Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Making Memories!

It is amazing how fast time is going and how much fun we are having exploring Fiji!
Double rainbow over Long Dick's Bay...

Moondance finally escaped the Fiji Triangle (Denarau, Musket Cove, Vuda Point) and started trekking north.

Happily, we are traveling with our good mates Jude and Grant on s/v Blinder - such a treat and so much laughter.

Jude Skurfing and giggling!
We spent our first night at Long Dick's Bay (named because of the shape...).

Great place for an overnighter.

Then continued on to Nananu-i-Cake with hopes of a chance for kitesurfing lessons.

The wind always blows and gusts around here!

Lessons didn't work out, but we still had a great time sharing sundowners, playing cards, and exploring with Blinder and  new friends on Sharpe Focus - so much laughter.
Late night arrival

Next, we all headed out for the island of Makogai.

Capt Doug adventuring in our new dinghy
Almost made it, but we turned back to Nananu-i-Cake.

Blinder was having engine issues and we followed.

They had an amazing sail back to our anchorage.  We motor/sailed and came in just before dark - whew.

Jude making smiles!
A long day for all, but happy to report that all issues were resolved the next day!

Exploring Nananu-i-Ra
No complaints - just gave us more time to explore the Nananu-i-Ra area.

Which included a provisioning run to Rakiraki.
Provisioning trip to Rakiraki

We were out of beer - hah!

And fresh fruit and veggies would be a nice treat too.
Enjoying drinks at Safari Lodge
Thanks to Warren from Safari Lodge for the ride back and forth to Ellington Worth.

Much easier than taking our own dinghies - we would have been soaked.
Cool path to the water

Walkabout around Nananu
We decided to head to Savusavu via a different route across Bligh Waters.

It was a good route from Nananu-i-Ra to Naisonisoni pass, but a very long bumpy day.

Our route  - gotta pay attention
We were very happy to drop our anchors and rest.

Thanks to our friends on Tanga for sharing the route!
Rainbow over Copra Shed Marina

Now we are back in lovely Savusavu.

It is good to be back visiting all of our favorite places and catching up with the Yachties.

Savusavu has changed a lot since Cyclone Winston blew thru in February, but I will talk more about that later..

Tomorrow, we are flying to Suvu for a few days for a mini-vacation. 

Then off to the islands we go.  Hoping to see Taveuni, Rabi, Bud's Reef, etc. 

We need to get moving again!

Monday, June 27, 2016

Enjoying the beautiful Blue Lagoon!

It took us much longer than expected, but we are finally out sailing around the Fiji Islands - yeah!

Blue Lagoon anchorage
It feels wonderful to be out exploring new places again. Our friends Jude and Grant (s/v Blinder) helped get us moving - we were stuck - hah!
Great view from the top

The famous Blue Lagoon is only about 70 miles from Port Denarau Marina (our home base), but it took us two days of motor/sailing.

Beautiful day for a sail!
Lots of blue skies and moderate winds, but no fish were harmed (unfortunately).
Jude and Grant enjoying a swim

We spent one night anchored off the spit between Waya and Wayasewa.
Sunrise at Wayasewa

Good place to rest and get an early start - hence the sunrise shot!

Reef watching!

Sailing thru the Mamanuca and Yasawa islands is challenging.

So many reefs - so we are always on the look out, plus using all of our charting software.  It can get a little exciting at times!
Cruising the Blue Lagoon

But, so far, the journey has always been rewarded with a stunning place to drop the anchor and relax.

Perfect place to watch the sunset

And, that is exactly what we are doing now anchored in the famous Blue Lagoon just off the island of Nanuya Lailai Island.

Other side of the island

Enjoying visiting with the Yachties, Happy Hours at the Boathouse Nanuya, walks, a little swimming and snorkeling, etc..

Even hosted a brunch with friends.  Doug made coconut pancakes (yum) and everyone brought goodies to go along.

Out for a walk!
Nice way to start Sunday Funday!
Flower or weed?  Still pretty!

We will be here a few more days and then start our way back to Port Denarau.

Doug has to make a Visa run to Vanuatu - oh boy - and then we can hit the islands again.

Enjoy the rest of the pictures!
Celebrating our 34th Anniversary with Friends

Crowd at the Fiji Pro Surf Championship

Fun watching these guys surf!

Jude, Grant, and Doug at the Barbie
Tennis anyone?

Beautiful bougainvillea

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Let the Good Times Roll!

Now that the cyclone season is officially over, it is time for some fun!

Plus, it is time to help Fiji rebuild.  So, we have been doing both.
Angry Bird?  No way!

Sea Mercy has been receiving tons of good stuff from New Zealand (and other parts of the world).

All to be distributed to the Fijian villages that were hit hardest by Cyclone Winston.
Everyone helping

We have helped in the Sea Mercy warehouse, unpacking, packing, sorting and piling.

So much wonderful (and interesting) stuff.
Happy with his lollipop

Can't help thinking of all of the families that cleaned out their closets to help. Pretty amazing.
Good stuff for the villages

We were part of the delivery crew that took two vehicles full of supplies (building material, food, clothing, etc.) up to the northern region of Ra.

There are three villages that are only accessible by boat, so we rendezvoused with their long boats and made the transfer.

What Big Smiles we received!

Nice to be moving again
Along the 7+ hour trip, we saw lots of damage, but also saw lots of rebuilding.  Fiji is making a comeback.

Then out to Musket Cove for some Island Time - so happy we did!
Perfect bottom scrubbing weather
A world of difference between Malolo Island and mainland Fiji.

Love that beautiful white sand and crystal blue water.

We have missed it!
Lunch date at the Funky Fish

Plus, we got to visit with old friends, walk around our favorite places, play in the water (scrub the bottom), and so much more.

Beautiful Musket Cove...
As always, just wish we could have stayed longer. Next time!
Loving my Michelada

Our plans this cruising season are to head to the northern islands of Fiji and explore some remote areas.  Like:

Taveuni, Rabi Island, Budd Reef, and more fantastic places.

Now, we are busy getting Moondance ready to go sailing again - yeah!

Monday, April 11, 2016

Storm Chasers?

Definitely not us, but we have had our share of tracking them this year!

Since our return from New Zealand, the SPCZ has been active north of us and that always means trouble with a "Capitol T". Plus, our water temperatures are very warm - another bad sign.

We receive weather information from Port Denarau and Vuda Point Marinas, plus our research, and the scuttlebutt around Happy Hour.  So, we have lots of data - sometimes too much!

At one time, we had 3 tropical depressions we were watching.  The last one, Zena, actually turned into a cyclone but just for a short time as it swiftly passed Fiji.  But, after the all the worry and hype, it was a non-event.  Thankfully.  30+ winds for 3 hours and a just a little rain.  Amazing after all of that prep work and worrying.

Always good to see a rainbow!
The most wind we had was from an "unexpected low" that passed over bringing 45+ knots of wind.  No one was ready for that one.  One of the boats on the moorings unraveled its chain off of the mooring and drug over to C Dock.  Yikes.  After that, the marina closed the mooring field and everyone had to come to the dock or go up the mangrove creek.  Everyone worked together to get to the boats moved and secured.

We chose to stay on the dock - with lots of lines.  We were happy with the choice.  We were able to help other boats, plus walk around when the weather permitted.  Plus, it is very social on the dock.

Our biggest mistake, not buying beer and diet cokes when we could!  Plus, we ran out of fruit, veggies, and other interesting stuff.  We should have been better prepared - we have been spoiled by daily shopping.

Flooding was the worst part of all of this.  Nadi and Ba rivers breached their banks and the towns flooded.  The locals headed to the hills.  Nadi town reportedly had 11' of water in town.  Most of the businesses in Denarau Marina were closed - workers couldn't get thru the flooded areas.  The few businesses that were open serving limited menus and beer - yeah.  A good excuse for us to get off the boat.  The workers that were here had to sleep where they worked, but seemed to be well taken care of.

Sea Mercy sorting thru tons of stuff from New Zealand
First the cyclone and then the flooding.  Sea Mercy, plus all of the other charities, are going to be busy for a long time.

The Fijians are still smiling - they are amazing!

Hopefully, that is the last of our Storm Chasing for the year and we can go and have some island fun.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Our New Zealand Adventure!

We had an excellent time circumnavigating the North Island. No time for the South Island - we were too busy!
Strolling along the Viaduct
Besides our road trip around the North Island, we spent lots of time hanging with friends and exploring the big city of Auckland.

Jude and Grant (s/v Blinder) invited us to stay with them in St. Heliers - Thank You!
Hanging with Jude at her favorite cafe

They were excellent hosts, plus touring us around the neighborhoods and introducing us to the locals.

We loved it.

Beautiful beaches along Auckland
The beaches are wonderful and I swear everyone swims - no matter what the water temperature is.  Crazy!

There are also great walking and bike paths everywhere, which are very popular.

Savage Memorial Park
Seems everyone wants to enjoy that beautiful sunshine!

Lisa and Lester (s/v Obsession) took us on a great tour of Auckland.

Starting at the Michael Joseph Savage memorial - first Labour Prime Minister. A great memorial, plus what a view of the city!
Lisa and Lester - excellent tour guides

Then along the Viaduct Harbour, which is a trendy area along the waterfront.

Lots of restaurants, pubs, shopping, etc.  Our kind of place.

And so many boats!
All about the boats

I think everyone in Auckland has at least one.

And on holiday weekends everyone heads out to the islands where there are lots of great anchorages.
Lots of classic boats

Plus, the Kiwi's are really into racing and learn to sail at a very young age.

All shapes and sizes of boats flying around the marks - fun to watch.
Lots of racing boats
A special treat, dining at the Quarterdeck Restaurant at the RNZYS.

Sailing bears?
We were a little under-dressed (no Jandals allowed).

But really enjoyed the food and the view. 
Auckland night life

Plus, the company.  A special thanks to Pete and Di (s/v Bonaparte) for everything!
Auckland - reminds me of San Francisco

We spent lots of time just wandering around the wharf and up and down the city streets of Auckland.

Beer time!

Always on the search for a great pub, of course.  Found quite a few...

Crazy art stuff
Like San Francisco, there is always something going on - lots of history, art, museums, music - lots to see and do.
The Domain

We visited a great museum - the Auckland War Museum (aka The Domain).
Beautiful Marae

So much to see (and read) and not just about wars.  Lots of Maori history, Air New Zealand exhibit, collectibles, and more.

Impressive.  We tried to do it all in one day - should have been have two.
Carol and Doug enjoying a beer or two

A special treat, was spending time with our sailing buddies from California - Dennis, Carol, and Josh (s/v Evergreen).

They have settled very nicely into life in New Zealand. Nice to see you all!
Enjoying our Food Court experience

As you can see, we loved New Zealand: the history, culture, the diverse landscape, and seeing our Kiwi friends - of course.

We chose a great time to visit NZ - the NZ dollar was worth $.67 to the US dollar, so it saved us some money.
Enjoying music at the zoo - lots of rain

Lots of visitors tour NZ via caravans and campers. We chose to rent a car to explore and stay in motels (and with friends).

We are very happy we did!
Along the Auckland wharf

We figured that with our cruising life, we get to camp out all the time - hah!

We wanted something different.
Our sweet ride
Doug found a great deal on a rental car - Rent a Dent. Which is actually one of the nicest cars we have rented. 2015 model with only 16k kilometers.

Love the old Motels
Of course, driving on the "other" side of the road is a bit of challenge and NZ roads are pretty curvy, but Doug managed it all.

Green Mussels were wonderful
We also enjoyed staying at the old motels.  Clean and comfortable and more like a 1-bedroom apartment than a motel and with all of the amenities and lots of character.

Totaling it all up, our version of exploring NZ was less expensive???.  Plus, we were able to stay in town versus a camp site.  More our style!

And loving all of the fresh sea food. Doug especially enjoyed the mussels and Bluff oysters (with balsamic vinaigrette).

I loved the scallops and fish and chips, of course.
Lester and Lisa - so fun

So, if you are looking for a special place, visit New Zealand. You are going to love it!
Jude and Grant - lovely people
Now, we are back in Fiji enjoying ourselves, but wishing cyclone season was over.

We are tired of watching the weather...