Saturday September 4, We made it! Confined to the boat, maybe for the duration while we are here. The country may reopen September 7, but then we’ll need 8 days of quarantine and 2 COVID PCR test $$ before we can go ashore. The plan is to depart around September 10. Our timeline is centered around cyclone season in Indian Ocean, which begins in November. We’ll sail to Reunion Island from here then on to South Africa.

Eron from the marina stopped by our boat, he took our trash and laundry. We arranged with him to get fuel next week. They will also provision for us, we’re working on a list.

Cleaning day. We freshwater rinsed the salt off the boat deck. Also washed the galley floor and wood floor in the salon.

Our friend Judy we met at Shelter Bay Marina in Panama, asked about my sourdough bread, here’s the story.

While in Sitka, Alaska, we met this couple who saw our “Seven Seas” flag flying on our boat, as they too we members. She was telling me about a book she wrote, “Sourdough, A Beginner’s Guide For Vegans”, under the pen name of Iris Blume. I had never thought about making bread as we basically were coastal cruising at that point, stores were never far away.

I did a little research and created a sourdough “starter”. It failed, but I was still determined. I found an online class from the “Sourdough Schoolhouse” based in British Columbia, Canada. They offered at that time a free trial online zoom class, which I took in Anacortes, Washington while getting the boat repaired. Our sail to Hawaii was rough, while feeding my starter one day it spilled all over the counter. That was the end of that.

When in Maui, I googled sourdough starter and found Maui Artisan Sourdough. I contacted him as he was in Lahaina and so were we, and arranged to purchase dehydrated starter from him. I purchased the Sourdough 101 course from “Schoolhouse”. It’s been great! They have a closed Facebook group for enrolled students and also offer call in sessions with questions. There are also videos with the process. They offer other classes you can take like pasta and pastries, I most likely will do that when we return home.

The tropics have a few challenges as sourdough bread making is temperature dependent and it’s very warm there. I’ve had adjust my bulk fermentation times shorter and even refrigerate the dough for an hour to slow it down. I bake the bread now in 9 x 4 loaf pan as Dan likes that shape better than the round loaf. Now I typically bake a loaf per week or so.

Sunday September 5, fuel arrived unexpectedly in the morning, we thought it would be delivered during the week.

Sail repair #1, the staysail. Patches were add to two places where Genoa sheets, when the Genoa was poled out, chaffed on the sacrificial sunbrella on the staysail. Lesson learned, keep the lazy sheet looser. The second was a 62” strip along the edge of the foot of the sail. Not my neatest job but functional. There is a slight burr on the sewing machine hook, caused by needle breakage, this often results in skipped stitches and or the thread fraying. I have filed the hook many times.

With the wind picking up, we kept the sail on the deck, we will wait to repair the other two sails for less windy day.

Monday September 6, dinghy chaps repair. Wow, this took all day!

First two patches were added to cover a couple of tears. We then cut strips of sunbrella and added about 4” to the depth on the sides. Shock cord was added at the bottom so it goes under the gray bumper lip. When purchased, the cover had Velcro glued to the vinyl to hold it in place, which came “un-glued”.

Tuesday September 7, completed our shopping list for the marina. I could get used to having a personal food shopper. Hope they select good items, we tried to be very specific. Also, our laundry was returned all clean a folded so nicely.

We met another boat here, they are from France who also know our friends on Falbala. Lionel and Yamile on s/v Le Rebelle. They were sailing here from Raiatea, French Polynesia when Indonesia closed and were unaware of the situation. After much effort to convince immigration to let them in, they gave up. Plan to leave here Thursday for Reunion Island.

Shirley Carter in her little yellow boat s/v Speedwell of Hong Kong, arrived here today. It was good to see her. She departed 3 weeks before us from Fiji.

Wednesday September 8, Sail repair #2, the Genoa. At some point the leach line broke, it’s a line within the leach of sail to minimize its flutter, the leach of the sail has been fluttering horribly. The sail was lowered, Dan reattached the line, in doing so had to make a cut on the edge of the sail. We stuffed part of the sail through a hatch, put the sewing machine on the bed, to add a patch to cover the cut. Better than lugging the machine to the deck for a small sewing job.

Sail repair #3, the Main. The wind calmed down just long enough we decided to drop the mainsail. Stitching along a large section of the tape on foot had come out. With the sewing machine on the deck, that area was resewed, with Dan adjusting the tape as I sewed. Then we reinforced the tape on the entire foot of the sail, sewing the length of it.

Our groceries were delivered late afternoon. Funny how things get lost in translation. On my list I had 5 kilos of bread flour, we received 5 kilos of bread crumbs. Dan wanted a few bags of potato chips, at least they texted us a photo, it was of french fries, like fish and chips, I guess? Dan added cookies, they bought crackers. Not sure about children’s shampoo and many bars of soap, that probs belongs to someone else or to the person who did the shopping.

Thursday September 9, Immigration stopped at our boat in the morning. They wanted to see our exit papers from Fiji as well as boat documentation, COVID vaccine and health documents. Very friendly guys, said the county may reopen Monday, the 13th.

The bananas we received yesterday were very ripe. Today I baked 2 loaves of banana bread.

In the morning we’re departing Indonesia for Reunion Island. It will be about a 3600 nautical mile journey.

Week 5 – Journey to Indonesia

Tuesday August 31-Day 29, today we parted ways with s/v Ohana. They need to stay in Indonesia till the end of September as they are waiting for medication for their daughter to arrive. It was a pleasure getting to know them, hopefully we’ll meet up again in South Africa.

Departed our anchorage by 11:00am heading out to the Timor Sea then west towards Lombok.

*Sourdough Notes* started a Belle loaf this morning, baked it at night during my watch. It’s nice and toasty down in the cabin!

Wednesday September 1-Day 30, Total nautical miles traveled 3543, 130 nautical miles traveled in the past 24 hours.

Thursday September 2-Day 31, Total nautical miles traveled 3802 , 129 nautical miles traveled in the past 24 hours.

Officially now sailing in the Indian Ocean!

Friday September 3-Day 32, Total nautical miles traveled 3954, 152 nautical miles traveled in the past 24 hours.

6pm we picked up a mooring ball near the dock. As we sit here we hear the sounds of prayers in Indonesian over loud speakers, loudly echoing across bay, in this Muslim country.

3999 nautical miles, 32 days, 7 nights we anchored, our passage from Denarau, Fiji to Marina Del Ray in Lombok, Indonesia.

Week 4 – Journey to Indonesia

Tuesday August 24-Day 22, Total nautical miles traveled 2783, 128 nautical miles traveled in the past 24 hours.

Wednesday August 25-Day 23, Happy 42nd Anniversary Dan❤️!

Total nautical miles traveled 2931, 148 nautical miles traveled in the past 24 hours.

Another Australian Border Force flyby this morning. Crossed into the Timor Sea in the afternoon.

Thursday August 26-Day 24, Total nautical miles traveled 3082, 151 nautical miles traveled in the past 24 hours.

When provisioning in Fiji, we purchased 4 jars of “Americana” brand peanut butter that were the same shape with a red lid as “Jif”. Unfortunately it tastes nothing the same. It’s very sweet, little peanut flavor. Maybe we can barter 3 for something else.

Dinner was Baja-Style Chicken Bowl. Salsa with black beans, corn and a can of shredded chicken, over rice, topped with cheese. With leftovers for another meal.

Sailing into the sunset, 19 second video to music .

Indonesian archipelago is the largest island group in the world. The number of islands varies from 14,752 (UN figure) to 18,108 (Indonesian Government). It has a population of more than 260 million people and is the world’s most populated Muslim-majority country. Located within the Pacific Ring of Fire, Indonesia has more volcanoes than any country in the world.

6pm we rounded East Timor or Limor- Leste Island in Indonesia.

The water sparkled with bioluminescence, most visible before the moon rose, as we sailed through it.

Friday August 27-Day 25, Total nautical miles traveled 3211, 129 nautical miles traveled in the past 24 hours.

Saturday August 28-Day 26, Total nautical miles traveled 3353, 142 nautical miles traveled in the past 24 hours.

We did not expect Indonesia to be so mountainous (looks like the pacific coast of Mexico) rather we thought it would be more tropical.

Anchor was dropped around 4pm, as we rest on our way to Lombok.

Sunday August 29-Day 27, Total nautical miles traveled 3394, 41 nautical miles traveled in the past 24 hours.

We are now in the same time zone as Perth, Australia, UTC+8, 7pm Sunday here in Larantuka, 7am Sunday in Philadelphia. Officially half way around the world time wise!

Monday August 30-Day 28, Total nautical miles traveled 3413, 19 nautical miles traveled in the past 24 hours.

The afternoon was spent baking cookies for dessert tonight. It takes a while on the boat as the oven is small and only 6 cookies are baked at a time. We had dinner with Ohana on their boat, it was a wonderful evening!

Week 3 Journey to Indonesia

Tuesday August 17-Day 15, Total nautical miles traveled 2091, 48 nautical miles traveled in the past 24 hours.

7 am, partial fog and little sun, barely being able to see the reef. The anchor came up cleanly then the wind gently pushed us backwards safely away from the edge of the reef. A trip line was attached to the back of anchor before it was deployed. It assists in pulling the anchor up and out of its holding in case it was stuck on something.

Australia Boarder Force Aircraft called both of us with questions regarding last port, next port where our boats are registered.

*Sourdough Notes* another Belle loaf in the works. This loaf as well as the last, I did a mixture of flours, 5 parts bread flour 1 part of a flour purchased in Tahiti. It’s a high protein flour, looks like it’s part wheat flour. The label is in French, when I googled the brand it says it’s pizza dough flour. It worked well for the last loaf.

Very unpleasant night! Lots of wind waves crashing over the reef we were rocking and rolling all night long!

Wednesday August 18-Day 16, Total nautical miles traveled 2166, 75 nautical miles traveled in the past 24 hours.

7:15 anchor up. It was a bit more difficult than yesterday, the anchor was stuck on coral.

We traveled nortwest till 4:30pm, anchored near York Island and a beautiful beach. It’s quite windy around 25knots, it’s an off shore breeze so there are minimal waves. Much more pleasant than last night.

Thursday August 19-Day 17, Total nautical miles traveled 2214, 48 nautical miles traveled in the past 24 hours.

Anchor up by 7:15 am amidst 37.5 knots of wind, per Ohana. A little Change of plans. Instead of going towards Thursday Island, which requires snaking through islands and a narrow pass with lots of current, we are going down the Prince if Wales shipping channel to anchor at Goods Island.

Our friends on Ohana have a child with a disability that requires life saving drugs. They have arranged throughout the world on their journey to have medication shipped to various places. With the assistance of an agent, they were able to have it delivered to Australia, which is currently closed. When we stop at Goods Island, they were greeted by a pilot boat to deliver the drugs to them. In addition, they also requested to purchase produce. Ohana asked us we’d like some also, we gave them a short list of what we’d like. Grateful for that!

Hammond Rock marked the with a light near the edge of the channel. As we passed the rock the current was ripping by, the boat turned sideways going at times 8 knots speed over ground. The engine was turned on to get back on course, doing 9.7 SOG, 3.5 knots of current. Reminiscence of “Hells Gate” on the East River in NYC.

Friday August 20-Day 18, departed Good Island by 7am along with s/v Ohana. It was nice break to stop each night after the big winds we had the weeks before.

Total nautical miles traveled 2240, 26 nautical miles traveled in the past 24 hours.

It was a pretty calm day, sailing 4-6 knots. By early afternoon we exited the Torres Strait to the Arafura Sea.

Saturday August 21-Day 19, Total nautical miles traveled 2380, 140 nautical miles traveled in the past 24 hours.

Sunday August 22-Day 20, Total nautical miles traveled 2517, 137 nautical miles traveled in the past 24 hours.

Time change, we are now in the same zone with Seoul, South Korea, GMT+9. It’s 8:00am Sunday, 7pm Saturday in Philadelphia.

Shortly before 1:30pm, Ohana received a radio call from Australia Border Force Aircraft requesting their location and asked if Trance was still sailing with them. 20 minutes later we both had another flyby. They are following our progress through Australian waters.

Fix- it Sunday. iPhone and iPad charging has been challenging. Charging cables frequently fail and we purchase new ones, guess it’s the salty and humid environment. The marine USB port Dan installed on the side of binnacle rusted, it was replaced. Access to the electronics is under the compass. A switch for the bow thruster is also there. Dan found a loose wire on a screw, maybe that’s why the thruster wasn’t working properly. It would turn off at the wrong time or turn the chart plotter off, requiring jiggling the joystick to get it to turn on again.

Monday August 23-Day 21, Total nautical miles traveled 2655, 138 nautical miles traveled in the past 24 hours.

There is always something that needs to be fixed. The Genoa sheet, chaffed. On a boat, ropes cut to a length for a purpose are called “lines”. Lines attached to control a sail are referred to as a “sheets”. Dan removed it from the sail and cut off about 3ft and reattached it to the sail.

We received word today that Indonesia is closed once again to foreigners due to a surge in COVID cases. Our agent told us we can stop there as a transient for fuel and provisions. We will not be allowed to get off our boat. This will be a short rest before crossing the Indian Ocean.

Week 2 – Journey to Indonesia

Tuesday August 10-Day 8, Happy Birthday Rachael! Total nautical miles traveled 1013, 177 nautical miles traveled in the past 24 hours.

Waves don’t look as big in photos. Don’t you wish sometimes the camera could sees the view your eyes see?

Wednesday August 11-Day 9, Total nautical miles traveled 1189, 176 nautical miles traveled in the past 24 hours.

TRANCE is in the Coral Sea now, which means after a total 21,200 nm on this voyage, we’ve completed the crossing of an ocean! We’ve done the largest, the Pacific Ocean. Next is the Indian Ocean

Thursday August 12-Day 10, Happy Birthday Maddie! Total nautical miles traveled 1346, 157 nautical miles traveled in the past 24 hours. For breakfast Dan made eggs with homemade hash browns. Back in Denarau, when we ordered produce from FarmBoy, I had requested 3kg potatoes. That’s more than 7lbs! Needless to say, we’ve been eating lots of potatoes cooked various ways. Today I’m going to make a pot of homemade potato soup. The batch will be enough for two meals.

Our buddy boat received their visas for Papua New Guinea today, they “know people” there who were able to get the documents for them. Now they heading north, hopefully we’ll meet up with them in Lombok. Meanwhile our friends on s/v Falbala have not departed New Caledonia yet. Our last communication with them, they said possibly leaving Friday for Lombok. They were delayed by weather.

We are now on Brisbane, Australia time GMT+10, 11:30am Thursday, that’s 9:30 pm Wednesday, Philadelphia time.

Friday August 13-Day 11, our buddy boat was denied entrance to Papua New Guinea even with their visas, more documents were required. They are continuing on with us to Lombok. Also, Falbala has departed New Caledonia this morning.

Total nautical miles traveled 1512, 166 nautical miles traveled in the past 24 hours.

Another failed stainless steel weld. This post is part of the aft pulpit on the transom. Dan securely tied it to the swim ladder.

Numbers, it’s all about numbers, distance, miles, the wind. A few days back, birds broke our wind instrument that was mounted on top of the mast. Since then we’ve had no measurement of wind speed. In away, for me, this has been a good thing. No stressing over the wind number. I do believe it’s been significant the past several days. Tonight as the wind howls through the boat rigging and our speed over ground hits 9.2 knots with triple reefed main and genoa sails, not surfing down a wave, kinda glad I didn’t know the wind speed number.

Saturday August 14-Day 12, Total nautical miles traveled 1684, 172 nautical miles traveled in the past 24 hours.

GoPro snapshots, with camera attached to the boat, taken 12 52.720 S, 149 35.240 E, 11:30am GMT+10

Sunday August 15-Day 13, Total nautical miles traveled 1864, 180 nautical miles traveled in the past 24 hours!

Extremely windy day up to 43knots (per Ohana)with 10-12ft waves, ugh! 5 times today a wave crashed into the cockpit. One entered over the stern. Several waves hit the enclosure panels but didn’t actually enter the cockpit.

Monday August 16-Day 14, Total nautical miles traveled 2043, 179 nautical miles traveled in the past 24 hours.

On the 14th day we rested! The anchor was dropped around 4pm inside The Great Detached Reef, at the the edge of the reef on eastern side. With the winds still in the 20’s it was a bit rolly, yet the reef blocked the ocean waves. The waves crashing on the reef sounded like waves crashing on a beach.

Tomorrow we begin the journey through the Torres Strait over The Great Barrier Reef. Previously had we contacted the Australian Border Force, and were given free passage through the Torres Strait with permission to seek safe anchorage, except near Thursday Island. Conditionally, making landfall or coming in contact with any other vessel is prohibited. Our passage will be the Raine Island route, not through the shipping channel. This track is 178 nautical miles. Along with s/v Ohana, we plan to anchor each night.

We purchased a book titled “Ken’s Torres Strait Passage Guide”. It’s 50 pages of mostly maps with navigation waypoints that meander around reefs and islands. Raine Island marks a navigable entrance to the Great Barrier Reef. There are 71 islands within the reef, 17 are inhabited. There are also a multitude of reefs.

Week 1 – Journey to Indonesia

Tuesday August 3-Day 1, Happy Birthday Max! We departed Denarau at 10:30am along with s/v Ohana, US flagged vessel from in Argentina, a catamaran with 5 adults and 6 kids onboard, for Lombok Indonesia. Hopefully we will be together with them for countries west, too.

Oh my the stars, the Milky Way, the Southern Cross!

Wednesday August 4-Day 2, Nautical Miles traveled 156 in the past 24 hours.

Sunset 6:11pm 17° 16.302′ S 174° 5.091′ E The night sky was spectacular!

Thursday August 5-Day 3, Total nautical miles traveled 276, 120 nautical miles traveled in the past 24 hours.

The sky is quite gray this morning with rain in front of us only to pass with blue skies behind it.

Friday August 6-Day 4, Total nautical miles traveled 403, 127 miles traveled in the past 24 hours.

Baking day…banana bread, orange scones with an orange glaze, peanut butter protein bars, started a loaf of sourdough bread. Also diced and put into containers to use later, green peppers, red peppers and onions. When the wind is light it is easier to do these things.

The protein bars tasted better than they look. 1 cup peanut butter, 1 cup of honey, in a medium saucepan melt together over low heat till blended, add 3 cups of oatmeal and/or anything else you’d like to add like chocolate chips or raisins. Spread in a rectangle or square dish chill til firm,a couple of hours or overnight, then cut into bars or squares.

We heard from our friends on s/v Roxy. They departed Raiatea, French Polynesia in June for Reunion Island. They are now 10 days away. 8182 nm done and 58 days at sea. Wow!

Saturday August 7-Day 5, Total nautical miles traveled 532, 129 nautical miles traveled in the past 24 hours.

*Sourdough Notes* baked a Belle loaf, ah the aroma of baking bread first thing in the morning!

We sailed through the the islands of Vanuatu. There is an active volcano on the island of Ambrym. However as we sailed past it, the mountain top being cloud covered, we couldn’t see anything. The island country is currently COVID closed.

Sunday August 8-Day 6, total nautical miles traveled 687, 155 nautical miles traveled in the past 24 hours.

At night the water sparkled as we sailed through it. We haven’t seen bioluminescence since Southern California. It is very dark at night as there is no moon at night right now, so the sparkling was very brilliant.

I head a strange noise at night while I’m on watch. Sounds like sparks. I go down into the cabin, while reaching for the ceiling light I step on something slippery. Here a fish, about 9 inches long, flew into the cabin and was flopping around on the floor. I managed to pick it up and throw it overboard. Crazy flying fish!

Monday August 9-Day 7, Total nautical miles traveled 836, 149 nautical miles traveled in the past 24 hours.

Boat speed and true wind speed are the same. True wind speed is a calculation. Boat speed is correct…. a problem with wind speed.

Upon further investigation, we believe a bird (they’ve been dive bombing the boat the last two days) flew into and broke the apparent wind speed instrument at the top of the mast. One was actually sitting up there. Luckily, the wind direction indicator still works.

We’ve asked our buddy boat s/v Ohana to relay the wind speed periodically, which is now in the low 20’s knots, and expected to increase around 25 for several days.

8:15am, Currently sailing 7knots with triple reefed Main and Genoa. TWD 141, COG 275, 6ft waves.

For dinner this evening we had a one pot meal of sautéed potatoes with red and green peppers, onions, garlic and steak cut into bite size pieces. It’s easier having your meal in a bowl than on a plate.

Fiji Week 12+

Sunday July 25, we forgot it was Sunday again, no pancakes.

Late morning we flew the drone, the reef was spectacular.

After lunch we took the dinghy out to the sandbar, at low tide it’s quite visible. It’s a popular place to hang on the soft sandy beach. Musket Cove has more of party beach atmosphere unlike the remote islands of Fiji. There are several resorts here, however they currently are COVID closed. Now there are 32 boats anchored here.

We connected BJ on s/v Discovery anchored here. We met him when we first arrived in Fiji. The three of us had dinner at the popular Musket Cove Resort. The dining area has several teakwood table sets with seating for four on the back deck as well as several clusters of love seats, chairs with stylish wide blue and white striped cushions with red accent pillows and a coffee table. On the lawn all the kid boat families had gathered around a big screen TV that was playing the animated movie Brave. There were also a few cruisers there we had met before.

Monday July 26, departed Musket Cove 20 minutes before sunrise following our path in to get out. The navigation system saved our track if. Destination Denarau.

By 10am Trance was out of the water and had a power washing. Later she was prepped for painting. We are also having another through hole put in dedicated to the water maker. No more sharing with bow pump. This should be better pressure, increased volume for the water maker.

We were told we could stay on the boat but chose to get a hotel room. We would be unable to use the water on the boat as the sink drains all exit to outside or the water. The Palms Resort is walking distance to the marina. For $169 Fijian per night $85 USD, we are in a one bedroom apartment style room. Endless hot showers and a bed that doesn’t move!

Tuesday July 25, The water maker is now properly installed, hopefully it will work better!

Wednesday July 26, work completed, Trance is looking great!

Thursday July 28, The few times we taken Trance out of the water we’ve had to remove the forestay as the wind generator sits too high for the lift for the cross bar, to properly balance the boat on the straps. The staysail then acts as a forestay and keeps the mast from falling down. Before we remove the forestay, the back stays need to be loosened. Painters tape is put on the threads to mark their location so we know how far to tighten it later.

Trance was put in the water just after I arrived at the marina.

Neil Tower from Oceania Water Group Fiji, delivered to the boat watermaker parts we ordered. They are a Spectra authorized dealer and servicer. The membrane was removed then reinstalled with the new parts. We had the marina added 2 fiberglass support blocks epoxied to the hull for it. The watermaker sits in starboard (right side of the boat facing foreword) lazarette, a storage compartment located in the cockpit. Hopefully we will have better quality water going forward.

Friday July 30, Trance is being detailed today. The deck is being cleaned and polished by Admond and Seka.

Sundowners on s/v Sea You, Fabienne and Dominique from France.

Saturday July 31, a gray rainy day here. Spent that time rearranging winter clothes, they are going deep in the boat. Food in glass jars need extra protection, rearranging snack cupboard to be the glass jar cupboard. I typically avoid buying items in glass for fear of the mess if they should break in rough waves.

The existing canvas on the boat, the dodger and the Bimini, really need to be replaced. So much sun exposure has deteriorated the plastic windows, they are very brittle. We’ve replaced almost all the zipper pulls with plastic ones as the metal ones broke, the canvas is showing wear. We have done many repairs to the dodger. Twice a wave has separated the plastic on the windshield from the canvas holding it in. The windshield looks like it is sewn in but it’s glued to the canvas surrounding it. The only adhesive we could find here is the 3M 5200 Marine Sealant. Add a new dodger and Bimini it the list of things to do when we return home.

Sunday August 1, in the morning our time we video chatted with Ben, Rachael and Cora. Followed by a chat with Luke, Mecca, Autumn, Alyssa and Madison. Always good to see their beautiful faces! Beth and Danielle are “glamping” together at the Shawnee Inn and Golf Resort. Camping with amenities and resort-style services.

I ordered fruits and vegetables from FarmBoy for delivery tomorrow. It is a premium fruit and vegetable store that delivers.

It rained off and on in the morning, by afternoon all was dry. I took several of our cockpit enclosure panels off and repaired some areas on them, sewed new Velcro straps on most that had deteriorated from sunlight. we washed all the windows and reinstalled the windshield.

Monday August 2,

Another project we had the marina do was add a bar over the exhaust pipe as the dinghy had ripped the rubber flap off, this bar makes it easier to raise the dinghy over the sugar scoop, or swim platform.

When we first arrived in Fiji in Savusavu, we were in quarantine with s/v Swell from Hawaii. Today our last night in Fiji, here in Denarau, into the marina comes Swell and is docked next to us again.

Sundowners on Swell, fun times!

Tuesday August 3, Happy Birthday Max!

Vinaka Fiji! After 12 weeks we say good to Fiji. We are off to Marina del Ray in Lombok Indonesia. This will be our longest passage to date, about 4,000nm and it’s expected to take about 35 days. Especially interesting will be the passage over the Great Barrier Reef and through the Torres Strait on the north side of Australia. Till then, you can follow us on our Iridium Go.

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Fiji Week 11

Sunday July 18, pancakes for breakfast!

The drone was flown this morning, launched from Trance. The beautiful Bay of Islands on Vanau Balavu.

Another ride around on the dinghy at low tide.

Late morning, s/v Coral Trekker departed and s/v Estran arrived, Oscar, Philippine and their three children from Belgium. They are also part of the rendezvous. On our way back we stopped at s/v Olena as Oscar was there too. 5 of the 6 children between the 2 boats were aboard s/v Estran. It was entertaining to watch them play running about the boat deck.

Monday July 19, there are several coral “bommies” in the shallow waters in the South Pacific. Bommies resemble a column, that is higher than the surrounding platform of reef and may be partially exposed at low tide. These areas in addition to the reefs are great snorkeling. In the Bay of Islands the water for the most part is crystal clear. At low tide the “bommies” may be very visible. While in the dinghy, we put our GoPro on a long stick in the shallow water, to video the fish and coral.

We left our serene anchorage late morning for one on the other side of the island, Bavatu Harbour. It was about an hour trip. The Royal Exploring Isle Yacht Club is in the bay. We were told it’s the smallest Royal Yacht Club in the world.

Tuesday July 20, Dan and I walked to the top the hill where to the Nabavatu Plantation. It’s just over a mile walk up hill from the water on a wide red clay 4-wheel drive path, with a few cement sections. They own 80 head of cattle, sheep, pigs and horses not to mention the chickens and roosters roaming around. There is also an abundant vegetable garden. Two houses sit up there on the hill belonging one each to the partners who own the plantation. Also on the property is a village where all the workers live. The plantation will sell you a butchered animal for the meat, we do not have enough freezer space for that much food. Our friends on s/v Olena and s/v Coral Trekker shared a lamb they purchased for $50 Fijian ($25 USD). There is also a lookout through a wooded area, with a wide ATV path, where you can see the other side of the island.

Departed our anchorage by 1pm, heading back to Savusavu for a day or two to provision.

Wednesday July 21, arrived back in Savusavu around 9am, docked at the Copra Shed Marina. The majority of the day was spent inventorying food then provisioning with the exception of produce.

In the evening we dinner with Barbara, captain of s/v Islander and Christina, one of her all female crew. They are next to us in the marina.

Thursday July 22, blog posts uploaded, emails checked, propane tanks filled, Dan got a haircut, more provisioning. We take our Costco wagon with us when we shop. There are 6 stores here we typically have shopped at, as they individually have different items. The wagon is used as our shopping cart in stores. This requires us to stop back at the boat after each purchase.

After our last trip back to the boat mid afternoon, we ran into Floss and Dez on s/v Fat Susan from the UK. They had recently arrived in Savusavu. They were headed to the yacht club bar so we joined them. We first met Floss and Dez in Nuku Hiva, bumped into them again in Tahiti. Soon after we were joined by Kelly and Cristina, crew on s/v Islander and Joerg from Germany on s/v Aurelia who is currently solo sailing.

Later we all ordered dinner from the restaurant here, they will deliver to the bar as they as right next door. Floss and Dez’s two teenage sons, and had also joined us. It was a great evening!

Friday July 23, departed Copra Shed Marina by 7:30 am, destination Musket Cove. Mid afternoon we received an email from our agent in Indonesia, attached were our eVisas to enter the country. What a relief to get them, as just yesterday we all read Indonesia had put a temporary hold on issuing them due to a lockdown in Jakarta.

Most islands in Fiji are surrounded by coral reefs. To get to an island, there are natural passages through reefs deep and wide enough for boats to navigate. Yet due to tidal currents, some passages may have lots of water rushing in or out. Also if wind is opposing the current, large standing waves could form… all this makes it dangerous to sail or motor through passages. The solution is to transit passages at slack low or high tide when there is little or no current.

Today we transited two passages at perfect times, one at slack low tide and the other at slack high tide…thus no worries. All the islands we visited, we timed the tides near perfectly to enter and exit.

It turned-out to be a splendid day sailing with winds at 10-15 knots, minimal waves and lots of sunshine.

Almost a full moon tonight, which brightens-up everything making night sailing more enjoyable.

Saturday July 24, by morning we had reached the north shore of Vita Levu. What a contrast to the rest of Fiji which is green and very lush. The hills are very brown with little vegetation.

We dropped anchor mid afternoon in the area known as Musket Cove on Malolo Island. There are 25 boats anchored here. It is about 15 miles from Denarau.

The main Fiji island is Viti Levu. It has been pretty much in lockdown because of COVID. We are going there to Denarau to a marina to have some work done on our boat. We will have Trance pulled from the water, repaint the bottom as well as have some work done on the water maker. We will not be able to go to any other islands within Fiji without a 14 day quarantine and COVID test. Our plan is to leave Fiji for Indonesia when to work is completed.

Fiji Week 10

Sunday July 11, blueberry pancakes for breakfast. It was the last of dehydrated blueberries.

Flew the drone this morning at high tide.

Dan went snorkeling at the northern pass with boats s/v Indego2 and s/v Enola. The water is cold here, too cold for me.

Later we borrowed s/v Enola’s kayaks. We also saw Kate and Graham out in their Inflatable 2 person kayak.

Monday July 12, in the morning at high tide, Dan and I dinghyed back to the village through the maze of islands to purchase gasoline from them for us and two other boats. At lower tides the waterway is dry.

Mid day along with s/v Barracuda, s/v Venture Lady and s/v Enola, we moved to the other anchorage here. They wanted to snorkel on the reef here.

There is a fabulous small picturesque pristine sandy beach here, partially hidden by an island, like one you’d see pictured in a magazine. The sand was fine, soft and velvety. The downside, thousands of mosquitoes!

Sundowners on Barracuda with Kate and Graham, Alison and Andy, and Nina and Scott, followed by a cards.

Tuesday July 13, anchor up by 8:15am heading north to Namuka along with s/v Indego 2, arrived around 2 pm. Sundowners on Indigo 2.

Wednesday July 14, *Sourdough Note* started a Belle loaf, to bake this evening or tomorrow.

Our plan for the day was to walk to the village to do Sevusevu with the Chief. A yellow long boat visited us this morning with Semiti and his son Leuda who is 11 years old. He said we were not allowed to go to the village. We paid a $50 (Fijian dollars) anchor fee, gave him empty glass bottles with caps as well as some kava. He gave us 3 coconuts, said he will bring us fish later.

Together with Liz and Chris, we took our dinghies around the small island to a shallow area to snorkel.

After lunch we flew the drone from the beach.

Sundowners with Liz and Chris on our boat.

Thursday July 15, our dinghy has wheels that when lowered assist in pulling it onto a beach. Yesterday, while Dan was trying to put more air in tire, the nozzle broke off. Luckily we have a spare inner tube on board.

Meanwhile I was working on the coconuts we received yesterday. The outer shell had already been removed when given to us. We removed all the water storing it in a 2liter bottle, then into the refrigerator. Dan had cut them in half with a machete. Using a sea shell, I scraped the gelatinous white coconut out of the shell. These were very “green” fruits.

The coconut is in the sun drying, later we will fry them and make chips.

Dan and I took a dinghy ride part way around the leeward side island in search of a beach, none was found. We discovered later it was on the northern side of the island, too much wind and waves for a dinghy ride.

The next few days it will be quite windy, 20 with gusts to 25 knots from the Southeast going East as it progresses and with 6 ft waves. There is a South Pacific high pressure system just north of New Zealand driving the wind. Accelerated winds on the top of a high are referred to in the Fijian language as a “Bogi Walu”, an eight day wind. We are in a comfortable protected calm anchorage. It’s not a bad weather event, just not a pleasant sail.

Friday July 16, Semiti came by this morning selling live lobsters for $15. Liz and Chris purchased 2 but he gave them 3. We did not buy any, mostly because they were very large crustaceans and we don’t have a pot big enough to cook them in. Later we had a wonderful potluck lunch of lobster and tuna salad with Liz and Chris on s/v Indigo2, before we depart for Vanua Balavu. Our sail should take us about 15-17 hours to get there. Anchor up at 2:30 pm.

Saturday July 17, arrived at Vanua Balavu at 10:30am entered the pass just as the sun came out after a rain squall. We anchored in the area known as the Bay of Islands. Also anchored here are Laure and Stephane, a family boat with 3 kids, on s/v Olena from Switzerland, and Sumi and Robert on s/v Coral Trekker also from Switzerland. We met both boats while at Savusavu. After catching up with them we took a dinghy ride around the bay to see the mushroom shaped limestone islands. The bay has numerous small islands with a maze of coves and is bordered, as most of the island is, by limestone fjords.

The village here is in lockdown, we were told not to come go to the village , there will be no Sevusevu. COVID cases in Fiji have been drastically increasing over the past month.

Fiji Week 9

Sunday July 4, 🇺🇸 Andy (from the UK) on Venture Lady said it best this morning on the “net”, “Happy 4th of July, the original Brexit”.

*Sourdough Notes*

Baked a Belle, I was a bit concerned as the Levain took 24 hours to rise, normally it’s 6-12 hours, and the consistency was different than usual. I’m guessing it’s all temperature related. My starter came from Hawaii, it was very active there and in French Polynesia. The temperature here in Fiji is a good 20 degrees cooler, although it is winter here. In the end the bread turned out great!

The afternoon was spent on another dinghy ride around the lagoon looking at the rocks. We arrived back at the boat just as a downpour of rain came bringing with it 25knots of wind which continued all evening and into the night.

For dinner I made chicken with sun dried tomatoes over Orzo. It tasted a lot better than it looks!

Monday July 5, we all went on a hike guided by Soki, along with our Rendezvous group. He took us to the highest hill on Fulanga, the view from up there is spectacular!

Afterwards he and his family provided a lite lunch.

5 boats, s/v Hoodoo, s/v Rondo, s/v Barracuda, s/v Estran and us. met on the beach near the sandbar had an enjoyable mesmerizing sunset bonfire.

Tuesday July 6, Happy Birthday to me! It was a quiet day, followed by cards on s/v Barracuda. Kate and Graham along with Alison and Andy.

Wednesday July 7, at 1 pm s/v Barracuda, s/v Venture Lady, s/v Estran, s/v Windflower, s/v Quokka2 and us, all met at the landing to have a feast with the villagers. Because of COVID restrictions, they did not want us to go to their village so this was held at a neutral location. It was a pot luck meal with the villagers supplying a pig that was cooked in the ground. After lunch music was played and songs were sung a little bit of dancing too.

A few of the older women in the village asked if any of us women had spare reading glasses and possibly perfume and shampoo. (Not sure why I even had a bottle of perfume on the boat, haven’t used it over a year, I’m sure it will be well liked.) In exchange we were given hand woven items such as bags or rugs. I chose the small bag.

Thursday July 8, *Sourdough Notes* baked a Belle loaf this morning. I kept my starter out of the fridge since Sunday, fed it every day. It seems much happier now. It was being fed once every 5 days stored in the fridge.

Departed Fulanga by 12 pm heading for Ogea, about a 2 hour sail. We are anchored in a protected cove in 9 feet of water. 6 boats traveled here, s/v Windflower, s/v Venture Lady, s/v Barracuda, s/v Indigo, s/v Enola and us, others to follow soon. Sundowners on s/v Enola.

Friday July 9, we took a dinghy ride around the lagoon at low tide, flew the drone from one of the beaches.

Saturday July 10, All land in Fiji belongs to individuals, little is owned by government. When arriving at a remote island in Fiji, it’s customary to visit the Village Chief for a ceremony, and present gifts of kava root and other useful items (rice, bottles, gasoline, sometimes money, etc.) for the villagers. During the ceremony the Chief will grant permission to remain and explore the village’s portion of the island. This now makes you an accepted village member. This process is known as Sevusevu. It’s asking permission to be there on their land and water. In other words, you wouldn’t “camp” in your neighbors yard without permission. In normal times, prepared kava or grog would be shared with all to drink using a communal half coconut shell. Kava or grog is a mild narcotic drink. Typically a male thing, kava is consumed at the end of a work day, men would gather sitting cross-legged and drink grog. However because of COVID, villagers are asked not to share the beverage.

We walked a bit over 2 miles one way through a narrow path in the woods to the village. We met Chief Sili and presented him with 5 kava roots, one from each boat. Additionally we gave him empty glass bottles with lids, the villages uses them to store coconut oil and a kilo of rice.

The village had several brightly colored homes as well as a lime green school house. We saw several children about playing, the village store and men carving kava bowls.