Thursday, June 30, 2011

Sugar City

Hello All,
We made it to Latoka without much problem. We had light winds so we motored the whole way. We had to travel 26 miles to get here so it wasn't far. When we arrived there was a few boats in the anchorage but we managed to anchor close to the wharf. I don't have a big dingy so the closer to land the better. Alex and I went to town and checked out all that was going on, not much I will add. This is the second biggest city in Fiji mostly surviving on sugar cane exports. They have a massive amount of sugar that leaves this port and supplies most of the South Pacific.
After exploring town we came back to the boat and had a really nice steak dinner with a salad I bought in town. It has been a while since we had that kinda meal.
We will leave for Vuda Point Marina in the morning to get the boat parked for a bit to look for crew.
That's all for now.


Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Vatia Bay, Fiji

Hello All,
We left Nananu I cake Island this morning and headed west along the North shore of Veti Vevu. I have the GPS route from other cruiser but surprisingly the inside reef channel was well marked and was easy to see with a beautiful sunny day. The wind was blowing 20 knots on a beam reach most of the way so we put up the stay sail to help our speed. I do not sail when I am inside reefs. One, your always turning to follow the passage so you have to adjust sails all the time and two, you can not maneuver the boat as well if some thing like a reef jumps out in front of you.
We made the 27 mile passage in 5 hours and found a beautiful little bay lined with mangroves. We dropped the anchor in 17 feet mud bottom. Alex made a very good dinner and we watched a movie tonight.
We will head for Latoka in the morning and hope to get there at 1400. It looks like it is going to be another nice day so life is good.

That's all for now folks.


Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Nananu Cake Island

Hello All,
We made it to the North East coast of Vet Levu today at 1400. We left Naingani Island at 0730 so we made pretty good time. The weather was much better, sunny with just one squall that hit us. The wind on the other hand was quiet boisterous so I kept the sails down because of the proximity of the reefs and the narrow passages we had to follow along the coast. We made good time with the wind at our back most of the time so we traveled 35 miles in 6.5 hours.
When we arrived at the anchorage there was already a boat here. I saw they had an American flag so we went over to say hello. David and Suzy on there 39 foot boat Sidewinder. They are from California and have been cruising 2 and a half years. They left there boat here in Fiji for the Cyclone Season last year and are now out cruising the Islands. We chatted for a time and they are very interested in the route we took over here so they will stop by tonight and look at my route. They will be doing opposite than us so they wanted to see how to get where we have already been.
David told us about a resort a mile from here so after our little chat Alex and I took the dingy a mile around the Island next door. We just took a little walk and had a few beers and just watched the surf. This resort caters to kite surfers so everyone there had been out in the 20 plus knot winds letting a kite pull them around on a surf board. We talked to an American guy that was there for a few days to have some fun. He is an airline Pilot based out of Guam and he had a few days lay over here. It is amazing who you run into in the middle of know where.
We will leave in the morning making our way to Latoka.
That's all for now.


Monday, June 27, 2011

Day 2 on Naingani Island

Hello All,
We are still here safely anchored off Naingani Island. Last night at the time of writing my blog the rain stopped and the wind came down to calm so I thought the worst of the low was passing. At 0300 this morning I was awakened by the boat moving from side to side and the rigging streaking with the sound of wind, heaps of wind and rain. I got up to take a look and it was pitch black outside so I turned on the GPS to see if we had moved and everything looked okay. We dropped the anchor in 20 feet sand bottom when we arrived and we both inspected the anchor while swimming and the holding is very good here. It still doesn't make me sleep any easier so I basically stayed up till light and have been reading and taking a nap or 2 all day. Not long after I got up I looked to see the dingy was okay but was getting light in the bow from the gusts of wind. The next time I looked 20 minutes later I saw that it had capsized from a gust topping 45 knots, so I got Alex up and we got it up on deck and got it tied down. A rule that I learned a long time ago in the Margueses Islands, if you want to keep anything that is in the dingy, have it tied off, if you don't want to keep it, don't tie it off. The outboard got drowned again so in between rain down pours and wind gusts I got the oil changed and the water out of the gas. That poor thing, I hope it will make this trip till I get home.
The wind has let up and the rain off and on so maybe we can leave for the main land tomorrow. I have been watching the weather and this low is moving through slower than predicted but we will see. An old mariner, my best friend Daren, once told me, 90 percent of the time you will wait for weather and only 10 percent of the time the boat moves. That has been holding pretty true. I have been waiting 48 hours to go 25 miles. If it was easy, every one would do it, right?
That's all for now.


Saturday, June 25, 2011

Weathered In Naigani

Hello All,
We are still anchored off the north shore of Naingani Island. The weather turned to crap last night, heavy rain and 25 knot winds. I want the visibility to navigate my route around the northern shore of Veti Levu and today was not it. I have a GPS track from someone that has done this trip but as the old saying goes "seeing is believing". I down loaded the weather and it looks like this will pass in 24 hours so we will try again in the morning. This is a very nice anchorage so it didn't break our hearts to stay one more day. We didn't do much today, just watched coconuts grow and have been doing some reading.
I will keep you posted.


Naigani Island

Hello All,
We arrived here yesterday and as I thought we would stay another day. Beautiful days and clear water made my mind up. We walked along the west beach, not an easy walk over boulders but 45 minutes from here is a resort. We found the place and had a visit from a few folks on holiday. It is amazing, you think you are alone but there is a resort close by. After talking to a few folks the tide was coming back in so we headed back to the north side of the Island where we left the boat. We returned and got the snorkel gear out, went to the closest reef and took a look, not the greatest I have seen but very nice for sure.
We are by ourselves here so it is very nice to be alone.
We will leave for the East coast of the main Island tomorrow, Veti Levu so I figured this would be it for swimming for a while. The North coast doesn't offer much for swimming but that's just what I have been told, we will see.
That's all for now.

P.S. We caught a 15 pound Mai Mai on our way across the Koro Sea. We had it for dinner yesterday and lunch today. It was nice to catch a fish again.
Talk to you soon.


Friday, June 24, 2011

Arrived Naingani Island, West Viti Levu

Hello All,
After spending all night crossing the Koro Sea we were invited to Naingani Island with a rain storm, so much so that we had to heave to for 45 minutes before we could enter the anchorage. After it passed I was amazed of the beauty of the Island and the reefs all around. It's not a big Island and where we anchored on the north side is a nice little cove. I am told there is a resort close by but we only saw a few kayaks paddling around. We are both very tired so did limited swimming but the coral looks very nice and we may spend one more day exploring the reefs around.
The water is so clear here that just by looking off of the boat I can see if the anchor is set, just a word to the wise, always paint your anchor white so it is easy to see on the bottom.
Our crossing was good but we left to early. We left at 0900 and had awesome wind but we were going to make it here to fast so we reefed everything and got the boat to slow down. As it turns out the wind died down so we had to motor in anyway. Such as life I guess. This is an amazing place and if we don't leave in the morning I will tell you more about it tomorrow.


Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Tavoro Water Falls, Taveuni Island

Hello All,
We started the day with not big expectations, just because everything of interest on the Island requires transport. It is a big Island and because of our short stay that didn't give us much time to explore by foot or by sea and all of the spectacular scenery is miles away.
We met up with Wendy this morning, she was our tour guide yesterday but I could not remember her Fijian name so that's here nickname used by most of the village. She took us to a waterfall not to far away and we went for a swim in fresh cool water. After that we went back to town and we met a guy that was talking to her and he asked what we were doing and how long we would be staying. Then he learned we would be leaving soon he told her that he had a car and would be willing to take us to the Tavoro waterfalls for 50 Fijian round trip with his Toyota. He told her, in Fijian, that anyone visiting the Island has to see the waterfalls, otherwise they haven't been here. So with some thought we took him up on the offer and we were on our way 30 miles around the Island to see the falls.
The long and the short of it is, we made it to the falls and they were awesome. I didn't take my camera but Alex did and he has some good photos of all of us.
There were 3 sets of falls and we saw all 3. The bottom one was easy but the other 2 we had to hike to and the trail was good. He brought us back to Wendy's place where we had another Fijian dinner.
We said our goodbye's tonight and we will be on our way to Viti Vevu in the morning.
We have to cross the Koro sea for all the day and night and land at a fabulous place in the end, 90 miles away from here.

I will keep you up dated.


Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Taveuni, Garden Island of Fiji

Hello All,
We left Viani Bay at 0845 this morning and made our way to the Island of Taveuni, they call it the garden Island of Fiji. It is a very tall Island with waterfalls and dense forests. It took us 2.5 hours to get over here due to the strong current that runs through Somo Somo Strait. We anchored in front of the small town of Somo Somo. We got the anchor set and went to the beach. We took a walk around and within an hour we were invited into a Fijian home. We visited for a bit then asked if there was a waterfall close by. They told us yes but it's more of a water slide. Joe the father of the house hold told us that his daughter could take us there. She is 21 and very sweet, we had a nice time visiting while we walked the 2 miles to get there. It was really cool, the river runs down smooth rocks with ponds at the bottom so you can ride the river like on a slide, a good time was had by all. After returning to the road we walked further down to a really nice church. It is a Catholic school so kids were playing and having a good time. We caught a cab back so we wouldn't spend till evening trying to return.
We were invited to dinner tonight at Joe's place and had the traditional Fijian dinner. I will try to explain what they eat on another blog.
We will take a walking tour to another waterfall tomorrow so it should be a good day.
Talk to you soon.


Monday, June 20, 2011

Anchoring off a Reef

Hello All,
Today Alex and I took the dingy across the bay to look for the Fisher family that owns all of the property here. I read about them in one of my guide books so we thought we would go to shore to say hello. We landed the boat at a beautiful home that I thought belonged to the Fisher's but turns out it belongs to an American guy. He was not there but we were told by a gal that looks after the place that he was helping someone at a place close by. We asked her about the Fisher's and she told us where to go. We took a 10 minute walk via the beach and came across a home and we heard them yelling at us, come up here! We went up to say hello and they introduced them selves as Jack and Sophie Fisher. They fed us lunch and Jack told us about himself and we had a nice visit. He is Fijian and was born and raised right here in Viani Bay. He is a well educated man and has toured all through the Fijian Islands, has a Captains License and knows the waters very well. He has moorings for yachts to use by his place and welcomes them with open arms. He also helps yachts with what ever they need, guided tours of the Island or diving the waters. This bay has some very famous dive spots and Jack knows where they are. As a young man he did diving for a living.
We asked him about snorkeling and he said no problem, get your boat over here at my place and I will meet you at the mooring with my row boat and I will take you there on Freestyle. So Alex and I took the dingy back to the boat, which was anchored the next bay over. We got the anchor up and motored over to his moorings which was a mile from where we were. He joined the boat and we took Freestyle to the outer reef 2 miles from here. Jack has done this with heaps of other boats so he told me to relax, I know what I am doing. Basically we were taking my boat to a fringing reef where the depth goes from 100 feet to 2 feet in a distance of 30 feet. He had a special sandy spot on a slope in 10 feet of water, then you loop out to the deep and let the chain grab onto a few coral heads and if you put out just enough chain the boat will stay off of the reef. I questioned his technique but it worked out beautifully. We had a very good time snorkeling the reef and Jack followed us around with the dingy. We returned right before dark and he gave us bananas and a few other things. We thanked him for the tour and we said good bye. They are both wonderful people and I hope to see them again someday.
We will head for Taveuni Island tomorrow about 6 miles from here. Taveuni is the place that I was talking about in the last blog. It is a high Island with water falls and is a very popular destination by yachties and tourists alike so we will go check that out.
That's all for now, talk to you soon.


Sunday, June 19, 2011

Made it to Viani Bay, Vanua Levu Island

Hello All,
It took us 3 hours to make it to the south east coast of Vanua Levu Island from Fawn Harbor. We must have had the currents with us because I figured it would be a 5 hours trip. We anchored in deep water in the east bay at 65 feet sand bottom. There is coral reefs all around which we will look at more tomorrow. I am told there is a family that owns all of the shore line here and we will chat with them tomorrow. They have a house just a mile from here at the head of the bay. We used the engine all the way over here, the sea was flat and no wind. After making it through the reef pass we found the anchorage without an issue. It is a beautiful place and flat calm for wind and seas.
I will fill you in on what we find out.
That's all for now all is well.


Saturday, June 18, 2011

Fawn Harbor

Hello All,
We traveled 30 miles today to a nice quiet anchorage on the south coast of Vanua Levu. The wind was light but in our face the whole way so I had to motor. We left Savu Savu at 1000 and got here at 1700. We had to maneuver a small pass to get in here but it was still good light and I had way points for the GPS to enter so it was no problem. We will spend the night here and then go 16 miles further east to a famous bay called Viani Bay. I am told the coral and the water are world class so we are looking forward to that. We have 16 more miles to go so we will get an early start and hope to get in the bay in the early afternoon.
There is another famous place we will see before leaving the south east coast of Vanua Levu but I will leave you on pins and needles and fill you in later when we get there.
On a side note, most of these places are uncharted or very vague on a chart so I have collected since last year what we call snail trails on a GPS. A Snail trail is way points and positions done by a previous boat and has saved the info on a plotter or computer to give to others to use for safe navigation. There is always doubt so you always come in with the sun behind you. The water is very clear so you see the hazards most of the time. If it was easy everyone would do it.
We will be off to Viani Bay in the morning and when I get in I will tell you how everything went.
That's all for now.


Thursday, June 16, 2011

Savu Savu

Hello All,
I am still here in Savu Savu. I have had some crew changes in the last 24 hours. Renaud from Quebec is hopping on another boat bound for Australia. He is working on a ticket for Skipper and this other boat will give him more sea miles than I can in a short amount of time. They plan to be in Australia in a months time so it works out better for him than Island hoping around Fiji like I am doing. Alex will be on the boat till July 4th where he will fly home to France from Nadi Airport on Viti Levu. After that I will be looking for someone to get me to Vanuatu and beyond, I hope.
Latoka is a good place to look for crew so something will work out.
My friend Brad I met in New Zealand arrived today from Tonga on his 45 foot "Windy", so we hung out most of the day visiting. I will see what there plans are for tomorrow so I think I will stay a few more days.
Anyone back home want to go sailing? hehe.
That's all for now so I will talk to you soon.

P.S. I updated my locations so take a look and see where I have been.


Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Mud Crab Fishing

Hello All,
Yesterday afternoon I went over to visit with a boat from Sitka Alaska. Chuck and Joan on a 32 foot Hans Christian named Tender Spirt. She came by the boat the other day and Invited me to visit so I finally made the time to do so. Chuck was born in Wrangell and Joan's Father was military so she has been over the state. Chuck is retired from the Alaska Railroad and commercial fished Southeast Alaska and Joan is a teacher. They spent the Cyclone season in the Marshall Islands last year and she got a job teaching school there. They said the place is very poor and didn't enjoy it all that much but it was an experience. We chatted for a few hours, It was really good to hear Alaska stories out here in Paradise.
They will spend a year in Fiji then work there way back up North. I am sure I will run into them here in Fiji at some point before I leave.
The guys were in town and came and picked me up, they had arranged a fishing trip with a local guy named Kim and a few of his buddies out the road about 10 miles to fish for mud crabs. They are not very big but if your lucky you can catch heaps and make a meal out of it. You fish for them in the dark and in a stream. We try ed for hours but had no luck but we caught enough reef fish for a meal so we went back to Kim's place and had a great dinner. He is Fijian Indian so it was pretty spicy for my taste but was still very good.
We got back to the boat at midnight, It was a good day had by all.
We will leave here tomorrow weather permitting and find some good places to go play in the water.
Thats all for now. Talk to you later.


Monday, June 13, 2011

Walking tour Vanua Levu

Hello All,
We went for a 15 mile walk yesterday, wasn't suppose to be that long but just kept going. We walked over the hills to the south side of the Island and took a road and the beach all the way around the West side of the Island. We ended up on the point of Vanua levu to a resort owned by Jean Michel Cousteau, It has an open bar so I had a Mai tie, first one in a while and it was good after all of the walking.
Today I ran into Steve, jon and my friend from last year. We went out to the Island right by where I am moored and hung out with a few of this friends. Alex and Renaud went to look at a water fall not far from here by bus. I wanted to talk to Steve so I stayed behind to visit.
Steve left on the ferry tonight to a resort his wife works at. He got a degree for tourism so he left to go work with his wife on an Island not far from Suva. We had a really good visit and met his uncle, a really cool guy that lives right here in town. Steve's uncles name is Sunny and i plan to visit with him again,
All is well in Savu Savu so I will talk to you soon.


Friday, June 10, 2011

Savu Savu, Vanua Levu Island

Hello All,
We left Koro Island at 0800 yesterday and had one of the best sail passages of my whole trip. We had 15 knots steady on a beam reach, (wind from the side), seas were about 3 feet and the boat never went below 6 knots. It was a beautiful day also so I got a tan haha. It took us 5 hours to cover 30 miles, we were all very happy. We got in and got a mooring at the same place I was at last year and checked in with customs then we explored around town.
We went out for a few hours last night and I went back to the boat, the guys came along later. They are moving pretty slow today, I guess they didn't learn there lesson in Levuka.
We will be here for 5 days and then head to the east of Vanua Levu, I guess there is world class snorkeling there from what a few of the cruisers have told me.
I will keep you updated as usual on the up coming events.
Talk to you later


In Savu Savu

Hello All,
We had a beautiful sail north to Savu Savu, the wind was in our favor so we made 30 miles in 7 hours, we were pleased and right before we got in we caught a mai mai on the fishing line. We had a great dinner with the fish and then we went out for the night life. I came back early and the guys are still out but a good time had by all.
This place is just how I remember but I will drop it down a notch and enjoy the things I missed last time.
I will fill you in on what I have planed in a few days.
Thats all for now and I will keep in touch.


Thursday, June 9, 2011

Hiking Koro Island

Hello All,
The last 2 days we have hiked the whole north coast of the Island, Yesterday we went to the village east of us and presented our Sevu Sevu to the chief. We got a little lost and hiked all the way up one of the hills that separates us from the village. It was suppose to be a 2 mile walk and I think we made it 3 or 4 the way we went, but it was good we got to see allot of the jungle. haha. When we got there we met the chief and then a few villagers showed us around. There are 200 people that live in the village and they told us there are 13 other villages around the Island.
In the last few years there has been some property that has been subdivided and so a few resorts and Private owners have been buying land and building vacation homes or moving here permanently. We met a guy today on one of our hikes to a resort about 3 miles from here. He is origanally from Australia but has been working as an airline pilot and now lives in Colorado. He bought a place here for a retirement home for him and his wife. He hired all of the men out of the village today to build a stone sea wall. We had a nice chat with him and the workers.
Fiji has been trying really hard to make some money for there country so more and more property has been privatly sold. Mel Gibson even owns and Island in the Lau Group.
We will head off for Savu Savu in the morning. It is a 30 mile trip due north so should be good for sailing.
On a side note, Since leaving New Zealand I have traveled 1200 miles and have burned 1 gallon of diesel fuel. Not bad huh, someone do the math on that and tell me how many miles to the gallon I am getting.
Thats all for now.


Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Anchored on Koro Island, Fiji

Hello All,
We made the 30 mile trip to Koro Island in 7 hours. The wind was in our favor so we were able to sail the whole way and it was a beautiful sunny day. We made it through the reefs with out any trouble in the light and got anchored on the north west side of the Island. When we got here we spotted some locals riding horses on the beach, it is the first time I have seen horses in Fiji. After we were settled in Renaud went for a swim to the beach and the locals let him ride the horse for a bit. He offered for all of us the rent the horses for the day so we are thinking about it. I haven't been on a horse in years so this could be fun, we will see.
That is all for now and I will let you know what happens. We will be here for a few days then on to Savu Savu.


Sunday, June 5, 2011

Mokagai Island

(this should be read before the last one I posted)

Hello All,
We left Levuka at 1000 and had a slow but good sail north to Makogai Island. It took us 5 hours to go 16 miles and we didn't use the engine except to get into the anchorage. The Dutch couple that was anchored by us came up here also. We had a sundowner with them last night and went snorkeling together today. The coral was very alive with lots of color and shape. This Island was a Leper colony for many years till the 1960's and there is lots of ruins left over. The Island itself has 50 people and 9 families that live here. They are working on replanting there clam population which has been wiped out by over fishing so they are working to replenish that. We will be here a few days to look around and then move on to Koro Island to the North.
The weather has been hot and sunny, nice to be in Paradise again.


Walking tour of Mokogai Island

Hello All,
The guys took a swim this morning and after they returned we went to the village to do some hiking around. We went up to a peak that over looks the anchorage and the reef all around, it was beautiful. I got some good pictures so I will post when I can. After that we took a hike to the south of the Island where there is a small village. We met the head master of the small school there, he and his wife showed us around. After the tour they invited us to his home and they fed us lunch. They were wonderful people and I got there address to sent them a photo that I took. They gave us some fruits and coconuts and we headed back to the boat.
There is only about 50 people that live on this Island so I think we met almost all of them. The guys are in the village tonight, they were going out with a few of the locals to try and catch coconut crabs, I'll look forward to hearing about this adventure.
We will leave on Tuesday morning for Koro Island, it is very small in population also so we are seeing real Fiji here.
That's all for now so I will talk to you later.


Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Leaving Levuka

Hello All,
We have been here for a week and have had a wonderful time with the people here. It is typical Fiji style welcoming any visitors into there homes and feeding you and showing you the way they live. We will visit 2 other Islands on our way up to Savu Savu. I will give you the positions so you can look at them on Google Earth. The first Island we will visit is Makogai Island 16 miles north of here. 17 26.87S 178 57.84E These Islands only have very small villages and only a few people live on them so it will be nice to get out of town and do some swimming and exploring. We will spend a few days there and then move on to Koro Island. 17 16.68S 179 23.93E . We will end up in Savu Savu by next weekend and figure out where to go from there.
This Islands were recommended by a cruising couple I met in Savu Savu last year. Eric and Emmy off of the sailboat "Nataraja", I also ran into them in New Zealand over the summer as they went there to cruise around for the tropical cyclone season. They have spent allot of time cruising Alaska and Eric lived there for years and had family in Soldotna. They are actually heading back to Alaska via Hawaii and I think they plan to have there boat in Homer this year, small world huh! I have been keeping in touch by email with them and they are in Tonga right now.
We have been anchored with only one other cruising boat here in Levuka. They are from Holland and have been cruising for 7 years now. We have chatted a little and they are very nice. They will be visiting the same Islands as us so I hope to visit with them more when we get out there.
Thats all for now so I will fill you in as we go North.