will post a picture of that). We eventually came to a suspension bridge across a river - pretty Indiana Jones -ish, but not as high thank goodness. I could hear this barking sound and when I asked Pio our guide what it was he said it was a barking Dove. Sounded just like a dog too - and not a yippy one either. Pio also showed us the very rare orange Dove ( i have a not so great picture of it to post). We finally arrived at the waterfalls, had to swim the last little bit to get right up to them. Way cool! and guess what??? the water wasn't salty!!! yes, I was in heaven. We played around until lunch called us back down to Pio at the end of the trail. We sat and had a good lunch, then sadly bid the best swimming hole ever "goodbye". The trip back went more quickly (Josh was on a mission). The hike and swim took exactly 4 hours, so it was then 1500 - on to the waterfalls (didn't we just see waterfalls?) . Sajmir said the hike to the upper falls and back was approximately 2 hours - noone had the energy for that, but the lower falls were a short 10 minute hike. Sadly it was 15 fijian per person. We decided that we didn't need to spend that kind of money to see another waterfall. I told you Sajmir was smart - we got a hike and a waterfall in one stop, and it was about all we were up for.

We made it back to town around 1600. Sajmir stopped to let us check the dinghy and pick up some fresh veggies, then took us to a pizza place for dinner. Josh thought we were nuts to try pizza again, but Sajmir said they had chicken, so he was okay with us having pizza - he just wasn't going to. Have I said what a great driver Sajmir is??? The restaurant was great. Good food, amazing view (on a hill overlooking the water) and cold beer. Hands down the best pizza we have had outside the US. They even called Sajmir to come get us for the trip back to the dinghy. We decided over dinner that we would have a rest day before leaving for Fawn Harbor. So it was nice to get home and not worry about getting the boat ready to go, or the dinghy up, just relax and prepare to sleep in.

Slept in a little today - 0815 for me. 1100 for Josh. Josh got a pretty good blister yesterday, and his back is still a little sore, but improving. He was happy to mostly rest (had to do a little math). I mostly rested as well, only did a few housekeeping chores. Dennis and Paul installed the fan in Paul's room, but that was the extent of our labors today. Don't remember if I mentioned the watermaker is back to working the way it should. It started acting up again, so we had to unload the anchor locker for the third time. After checking things for blockage, he went back to the manual and decided to check the pressure on the pump. He did something to it, and it is working like a charm. Mega Yay for that. So, I made water today (still making it actually). We want to hit Savu Savu with full tanks.

We plan to leave here tomorrow around 1000 and head 25 miles to Fawn Harbor, then in to Savu Savu on Saturday. The weather is forecasted to turn yucky by Sunday (read lots of rain) and stay that way until Thursday. Might as well be in Suva, get our provisioning done. Maybe see Mike and Cheryl.... Hope to post pictures there as well. Gotta get them off the camera first.........

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Monday, September 16, 2013

Matengi to Matei

Another leisurely start to the day, and oh what a beautiful day it has been - on many different levels. The hop over to Matei from matengi was a short one. Today was one of those days that reaffirms the decision to cruise. Bright blue sky with fluffy white clouds, enough wind to sail - what more is there? The sun on the reef on the way in to this anchorage was just beautiful - the colors just popped right out at us. Curly's lure came up empty today, but that's okay there is a store here. There is internet, so Josh is smiling again, catching up with his friends. We made a crew position change today - Josh drove the boat on to the anchorage and Paul (with me supervising) put out the anchor. Couldn't have asked for a better place to do this. Josh owes me 20 bucks as there was absolutely no yelling. Sun overhead helped with the normal anxiety involved with new coral filled anchorages and moderate wind made driving a little easier. All told, stellar jobs by all in their new positions. Josh hurt his back putting out the anchor in Viani - it was all piled up funny after the crossing, so was really hard to get out. So, we are spreading the wealth. It is also good to make sure everyone can do everything - even if it is not their comfort zone.

Can't say we would recommend going to Matengi on the resort side - horseshoe bay may be better. We did get a tour of the resort - It is stunning. The attention to detail really made it stand out. We thought about going in for a meal, but a little on the pricey side - and we probably would have had to dress up. (95 fijian per person for a 3 course meal. not outrageous, but more expensive than chez Evergreen).

After lunch, Dennis, Paul and I piled into the dinghy to do some 'splorin'. They had seen this bright blue roof at the end of a dock on the way over. It was on an island just off the coast of Taveuni (the island)/Matei (the town). As we approached the island, we saw people working on a building - they waved and shouted "bula". As we got closer to the dock, we saw a man working, so stopped to say "hi". Turns out Greg and his wife Debbie own the island, and the building being worked on is their house. Greg graciously invited us to have a look around. What a beautiful place! Debbie grows orchids and she showed us some of her prized babies. They also had a lattice covered kitchen garden with veggies and native plants. We were invited in to the guest house (where they are living until the big house is finished) for water and conversation. How fortunate were we to meet such a lovely couple - willing to share their beautiful home and island with us - truly a great experience. Finally we had to say our good byes - and the Evergreen crew headed to town. Greg and Debbie gave us permission to use their dock on shore, conveniently right next to the grocery store and the fresh veggie market. NICE! We were able to pick up fresh bread, lamb for dinner, potatos, veggies, cookies (we were out), plus a variety of other things, AND set up a taxi driver for the morning to take us to the Bouma gardens and the waterfalls on the east side of the Island.

Made it back to the boat in plenty of time for a swim and sunset watching. Dennis made salsa and we finished the last of our only slightly stale tortilla chips (from Hawaii). So far, this anchorage has my nomination for the best so far. I am pretty sure the sunny day has a lot to do with it, but there is a lot going for it. I am looking forward to our sightseeing tomorrow.

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Saturday, September 14, 2013


Kind of a slow start today, but made it out of Alberts by 1000. We had gotten the boat all ready to go last night, so really no need to be up early. Needed as much light as possible for the trip thru Texas passage. A big pod of dolphin cruised the anchorage this morning. Is always cool to watch them. I never get tired of it. A great way to start the day.

We got the anchor up and retraced our path our thru the reef from Alberts cove. I was down below finishing up stowing the kitchen and heard Josh putting out the fishing lines. Next thing I hear is the line whizzing out and "fish on!". Well isn't that exciting in the middle of the pass thru the reef?? Mom, pull in the other line - so I did. Dennis slowed the boat down, and I prepared the deck for bringing in a fish. Sure enough Curly's lure caught another Spanish Mackerel. That lure is two for two. Josh said he didn't even get the second line all the way out before we had a fish on. Dennis had to drive, so Josh had to clean the fish - and I helped (just like shake n bake). Definitely not a favorite task for either of us. Josh has "an unreasonable fear of getting stabbed by something sharp on the fish" and I just have a hard time handling the fish and then cooking and eating it. Turns out we both had to get over ourselves today. Josh did a great job filleting the fish, and I cooked it for dinner - and ate it.

Ended up coming to the west anchorage on Mategi (ma Teng e). Was the path of least upwind sailing and we barely made it in good light. Pulled in around 1630. Is kind of tight, but we finally set the hook in a place we think we can live with. Will sleep with the anchor alarm tonight - just in case. The water here is very clear. Hope it stays that way for a good snorkel tomorrow. Internet is not so great - will let me send sailmail, but not good enough for anything else. josh is bummed. One other boat in the anchorage "Compadre". This is a private island, with a resort and dive outfit. We had to ask permission to anchor here - not sure what we would have done if they said no. Too late to go anywhere else - but they didn't so here we are for a few days.

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Friday, September 13, 2013

Alberts Cove Rabi

Sent my intrepid fishermen off spear fishing this morning. I stayed behind and made bread, salad for lunch, cleaned under the stove and the bottom of the refrigerator. Not sure what happened in the fridge, but it was nasty. EWWW science experiment gone wrong!!! Sadly no fish again. But very tired boys. Spent the rest of the day just sort of hanging out - sorting our our next destination. plan A and plan B if the weather doesn't cooperate. My bread was not my best ever effort, tasted good, and had a nice fine crumb, just didn't rise well. Could be the yeast - i neglected to refrigerate after opening..... Oh well no complaints from the folks that ate half of it at dinner tonight. Paul had his first electronic device demise - his mac won't charge. Bummer. Two techie types looking at it, and still not sure what the problem is - charger or battery. Hopefully we can get it fixed in SavuSavu. No internet here, but should have it tomorrow or the next day, so we will be able to research the problem. Could be it doesn't like the boat voltage. Its all magic to me.
So, tomorrow we are off to the next anchorage shouldn't be too bad if the weather (read wind and sea state) cooperates. This is a beautiful place, but time is flying by and we still have places we want to see. oh yeah, and Josh wants internet - go figure......

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Alberts Cove Rabi

Sent my intrepid fishermen off spear fishing this morning. I stayed behind and made bread, salad for lunch, cleaned under the stove and the bottom of the refrigerator. Not sure what happened in the fridge, but it was nasty. EWWW science experiment gone wrong!!! Sadly no fish again. But very tired boys. Spent the rest of the day just sort of hanging out - sorting our our next destination. plan A and plan B if the weather doesn't cooperate. My bread was not my best ever effort, tasted good, and had a nice fine crumb, just didn't rise well. Could be the yeast - i neglected to refrigerate after opening..... Oh well no complaints from the folks that ate half of it at dinner tonight. Paul had his first electronic device demise - his mac won't charge. Bummer. Two techie types looking at it, and still not sure what the problem is - charger or battery. Hopefully we can get it fixed in SavuSavu. No internet here, but should have it tomorrow or the next day, so we will be able to research the problem. Could be it doesn't like the boat voltage. Its all magic to me.
So, tomorrow we are off to the next anchorage shouldn't be too bad if the weather (read wind and sea state) cooperates. This is a beautiful place, but time is flying by and we still have places we want to see. oh yeah, and Josh wants internet - go figure......

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Thursday, September 12, 2013

Viana to Alberts Cove

Wednesday we hoisted the anchor and headed up to Rabi (Rambi) Island. Our first stop was Katherine Bay. We were able to use Curly's waypoints with no problems. It was an easy run up - more or less. Lots of sail handling as we wound our way through the reef. East out of Viani, then north, then west, then north, then west, then more north, then east and north again into Katherine Bay. We had a bit of confusion right at the end, deciding which side to the mark to go on - not sure what was going on in the captain's mind, but we made it thru no problems. Following Curly's advice we anchored as far in to the bay as we could - ended up in about 30 feet, good holding in mud. We had a quiet rainy evening, watched the fishermen and the "schoolbus" bring the kids home from school. The internet was weak. Good enough to send Sailmail, but not good enough to check email. Josh was not happy.

Thursday we got going pretty early. The weather wasn't looking all that promising, but it did clear up. We backtracked out of the reef and headed up the west side of Rabi to the capital - Nuku. We were told we needed to check in with the police there. Yes, i know we have a cruising permit, and yes it is a fijian island. But, it is inhabited by displaced Banabans (ocean island). They let their home island be mined to death for phosphate, so they were bought this new home. We have heard that initially they were one of the wealthiest groups in Fiji. Sadly they didn't know how to deal with the wealth and were taken advantage of and squandered most of it away. Currently they are the poorest group. Anyway, we stopped to check in. Josh, Paul and I went in while Dennis stayed with the boat. The store there reminded us of Fanning, not much on the shelf. I was able to buy a kilo of flour (we are out of bread, and I donated my flour to Sophie), but nothing else. But, everyone was friendly. We were told hello in 4 languages - english, gilbertese (maori), fijian (bula) and samoan (talofa). Very confusing, but nice all the same. Was a simple check in. i wrote our names and the boat name on their chalkboard, filled out one paper and showed him our cruising permit - done. Vinaka (thank you). We could not find the place to drop off our garbage, so poor Paul hauled it all over and then back to the boat. The anchor was back up and we were on our way to Alberts Cove within one hour. Again Curly's waypoints were good and we pulled in to one of the best anchorages we have been in in a while. Good snorkeling, clear water, pretty beaches. Sadly no internet. Josh was able to get internet on the way up to Nuku and just past Nuku, but Alberts has no cell tower.

This morning we had a leisurely start and then did boat chores. The kids here were out on the beach playing at 0630 this morning. No school today??? They were on the beach having fun all day. Their laughter was infectious. Dennis was able to get the watermaker working properly - YAY! my hero. It has been running all day and so far no problems. After that the boys cleaned the bottom of the boat while I repaired our bimini. After lunch Dennis and Paul finished cleaning the brown streaks off the sides of the boat, while I played lady of leisure and floated around on my floaty. Haven't done that since Zihuatenejo with Sue and Anna. Later in the afternoon we went 'splorin' in the dinghy. Found a nice beach that donated 4 coconuts to the cause. Hungry, Hungry boys for dinner. Seems like my cupboards get bare a whole lot quicker here than they did in Fr. Polynesia. Not sure what is up with that????..... Time for Josh to go spear fishing and refill the freezer.

We are going to hang here at least one more day, then maybe the ringolds and Matengi/Qamea.

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Monday, September 9, 2013

Time sure flies

Forgive me followers for I have sinned. It has been a week since my last post. I am not going to give you a hail mary, but will continue the saga....

Last Wednesday Paul arrived, so now we are 4 on Evergreen. Welcome to anyone new following this blog. Yes it was still raining on Wednesday - like crazy I might add. I am sure we were quite the site dinghying over to the Surf and Turf restaurant with umbrellas. We had lunch at the Surf and Turf before the start of Curly's cruising seminar. Food is good and reasonably priced and the homemade ice cream was pretty amazing too. The seminar was very informative and well worth the price of 10 fijian per person and another $25 if you want him to send on more waypoints etc. (which we did). Dennis and Josh left to go get Paul at the airport and were back in less than 45 minutes - with a somewhat damp jet lagged Paul. He hung in there pretty well, but finally he and Josh headed back to the boat. The seminar finished up about 1630 - we bought one of Curly's fishing lures also (more on that in a minute). Lasagne for dinner and an early night. Thursday we had lots of chores to get done, and it was reasonably nice - only a little drizzly. We hit up immigration to add Paul to our crew list, then customs for our cruising permit, then lunch at Surf and Turf while we waited for the lunch hour to be over so we could go to the hospital to pay our quarantine bill. That is a 5 dollar taxi ride each way. The lady there was pretty nice - is good if you can take exact change. From there we taxied back into town and did our final provisioning, as the plan was to head out on Friday to the close anchorage at the Cousteau resort. We did a bit of a dinghy exploration of the east end on the bay - good thing the tide was in, or we may not have made the circumnavigation. For dinner we went in for more curry. Yum. 

Friday we got up and did our final errands - paying the marina, returning Curly's CD, getting cash, fresh veggies, a sulu/lavalava for Paul, bread and meat pies. We were off the mooring by 1030 and on our way to Curly's Mistys anchorage. Paul did well on the trip over, we were still inside the reef, so it was a flat ride. The fishing lines were out - nice.
Josh and Spanish Mackerel

On approach to the anchorage Curly's lure lived up to his advertising and we had a "fish on". How fun was that - bringing in a fish while ensuring we didn't hit any coral heads (bommies)??? It was a nice Spanish Mackerel, at least that is what we think it is. Good eating!!!

Cousteau Resort Beach

Once we were settled on the anchor, Dennis, Paul and I set out for the little island about 3/4 of a mile away. As we were turning back (tide was out and we couldn't find a path thru the coral) a panga came out from the resort to tell us we couldn't go to the island. :( It was hard to be upset, cuz he seemed to feel so bad about telling us we couldn't go there. He said we could tie up at the resort and walk the beach though, so that is what we did. It was very nice to sit on the beach, drink our wine and enjoy the scenery. The resort itself seemed very nice - there is a bar and restaurant open to yachts. None of us had any money, so we had to pass on that particular opportunity.

Saturday we were up and at 'em early. The forecast was for southerly winds - perfect for going the whole way to Viani Bay. So Paul and Dennis had their seasickness meds and we were off! It was a pretty wild and fast ride - not the best for breaking in new crew, but what are you gonna do? We had to keep out speed up as we were expecting negative current and possibly nose-on wind. As it turned out, the motion got to both Dennis and Paul. Dennis crawled into bed around noon, but Paul stuck it out the whole way. We had the main triple reefed, the stay sail and a tiny bit of jib out - yee haw! I saw consistent speeds of 9-11 knots!! The wind ranged from 16 to 27 knots from the east - averaging around 22. The swell was pretty big; the port toe rail met the water a lot. Minutes after I had Paul move forward under the dodger I got drenched by a wave, just as I was dry i got hit again. We hit our waypoint indicating it was time to hang a left through the reef at 1445. Was a little scary as the light was a flat, but the pass was no problem. As soon as we were in, the sea became flat and everyone started feeling much better. With the wind being from the east, we chose to anchor (with all the other boats) behind the small island on the north side of the bay instead of at the head of the bay by Jack's place. Pretty sure Josh voted for this anchorage because the cell tower is on the hill above it.

An interesting note from Saturday. As Josh and I were putting up the main he noticed that the stainless steel rings on the webbing (the dogbone?) we use to reef with at the mast were broken all the way through - on both ends!! scary! Not exactly sure how we are going to fix, but for now are just tying it down with line. I guess we have been using them pretty hard. Sure love my third reef!! (I think I have said that before huh?)

Sunday was a pretty mellow day - met the neighbors, and they arranged a snorkel trip with Jack for Monday. Stupid watermaker pump was making its "the filters need changing" noise. I couldn't face it, so put it off for another day. We had a pretty good snorkel right off the boat. Come to find out Paul has never snorkeled before. He did great, so figured we were all set for the next day.

Monday was another bright and early day. S/v Seagoing (Rikki and Bruce from NZ) offered their boat as the transport vessel, so we all piled on their boat at 0800. All told there were 15 people on board, the Evergreens (4), Starship (Chris, AnnaMarie and their friend Crystal), Kereru (Val and Richard), Peggy West (Irene and Roy), Bruce and Rikki our hosts, Jack (our guide) and Debby (visiting Jack and his family from the states). Jack took us to two pretty cool snorkel places. The first was called cabbage patch, cuz the coral looks like cabbage - and green too. I saw my favorites - clown fish in the anenomes. Lots of small fish. The second spot was called mini cabbage patch/mini white wall. Saw my second favorite fish - moorish idols. Also saw a big green spotted moray eel and some white tip reef sharks. Got some reef booty too - a fishing lure - still in good shape and came off the coral easily. So it was a good day. We were back to the boats by 1500. Oh, and all that for 10 fijian per person. Sadly Paul did not do so well with the snorkeling - the open water was a bit intimidating. In the woulda, coulda, shoulda world it would have been better to have him enter the water from the dinghy (where it was shallow) instead of from the boat in deep water. Live and learn... Jack came by later in the afternoon and we set up a spear fishing expedition for today. Jack is quite the character - full of local knowledge and fun to be around.

Today I sent my great white hunters off with Jack and Paul. Josh had permission to spear fish until he got tired of it. Starfish joined them in their dinghy. I stayed behind and did boat chores - not so bad when I have the whole boat to myself. The expedition returned around 1430 - totally skunked!! They hit 4 different spots with no luck. On the positive side, Paul got in and snorkeled and did fine - everyone said the first site was great snorkeling. So, we have no new fish for the freezer, but that is okay. I got the watermaker running, so the tanks are filling as we speak. Jack's wife Sophie did some trigger point therapy on my legs this afternoon (paid with sugar, flour and rice) - Wow! I didn't think my calves were sore, but she about put me thru the roof. Not sure if it helped my neck and shoulders or not - tomorrow will tell I guess. Was totally interesting to see their home - one enclosed room and an open kitchen/deck area. Awesome view. Makes me feel bad when i complain about cooking in the boat though...Not that cooking on the boat is a walk in the park, but it is a heck of a lot more convenient than Sophie's kitchen. The lady staying with them (Debby from Buena Vista in Colorado, man it is a small world?) wrote a book about the time she spent here during her cruising days. The proceeds help pay for Jack's granddaughter to go to highschool. This bay is fortunate, they have a primary school (4 teachers/80 students), but the kids have to go to Taveuni and board for highschool. Evergreen bought 2 and Jack signed his picture.

So, thinking of heading to a new anchorage tomorrow - hopefully only a 5 hour sail or so......... Going to aim for Alberts cove on Rabi (Rambi). One of Curly's most recommended. We'll see..

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Monday, September 2, 2013

Fiji Monday Tuesday

Happy Labor Day to all our friends and family state side. Hope you enjoyed your day off work.

So Sunday ended up being a busy boat chore day. My big project was changing the watermaker filters and rearranging the anchor locker so it would absorb the rest of the stuff in what will be Paul's bunk. Changing the water maker filters is one of those dreaded projects. There are two filters - 20 and 5 microns, and a strainer. The 20 micron prefilter is actually pretty easy - it is under the sink in the forward head. So, no problem there. The other two, not so easy. They require everything in the aft section of the anchor locker to be removed. The strainer is all the way at the bottom. Visualize head down, ass up for real. Got them taken care of without too much cursing under my breath. Somehow or other I managed to shoe horn everything back in plus several other items. Stowing in a boat is like doing one big jigsaw puzzle. The only things left in Paul's bunk to stow some other place were my bike, 3 packages of toilet paper, the popcorn pan, snacks and the paper charts. Not bad. Dennis spent most of the day trying to get the stupid router to work - never happened. I was pooped, and hit the hay at 8pm!!!

Yesterday (Monday for us) was no holiday on Evergreen. There was homework to be done, stowing and sorting, laundry to be gathered to take in, letters to pick up and immigration to visit - a full day. We started the day with coffee and breakfast at the dock while our letter saying we are, for real moored here in SavuSavu, was being prepared. So, coffee here is actually espresso - no drip, and they tend to bring it with the meal. Not that that particular deal worked for us as we left the boat uncaffeinated. Poor waitress - weird ass tourists. Breakfast (and the coffee served with warmed milk) was good. The letter was ready so it was off to immigration. The lady there looked at us like we were asking for the moon. She said she could get the letter ready, but there was noone there to sign it. I explained that Friday we were told to come back today and it would be no problem getting the letter. She told us to come back at 1500 - maybe someone would have come in by then..... Oh well, what do you do???? Smile and say Tanaka (thank you) , see you at 1500.

Did a little exploring of the east end of town. Found a great little store with lots of US foods and a large selection of beer/wine & liqour. We want to try some Fijian rum, just not sure which to try. Like Fr. Polynesia, liquour is quite expensive, at least here beer is cheap. Checked out the other laundry $4 a kilo, so put that on the afternoon list. Also went in the meat shop - prices are per kg, and pretty comparable to the US. Picked up some goat curry to try. From there we headed to the Vodafone kiosk where I left Dennis with my laptop and all the patience I could "beam" over to him. While he did that, I went to the atm, checked out several stores, bought buns for the hamburgers we were having for dinner and went in the market and got eggs. I got back to him just as he was finishing up. We ended up with a different product altogether - like a mobile hotspot type deal. Works great! Yay!!! Cost more, but I don't care, it is worth it to plug and play. From there back to the boat to wait for 1500.

Josh did homework, I started the watermaker - it made funny noises. That sucked. I had reused filters (supposed to be able to, and we have in the past) and I guess the water maker wanted none of that reuse/reduce/recylce crap. It wanted fresh filters. Well, I couldn't face it so decided to play Scarlett and worry about it tomorrow. Instead, rearranged the food lockers. Yikes! big job. Not sure how it happened, but there was mold growing on some cans and boxes of mac and cheese in the port locker. EEWWW! Out came the bleach, out came everything from that locker. Got it all sorted out and everything put away. It is tight, but works. By then it was 1500 - time to go get the letter. Josh wanted a shower - hopefully hot - at the marina, so he dropped Dennis and I and our laundry off at the Waitui marina and headed back to CopraShed for his shower. Dennis and i dropped off the laundry and yeehaw the letter was ready and signed. We were finished a lot faster than Josh can shower, so we went to the yacht club at the CopraShed for a beer.

Back at the boat I scanned and sent off Paul's letter. For our dining pleasure the evening's menu included hamburgers on the grill, salad and banana chips. Of course the banana chips are not straightforward to cook. So, I had to get going on those. Start with 3 plantains. Boil until skin turns brown, peel the skin off. Start oil heating on the stove. Slice the plantains very thinly - the thinner the better. i did some lengthwise and some crosswise. The crosswise were easier to make thin, so turned out the best. When the oil gets to 350 degrees, start cooking. If you can keep the oil that hot, the chips cook in 2-3 minutes. i had trouble keeping it at that temp, and being of the impatient variety, didn't wait for it to heat back up between batches, just pressed on. They turned out okay. Not as good as the ones we had at Tesa's in Am. Samoa - but not bad for the first attempt. After dinner we watched the latest Die Hard movie which was fun - shoot em up bang, bang!!! Bruce Willis sure has held up well huh?

Yay!! i managed to sleep until 0730 today. Nice. Didn't have all my coffee in though, when the Waitui marina person stopped by and told us we needed to mov.e from our mooring. Seems ours was a hurricane mooring and the boat that reserved it is arriving tomorrow. So 0930 found us in the dinghy scouting moorings. Finally decided on a Coprashed mooring. The Waitui mooring was too far out. 1030 found us settled on our new mooring - easy peesy. Gotta love it when the marina guy comes out in his dinghy and threads your lines through the mooring for you. He even put our shackle on the line for us. Nice, made Josh's job super easy.

Today i had to tackle the water maker filters. Oh yeah yesterday - no rain, today when I need to move the bike - back to rain, and forecast to last til Friday. We are going to turn into ducks......

So, the watermaker filters.... did I tell you how much I hate changing them? and what a PIA they are to change? I did, so I won't whine anymore. Got it done - is working fine. Next up was getting the bike out of Paul's bunk. The plan is to put it under the blue dinghy on deck until we leave Fiji. So, I carefully taped all around the lid. Went to take it out of the boat - wouldn't fit. I had forgotten that the case doesn't fit through the companionway. I didn't cry or kill anything, but I wanted to. Fortunately we tried taking it out with the lid off the case (before removing the bike) and that worked, so it wasn't as bad as I thought it was going to be. But, did I mention it is raining??? Have you ever tried to apply tape in the rain? Not the best plan. So, my poor bike is sitting on deck in the rain - half taped. It may just have to go under the dinghy that way.

Good thing we live on a boat, cuz otherwise we would probably be working on an ark in our backyard. Just sayin' ya know?

The port bunk is empty!!!! The port bunk is clean, linen fresh, curtain hung, screen being fixed as we speak, lee cloth re done, wood oiled - totally unrecognizable as our spare bunk. oh yeah and Dennis even emptied a drawer. Both heads are clean and the rest of the boat got dusted and oiled. Only thing left to do is clean the kitchen, but that is a daily chore anyway. Never did go in for our laundry, but didn't see much point of paying to get it dried only to soak it again on the trip home. Had the curry we bought yesterday for dinner. Lots of bones = bad, very spicy = good. Will have to keep trying, cuz would love to put some of those packages in the freezer for easy crossing meals.

Tomorrow I am going to go look at our neighbor's genoa. The stitching on one of the upper horizontal seams gave out on their way here from Tonga. I will resew for them if I can fit the sail into my machine. I don't think I will be able to, but I promised I would look. Paul gets in tomorrow afternoon. We hope to get him settled and head out Friday or Saturday. As you know, that is all weather dependent... but hopefully. SavuSavu is nice, i really like it here, but again - can't get in the water. Not that it has been warm enough to even want to, but that's not the point.

More later

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