Sunday, May 3, 2015

Got a plan!

Cyclone season is "officially" over.  We made it!
Fiji Carving

So, now it is time to start making some plans for the cruising season.

You wouldn't think two retired people living on a sailboat in Fiji would have to have a plan - but we do.

Here's what we have going this year.  Of course, always subject to change!
  • May - Family and Friends coming to visit - yeah!
  • June/July - Sail south to Suva and onto the Lau Group - the most remote islands in Fiji.
  • July/August - Sail to Tonga or Wallis (French Island) - our yearly get-out-Fiji run.
  • August - Explore Taveuni and Vanua Levu and make our way back to Port Denarau.
  • September/October - Fly to the Washington State (USA) to spend time with the family (anniversaries, birthdays, Pendleton Roundup - lots of celebrating).
  • Then back to Fiji for some more fun in the sun and water!
For cyclone season, we have a hurricane mooring ball reserved in Savusavu on the island of Vanua Levu.  We will spend some time on Moondance exploring, but are also planning to do some traveling - the easy way - by air.

We aren't  sure where we will go, but we are thinking of places like New Zealand, Asia, Europe - who knows.

Good thing we have lots of time to think about it!


Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Visitors from New Mexico - Yeah!

Joe and Leah, our long time friends from New Mexico traveled all the way to Fiji to see us - and to play in the water and do some birding - of course!
Joe and Leah relaxing and cooling off!

We had a great visit with lots of time for exploring and catching up.

Beautiful Leah
First thing - we bussed them to the Nadi fruit and vegetable market for supplies (and lots of culture).

Snorkeling the Sand Bar
Then we untied the lines and headed to Musket Cove for some play time.

We even got to put up the sail - so nice to be on the water again even if we weren't going fast!

Love these Blue Starfish
We spent a couple of days enjoying Musket, but the winds were kicking up.

Touring Garden of the Sleeping Giant
So we decided to head back to Denarau and rent a car - road trip!

Our first stop - viewing the beautiful orchids at the Garden of the Sleeping Giant.

Over 2000 varieties of orchids - it is amazing to see all of the colors and shapes. Plus, what a beautiful setting.

Love this place - always something new blooming.
Wow - so many beauties

Next to Nadi to tour the Sri Siva Subrahmaniya Swami Temple.

Sri Siva Subrahmaniya Swami Temple
It is said to be the largest and most colorful Hindu temple in the South Pacific - completed in 1994.
Very colorful

We were allowed to enter the temple as long as we were properly dressed - no knees showing and no shoes.

So much to look at
So many colorful paintings and so much symbolism.  Next time - we should have a guide explain it all!

Raintree Lodge - cuties
Then a 3-hour ride to Suva to stay at the Raintree Lodge.

What a great place - wonderful rooms and scenery, good food, and it is right next to the Colo-I-Suva Forest Reserve.

View around our lodge
The cost - about $150 FJ a night for a two story room - perfect!

The Reserve has miles of paths, waterfalls, amazing mahogany trees, plus lots of birds - which is just what we were looking for.

Lilly pond pretties
We had a great time strolling around with our Fijian guide looking for birds.

Sorry I didn't get any pictures - it was pretty soggy (Soggy Suva) when we started our hike.  Oh well!

Grand Pacific Hotel

We also visited the Fiji Museum and a quick tour of the newly renovated Grand Pacific Hotel - it was gorgeous.  Wish it was in my budget!

We also found a great places to eat - Cafe Victoria in downtown Suva, plus the food court in the MH.  Check'em out!

Natadola Bay Golf Course
On our drive back to Moondance, we stopped at the famous Natadola Bay Golf Course.

This is where the Fiji Open is held - it is beautiful - but can be windy!

Birders!

Back on Moondance, we loaded up and sailed back out to Musket Cove for some more fun.

We hiked, did some birding, snorkeling, and lots of R&R'ing, plus enjoyed a wonderful dinner at Dick's!

Leah relaxing on Honeymoon
Just for fun (and some snorkeling), we took Moondance around to the little island of Honeymoon.

Leah and I relaxed while the guys snorkeled, then we all checked out the tiny beach.

Even scared up an eel - yikes.
Namotu Island

On Joe and Leah's last day, we motored back to Denarau with a quick stop at Namotu Island where the famous Cloudbreak surf break is.  The picture doesn't capture the colors of the water - it was beautiful.

Love that water
Leah and I were just getting in for dip, when the guys mentioned getting stung (Sea Lice). Not for the Girls!

Sad to see Joe and Leah leave, but know that we will see them again soon.

Frogging it
Thanks for coming to visit and for bringing the Sadies Salsa - yum!
Getting ready for company

Monday, March 30, 2015

In like a lion, out like a lamb?

Well, we hope that's true for March and continues all the way thru April!
Weather chart - looking good!

March has been an active month - with lots of  systems, depressions, storms, etc. to keep track of.  Doug (Mr. Weatherman) has been a busy guy.

But, as of right now, Fiji is riding a big high.  Lots of cool, comfortable weather coming from the south with lots of sunshine.

Fine Fiji weather - we are loving it!
View from the top of Malolo Lailai - a beauty!

So, after 3 months, we finally got out of Port Denarau Marina.

Don't get us wrong, it is a great place to be, but we were ready for some island time.
Having some fun

So off to one of our favorite places -

Musket Cove on the island of Malolo Lailai.

Watching the sunset from our cockpit - ahhh
We were only there for 4 days, but had such a great time.  Surrounded by lovely people, beautiful water, and what a view.

Plus, Doug spent 2 days in the water scrubbing our bottom - it needed it.

Unfortunately, we had to get back to Denarau, but promise to return to Musket real soon.  We love that place!

Loving Flavio's

Besides all the weather watching and working on projects, we have been having some fun.
Just getting started

A group of Yachties splurged and had a wonderful event at Flavio's Italian Shop.

We spent over 3 hours drinking wine, eating, and socializing - what a treat.

Besides the wonderful antipasto, Flavio cooked a yummy pasta with a white truffle sauce, pan grilled beef tenderloin, ice cream, and finished off with a glass of Grappo.
Antipasto - yum!

All excellent, plus Flavio entertained us with his stories while he cooked - he is quite a character.

The meal (including wine) was $50 US a person, but we all felt it was a wonderful way to spend our money.

We plan on going back for dinner one of these days!

No shoes required

We also got invited to a 50th birthday bash for David who owns Yacht Help. It was a hoot!
BBQ - Fiji style

David arranged to have all the Yachties (and others) bussed to his place south of Nadi - what service .

Live music, lots of beer and spirits, plus a big BBQ - Fiji style.  Plus, we met so many new people.

So glad we went!
Celebrating Women's Day


Plus, lots of shopping, exploring, and socializing. We definitely aren't bored!
Happy Doug!
Now, we are getting Moondance prettied up for company.   It needs it.

Our best friends from New Mexico will be here in a couple of weeks.

Can't wait to show them Fiji!

Saturday, March 14, 2015

We are in the clear!

Tropical Cyclone Pam has moved south as expected and is out of Fiji waters - yeah!
TC Pam's projected path - watch out Kiwi's!

TC Pam is said to be one of the most powerful storms ever to make landfall in the Pacific.

It is currently heading to New Zealand, where it is forecasted to be a Category 2 storm.

We are hoping are friends down south are prepared.

TC Pam is still something to be afraid of!

In Fiji, we are still getting some of the affects. Winds are bouncing between 10 and 25 knots, plus some good rain rain storms fly thru. Lots of opening and closing of hatches.

So far, it seems there was very little damage to Fiji. We have heard of some flooding, plus a couple of boats broke loose and one sunk (derelict boat). But, no loss of life. Fiji was very fortunate.  Or as they say, we dodged a bullet!

Doug took this video yesterday from our boat, which is moored at Port Denarau. Watch out - it might make you seasick!
video

Between the Yachties and the staff at Port Denarau, we were kept well informed and well taken care of.  Thanks to all!

But, we are all concerned about the people and the islands of Vanuatu.  TC Pam was a Category 5 when it hit - yikes.

Reports are still coming in, but it seems to have devastated that poor country.  Fiji Airways has a 737 loaded and ready to haul in supplies as soon as the they get airport clearance from Vanuatu.  Hopefully, soon.

There are also lots of  charities being setup if you would like to donate...  Here is the link to the Australian Red Cross http://www.redcross.org.au/cyclone-pam-vanuatu-2015-appeal.aspx.

Below are pictures of Vanuatu from the news - so sad.



Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Tropical Cyclone Pam

TC Pam is growing to be quite the monster and we are watching her very closely.  It is a full-time job keeping up with all of the data!
TC Pam heading south west

We are currently moored in Port Denarau Marina - along with lots of Yachties.

We started feeling the affects of Pam last night. Winds have been kicking up between 15 - 30 knots and starting to get some rain.

The marina has been great about sending daily announcements and working with Yachties to make sure we have safety plan.

Plus, the Yachties gather nightly at Cardo's to commiserate and plan some more.
TC Pam's projected path

As of now, Pam is a category 4 cyclone and soon to be a category 5 - she just keeps growing.

She is projected to pass within 500 miles of our location tomorrow night - unless she changes her mind.

Wind and rain data here in Denarau
Our winds are expected to gust to 35 knots over the next couple of days and then start to die down Sunday afternoon (yeah).

All the Yachties were heading up the mangrove creek yesterday, but the weather didn't escalate as projected. 

We were expecting the marina to remove the "Yellow Flag" and all boats would have to evacuate the marina.

Instead, we stuck to our mooring balls and added more safety lines.

Plus, we had a little hiccup in our plan... A big barge had planted itself right in the middle of the creek - no way for us to get by.  Whoops!

After some discussion with the barge and the marina, the issue has been resolved and we will motor up the creek if Pam decides to head in our direction - hopefully not.

Other ugly stuff going on in the South Pacific
The islands of Vanuatu and New Caledonia are expected to be hit very hard by Pam.

Thinking about all of those poor people... Hope they are getting advance notice to get to safety.

Besides Pam, the South Pacific is stirring up other stuff - oh my.

Hope it all dissolves - we have had enough excitement already!

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

It's Raining, It's Pouring...

Not all day, but almost every day we get a good rainstorm in the afternoon, which usually includes lots of lightening and thunder.  Crack, Crack, Kaboom!
Got the Shade Tree working!

We have our Shade Tree awning up, which looks funny but it sure keeps the rain out and blocks some of that sun.

Tootsie Pops melted pile of goo
We love sitting in the cockpit and the awning keeps us dry and cool.

Of course, the humidity still plays its part.  Like melting our stash of Tootsie Pops!
Re-bedding ports - again

And, of course, we got projects to keep us busy.

Doug has been re-bedding ports that were leaking. It is a very long process, but progress is being made.
Doug flying to Vanuatu
I have been doing my spring cleaning - polishing stainless, cleaning moldy canvas, and other fun stuff.

We have also been traveling. I had a quick trip to the States to see the family in Texas; Doug flew to Vanuatu just for the day to renew his Visa.

Throwing a birthday party on Carinthia
There and back in less than 6 hours!

But, we still have lots of time for fun stuff and hanging out with the Yachties.
Dinghy Parking
We are amazed how many are still around here during cyclone season - and more coming this month!

Beautiful Fijian Dancers
Almost every night an assortment of us meet up at our favorite watering hole - Cardo's.

It is fun just getting off our boats and sharing our stories and solving problems - mostly relating to our boats.
Enjoying Superbowl
They are a great group and so happy they are around!
Passionfruit flower - amazing!

So, we are doing just fine.

Still enjoying Fiji and watching the weather daily - just in case a cyclone decides to swing by. Hope not!

We are looking forward to April.

We have company from the USA visiting, plus expecting cooler and drier weather.

Yeah - we are exciting about getting back to Island Life!

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Cyclone Season in Fiji

Cyclone Predictions
Well, we are over half way thru the cyclone season and we haven't had any big storms yet - YEAH!

It has been hot and humid - especially on land.  On the boat, we almost always have a nice breeze and stay cooler.

But, the first of February, the weather started changing and made us start paying a little more attention.

Three lows starting forming around us - North, East, and West, plus the thunderstorms started moving in.  Oh my!

The good news - the Port Denarau Marina staff kept us well informed and would send out almost daily reports of the current weather and a 10 day prediction. 

The creek - our haven from cyclones
Plus, the Yachties (those that are left) all gathered together and started planning our path up the nearest creek - Monohulls first, then the Catamarans.

Almost empty...
We also loaded up with lots of water, food, and drink and got our boats prepped.

Just in case...

Doug would diligently spend his mornings checking all of the weather reports - there are lots of resources and it took some time.

The Ichiban Band serenading us

So what do Yachties do?  We throw a Mexican night potluck on the dock - why not?

We had a wonderful time with margaritas, enchiladas, tacos, and so much more.

Plus entertainment provided by Anna and Justin (s/v Ichiban) with some help from Katarina (s/v Miss Goodnight) - how fun!

Lovely flower arrangements
Thankfully, all of the predictions fell apart and Fiji just got a little wind and rain.

But, we felt very secure knowing that the Marina and the Yachties had a plan and were working together.

We are in a wonderful place - just need to keep on our toes!