Cruising with Mike and Allison – Qalito Island, aka Castaway Island, Fiji

August 22, 2014

17 43.891 S 177 07.485 E

http://maps.google.com/?z=7&t=k&q=loc:17%2027.500S%20177%2002.545E

Posting by Barb:

We left early and headed for the famous Musket Cove Marina. It was a beautiful, calm day. We decided to motor away from the reef and head to open water for a safer, easier motor sail without the constant worry of reefs and rocks. The wind slowly started to pick up and as it got windier and wetter in the cockpit, Allison and Mike decided to head down below. Well the winds continued to increase to 35 knots on the nose so we had to tack to our destination. Denny and I had to don our rain gear and triple reef the main. The reefing resulted in us tearing our main again! Allison was curled in the salon and Mike was doing air time in the v-berth, unable to get out of there. Neither of them could understand how we were still able to move around the in the boat (call it old age and experience). Denny shut off auto pilot, fired up our brand new engine and navigated us through the reef pass with a ship wreck looming next to the opening to remind us not to make any mistakes.  We had a pod of dolphins swimming around the boat as we saw white water crashing on the reefs. The dolphins seemed to be there to offer comfort and distraction. I wasn’t worried as it was a large pass and we have a reliable brand new engine and Denny at the helm.  Once we passed the reef the swell was smaller but the wind still howled. We knew we couldn’t make it to Musket Cove  so we managed to anchor off Castaway Island, just in time as the sun was setting and the wind was settling down. It may not have been a pleasant sailing experience but it was an experience. I think Mike and Ally got a new appreciation for what sailing is about and it is not all fair winds!!

Castaway Resort turned out to be a great anchorage spot. We went for the lunch buffet and went back for seconds, thirds, fourths…. It had a great salad bar, BBQ meat, pastas and a variety of meat casseroles and desserts including cheesecakes. So we ate and ate and then relaxed by the beautiful pool. Even Denny had a little snooze by the pool!IMG_3716IMG_3713 

Vuda Point Harbour,Viti Levu, Fiji

July 12, 2014 – July 24, 2014

17 40.842 S 177 23.204 E

http://maps.google.com/?z=7&t=k&q=loc:17%2040.842S%20177%2023.204E

Posting by Barb:

The route from Mbavatu Harbour to Vuda Point is about 200 nautical miles so we expected the passage to take about 2 days. The first day was a beautiful sail. We did throw out a fishing line but did not catch any fish. Maybe the full moon had something to do with it?? The second day was a motor and we had to be more vigilant as we traversed through a recommended narrow channel, Bligh Water, North of Viti Levu. DSC_4266This part of the passage could only be done in daylight as there were points where we could see waves braking close to the boat on both sides. We trolled two fishing lines through the channels. We did not catch anything that we could bring on board but the plastic X-rap Dive bait that we were trolling suddenly started skipping erratically through the water. When I pulled it in, there were deep gouges in the bait made by the teeth of some large fish. Maybe it was ok that we did not hook that fish. The bait hook that we were trolling on the other line was snapped off. I started to imagine all kinds of large fish living in the lagoon underneath the boat. Maybe not a good place to fall in.DSC_4252

I was able to do a Facetime call with my daughter Allison using my Ipad as I had cellular internet near the big island. It was such a treat to be able to talk to her as we motored along the island. We had to anchor in saweni Bay for the night as it was getting too late and we needed daylight to navigate through the narrow channel into Vuda Point Marina.

DSC_5873Once in the marina we had to grab the large orange buoy in the middle and wait for assistance from the dock boys to get us into a slip. DSC_5879We basically had to motor glide into the slip only big enough for our boat with just enough room for fenders between boats (Denny did some amazing navigating) . Can you spot our little boat next to the large power boat. This marina also offers haul-out service and the boats can be stored in pits so as to protect them from cyclones.

Once safely tied, it was straight to the showers, that’s always a treat after being living off the grid for a while. I also managed to do a load of laundry which was relatively inexpensive.

 

The marina has a great Bar-Restaurant, the Boatshed, that offers daily specials. We especially liked the 1/2 price pizza on Tuesday and the Thirsty Thursday which offers local beers for $2.50 Fijian (that’s about $1.38 US). OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWe had a great time at the sitting outside at the bar on Sunday afternoon listening to a local band. The female vocalist did a great rendition of Adele’s song ‘Someone Like You’. It gave me goose bumps. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWe sat there and enjoyed the entertainment with our new friends from Australia, Rocky and Inge from S/V Island Girl. There is a neighboring resort that cruisers can visit. It has a swimming pool, another bar/restaurant and a small white beach. On Saturday night, Rocky, Inge, Dennis and I spent a lovely evening sipping fancy tropical drinks and watching a Fijian dance/fire OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAacrobatic show. Rocky and Inge left for Vanuatu a couple of days ago. They were serenaded by the local staff as they prepared to leave. Inge was crying and overwhelmed by the wonderful gesture by the yacht club staff.

We also did a couple of trips to the second largest town in Fiji, Lautoka, using the local bus. Because of the bus schedule we always seemed to be on it at 3:00 o’clock and we have had to share the bus with dozens of school children, all dressed in spotless uniforms, with lots of smiles and Bulah’s (hello) for us. Lautoka has a very large fresh fruit and vegetable market with very reasonable prices.

Other than having to fix the diesel tank, we have been having a great time in Vuda Marina. As the diesel tank is now fixed we will be heading out tomorrow for a beautiful clean anchorage with white beaches, great snorkeling and resorts we can visit on Mana Island. We plan to stay there until the first week in August and then it’s back to Vuda to pick up Allison and Mike. Woohooo!!

 

 

Sailing to the Lau Group, Fiji

Wednesday 07/2/2014

Posting By Dennis and Barb:

17 13.222S 178 58.042W

http://maps.google.com/?z=7&t=k&q=loc:17%2013.222S%20178%2058.042W

On Tuesday July 1st (HAPPY CANADA DAY!!) we left Savusavu to sail to the Eastern Lau group of Islands in Fiji. We knew it would be a difficult sail as the prevailing winds are easterly. When we left Savusavu heading for the Exploring Isles the wind was dead on the nose, as predicted, So we sailed a tight beat with only about one knot of our speed going in the right direction. Landfall does not do all that well going to the weather. But it was a beautiful sail with a wonderful fifteen to twenty knot breeze. We put out a fishing line and managed to catch a fish (species unknown until we can get internet to identify). What we can tell you is that it was very good eating. Overnight the winds died down and we managed to motor-sail straight to our waypoint destination. On the second day we caught a Dorado (too little so we set it free) and a little Barracuda, which we also threw back. We arrived at our first destination, Daliconi village where we will do our first Sevusevu. We had to anchor in torrential rain and high winds. It took us 3 tries before the anchor finally grabbed, about the same time as when the rain stopped. We are here with another sailboat, Sea Whisper, which we have previously met in Tahiti and in Bora Bora. They are also Canadians from Vancouver and have family visiting so they have a boat full!! Tomorrow morning we will go to the little village and present our Kava gift for our Sevusevu.Stay tuned for our Sevusevu adventure!!

Here we are in Fiji

Sunday 22/06/2014 20:00

16 46.634 S 179 19.754 E

http://maps.google.com/?z=7&t=k&q=loc:16%2046.634S%20179%2019.754E

Posting by Barb

It feels really great to be sitting here in Fiji, even if it is on a Quarantine buoy! We arrived at 3:30 Sunday afternoon with just enough time to navigate into the bay, get in contact with the marina, arrange for customs for tomorrow and grab a quarantine buoy. Putting aside a few boat maintenance issues it was an uneventful sail. That is not to say it was an easy sail, especially for me, as the winds were strong and we did have to outrun a ‘low’ which promised some heavy rain and wind (which we successfully did outrun). Dennis tracked our course to take advantage of the winds as indicated on the weather grib files. I sometimes, just for a very short second, doubted the direction we were going to, as it was not a straight course to Fiji, but here we are safe and sound and in record time! We didn’t catch any fish on this trip and that is because we didn’t drop a line (just too many other things keeping us busy). So we are off for a good night’s sleep, customs tomorrow morning early, a couple of days of R&R and boat maintenance then we are off to explore Fiji. Yahoo!!

Arriving in New Zealand

Tuesday 10/15/2013

35 43.417 S 174 19.582 E

http://maps.google.com/?z=7&t=k&q=loc:35%2043.417S%20174%2019.582E

Posting by Barb

DSC_3604We have finally made it to New Zealand, our final destination for 2013. It has been an amazing year. Over 10,000 miles, 208 cruising days, 20 plus islands starting in the Marquesas’ and then on to the Tuamotos’, French Polynesia, Cook Islands, Niue, Tonga and finally New Zealand. We have met some pretty amazing people, experienced the taste of local food and customs and explored the nooks and crannies of all the islands that we visited.

DSC_3630Clearing NZ customs in Marsden Cove was not that painful. We were tied to the quarantine dock for a couple of hours and then we had a visit from 2 customs and immigration officers. They left with a bag full of our foods which included our dried beans, popcorn, and pork roasts that we had left in our freezer. Our flour and spices showed no sign of infestation so we got to keep that. It would have all been eaten had we not lost our propane half way to New Zealand.

I have left my home on Landfall to spend a little time with my family in Ontario. Dennis will be in Whangarei for another month or so to work on some of the many of the projects on his ‘to do’ list. I think he was looking forward to having the boat to himself for a little while so that he could tear it all up, dig out his tools and putter without having to worry about making a little living space for me.

I DSC_3614already miss the salty smell of the air, the vastness of horizons bounded by the sky above,  the safety of our little boat and the feeling of such freedom.

But we both have return tickets to New Zealand for January 2014 to start cruising again.

 

Almost there!!!

Saturday 5/10/2013 19:30

33 07.225 S 175 22.213 E

http://maps.google.com/?z=7&t=k&q=loc:33%2007.225S%20175%2022.213E

Posting by Dennis:

We have finally gotten a favorable wind! So we are doing well clipping along at 5.5 knots, and all it is in the right direction for a change. We seem to be doing well without being able to cook. It just takes a little creativity. I even tried cooking potatoes on the engine, did not work. I know that when we get to New Zealand that they will be taking all our meat that we have in the freezer. But that will be ok, it is just part of the deal. I think we will be going out for dinner as soon as we clear customs. When we get there we will have sailed over ten thousand miles since we left Chile last March. Not too shabby. So I guess Barb has adapted pretty well to the cruising life. The funny thing is we don’t ever get bored when we are at sea, there is always something that you have to do. We should be in New Zealand either late tomorrow or early the day after. Then we can sleep.