Monday, May 30, 2011

Hangin' with the Locals

The pictures are from our weekend experience with Ami and his family: Ami and Suzi, Ami's wife making coconut bread, the incredible breakfast served to us in the morning, the house and family photo with Daniel included, Ami's son, John, and Ami with his family resort boat. It is not about money; it is about spirit.

We stayed the night in Ami and Letica's bed (made with wood and a little bit of stuffing), woke up to a beautiful sunrise for a great meditation on the top of the hill, ate some wonderful warm fresh coconut bread and fruit, and then walked the dirt road to catch a ride to Nadi, the bus, and back to Sidewinder. Ami went back to Nadi with us to be sure we were able to catch a ride to Vuda Point. He smiled as we said, "Vinakavakalevu," gave hugs, and he walked away. Money means nothing to him; spirit is what connects him to his world, and he wants the world to not forget about the real reason we are gifted with life. Sharing and loving brings meaning to everything.  Bula, bula!

Sidewinder is in the water now and the refrigeration is going strong. We are working hard to leave this weekend and are getting very excited.  Love to all!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011


We have both been working our butts off getting ready to splash and, at last, this afternoon it is happening. YEAH! We had a very interesting time on Saturday afternoon, evening and Sunday morning up in the hills of Nadi with Ami, the local who is working on a family resort boat here in the marina. Daniel, one of three guys on the s/v Slowly who are taking their new purchase back to Australia as soon as they can,  introduced us to Ami, and Daniel went with us. We met Ami's lovely family who are so very poor but so very generous and we definitely had a special Fijian experience. I will write more thoughts and send pics once we get in the water and settled. Roz and Russ on Worral Wind are leaving tomorrow for a Yasawa exploration, and we have been going over charts together, getting inspired to get back out on the open waters. Wish we were ready to go with them, but, oh, well!  David did manage to put in our old alternator, and it worked! YAHOO! He has been working like a dog and it seems like each time he finishes one thing, another problem pops up. It is frightening how easily cruising becomes fixing the boat in exotic places.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Jazzfest Photos & More

Finally, here are a few photos to go along with the recent narratives of life at Vuda Point Marina and our last weekend getaway to Port Denarau with Anne, a radiologist from Kofax, near Grass Valley. This week we had to postpone our Friday splash into the water and are now going in on Monday. On Wednesday afternoon, they pumped all the water out from under Sidewinder and we could actually see the mud underneath her and then it rained like crazy on Wednesday night and Thursday; in order for them to move her, her bottom needs to be visible so let's pray the weather dries out this weekend. The tradewinds are kicking in and it feels quite different today so we have our fingers crossed. 

David spent all day yesterday trouble-shooting the Windlass anchor system and successfully rebuilt the motor. Amazing!  I put the first coat of anti-fouling around the top 3 feet of the keel and rudder; two coats along the waterline is really all that we need for this seasonr. After putting on the second coat, finishing the buffing out of the waxed hull, testing out the engine, this afternoon our plan is to go into Nadi with Ami, a chief of a village resort in the Yasawas, who has invited us to his other home to have kava, dinner, and celebration; sounds like a festive Saturday evening. 

We continue to send our love and healing energy to Casey and Liz. They had a very successful fundraiser in Portand last weekend and we are all so glad there is such a strong support system of friends up there. Julie was there with them and raved about their network of special young people all doing something to help. Thank you for all your love as well. I am always reminded that life is precious, no matter what we are doing.  Suzi and David

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Looking to Launch

The trade winds are now beginning to blow, and the air is getting more dry and a little cooler. New batteries arrive tomorrow; we finish polishing the hull in the morning and will try to put one coat of paint on part of the keel to protect the waterline for this next season.  Boats are heading out for the islands, and Sidewinder so wants to be back in the water. Hopefully it will happen on Friday.  

We did have a great time this last weekend at the Jazz/Blues Festival in Port Denarau near Nadi.; we took a boat from here, which was the first time out on the water for both of us since we brought Sidewinder into Vuda Point in November, and the views of the island brought back a strong desire to get back on our adventure. Once we arrived at the port, music filled the air, and we had a fun time going from one venue to another all afternoon and into the moonlit evening. It was a great break for us and now we are energetically back to work. Pictures will soon follow as soon as we have time to upload them. 

Friday, May 13, 2011

Suzi's Birthday

Thank you everyone for all the birthday spirit sent my way. My day was wonderful, in spite of the downpour that occurred in the late afternoon. David and I managed to get the mainsail back up before I took off for my early afternoon massage by the sea next door at the resort. It was divine! That was David's first present to me. We then proceeded to hang by the pool, drinking champagne brought by Roz and Russ (from s/v Worrall Wind). Instead of a sunset, the heavens opened up as we ran over to Sidewinder to get prepped for my birthday dinner. It was a festive occasion with 10 lovely cruisers who wanted to come celebrate with me, and it was a great opportunity to get to know some of them better. The food was good, the locals sang their traditional birthday song when the cake arrived, and there was even a bit of dancing. I will post photos on this entry soon.

Monday, May 9, 2011


There was an error in the URL in the Update on Liz entry. It has been corrected in that blog. The correct address is

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Life on the Hard in Fiji

Bula Bula! It's the beginning of our second week in Fiji and finally the sun is shining once again. We are scrambling to get things done as the land begins to dry. As you will see from the pictures, Sidewinder is still in her hole which is filled with water, as is the hole next door to us. We think this is the lowest point in the entire marina and we are surrounded by mud and mosquitoes, both inspiring us to work tenaciously to get everything done by the end of this week. Paint is being ordered today, and hopefully the welder will appear to work on the stern pulpit today as well.  

During our last three days of torrential rain, I was non-stop cleaning the mildew from the teak and vinegar/water wiping all the storage areas in the galley and salon, and  David washed all dishes,glasses, cups, etc and made an awesome mosquito covering for the companion-way; I think he has found some wonderful new talents which I truly hope will be used from this day forth!  

The sunsets are still spectacular every other day when each storm passes, and we both have still enjoyed visiting the First Landing Resort for swims, drinks, dinner, singing with the warm, friendly locals, and true tropical paradise ambiance. We count our blessings that we are healthy and alive, getting to do all of this.  

I send a heart-felt Mother's Day happy wish to all of you who are the loving mothers of those special kids you have raised. Your never-ending unconditional love and patience is to be celebrated and appreciated.  Enjoy this day to the max and feel the love!  The pictures are self-explanatory; as you can see, there is much to be done as we sit in the water-filled hole with mud all around. At least we do have these amazing sunsets and wonderful smiling people with the Bula spirit!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Back in Balmy Fiji

Hi there! I finally have a moment to stop and try out our new Vodaphone flashnet mobile connect stick. Yeah!  We are now at the First Landing Resort next to Sidewinder, loving the romantic Fijian ambience: palms waving with the warm breezes, tropical birds flying and squawking, incredible sunsets, torches lighting the path to the open-air bar and restaurant, and beautiful melodic singing serenading us as we try new menu items each night, and, yes, we are spending way too much money, although it is so much cheaper than New Zealand. 

David and I have been singing and playing music each night with the wonderful Fijian locals who harmonize so easily; it has been such a special treat.  We had our room for three nights originally and we are still here on our fifth evening. Even though we have been working hard each day, staying at the resort makes us feel like we are still in the vacation mode. We really are leaving tomorrow to finally move onto dear Sidewinder after pulling out enough items onto the deck so we could begin the task of cleaning and making sense of what needs to be done down below. 

We will remain on the hard for a week or so, having some welding work done on the bow pulpit and stern area, putting sails and lines back on, charging batteries, painting the bottom, etc.; there is a lot to be done! It is great to reconnect with Roz and Russ from s/v Worrall Wind and find out more about the islands to explore, best places to re-provision, etc. They just finished a three day course with the dive master from here and they are now certified. We may try to do that after we get our work done and back in the water. It truly is great being back in the warm weather and luckily, we have not had too much rain. I actually finally swam in the bay both yesterday and today at sunset and it was awesome; the water is sooo warm!   Sidewinder is cetainly  looking  forward to getting back on the water, and the islands we can see from here beckon us to sail and get on with our adventure.