Saturday, September 13, 2014

Wild Times at the Musket Cove Regatta!

We had a wonderful time at the 31st Annual Musket Cove Regatta.
Fiji Bitter Pirates

This is our first time at the Regatta, so we weren't sure what to expect but loved it all.
Musket Cove Marina - jammed pack

The Musket Cove Marina did an excellent job of accommodating all the Yachties.

We heard there were ~80 boats involved - anchored, moored, and squished into the marina.

Lots of boats coming and going all the time.
Dinghy Dress Up

Plus, we had a full schedule of parties, games, races, singing, dancing, and eating and drinking - of course.
Fun and Games

We spent so much at the Island Bar visiting with our buddies and meeting new ones.

It was a wonderful blur of fun, fun, and more fun.
Elaine and Doug racing the Hobie Cat

Some of the highlights -

Elaine (s/v Mazu) and Doug racing the Hobie Cat.  This was Elaine's first time on a Hobie and it has been many moons since Captain Doug was on one.

They didn't win, but they did complete the first round - so they were very happy.

This was a very competitive race and took 3 days to complete all the heats.  We saw some great racing!
Costume party - too cute!
Loved the "M" Costume Party.  All costumes had to start with an M and we saw lots of creativity.

Monitor Girl
Mario Brothers, Monsters, Mummies, a Mango Tree, M&M's, Mermaids, and so many more.  It was quite the parade.

Doug was a Manhole Cover; I was an IBM Monitor.  It is amazing what you can do with cardboard you find in the trash!
Race around Malolo

We joined Jenny and Dave on s/v Alexis for the big Race Around the Island - so nice of them to let us tag along.

It was another competitive race that involved lots of tacking through reefs and coral heads - yikes!

Doug squishing the sponge

We didn't win (and didn't come in last), but we had a wonderful time and enjoyed spending the day with Jenny and Dave. 

They are sailing back to Australia - we are going to miss them for sure.

Our friends on s/v Margarita won the multi-hull division - WELL DONE!
Moondance and a beautiful sunset

There was a full day of fun games - egg tossing, coconut bocci, crazy kid activities, tea bag toss, and more.

Doug's team - the International Team - won the sponge/water/bucket race - very fun to watch.

And that is just part of the activities and social events.  We are happy to say we survived!

Now, we are off to Texas to see the family and enjoy all the luxuries of the good ol' USA!

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Futuna Run - Done!

And we are glad it is over!
Waiting for the next splash!
Fiji requires that all foreign boats have to check out of the country every 18 months.

For us, that means once a year since we don’t want any long trips during the cyclone season.
Walking the streets in Futuna

The closest country to Fiji is the French/Polynesian island of Futuna – about 200 miles northeast of Savusavu where we had to check out.
Beautiful island
So, off we went.  We haven’t done an overnighter since last year, so Moondance’s crew was a little rusty.

We had great sailing wind both directions (sometimes too much), but the sea was confused.  Lots of splashes in the cockpit and difficult to sleep!
Rocking and rolling

Futuna has 2 beautifully lush islands, but we just couldn’t stay there.  The anchorages are unprotected and lots of swell rolling in.  We had problems even launching the dinghy to get to shore.

Too bad – we would have loved to do some exploring (and resting).  Instead, we left the same day and headed back to Fiji.

Sunset at Copra Shed Marina
As soon as we got back into Fiji waters, the seas flattened out, the winds settled down, and we had the most wonderful starlit sail through the islands and reefs – plus got some sleep.  It was perfect!

Now we are back in Savusavu hanging with the Yachties, provisioning, and doing some R&R'ing.  We were pooped and it is so nice to be back on solid ground!
Bilibili - fishing boat for the creeks

We leave in the morning heading back to Musket Cove for the Regatta.  We should be there on Thursday – just in time for the kickoff.  It is going to be a hoot!
Mangos are almost ripe!

Then, our vacation starts - we are flying to Texas on September 14.

So excited to be back in the good ol’ USA surrounded by family and and all those wonderful treats – like IPA’s, pizza, cheeseburgers, etc. Yum!

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Back in Savusavu

Rainbow over Nananu I Ra
It took us 5 days traversing the north end of Viti Levu and the south end of Vanua Levu, but we made it! 

The weather for the trip was “mostly” fair, except for the last day when a storm decided to blow in early.  

Of course!  So, we pulled up anchor and bounced and rocked our way into Savusavu.  We were lucky though, only got a little wet!
Enjoying Saturday Market

New resort?
So, nice to be back here at the Copra Shed Marina.  It was our first stop in Fiji last September. 

So many of the people that we met last year are still hanging around. 

Squash fundraiser - cold water!
Love being surrounded by familiar faces as soon as you go ashore, plus this place is very social.  There is always something going on.

We have been catching up with the Yachties, visiting our favorite places, and enjoying the cheap eats and drinks again. 
Enjoying my carrot cake
Sunset Selfies
We can eat a great dinner out for less than $10 a couple (excludes beer of course). 

Cheapest we have found in Fiji!

Now, we are waiting for a weather window for our trip to Futuna. 

It will take us 4 days to make the run and we are hoping for a good sail – both directions.

It will sure be nice to have this trip over - it has been a long time since we had to do any overnighters!

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Time to get moving again!

Shopping for parts
We made the most of our delay in Port Denarau – as always.

Doug hired All Engineering to fix and modify our generator, plus they provided the muscle to move it. Every seems to be working just fine so far.
Lots of muscle
He also rebuilt our Windlass, so no more pulling up the anchor and chain by hand – yeah!

Fire Dancers at Cardo's
Plus, we have had some fun – of course. 

Cardo’s (our favorite place at Denarau) has had some great entertainment this week. 

Polynesian and Fire dancers have Wow’d the crowds, plus lots of life music.
What a voice!
My favorite, this lady. 

She can really sing – a beautiful bluesy voice!  Too bad she doesn’t sing at Cardo’s more often.
Only 5 stitches Mom!

Also, a little drama to go along with the fun. 

I was helping our boat neighbors back out of their slip and things went bad quickly. 

They were going all over the place and I tried to help, but got hurt in the process.  It was pretty ugly, but only took 5 stitches to put me back together again.

Lesson:  Never put your hand between an anchor and a piling!
Oldies, but Cuties

Now, time to head north so that we can do our quick trip to the French island of Futuna (Fiji Customs requirements).

We should be back in plenty of time to join in on the fun at the Musket Cove Regatta in September!

Saturday, August 2, 2014


Well, we are supposed to be sailing north towards Futuna for our annual get-of-Fiji run, but things happen!
Rebuilding the windlass

First, our windlass (used to pull up the anchor and chain) died while we were at the islands.

Our friends Kathy and Debbie got to experience what it is like to do it all manually.  Great exercise!

Then, our generator broke a bolt on the drive pulley that attaches it to the fly wheel.
Our new neighbor
Doug spent a day just getting it all disconnected and it took him and 3 Big Guys to get it off the boat.   

Doug also decided to do some small mods to the pulley system.  It should perform much better after all that work. 

The rest of the neighborhood

So, we are now docked at one of our favorite places - Port Denarau Marina.

We are enjoying all of the luxuries of marina life like showers, laundry facilities, plus lots of good places to eat, drink, and shop.
Dining at Cardo's
We have gotten to know the staff at Cardo's very well and told the owner that we had a bottle of Jose Cuervo we would like to give him.

He offered us dinner in exchange, plus we threw in some brownies. We dined on Mahi Mahi, Ribeye steak, and a good bottle of wine.  It was an excellent trade!

We also got some paperwork done, which was quite the process and involved lots of bus and taxi rides, plus lots of walking.

Happy finding the Northern Club
After, five 2-hour trips to the Immigration office at the airport (and $112US) .  We now have our 2-month visa extensions.

Then to Lautoka to visit the Customs office.  We were seeking approval for having batteries shipped from the States. We got it - yeah!

While walking around Lautoka, we found the Northern Club. A great ol' plantation style club that serves beers for $1.50US and great lunch specials for $6.00US. An excellent find!
Sunset at Smuggler's Cove

If all goes well with the generator and windlass, we should be heading to Futuna within a week.

We are anxious to get the run over so that we can get back for the annual Musket Cove Sailing Regatta in September.

Lots going on here in Fiji!

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Fun, Fun, and More Fun!

I apologize in advance for the long post, but we did so much during the 18 day visit and didn't want you to miss any of it!
Kathy and Debbie enjoying the view at Cloud 9
We were so happy that Kathy and Debbie (Besties from New Mexico) were able to join us for their summer vacation.

We had so much fun and crammed so much into every day.

It went so fast, but it was wonderful!

Nadi Fruit & Veggie Market

We gave them a brief tour of the Port Denarau Marina and the Fiji Rum company, plus a quick trip into Nadi town to do some shopping.

Moondance Crew
They were a little jet lagged from the long flight, but were troopers and just kept going.

Next day, we headed out to one of our favorite places - Musket Cove on the island of Malolo LaiLai.
Poisonous sea snake - yikes

We spent several days playing tourist and checking out the resorts and bars.

Plus snorkeling, golfing, tennis, volleyball, beach combing, hiking, bocci ball, and hanging out with the Yachties.
Fine Golfers

Then, we headed north to the uninhabited islands (except for the goats and fruit bats) of Navadra and Vanua Levu.
Jump Doug Jump!

It is about a 5-hour trip and to get there we had to weave thru the reefs and cross some rolly seas.

Admiral Carla
Our crew did just fine, but we were all very happy when we dropped our anchor.

Hanging on the beautiful beach of Vanua Levu
Blue Starfish
The weather turned a bit and the winds kicked up, plus our anchorage turned rolly.

But we continued to enjoy ourselves and spend lots of time on the beach - even without getting a lot of rest!

Sundowners on Tiger Lilly III
We were happy to see Robin and Pete on Tiger Lilly III arrive at the anchorage, plus they invited us over for Sundowners on their beautiful catamaran - how nice is that!
Bocci on the Beach

We spent a whole day together on the beach exploring and playing bocci ball.
Doug bugging the Hermit Crab

But, we needed to get moving north again and find a smoother anchorage, plus find the elusive Manta Rays.

So, we did an overnighter at the sand spit between Waya and Wayasewa - it was so peaceful.  We all slept well that night!
Spinner Dolphins - yeah!

Plus, we saw the beautiful Spinner Dolphins along the way - always exciting.

Next stop, the island of Naviti where we anchored off the Manta Ray Island Resort - a new favorite!
Hanging at the Manta Ray Island Resort
Our big goal - swim with the big Manta Rays - which we did.

We signed up with the resort to take us to the pass where we drifted (quickly) along with the tide as the Ray passed underneath us.

We only saw one Ray, but it was amazing gliding along the bottom.  Plus, the pass had so many fish and wonderful coral.  What a find.
Big Manta Ray right below me

The resort was a great place to hang out, play volleyball, kayak, snorkel, and they make a pretty good pizza.
War Dance at the Meke
Plus, we got to see the Fijian dance and celebration - The Meke.  Lots of fun.

We will go back again for sure and get better pictures!

Time to start heading back all ready.  We chose to visit the village of Yalobi on the island of Waya.  Caught a big Walu along the way - it was yummy.
Debbie and Kathy sporting sulu's

We wanted to see some of the village life, plus deliver our bundle of Kava to the Chief and ask permission to wander the village.

Interesting thing - Yalobi hasn't had a village chief since the late 80's.  Tom just steps in if needed.  How funny.
Meeting the locals

But, we did enjoy seeing the village and meeting some of the locals.

Very friendly people and yummy bananas and papaya, plus a young man gave me a beautiful scorpion shell - how precious.
Mocia Island - beautiful spot

We spent our last night on the hook anchored off of the little island of Mocia (Honeymoon). 

We watched a beautiful sunset (with the goats), plus enjoyed snorkeling and a walk on the beach the next day.

Sunset Selfies
The weather was kicking up again, so we headed back to Musket Cove for protection from the winds and some more fun.

Doug and Deb paddle boarding
So, we had some more island resort time, plus Doug and Deb decided to try the paddle board experience - they liked it.

Of course, they would have preferred a calmer day!
Dressed up for Bocci

Then back to Port Denarau. We rented a car for a couple of days and did some mainland trips.

First - the Valley of the Sleeping Giant to see all the beautiful orchids and palms, plus a good view from the top!
Not sure what, but loved it
Zip Liners

Then to the Zip Line, which was quite the adventure - just getting there.  Debbie and Doug had a great time zipping along and would do it again.

Wonderful memories, laughter, sunsets, games, and so much more - we will never forget.  Just sorry to see it end...

Miss you all ready!
Thanks so much for coming to see us Kathy and Debbie - We Love You!
Watch out - Lionfish

PS:  Thanks to Tiger Lilly III and Kathy and Debbie for sharing their pictures!