Fiji Week 8

Sunday June 27, Dan went on a hike today with a couple of other boats, they we gone about 6 hours. I stayed on the boat, did some cleaning and had some nice quiet time!

Sundowners on Barracuda with Kate and Graham, Alison and Andy (s/v Venture Lady), Ally and Mike (s/v Cachalot) and Lisa and Mark (s/v En Passant), she is from the US, he’s from Ireland.

Monday June 28, departed Viani Bay for the island of Taveuni, where we anchored off the Paradise Resort. Along with 3 other boats, we hired a van for a trip into town to pick up some produce. A few stops were made, one to spot where the International Date Line crosses the island, the second to a natural stone waterfall slide. Later there’s was a group dinner at the resort.

Tuesday June 29, the fleet is off, 9 boats, including us, are sailing to the remote island of Fulanga in the Southern Lau Group. Our estimated time of arrival is tomorrow afternoon. It’s a 93 mile trek. We will have no internet for a few weeks.

Wednesday June 30,

Destination Fulanga, alternate spellings, Fulaga or Vulaga. We arrived just before slack tide then motored through the pass. Our group of boats is anchored just south of the sandbar. At 4pm, low tide, arriving by dinghies, we all had sundowners on that sandbar.

Thursday July 1, each morning at 8am on VHF channel 8, the net, We have morning announcements, weather and just in general what’s everyone doing today. Rotating through the boats in our group, all are taking turns to start and manage the conversion each day.

The forecast is for rain and wind all day as there is a low pressure trough passing by. Good day to bake banana bread with walnuts. Bananas have been sparse here as the cyclones early the year destroyed them as well as other crops.

An afternoon of cards 313, and a game of Farkle on Barracuda with Kate, Graham, Alison and Andy.

Friday July 2, several boats went to snorkel the entrance pass, Dan did, I drove the dinghy to follow him as it was quite windy.

Afterwards we took a drive in the dinghy to see some of the fabulous limestone mushrooms shaped rock formations.

Dan and I took a walk along the beach and had lunch sitting on a fallen palm tree hanging over the water. John on s/v Wildflower took a photo of us from his boat.

Sundowners on the beach starting at 4:30 till just past sunset.

Saturday July 3, Another drive around the lagoon in the morning.

Purchased lemon grass from Ty, a local villager, we met on the beach. He was also selling pumpkins and bockchoy.

Bought bread and traded gasoline for a large bunch of bananas from Soki and Ba.

It was arranged for the villager to meet us at neutral location, they brought wood carved items all made by them as well as they had some fruit to sell.

We purchased a bowl made by Mini. The legs of the bowl are sharks.

Sundowners on s/v Quokka2. Liz on s/v Indigo ll, wrote a song about us all to the tune of “I am Australian”, 32 second video of the chorus.

Bula Rendezvous, with love from Liz on Indigo ll.

Here comes the good ship Windflower, a Scotsman at the helm Loquacious and assertive, he guides the fleet so well His charming wife sheds laughter over gatherings near and far- These two have great connections in every town and bar.

Two Kiwis on Enola have grabbed their dream and sailed.To Fiji in the tropics, where sun and warmth prevailed. They set a pace that’s hard to beat at sea and on the land. Their kindness always ready to lend a helping hand.

On Quokka 2 are Aussies, full of music, fun and jokes. They both love red-hot chilies and Fiji’s friendly folks. With flute and ukulele they will serenade us all, their songs and rhymes and ditties will drive us up the wall.

Chorus: We are one, but we are many. And from all the lands on earth we come. We share a dream, and sing with one. voice I am, you are, we are all sailing.

Estran is full of kids who speak more languages than one. When older folks go rambling, those kids just love to run. They’ll ride the horses, they’ll eat the crab, they’ll swim until they’re done. But cornflakes just don’t cut it now, they much prefer a bun.

Now Trance is from the USA, a monohull so fine. With plans to sail around the world, she’s had to stretch her time. For COVID closes borders and imposed new constraints…Another nasal swab test and another patient wait.

On Indigo are two old salts, birdwatchers to the core. They might be deaf and cautious but they’re keen to see much more. From sand to rocks, from trees to ferns, from reefs to fish galore. They’ll label everything they see, to understand it more.

Chorus

Barracuda hails from Scotland’s north, from heather-covered moors. She’s sailed the North Atlantic waves to Caribbean shores. Then on to Pol-y-ne-sia where COVID caused a pause. Until the Blue Lanes drew her in to Fiji’s sunny shore.

The team on Venture Lady are sailing around the world. They’d like to cruise New Zealand, but it’s gone to COVID hell. The rules say spend a fortune to secure a summer spell. Or else you must continue west, your story still to tell.

And so we come to Rondo, another family boat. The kids on board so active they keep the dream afloat: To hunt and gather in the wild, that is their challenge now, to harvest what is growing here without causing a row.

Chorus

Fiji Week 7

Sunday June 20, we participated in long boat fun races today, a lot harder than it looks! These are the boats we raced, four person crews.

During dinner we were entertained by the Copra Shed Marina staff performance of traditional Fijian dances, followed by a fire dance and songs.

Later in the evening the karaoke machine was set up, Julian and Debra on s/v Quokka2 performed a great rendition of “A Whiter Shade of Pale”.

Monday June 21, lunch pool party at Daku Resort, it was a very refreshing afternoon!

Our friends on Andy and Alison s/v Venture Lady, we met in Tahiti arrived here on Friday. Today they were allowed out of quarantine and are docked next to us in the marina. We went to dinner with them along with Kate and Graham.

Tuesday June 22, I bought a new sewing machine! (Like I need another one) This one is a new hand crank Singer, made in China. No electricity needed, which is great because there will be no drain on the batteries.

We did provisioning today after a trip to the doctor. We needed letters from a doctor stating we are in good health and have no COVID symptoms. This is for an eVisa for Indonesia. $30 Fijian dollars ($15 USD) total for the visit. He did take our temperature and listen to our hearts.

Dinner at Surf n Turf with Kate, Graham, Alison, Andy and Michael from s/v Peregrine, he’s from San Francisco.

Wednesday June 23, more provisioning for our sail to the southern islands of Fiji. Dinner with Alison and Andy, then played a couple rounds of the dice game Farkle with them.

Thursday June 24. Interesting lesson learned trying to do financial business in a foreign country. Bank wire transfers, not credit cards is the method to purchase between countries, but it comes with an pricy bank fee on our end.

More provisioning today, perishables. Dinner with Alison and Andy, a card game of 99.

Friday June 25, departed Savusavu by 6:45am. It was a rough sail, quite windy, 25-31knots. Arrived around 3:30pm back to Viani Bay, as the majority of the rendezvous group is here.

The rest of the afternoon we submitted papers and forms to obtain an eVisa to enter Indonesia, it may take three weeks to receive it. Chatted a bit with our friends on s/v Falbala who had just arrived in New Caledonia. We will hopefully be buddy boating with them to Indonesia and beyond.

We opted not to join in the Lovo, hosted by the Dive Academy, had a quite evening just the two of us.

Saturday June 26, A few cruisers went on a hike yesterday before we arrived in Viani Bay, to the village of Korodogo. It’s up and over the hill behind the Dive Academy, about 1.25 miles one way. They invited everyone back to a traditional Fijian meal to be held the next day. Everyone brought a dish to pass as well as gifts to the villagers like food, clothing, kava and money presented to Chief Solo.

Fiji Week 6

Sunday June 13, it’s a rainy windy day.

Our family had a picnic at Bens house, (actually it was on Saturday East coast time, Sunday, Fiji time). The adults received the souvenirs we mailed to Bens house, from Tahiti. For the girls a black pearl strung on adjustable length leather rope, the guys a Hinano T-shirts (Tahiti beer) and koozie.

Late afternoon we went over to s/v Barracuda, played cards for several hours with Kate and Graham. Fun night!

*Sourdough Notes* baked a Belle loaf this evening. Ah, the aroma of bread baking!

Monday June 14, 🇺🇸 pancakes for breakfast, I thought today was Sunday! It rained on and off the entire day with breaks of blue sky with sunshine. Back to Barracuda in the evening for more cards.

Tuesday June 15, another great snorkeling afternoon.

For dinner there was a potluck hosted by the Dive Academy, 4 of the 5 sailboats attended. Everyone brought delicious side dishes. Fish, chicken and sausages were grilled.

Wednesday June 16, anchor up by 6:30am, on our way out we were escorted by more than a dozen dolphins.

Destination, back to Savusavu, the Copra Shed Marina. We joined the Bula Fiji Rendezvous when we were in Tahiti. Majority of the boats sailing from French Polynesia and New Zealand have recently arrived. There are several planned activities for the group.

After the welcome ceremony, dinner was served buffet style on the deck, we were entertained with traditional Fijian dances.

Thursday June 17, today’s activities included a walk to the hot springs and the KokoMana Farm and Chocolate Factory. We only did the hot springs as we previously went to KokoMana.

The hot springs here are used primarily by locals for cooking. These springs are also chloride springs fed by sea water, where as most hot springs contain sulfur fed by ground water.

Friday June 18, Bula Rendezvous bus trip to Lambasa. Group photos, one at the Savusavu Bay overlook, the second at the Snake Temple. It however was COVID closed.

We walked around downtown Lambasa then bus ride to the Palmlea Farms Resort for lunch.

Saturday June 19, Happy Birthday Beth!

Waking tour to the market this morning, as well as we found the post office. On the way back we stopped at a Kava mill, where they grind the roots to make Kava Powder.

Fiji Week 5

Sunday June 6, blueberry pancakes for breakfast! For dinner the marina hosted a barbecue for all the boats here.

Monday June 7, provisioning in the morning, then off to Fawn Harbor for the night with Kate and Graham on s/v Barracuda.

Tuesday June 8, departed Fawn Harbor by 8:30am for Viani Bay, arrived around 12:30pm. We had dinner at the Dive Shop along with the 4 other boats that are anchored in the bay.

Wednesday June 9, boat cleaning day. Dinner on Barracuda with Kate and Graham. Kate made a delicious lasagna we brought over a tossed salad.

Thursday June 10, lazy boat day here anchored in Viani Bay. We flew the drone a few times. I was the “catcher”.

11 second video

Friday June 11, another fabulous snorkeling day in Viani Bay!

Another drone flight, 10 second video, Trance

Dinner on Trance with Kate and Graham. I made Chicken Cacciatore with Rice, Kate baked a lemon cake for dessert. No leftovers from this dinner!

Saturday June 12, Dan was about to lubricate a squeaky Ronstan block… with very little effort, the 3/8” screw head broke off. Just “surface rust”? You can loose your head over it!

Sundowners with Ding on s/v Chiquita.

Fiji Week 4

Sunday May 30, blueberry pancakes for breakfast! We video chatted with all our kids. Boat cleaning day, dinner with Mike and Sue here at the marina.

Monday May 31, the infamous FedEx package finally arrived to us! Our friends Kate and Graham on s/v Barracuda of Islay brought along from Tahiti. The package arrived after we left. Our Visa had expired we couldn’t wait for it. It contained movies, important mail, photos, a watch and toilet seat hinges we were unable to find anywhere in French Polynesia.

For dinner, 6 of us went to the Daku Resort, Mike, Sue, Kate, Graham, Dan and I. Small world coincidence, the owner of the resort stopped at our table, turns out she went to school with Kate!

Tuesday June 1, Today we say farewell to our buddy-boat Mike and Sue on s/v Ocean Sapphire. We met them in Tahiti on April 13th, and sailed together for the past 7 weeks. They are sailing home to Australia.

Another rainy day, took a trip to the grocery store for a few items,

Wednesday June 2, another rainy day in paradise! Apparently it rains a lot in eastern Fiji.

Thursday June 3, and another rainy day. Dan went back to the doctor today for his ear. He was given a few different prescriptions. I’ve been feeling a bit under the weather myself. Might have been a touch of food poisoning.

Friday June 4, feeling better today but still not back to normal.

Saturday June 5, Kate and Graham rented a car for the day. We went with them on a road trip across the island to Labasa, the largest city on Vanua Levu.

For dinner 12 of us, 5 boats, went to dinner at the Daku resort. They had a pre fixe meal for us, starting with pumpkin soup, then chicken with mashed potatoes and vegetables finished with a fruit pastry. There was also vegetarian option, stuffed sweet potato.

Namena Bay

Sunday May 23, we arrived in the Bay by 8am, dropped anchor near the island. We are not allowed to go ashore. Namena Bay a Marine Protected Area. It is a barrier reef system home to a variety of rare species of fish, invertebrate, and coral. In February 2016 the eye of Cyclone Winston passed directly over Namena destroying all the buildings. All the trees were knocked down in the strongest winds ever recorded in the Southern hemisphere. It is also a migratory pathway for bottlenose and spinner dolphins, minke, pilot, sperm and humpback whales. Namena is also a major seabird nesting site with approximately 600 pairs of protected red boobies.

Blueberry pancakes for breakfast, today Mike and Sue joined us. We’ve been teasing them for weeks about our Sunday breakfasts. Later we snorkeled.

Monday May 24, it seriously rained most of the day! Where we are anchored is quite protected, with the wind and waves the boat was rocking. A lazy day! We watched a few episodes of “The Big Bang Theory”, we’re now on season 11, the movie “Hillbilly Elegy”, and the four part documentary “This is a Robbery, The Worlds Biggest Art Left“. Also with buttered popcorn of course.

Tuesday May 25, another rainy day here in paradise. Dan slept most of the day. He has an ear infection probably from all the swimming, we have antibiotics on board he’s been taking.

Wednesday May 26, *Sourdough Notes* 1 Belle loaf in the works.

We took a dinghy ride around the small island here in the lagoon.

Later, Mike and Sue came over for sundowners.

Thursday May 27, *Sourdough Notes* baked the loaf of bread in the morning, just as it finished baking, the tank ran out of propane. Good timing! Meanwhile Dan went with Mike and Sue on their dive. Dan was their “driver”, he stayed in the dinghy following them as there is current along the edge of the reef.

Sundowners on Ocean Sapphire. We were joined by s/v Cachalot, Alison and Mike. She’s from Scotland he’s from New Zealand. They arrived here this morning, but have been in Fiji for more than a year.

Friday May 28, another rainy day, Sundowners on Ocean Sapphire with Alison and Mike too.

Saturday May 29, 7:30am we departed Namena, arrived back in Savusavu by 1pm.

Dan was able to see a doctor for his ear, our diagnosis was correct. An outer ear infection, swimmers ear. Liquid antibiotic drops were prescribed.

For dinner we went to the Surf and Turf restaurant on the north side of town. We were joined by four other boats that are here at the marina. There were 15 of us, and were the only patrons there. We are all in the same “bubble” been on boat for more than 14 days, quarantined and COVID tested upon arrival.

Fawn Harbor and Viani Bay

Saturday May 15, with wagon in tow we did a bit of provisioning. Found this nice store on the north end of Savusavu selling fruits and vegetables.

We departed the marina early afternoon and anchored by the reef at entrance to the bay, snorkeled in the shallow water. Mike and Sue are divers so they were along the wall of the reef.

Sunday May 16, departed the reef for Fawn Harbor, it is a very protected bay surrounded with mangroves. Sundowners with Mike and Sue after we arrived.

Monday May 17, we snorkeled in morning by noon we were off to Viani Bay, arrived just before sunset. For dinner I made Ground Beef with chopped cabbage.

Viani Bay is home to the Rainbow Reef it is one of the most famous dive sites in the South Pacific. Also here is The Great White Wall, a popular scuba diving site. It is named because of the white coral that lives between 50 and about 200ft.

Tuesday May 18, did some snorkeling, best coral we’ve ever seen.

There are 7 boats here in Viani Bay. Last night 5 of us, boats, gathered on s/v Pogeyan, Rich and Michelle from Kansas, for sundowners.

Wednesday May 19, boat projects today plus we checked out the error code my camera is flashing Err. The code indicates the camera body is not communicating with the lenses. We cleaned the contacts, still has an error 😞.

Dan and Mike dove down to our anchor checking on it.

Sundowners gathering on s/v Ocean Sapphire.

Thursday May 20, rainy morning. Several of the divers went out early to dive the White Wall. Dan went along too. He kept the guide company and also snorkeled a bit. 5 of 7 boats here are divers. Michelle took some awesome photos of the dive, you can see them here and here. The other 2 boats, we snorkel.

Dive Academy Fiji here in the bay, prepared a Lovo for all of us. A lovo is an underground oven used as a traditional Fijian method of cooking food in large quantities. A Fijian version of a barbeque or grilling, with smoky flavors. A variety of meats and vegetables are wrapped in foil and banana leaves and placed on hot rocks lining a shallow pit dug into the earth. The food is covered and left to slow-cook in the steamy oven to produce a traditional Fijian feast.

On the menu, Watercress salad, Tubua with miti (that’s the Fijian spinach, with the coconut sauce), Dalo (tarot) and Kasava (tavioka) served with a pesto from basil with Kotta (coconut cheese) and peanuts. Pumpkin in coconut, Ika (fish) wrapped in banana leaves and stuffed with lemon before going in the lovo, served with miti. Bull makau (beef) kovu (a hot pot with beef, also cooked in banana leaves in an iron pot), Toa (chicken). And we finished with a pudding crumble, Also on the tables were Basil water, mint water, Fiji Sea Salt. All the food was spiced with differently flavored sea salts. Everything was delicious!

We purchased 2 different bags of flavored sea salts, Pesto and Lime.

Friday May 21, it rained pretty much all day, in the afternoon we streamed “News of the Day” staring Tom Hanks, on Netflix.

*Sourdough Notes* started a Belle loaf today to bake Saturday morning.

Saturday May 22, in the bay here there is a coral farm run by the Dive Shop. It is a forbidden area to fish or be in. This morning along with 3 others and 2 paid guides, we snorkeled the area as they explained about the growth on the farm.

Savusavu, Fiji

Saturday May 8, Savusavu is located on the south coast of Vanua Levu Island, the second largest island in Fiji.

it rained most of the night, off and on all day. Great time to get my blog post published. While on passage, I write them in “Notes”, them transfer to WordPress when we have internet.

Sunday May 9, Happy Mother’s Day🌹, Dan made blueberry pancakes for breakfast!

we walked around town. Most places are closed on Sundays.

We had dinner at the restaurant here at the marina.

Monday May 10, we resealed the teak rails with Semco teak sealer.

Our buddies were released from quarantine. Had sundowners and dinner with them.

Tuesday May 11, we are waiting to get out Fiji islands cruising permit and flag. The flag is to let inhabitants of the other islands know we are COVID free. There was a bit of confusion as to who was to do the paperwork, the marina or our agent. They both said the other one was to do it. In the end our agent came through and she’s doing the papers.

Rained off and on most of the day. We joined Mike and Sue at The Captains Table for dinner, this restaurant is at the marina. The crew of s/v Swell was there too, a fun evening. The food here is exceptional!

Wednesday May 12, walked to town with our wagon. Stopped at a few stores picked up provisions, fruit and beverages.

The code sail was brought to the lawn to “unroll” it, it was very tightly wound, back on Day 11, the halyard broke. We had some communication with Harken regarding this furling device. They basically said the cable should be tight but not as tight as a guitar string. Dan is going to add another turning block we’ll see how this goes. Our overpriced high maintenance sail, the saga continues.

Later we went to dinner with Mike and Sue at Snowy House & Grace Road Kitchen, it’s an organic food restaurant.

Thursday May 13, Cruising permit issued! “Blue Lane” is a program to bring yachts to Fiji COVID safely. It also shows other islands within Fiji that we are COVID free.

*Sourdough Notes* baked a Belle loaf this morning. the dough was quite billowy so it was baked in a cast iron pan opposed to a loaf pan.

Together with Mike and Sue, we we toured the KokoMana Farm and Chocolate Factory. Cocoa is grown under best practice ecological principles. The tour covered the full process from “tree to bar”, concluding with chocolate tastings. A very similar process to coffee. Needless to say we purchased several bars. 85%, 70%, 70% with sea salt, fudge and Cocoa nibs. We will ration this stash as we did before, 1 bar every Sunday and Thursday.

Friday May 14, to market to purchase Kava. When visiting a local village, it is customary to bring some as a gift to the community as a token of respect.

Kava is made from the roots of a relative of the pepper plant and has been used by Pacific Island cultures for centuries. The roots are pounded into a fine powder and then mixed with water, served in a large wooden communal bowl.

The broken halyard was restrung down the mast. Codey was then raised at the dock. While attempting to furl it, if the cable was tight, it furled from the bottom up. When the halyard was slightly loosened, the top rope twisted, the furler was not spinning, that’s how it broke halyards. Another email was sent to both Harken and North Sails. Something is not right, we’ll never has been right since the sail was purchased.

Quarantined

Friday May 7, Day 1 of Quarantine in the books!

The yellow floating thing is how they “locked” us the quarantine area. Our boat with a full keel and protected prop and rudder, I’m sure we could scoot over it.

Day 2 of Quarantine. This morning we were released!!! Motored over across the river to the marina. There we waited for Immigration, Customs and Bio-Security to board our boat before we could get off. Passports stamped all is well!

Purchased a SIM card at the ships store so we can be connected! As we walked around the complex here we spotted s/v Swell. They were in quarantine with us. Jim and Shannon, their their two adult daughters and a son in-law, from Hawaii. We joined them at a picnic table at the dock restaurant for about 6 hours, lunch, dinner and several adult beverages. Great time!!!

Bula Fiji- Day 20

Thursday , May 6 9:00am local time, we arrived in Savusavu, Fiji. Greeted by the Fiji Navy we were escorted to the quarantine area where we’ll waited for the Health Ministry to come administer COVID tests. We will need to stay here until the results are available, within 72 hours. There is currently one other boat in quarantine who arrived shortly before us. A catamaran from Hawaii. 2 more boats are expected tomorrow, one of which is our buddy s/v Ocean Sapphire.

COVID tests in the afternoon by the Health Ministry.

The Fiji Navy delivered the most beautiful flowers to us, Mother’s Day flowers and card from Beth, Kevin, Max and Dylan.

The rest of the day was spent cleaning the inside of the boat. Collecting items to be laundered, R & R.

*Iridium Go Notes*

Arrived in Savusavu, Fiji

Thu 6/May 09:20 GMT+12

16º 46.553 S  179º 19.951 E

Arrived in Savusavu,Fiji on the island of Vanua Levu. All is well. Waiting for clearance and COVID Testing.