Thursday, June 30, 2011

SOS!!! jk

Hi Everybody- 
I have been trying to reach Suzi and David for 24 hours to let them know that I had to cancel our trip to Fiji, but they are at sea, on their way to meet us. I am hoping they might check the blog. Marc fell through the roof of our house in Mexico and shattered bones in both hands; he had surgery this morning. Below is my latest email from David. 
Love to all from Kris, the blogmistress 

Hi Kris- 
We were going to stop at Naigani which was way cool and so peaceful but with the weather change that is coming our way we wanted to get a part of the way across Bligh Water before the north wind kicked in. So we continued across for another 18 miles or so of open ocean and sailed to Makongai. It been a long time since we had sailed; it seemed weird. Our position is 17 26.5 S  178 57.113. It's an old Leper colony that was abandoned but the buildings are still intact and we look forward to checking the whole thing out tomorrow. We dropped anchor just as the sun set which has become a bad habit of ours. That's it for now except as you can see no internet. Hope you sent us an update on poor Marc. My heart goes out to him and tell him not to walk those joists anymore. See ya and will be in touch through sailmail.  
Love, David & Suzi

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Certified SCUBA Divers!

What a different reality it is to stay beneath the surface and float with the fish!  We took four days to get certified and are thrilled! What a wonderful place to take the classes and do our four ocean dives. We learned so much, and our dive master, Jim, was really coool (his very favorite word!).  He grew up diving near his village on Vanua Levu, the area we are going to next, and he certainly loves the ocean. We were too busy practicing skills to take underwater pictures, but as you can see in the photos, we had a great time. Jim, Dels, and Jone showed us the Fijian way to have fun. 

We leave tomorrow to check out of Lautoka and head north for Savusavu on Vanua Levu. There are many places to explore on the way up there, and the diving is supposed to be terrific. Sidewinder will be happy to move and do a bit of sailing on our way. We have thoroughly loved being in Musket Cove, diving, surfing, enjoying the people, and we will be back in a month. Onward we go!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Farewell to new friends with hope to see you again

These photos recap the fun time our last night in Vuda Point, saying good-bye at the dock,  a wonderful lunch with Leu Cat at the Walu Resort where our night angels work, those two who helped us off of the reef, and a farewell to Kim, Emily,and Tom on Emily Grace.  Simpatica is being sold and Louis and Jules enjoy their last few days aboard here at Musket Cove. The pictures help us remember fun times with dear friends.

Suzi Reflects

As I paddle out to meet these waves in the crystal clear warm water on such a stellar bright beautiful sunny day, watching the colorful coral and fish below, I am in awe. Visually this place is exquisite, and I am lucky enough to be surrounded by it. How could I ever get frustrated and discouraged? The friends we make continually add to the energy, and it is so easy to smile and enjoy it all. Josh and Vince are two young surfers who have shown us the surf spots, and they are very cool dads with vivacious friendly wives, out here livin' the dream at an early age. 

We have also had a great time re-connecting with friends on Leu Cat, Dave and Mary, as well as Kim, Emily, and Tom on the stinkpot from Connecticut, Emily Grace. When we said good-bye at Vuda Point, we had another wonderful evening with Ami, Remman, and Letia; we took them to First Landing for a farewell dinner and entertainment and Ami's traditional island roots beckoned to him to sing and dance. We sang with Kimi, Seta, and Sabe and ended the evening with a spiritual kava ceremony on Ami's Naviti resort boat.  

The next morning we left the many friendly people at Vuda Point, and I felt sad for a while. Saying good-bye wakes me to the reality of how very many special people we are so blessed to meet, and it is one of the many joys of cruising. It is so great when you get to see them again, and it certainly makes me reflect on all the great friends I have at home. I smile and feel gratitude in my heart. 

Monday, June 13, 2011

Surfing Paradise

Howdy Everyone - To all my surf Buds, I thought you'd like to know that we are anchored in a place called Musket Cove which is about a 20 min. dingy ride from the famous surf island of Tavarua. Also in the same area is another motu (small island) that has waves on both sides of it and is much more user friendly for less skilled water men like myself. It's still not for the weak of heart but nothing like Tavarua. The water is deeper at the impact zone and I haven't hit bottom yet (knock on wood). There is a right hander on the south side of the island called Swimming Pools and on the southwest side there is a left hander that holds up real nice and gives off 200-300 yard rides depending on the swell size and your wave selection. We have been hanging out at the left hander, tieing our dingy up to one of the anchor moorings that have been placed in the pass and then paddling into the break. It's a reef break with fairly deep water just off the break, so getting out of harm's way if a large set comes through is no problem, but you have to be careful not to get too far into the channel, as that's where the water is moving fastest, and depending on the tides and the wind, it can move at 6 knts., which isn't fun to paddle against.

We have gone out there a couple of times now so have the drill down and even Suzi has been catching some great rides on her bodyboard, popping over the back of waves with an ear to ear grin on her face. Yesterday we surfed it with the four of us who dingied out there (two other cruiser guys with us in their boat) and one local kid who was friendly as hell. With the water warm and clear as gin, the wind gentle and not a factor, it just doesn't get any better. We plan on heading out there again this morning so I better end this. This note isn't meant to make anyone jealous or green with envy; all of you are active enough to have your own good times, but I knew each and every one of you would enjoy hearing about what's gong on around Sidewinder. We haven't done this as much as I had envisioned while dreaming of our cruise, so when these special times happen I have to pass it on to my Buds. . . .  Take care folks and I'll see ya, David 

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Musket Cove

Hi there. Just a quick blog update for all and lots of love to you. Earlier today I took David inside to where all the facilities are, including a resort with a small golf course, and he has been having fun with Dave from sv/ Lei Cat playing a round or two. Meanwhile, I have downloaded a chart program we had on the other computer and was coached by Tom on sv/ Emiy Grace for a few hours. He gave me waypoints for our journey up to Savusavu and some diving/snorkeling spots to explore on the way there and from there to Matangi Bay. They are the ones who stayed there for several days, promising the staff they would not leave the boat if they saw guests at the beach :) It will be fun and a great adventure for us to be there with [Marc and Kris], with permission from the staff, I hope!  I need more practice, and I vow to figure this all out in the next few days. 

David took the Yamaha 15HP into the shop yesterday, and it works like a champ now; he had done everything right but just missed cleaning one jet that was hard to find, but was clogged. Yeah! He also used a hooka and patched Sidewinder's skinned nose, and we hope we are good to go. We may start the dive lessons tomorrow. Lots still to do before we journey up to the Yasawas and over to Savusavu region, including going back to Lautoka to temporarily check out. I will keep you posted. The weather is changing a bit with a few clouds and waves in the Tavarua area; we at least have to check them out!   It certainly is good to be back on the water one more time! Love,  Suzi

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Disaster Averted!

Hi there!  We did manage to sail to the island of Malolo Sunday afternoon and spent two nights anchored in a little beautiful bay near Wadigi, after a bit of unexpected excitement. We are now in Musket Cove, safely anchored with quite a few of our cruising friends from last year and we will spend the rest of the week here. 

We learned a huge lesson Sunday at dusk, when we hit a reef on our way to Wadigi, much too late in the day for good visibility and even with the help of the sonar at the helm, it happened so suddenly that we couldn't stop in time. Luckily we had some tide coming up and some help from three Fiji fishermen who were close by when we hit. They helped us place our stern anchor far enough away from Sidewinder to help kedge us off as the tide came up. 

To add to the calamity, as dark came, the extra dinghy line fell into the water, and when we turned on the engine and began backing up, it got caught in the prop. Api and David took turns diving, one holding the light and one cutting at the tight extra strong line and after about 30 minutes, SUCCESS !  Welcome to the life of cruising one more time!  Mel, driving the fishing panga, led us to the bay where they help manage their resort and they left us securely anchored. The crescent moon, billions of stars, calm water and quiet filled the night. We were in shock, humbled, and grateful. 

Yesterday was a day of rest and reflection. We did manage to scrape the nose of the bottom of the keel down to the fiber glass but the rest is okay; I think we are quite lucky. Unfortunately, after putting the one year old outboard motor on Worm to go the the resort and thank everyone for their help, the engine started but will not stay idling. David spent the rest of the day cleaning everything but it still does not work. Last night we tried to send a message to all by way of sailmail, but it, too, didn't work, so David, again, tore into redoing the antenna this morning, and still, no propagation. PHEW!   

I am feeling a bit non-productive and over-whelmed, myself, and, again, am in awe of David's tenacity when it comes to problem solving. He is a bit discouraged by the results this time, but there is a mechanic here who might be able to help us tomorrow and we shall see if the SSB and sailmail do work tomorrow. Luckily we have a great internet connection here. Aren't you glad?!  We will try to patch the keel while in the water here, and we vow never to approach a new area without good visibility again.  Duh! Oh yes, it is so nice to be able to dive into the water, once again.  Life is good. Love, Suzi and David