I guess we should have posted that we arrived in New Zealand!! Some people are still wondering whether we are still out there. We do have a slow boat and we do love sailing but we have made Landfall!!
Denny is now with his family in Minneapolis and I am with my parents in Ontario. I did get a visit from my son before Christmas and I will see Ally in the New year. We will be back together in New Zealand sometime mid January.
We would like to wish all our family and friends a very Merry Christmas and a happy, healthy New Year.
We had estimated a 10 day sail to New Zealand. WE are now on the 14th day of our passage to New Zealand and we still have another 288 miles to go. We did spend a couple of days drifting at 25 degrees south, avoiding any south until the 2 lows that had been forecasted passed New Zealand. Once we re-started our passage it has been a struggle with wind direction. It has persistently been blowing straight from our planned waypoint destination accompanied with waves and large swells from the last low. It can be a little discouraging when either sail tack takes you away from the waypoint (ie negative velocity made good) and motoring is not an option because of the large seas on the nose. But we learned to accept and just started to enjoy the journey. So we continue to read, watch movies, experiment with sail tweaking, cooked and ate most of the foods customs will take and took turns being the ‘pest’, having fun. We have experienced all kinds of wind challenges from no wind to lots of to deluge of wind which was a 10 minute squall of 45 plus knots which slammed the boat. The squall made me appreciate our decision to avoid he NZ lows!! WE have had a few minor problems like bilge pump not working (filter clogged with crap from healing too much during the squall), breaking of the topping lift and a little scare when our engine would not start but a new gas filter fixed that. All problems that Denny fixed pretty quickly. We are nearing the end of our passage and expect to arrive in NZ on Thursday November 24th, just in time for American Thanksgiving. Maybe I will fill Marsden Cove with the smell of a cooked turkey dinner (good memories with Becky) but Denny said not a price for the NZ turkey,$35.00 for a 5 pound turkey. We may have to settle for chicken!! Next post will be from NZ. PS. No fish this time. We didn’t try. There is still too much fish in the freezer!!
Sunday 11/13/2016 Position 25 21.262s 176 11.198e Hello Well we are on a holding pattern. We will not make it to New Zealand before a big low pressure system hits so we are going to just stay were we are. We will get a grib file, (a weather map that shows the wind speed, direction, wave height, and air pressure) tonight to help us determine how far south we can go and still stay out of the heavy winds. Then the mad dash will be on again. It is 450 miles to New Caledonia, with the winds coming out of the north and the northwest, so that is not a good option and heading back to Fiji does not make sense with those winds. So that does not leave much other then just hang out here in the middle of nowhere. It looks like the only thing that will be not so great is the 14 foot seas we will be in. So it looks like hanging out here for the next five days. I think I will watch a movie or two. Will keep you posted on our progress or lack there of. Love to you all Dennis & Barb S/V Landfall ————————————————- Do not push the “reply” button to respond to this message if that includes the text of this original message in your response. Messages are sent over a very low-speed radio link. The most concise way to reply is to send a NEW message If you DO use your reply button, be sure to delete the original message text and these instructions from your reply. Replies should not contain attachments and should be less than 5 kBytes (2 text pages) in length. This email was delivered by an HF private coast station in the Maritime Mobile Radio Service, operated by the SailMail Association, a non-profit association of yacht owners. For more information on this service or on the SailMail Association, please see the web site at: http://www.sailmail.com
Friday 11/11/2016 Position 23 31.126s 175 38.712e coarse of 185 True, Speed of around 3 knots Hello to everyone. Just letting you know we are moving along slowly in light air. The first couple of days were kind of rough but the winds have gone really light. That is good because we what to wait for a low to pass to the south of us and then we will pick up the pace again. We are only doing 80 to 90 miles per day while we wait. It makes for a very nice and easy passage with the boat sailing almost flat. Well that is all that we have to report for now, will send out another in a couple of days Love to all Dennis & Barb S/V Landfall
17 40.873 S – 177 23.213 E
Link to Google Maps
Posting by Barb :
We have been in Vuda Marina since November 1, Denny’s birthday. We celebrated his birthday at the Sunset bar with our good friends Barbara and Michael from Astarte. The bar must have known it was Denny’s birthday because they had half price pizza. Denny didn’t have a birthday cake as we were en-route to the marina and I didn’t seem to have the ingredients to make a cake (not that I am such a great baker anyway). But Denny did get to savor a pack of Oreo cookies!
We have been sitting here at the marina preparing for our passage to NZ. We finally have the weather window we need (at least we hope so) so we will be leaving as soon as we check out with customs and immigration. Check out scheduled for November 8th. We will do our usual en-route postings. We hope to get to NZ by November 21 and then back to Canada/USA for December.
We will be seeing some of you soon!!
October 28 – 31
16 44.918 S – 178 29.199 E
Link to Google Maps
Posting by Barb :
It was a smooth slow sail to Balulailai. This would be our jumping point to Vita Levu and onward to Vuda Marina. When we arrived at the reef pass for Balulailai it looked a little risky. It was low tide and the passage looked very narrow with large rocks jutting out. But we had no trouble getting through and no trouble anchoring although there wasn’t much room. We could see 2 people on shore but they quickly left and we didn’t see anybody for the remainder of our stay.
We did the usual snorkel, dinghy rides and kayak trips. Our dinghy propeller is not working 100% again. Denny hit another rock in Naviqiri transporting locals back to shore. Balulailai was a peaceful quiet anchorage. It is freehold land and from what little we could find out about this place it is a 9,999 acre estate owned by foreign owners. So this meant no villages and no power boats. But we were surrounded by goats, cattle and horses. They disappeared during the heat of the day and didn’t re-appear until the next day.
The plan was to leave by 6 in the morning, pending weather and head to Vita Levu, a 10 hour sail. Every night at midnight the wind would pick up and it would rain heavily. Twice we postponed our departure. The third time we just decided that we would leave although the rain was heavy at times.
This was our last anchorage on Vanua Levu and the end of our cruising in Fiji. We did everything that we set out to do when we decided to do the north of Vanua Levu. We hiked, snorkeled reefs, kayaked, fished and caught fish, visited villages, explored remote places, explored busy cities and tried to learn more about the Fiji Culture. It was amazing that once we left Rabi Island we did not see any other sailboats. It’s this isolation that maybe made the people on this part of Fiji so welcoming and genuinely friendly. We loved every minute of our time here in Fiji.
October 18 – 22
16 31.569 S – 178 52.474 E
Link to Google Maps
Posting by Barb:
We had a beautiful wing on wing sail and anchored in 10 ft of water in heavy mud bottom. The anchorage was not well protected but at least it would be great holding. Even at 10ft of water we were still quite far from the villages and from the Dreketi river. We were nearby 2 villages and each village had about 10 power boats. So for such a small area this meant a sea highway of continued boat traffic and some with large coolers in the middle of their boat. We had the usual ‘bulah’ and drop in’s with invitations to come visit their village.
Our first excursion was a dinghy ride up the Dreketi river. It was very different from our last river trips. Very jungle like and we felt more like we were in the Amazon. Dreketi is the deepest river in Fiji ( no worries about hitting a rock with our newly fixed dinghy prop). We meet a few ladies up river washing clothes in some pretty murky water but other than that there was very little traffic. On the way back it started to rain quite heavily. It rained heavy enough to set afloat new growth seeds. We were soon quite drenched. We made a stop into Dreketi to refuel and bought a few fresh tomatoes, bread and a few potatoes.
Our next stop was a visit to Nabekavu village. We brought our Kava and met the head of the village. He accepted our kava but then asked us to show our cruising permit. That has never happened before. We agreed that we would return with the permit. There really wasn’t any Sevu Sevu performed at this village, our Kava just disappeared. On our way back to the boat we were stopped by the Methodist pastor and he asked us to ‘hang out’ with him. And from there local men started appearing all dressed in their finest and we were told that there was a fundraiser to pay their portion of the Methodist district church van. The fundraiser was a Fijian lunch packet which included a whole fried fish and a couple pieces of cassava. While the lunch was being prepared in a gargantuan pot we sat around and drank Cava. Three hours later we left with our lunch packets, papaya and pineapples and we promised to return in the evening for the Youth Church service. It started to rain later in the afternoon and our trek back up the hill to the village turned out to be a muddy challenge as our footwear collected layer upon layer of clay as we made our way to the church. The service started late and it was practically empty. We thought we were in the wrong church until the Methodist pastor made the closing statements (he must have been delayed by the ongoing kava drinking as he showed up late and backup pastor did the sermon). We think that the kava drinking may have affected church attendance. Despite that the 4 part harmony was still beautiful despite the limited attendance and we were made very welcome. Denny even had to get up and say a few words!!
Our fundraiser lunch packet along with some fruit gifts
Our last stop at this anchorage was Navidamu village. From the beach we were taken to where a house under construction. Considering the minimal tools they had at their disposal I thought they were doing a great job. The Lay Pastor gave us a very organized tour of the village. Pictures of some our stops:
what would OSHA say!!
First stop – Methodist church. In need of a few repairs but brand new, great sound system
Stop 2: Visit to a house to show us how the Voi Voi leaves are prepared for weaving
Stop 3 :Breadfruit lunch preparation
Stop 4: The makings of straw brooms.
Stop 5; Preparing the Voi Voi for the drying process
Stop 6: Weaving at it’s finest
Stop 7: Hello to a lady who was 114 years old.
Final stop: Lunch of cooked mango with our tour guide and family
October 17 – 18
16 28.139 S – 179 01.749 E
Link to Google Maps
Posting by Barb:
Our return anchorage to Nukubati was to visit the village Nasea. We waited for the school boat to pass by and then we followed them into the village. A little girl asked if she could ride with us and she proudly stood at the front of the dinghy as we arrived idled into the village. Nasea was a little disappointing. We handed the Kava and they quickly did a mock Sevu Sevu and then went straight to pounding the Kava. We did understand that it was ‘freehold’ so Sevu Sevu was not necessary. They progressed to preparing and drinking the Kava and invited Denny to participate. But they continued to talk in their native tongue making Denny feel a little unwelcome. We understand that it’s probably because they could not speak very good English. Tino, who works at the resort, was probably the only one that made a genuine effort to make us feel comfortable but he was on the way to work.
I was given a little better welcome. I was introduced to the oldest lady of the village who was 109 years old. She had a little trouble waking up from her nap and felt a little shy with me being there. The ladies who gave me a tour of the village. They had much better English Language skills so were much chattier than the men. One of the young boys scampered up the Papaya tree and they loaded me up with papayas! They showed me the Kava that they had harvested but from what I could understand very little was sold, it was mostly consumed.
Tino dropped by the boat early next morning to say good-bye. He was returning from the resort after a Kava night with the wedding guests. He was tired from the late night affair but he made the special effort to drop by and say he appreciated our visit and was sad to see us go. When we asked if we could take his picture he quickly pulled out his Bulah shirt and got dressed up for the occasion. I guess Denny should have done the same!! He was actually teary eyed when he left.
October 14 – 17
16 19.218 S 178 58.692 E
Link to Google Maps
Posting by Barb:
View of Kia Island from our anchorage
We left Nukubati early in the morning and the first thing we did was put out our fishing line. And Voila we got a bite but unfortunately Denny lost it. He was sulking most of the way to the reef. It was a hunt for a good anchorage at the reef. It either had too many reef bommies or it had a steep ridge where we needed to drop the anchor.
Dinghy ride to our snorkel adventure
We finally anchored quite a distance, 1 1/2 miles, from our intended snorkeling spot. But our outboard prop was fixed so it was a doable dinghy ride. Our first attempt at the snorkel was a bust. A variety of fish but nothing spectacular.
Watching Denny take reef pics
Our second attempt at snorkeling was a success. It was a little easier as we just had to go where the resort wedding party were snorkeling and we mingled with the 50 other people there. It is probably one of the best snorkeling that we have done in Fiji. We returned the next day when there was nobody there to do some more exploring of the wonders of this reef with it’s vibrant colours and a huge selection of reef fish.
We had our usual visit from a local boat. They were fishing at the reef pass and dropped by to say Bulah on their return to their village, Yaro, on Kia. Denny invited them on board and we made our apologies for our quick exit out of Kia. They invited us to return to Kia and stay for a month. They would be very busy on Monday with installing flush toilets with the help of Australian Aid. It was hard to say no to such an enthusiastic invitation but we were running out of time and needed to continue along the coast. Yaro’s main source of income was fish and their diet was mainly fish and Cassava. But they did understand the importance of fish conservation and did not practice night time fishing.
Denny caught the fish but I get the picture
We made our return to Nukubati anchorage and this time when we dropped our fishing line and Voila again, another bite. This time Denny brought it on deck and we first thought it was a Tuna. We later learned that we had caught a Giant Trevally or GT. It almost ran out all of our line and I had to turn the boat towards the fish so Denny could reel it in. Denny worked hard to get that BIG one on board. He definitely wasn’t going to loose another one. This fish had the same texture as a Mahi Mahi, white meat, but it was a little fishier tasting. So now in our freezer we have remnants of a Dorado, Wahoo, lobster and now a Giant Trevally.