Have arrived in New Zealand

November 24, 2014

Posting by Barb:

We arrived in New Zealand, Marsden Cove at 6:00 am this morning. We have cleared customs and bio security left our boat this morning with a full garbage bag of our goodies. They even took the frozen Chili that I made and the spaghetti sauce that Dennis made. Cooked and frozen but still a hazard? Oh well, we caught a Yellowfin and we now have some nice tuna steaks in our freezer.

We had a great easy passage. All is well on board. We will be doing some road trips in NZ with Becky before her return to Minneapolis on the 11th of December.

We will soon update the blog with stories of our trip to Fulaga, the most beautiful place in Fiji.



Single sideband out of action

Position as of Nov 20, 21:00 Z (3 p.m. Central): 28 53.153 S, 175 59.444 E

Dennis reports the SSB radio broke in a different way today, proving again that the sea really does hate electronics. They’ll fix it in New Zealand, but can’t post to the blog in the meantime. The wind is southerly, so they’ve slowed down. Remaining time en route is 4 – 8 days depending on wind direction.

Otherwise, all is well.

Motor onward

Sunday 11/18/2014 26 21.641 S 176 28.236 E http://maps.google.com/?z=7&t=k&q=loc:26%2021.641S%20176%2028.236E Posting by Dennis: It was another day of motoring!!! If this keeps up it will be close if we will have enough fuel. We still have about five days to go and the grib files are saying light winds for most of the trip. Well at least we will not have any rough seas. We even put out fishing lines today but know luck at all. We are traveling in a pack of about five boats so we check with each other and see how everyone is doing. The seas are oily smooth so motoring goes well. It gives us all plenty of time to read books!

Near perfect sailing conditions

Sunday 11/16/2014 22 28.580 S 177 01.436 E http://maps.google.com/?z=7&t=k&q=loc:22%2028.580S%20177%2001.436E Posting by Barb: Winds did lighten up but we have managed to sail with our 160. And it was a beautiful sail with an average speed of about 5.5 knots. There has been very little swell so it was smooth sailing. Becky has been sunning in her bikini all day and Denny was on deck serving us platters of fresh veggies, cheese, salami and olives and then for dessert chocolate ice cream. So life is very very good here on landfall. P.S. We would love to go fishing but have too much meat to finish before landing in NZ.

1st day out

Sunday 11/16/2014 21 29.833 S 177 13.399 E http://maps.google.com/?z=7&t=k&q=loc:21%2029.833S%20177%2013.399E Posting by Dennis We are sailing along doing really well. We did about 150 miles yesterday. We were on a beat in a 1 to 2 meter sea, with winds in the low twenties. So it was fairly choppy to say the least. Both Barb and Becky were not feeling good at all. but today the winds are lighter and we will be motoring soon I am sure. So life is good here on 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

Suva, Fiji

November 14, 2014

18 07.256 S 178 25.262 E


Posting by Barb:

Dennis, Becky and I spent almost a month in Fulaga, Fiji and it is without a doubt the prettiest island in Fiji. So we have a few stories to tell about this magical place but it will have to wait until we arrive in New Zealand. However I did post the Fulaga pictures in our photo album.

We have been in Suva provisioning, socializing and weather monitoring for a week. It looks like the weather window for a sail to New Zealand has arrived so we are leaving in a couple of hours. We did manage to fix our SSB problem and give it a trial test run so we will be posting our locations when we can. We anticipate that it will be a 10 – 12 day sail but so far the weather window is predicting very light winds so it may take us a little longer than that. No worries!

Although we loved Fiji we are excited to be going back to New Zealand!!!

Namena, Fiji

October 3  – October 6, 2014

17 06.689 S 179 05.587 E


Posting by Barb:

The boutique marine reserve island of Namena has been observed as one of the last breeding grounds for turtles and protected red-footed boobies. It is a host for colorful soft and hard coral reefs and abundant fish life. We were really looking forward to some fantastic snorkeling. We have not been able to find the variety and vibrant coral that we saw in the Tuamoto Islands, French Polynesia. And it was fantastic but unfortunately our underwater camera was not working so I had no pictures to capture the moment. The highlight for me was a pair of Octopus holding hands, well tentacles, and moving along the bottom floor trying to get away from us. Dennis was hoping to do a dive here but unfortunately he started experiencing pain and discomfort in his ear so he thought it best not to dive.

We managed to go ashore and take a few pictures of the baby red footed boobies. The shoreline trees were peppered with their nest. The Boobies were actually quite tame and did not mind being photographed at all.

It was a couple of days of quiet, tranquility, relaxation and some Happy Hour moments with Lilian and Mike, a Canadian couple on SV Meikyo.




Makogai, Fiji

September 29 – October 2, 2014

17 26.315 S 178 57.192 E


Posting by Barb:

After spending a little over a week in Vuda Point Marina we started to make our way to Savusavu where Becky, Dennis’ daughter, would be arriving after a long flight from Minneapolis. Savusavu seemed to provide a better tack for sailing to Fulaga, a must see for us before leaving Fiji. We decided to make a stop in Makogai and Namena on the way to Savusavu. I will say that Makogai is a fairly deep anchorage, i.e. 80 feet of water and not great holding.

DSC_4752Makogai is a beautiful little island that is rich in history. It was a successful leprosarium from 1911 to 1969 with 4,185 patients landing and 2,300 returned to full health. It closed after Dapsone, a  sulpha drug, was discovered as a cure for leprosy and patients were finally effectively treated and released. DSC_6845We learned that not only were the lepers segregated to the island of Makogai but they were then further segregated to separate villages for Fijians, Indians and other Pacific Islanders and then segregated again to separate dorms for the women and for the men. We also learned that sex among the patients was  not allowed and it was an offense that resulted in prison incarceration.  After completing the required ‘quicky’ sevusevu we toured the island and explored many of the ruins. I was expecting to have a gloomy feeling as I thought about the people that were sent here with no hope in the future of being re-united with their families and the imminent life of pain, disfigurement and loneliness. I was however surprised by the extent of the infrastructure based on theDSC_4707-1 ruins that were left and we realized that people here were well taken care of and the town included schools, hospitals, churches and even a movie theatre. Catholic nuns from France also lived in Makogai and they looked after the people physically, emotionally and spiritually. In one of the ruins Dennis found a little bronze lock still attached to a door and he managed to pry it loose and take it back to the boat. It will be a fixture in a future home.

In 2011, Makogai officially became a Mariculture Centre. As per information I obtained from the Fiji website:

“One of the main projects that the team of fisheries officers based here work on, is culturing giant clams (Tridacna). Once in abundance on Fiji’s reefs, many species have been overharvested and current levels are low. The adductor muscle is considered a delicacy and an aphrodisiac in China, which coupled with the harvesting of clams for food, shells and the aquarium trade – it is unsurprising that they have found themselves on the IUCN’s vulnerable list. In the 1980s an Australian-funded project began culturing them at Makogai – and thousands have since been transplanted to various parts of Fiji”

It was interesting to walk through the primitive tanks were the baby clams and turtles were being nurtured to maturity. I also saw many turtles and large clams during a snorkel swim close to the boat.

DSC_6785DSC_4678DSC_4703During our stay , a ‘Dive Specific’ cruise ship with about 20 people stopped in for a day and this gave the little village on the other side of the island an opportunity to provide the tourists with entertainment. They organized a Meke and we were invited to attend. It was an evening of Kava drinking, children doing traditional dancing dressed in colorful costumes to acoustic, rhythmic music sung by their parents. Once the children were finished with their show then the music continued and the locals took turns dancing with us.  It was our first Meka in Fiji and we never expected that in Makogai. In appreciation, the tourists donated about $400 for the school.

DSC_6827DSC_4766We did a 10 km walk to the village on the other side of the island. We stopped on the way and had some fun with the camera taking pictures of bugs, frogs and any other wildlife we came across. At the village we visited the school. It was well maintained and had a very nice library with a large supply of children’s books all in English. I was intrigued by the notice on the bulletin board which outlined the Do’s and Don’ts. I included the picture and it is worthwhile to enlarge it and read the “Do’s, Don’ts, Should, Report and Watch Out” postings to get an appreciation of the expectations of the kids and teachers.DSC_6811

On our return hike we met a woman sitting on the path with a machete in her hand looking a little lost and forlorn. Dennis of course sat next to her and asked if everything was ok. She started to cry and explained that she had to hide from her husband so that he would not beat her and that she would go home in a little while after he calmed down. She indicated that she had family on the other side of the island but we got the feeling that she considered this as part of life, it was her problem to deal with and her family would expect her to deal with it. We sat with her for a while and then had to leave as it was only an hour from sunset and we still had a 10k hike back. We gave her  a box of tea bags and a box of cookies that I had in my pack for return gifts when people gave us free fruit, etc. It was a little something that made her smile, if only for a minute. It left me sad and powerless to help.

The visit to the school and the encounter with the local lady gave us a new awareness of the Fijian culture, the good and the bad.