Sunday, July 31, 2011


This morning the laughter of the children all piled into the boat, crossing the bay to go to school, put a smile on my face. A young man paddled his canoe across into a mangrove canal, whistling a lovely tune, on his way to work. It is lightly raining but there is blue sky surrounding us, so the potential for a stellar day is here. We anchored around 3 PM yesterday afternoon, along with two other boats, Migration and Equinimity, and we were invited to come to the village to watch Nemo on "the big screen," a sheet pinned to the wall of the pre-school. We took Worm into shore after the sunset and followed other villagers to the small building for the evening's event. Bruce and Eileen have a box full of technology needed to project the film with good sound and the event was a huge gift to the full house, mostly kids of all ages. What a special treat to present to the people who are so wonderfully welcoming to all of us! 

When we got back to Sidewinder, we sat out under the canopy of stars, more than I have ever seen, and thanked the universe for this intense show. It did manage to rain again last night, but the weather is changing and we are happy to be adventuring again, one more time. Today we need to check in the main town, Nuku, and then head up the west coast to Albert Bay, where the snorkeling and beaches are known to be outstanding.

As described by Lonely Planet Fiji guidebook, the people here are Micronesians originally from Banaba in Kirabati.  "At the turn of the 20th century the islanders of Banaba were first tricked and then pressed into selling the phosphate mining rights of Banaba for a small annual payment, and their tiny island was slowly ruined by the subsequent mining and influx of settlers." Surprise, surprise, eh?!  "WWII brought further tragedy when the Japanese invaded Banaba and massacred many villagers. Following the war, Rabi was purchased for the Banabans by the British Government-with money from the islanders' own Provident Fund, set up by the British Government in 1931 for phosphate royalties-and 2000 survivors were resettled here. However, as they were dropped in the middle of the cyclone season with only army tents and two months' rations, and had never been so cold (Banaba is on the equator), many of the original settlers died."
The children who greeted us in their canoe yesterday, spoke a different language than Fijiian, but they did understand and speak a little English. I wonder what their own history lessons teach them about their homeland here in Fiji. 

Love to all. I miss you.   S

From Rabi again on Aug. 2:
After motoring against the wind and waves for several hours around the west side of Rabi, we wove our way through the coral reefs yesterday afternoon, just as the sun peeked out for a short while, thank goodness, and spent the night hoping our anchor would hold. We did manage to do a late afternoon snorkel on the outside reef, and if the weather stays calm, it will have great potential this morning. It did rain last night, and we are now sitting in the complete opposite direction from where we were yesterday, due to a change in weather and finally, no wind. PHEW! This life with the wind and rain can be mighty stressful at times! (But, of course, this is certainly nothing compared to the stress our friends and family are experiencing daily.)  Woke up to a few high clouds and sunshine this morning, and if this weather holds, we will motor over to Albert Cove for the next day or two; it is supposed to be one of the prettiest places in all of Fiji.  
Love, Suzi
Coordinates for GoogleEarth fans: S 16° 27',  W 179° 58'

Saturday, July 30, 2011

More from Matagi

Matagi Island photos first

Last Thurs.: The day was sunny for minutes at a time, then rainy, then cloudy, then sunny for a minute, then rainy again. We did manage to go to shore and admired the huge jungle trees that surround the bure which the resort has for couples who want to be far away from anyone; we even took showers there, after snorkeling in the rain. (Obviously no one was there this afternoon.) A couple was there for a few hours late morning, enjoying some snorkeling and relaxing while we stayed away on Sidewinder out in the bay. Lots of goats frequent the beaches in the morning at low tide, climbing down the steep slopes and foraging whatever they can find. Unfortunately we missed the performance tonight, due to wind and rain, but had a nice quiet dinner on Sidewinder, alone in this awesome bay. Thank you for luring us up here, even though the weather has been quite shitty. It is very beautiful and we are glad to know that. We plan on going back to Taveuni tomorrow, and hope to go for one of the waterfall hikes on Saturday, in the sunshine. We then plan to head back to Savusavu, perhaps stopping at Jack's for one last Rainbow Reef dive or snorkel on the way, and then begin our journey to the Yasawas.  May the sun shine soon.  Hope you are still having summer weather. Love you mucho,  S.  

Qamea photos

Friday: Boy, it's good thing we did take the pictures last Monday when the sun was shining, cause we haven't seen that much sunshine since then! The weather is supposed to be changing and mellowing out today, but you would never know it. It howled, blew up to 30+kts, and rained most of the night, and now it is doing the same thing again. Coming into this anchorage yesterday was a scene. Thank goodness for our computer program showing us where we are at all times as we slide between reefs!  We dropped anchor behind this little island in front of us, just as a major squall hit; luckily the holding is good in sand. We are not really blocked from the wind and rain here, but the reef does give us some calm. We imagined ourselves going out to dinner yesterday to celebrate the anniversary but the weather gods did not agree. It is only 9AM so there is still hope that things will change, and, at least, we will be able to manage going to shore for some fresh supplies. PHEW !!!!  We are still hoping to hike on Taveuni, but if this continues, we may try to make a run for it around the corner, back down to Viani Bay and then back to Savusavu, which is also probably raining. Aren't you glad you are not here now?!!!  Did you happen to celebrate Nancy's birthday? What are you doing for Margo's birthday?  Enjoy your weekend. Glad that Marc is doing fine and that you are still managing to hike and play in your beautiful paradise. Did I mention that we did manage to snorkel the other point of Matagi Bay yesterday morning before we left, and that, in spite of the rain and poor light, it was awesome. The reef there is vibrant and alive with so many different colors and types of hard coral; the fish were bountiful and so damn beautiful. Thank goodness we made that effort! I will try to send you some pictures in the next hour; not sure how strong this internet connection is, but at least we get to email!  Love to you   S

The first of the photos were taken last Thursday when we arrived in Matei, near the airstrip at the northern tip of Taveuni. This is what it looks like when the sun is shining and, as I recall, it did inspire me to call you and thank you for encouraging us to come this far norh. (S 16 degrees 40.92, W 179 52.45') We moved on from Taveuni to Qamea to hide from the NW winds coming and found ourselves snug in Naivini Bay. This is where we visited the chief, Moses, with our kava for the village, and he blessed and welcomed us with open arms. Ela and Jone, who live across the bay, invited us to join them on Sunday morning at their home across the bay, and then we all went to the village for the rest of the day. Ela and I went to church and we all had a traditional Fijian meal at noon in the kitchen, the picture with cook and sister, Sophi, along with mom and grandma. The view from the kitchen was stunning and just down the hillside was a covered area we all enjoyed, talking, laughing, snoozing, and relaxing with cool breezes flowing round our full contented beings. What a great day in the village it was! The next pictures are of Matagi Bay, but no picture can really show the true essence of the teal-turqoise blue water. A few pictures of the resort show the accommodations and beauty of the land around the point from the bay, and luckily we had an afternoon without rain, to explore that area.  Now we are back at the tip of Taveuni, hoping the weather will clear and give us a chance to enjoy this area before we go back to Savusavu and over to the Yasawas.

We do have a moment of sunshine right now, but it rained for an hour earlier this morning. David and I have had quite enough of this weather and each being stuck in a tent for a week in the pouring rain. YIKES.  Good thing I love him! -S

Monday, July 25, 2011

Matagi Island

David and Suzi made it to the resort where we were to have met them. Each submitted a report. -K. 
P.S. to anyone trying to contact them: sailmail only for awhile. 

Well we made it, after 3 days of North winds that would've made this bay very uncomfortable to say the least and down right dangerous, the wind dropped totally last night so we motored over here this morning. It is one of, if not the prettiest, places we have ever dropped a hook. But there isn't much sand around to set the anchor and coral patches everywhere, so it's not a place to hang in unsettled weather. So what are we doing here considering there are 20-30 knt winds forecasted for tomorrow through Wed.? But these winds are suppose to be out of the East to So. East which should make this bay a shelter out of the storm. I'm keeping my fingers crossed and would like it if you did the same. 

We did a dive here in the bay and then took the dingy over to the resort to check it out. It's a nice place for sure, and we met Christine (the owner's daughter) who gave us the low down on the place. Seems her family has owned the land around these parts since the 1800's (wonder who they stole it from?). We wanted to have dinner there for our university, so made reservations and found it would only cost us $95 apiece! Now that is Fiji money which is worth about half of a US dollar but it's still pretty pricey. But what the hell! It's a special time and God knows Suzi is worth it, not sure about me but I get to go along for the ride. The locals who we met in Navivi Bay will be performing their traditional Song and dance routine that night here at Matagi so it will be fun meeting up with them again. So that's the latest and greatest, Kris. Please tell Marc the place sucks, the drinks weak and cost a mint (which they are and do!!) and a two tank dive with equipment would've cost you an additional $350 apiece. We did a two tank dive at Dolphin Bay that cost us $210 apiece. Suzi took some photos of your room but you won't see them until we get somewhere that has internet. Maybe Fri. or Sat., depends on the weather as so much of our life does!!! Dinner is ready so I got to go. We will do the So. Pacific together sometime, Kris; we are even starting to talk about spending one more cruising season here in Fiji. The place is soooo cool and people sooo nice. Time will tell ??? See ya-  David 

The teal-turquoise clear water is astounding and the cliffs protect us from the ESE winds, which started last night. It rained bigtime last night and now it is again, and we are collecting that sweet water into our tanks. We are so glad we ventured around the corner and snorkeled yesterday afternoon, after visiting the resort, so we know, at least, how very beautiful this piece of paradise is, indeed. The coral gardens are extensive, with mostly hard corals of every possible hue, and lots of beautiful little fish observed us as we floated past their homes. We were so fortunate to have sunshine all afternoon, as the distant squalls began to surround us. The rain certainly changes the feel of it all, and we are lucky to have time to wait it out. 

It is ironic, that, we spent the weekend with the people who come to entertain the resort guests on Thursday nights. Back in Naivini Bay, Ela and Jone offered us fresh water from their spring, and then welcomed us to spend Sunday with them in the village, across the bay. We watched and helped them cook taro leaves stuffed with coconut cream and onions, coconut bread, wrapped in banana leaves, taro root, casava, and breadfruit, all cooked in the traditional lovo (outdoor oven made of rocks first heated by the fire), and I went to church with Ela. As the service proceeded, the women continuously passed the babies around, to keep them smiling and quiet, and I truly got the essence of the saying, "It takes a village". It was a very rewarding day, and as we left yesterday morning for Matagi Bay, we told them we would try to catch their dancing, drumming, and singing on Thursday night here at the resort. I think the weather will drive whatever we do, and I hope this passes along soon and that we will continue to feel secure here in this lovely bay.  Love, S

Friday, July 22, 2011


We woke up yesterday thinking we were going to do some hikes to waterfalls, but the grib files we looked at called for NE winds starting last night and moving to NW stronger winds today and tomorrow, so we decided to move to the hurricane hole over here on Qamea, about half-way down the west coast. We went ashore with Adrian and Helen from sv Mandala and did a bit of re-provisioning at the little store and fresh produce garden stand and then delighted in freshly brewed coffee and sweets at Audrey's. What a beautiful woman she is! We left for Qamea around 11:00 with mostly cloudy sky, and luckily, the sun came out as we entered the long narrow bay and the reefs were very visible. So, here we sit, in front of a little neat, tidy colorful community on the hillside, safe and sound: S 16 45', W 179 46'.

David and I visited the little village with some kava for the chief and were welcomed by many smiling faces; we just happened to catch the end of the afternoon traditional drumming and dancing practice by the young people. Wish we had gotten there earlier to really experience them in action. Moses, the head man, gave us permission to visit and stay with them, as we are now part of their community. Upon leaving, we were greeted by many of the people, and as we slogged our way out with Worm through the mud of the mangroves, we were smiling. An Australian guy paddling down the bay later informed us that our little village, was not really considered the true village; the real one we should visit is out on the point and that is where the official chief resides. I think the little community we did visit is doing a fine job of running their own show, and enjoying the benefits! It rained and blew a bit last night and is very cloudy and misty this morning, so here we sit. The day will unfold as it will, and we will enjoy whatever comes our way. 

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Incredible diving, snorkeling, and enjoying new friends in Viani Bay

It's great to dive with the fish and enjoy them for a long time

 Jack who followed us while we drift snorkeled . A stunning time in the water.
 Dinner hosted by locals Abu and Elenor in their wonderful home

Wonderful new friends, Adrian and Helen from sv Mandala

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Savusavu and Viani Bay

Today is a beautiful day on the west side of Taveuni; still here in Viani Bay. Yesterday was a pretty day in the morning, while we dove, and then it turned very windy and cloudy, although it doesn't rain much over here on the Vanua Levu side.  

We did have a wonderful two dives and it was great getting back into the dive mode. The very coolest part of diving with tanks is that you can stay down and get close to the fish and they don't seem to care that you are blowing bubbles; because you are moving much less than when you are snorkeling, your body movement is more like that of a fish. We saw lots of schools of snappers and an amazing school of fusiloier fish, brillient luminescent blue with gold outlines and they moved as one all around us. It was brilliant, as the NZ's say!  We saw colorful soft and hard corals of all kinds, flowing anenomes (sp?), clownfish and a tiny colorful flatworm that is not usually visible.  Our dive master is a German guy who runs the Dolphin Reef Diving Retreat, and they have a dive shop which many other resorts use.....very low key but professional and safe as well.  We ate lunch over there and relaxed for a while before getting a ride back to Sidewinder inside Viani Bay. 

We then proceeded to take Worm over to Abu and Elenor's house on shore for a fabulous dinner for all of the yachties anchored here in the bay. It was wonderful. We have met some great people here and hope to see them again along our journey. When I returned home to Sidewinder, early in the evening, I felt like shit. I meant to email you about all of this at that time, but I wrapped myself in my little snuggly blanket and was down for the count, sweating at times through the night, working through this temperature. Phew! Wonder what that was all about?  I feel so great this morning, without taking Tylenol or Advil, and am happy to be rid of the creepy bug we both picked up. Today we are going out with one of the locals, Jack, and doing a snorkel on Rainbow Reef. He will pick us up after we drift for a while.  Yes, finally, it truly is another shitty day in Paradise.  

                                           Savusavu Bay
                                          Waitui Marina where we hung out
                                           Looking toward Taveuni from Viani Bay
                                Morning meditation facing shore from our anchorage
       Most of the cruisers are anchored or moored in front of Jack's but there wasn't room for us.

P.S. from the following day:
We went snorkeling with Jack late this morning and it probably is up there as the very best dive ever as of yet. PHEW !  What clarity, color, variety of hard and soft corals, tons of fish, I saw a huge octopus and we all saw a few white tipped sharks. Jack was in our dinghy and paddled along as we floated with the current and now I take back what I said about diving vs snorkeling. I just held my upper body still, added  a weight, and it seemed great. The only thing I missed was not just being able to stay down, but the silence was pretty precious. Soooooo. There you have it. We were out there at least an hour or more and just finally got too cold, even with short wetsuits. It was hard to stop, it was so damn beautiful.    
We discovered, while changing the oil this afternoon, a leak in the salt water exhaust manifold; we may take up a mooring here at Jack's or move to the north end of Taveuni to an anchorage closer to the civilization of Taveuni.  I will let you know.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Viani Bay

The wind died early in the evening at Fawn Harbor and we were so happy. After a good night's sleep, we were ready for a new adventure out at sea, thinking we would be continuing the bashing into the easterly winds, as we had done the day before. But, lo and behold, there was no wind today, so we motored the 20+ miles up to Viani Bay, just inside from Rainbow Reef. It took us a long while to find an anchorage shallow enough to be comfortable, but we did, and we are nestled behind a little island along a stretch of land with several houses and a small village: S16 degrees 45' and E 179 53'. We are scheduled to go on a dive tomorrow morning with a dive master who lives here in the bay, but I am feeling pretty weird, achy all over, temp, and no energy, just like David did two days ago, so I am not sure if it will happen tomorrow or Sunday. There is no wind right now, and it would be a perfect day to dive tomorrow, so I am hoping for the best. Who knows what this little bug is!! (It is the only time I have felt sick since we left in 2008, which is certainly amazing.) Sorry to tell you, the weather is absolutely beautiful, and we are right across from the island of Taveuni, much larger than I had imagined.  I am excited to explore. -Suzi

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Fawn Harbor

Well we made it to Fawn Harbor after beating into 15-20 winds with 4-6 ft choppy seas. Not my idea of good day of sailing. Our DVD player hit the floor along with a bunch of other stuff and I haven't tried it yet. My guess is it's toast !!! Long flight and sudden landing, not good. But we stuck it out and found the pass into this little bay not as bad as the charts showed with posst at every jog in the channel and we got there early enough so the visibility was still good. We aren't sure yet if we will continue on tomorrow to Viani Bay or if we want to check this place out a little. Not much here but there is supposed to be some natural hot springs near by you can walk to, whatever. The sooner I get out of this wind and around the corner the better for me I know that. Hard to sleep to soundly with the possibility of your anchor dragging and finding ones self up on a reef. Love this cruising shit !!! Always something to keep you on your toes. Got to go, dinner is ready. See ya,  David

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Savasavu to Cousteau Resort

Hi there. Yesterday was soooo funky! The rain started with misty clouds rolling by and ended last night with driving, pouring sheets of water pounding down on the roofs of the buildings we were in. Luckily we were inside enjoying a wonderfully tasty meal with new friends, Kathy and Bill from Seattle, and then we waited afterwards for about an hour for a  small window of time with no rain giving us a brief time to scramble to the dinghy dock and get to ourboats before the next downpour. We did manage to fill our one tank with yummy fresh rain water directly from the sky. We did manage to do most of our shopping for supplies during the misty day and we left around noon today for the Cousteau Resort, just down the coast about 3 miles, very close to the entrance to the bay. 

It was a beautiful day without a cloud in the sky, but now the clouds haved reappeared and it looks like another round of rain is happening in the valley where Savusavu is located. We will be ready to jump out of this bay fairly early tomorrow and make our way to Fawn Harbor, about 26 miles from here, on our way to Viani Bay.  I was looking forward to snorkeling a bit here, but the clouds definitely take away the desire to explore. It is nice to be away from the town and this resort looks very pretty from the boat. I think we will stay put and just relax this afternoon (as if I have been working so damn hard!!!)    

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Great people and diving in Koro

When we picked up a  mooring in Dere Bay, Koro Island, we had no idea how much fun we would have meeting the people who have built houses or were contemplating that notion. The resort was established mostly for those looking for lots to buy, and the facilities do not get much attention, but the central meeting area at 5PM always holds some wonderful people, enjoying a beer and sharing news, thoughts, and friendship. Unfortunately, I never did get a picture of them, as I seemed to be too busy listening to fascinating stories or thoroughly enjoying interesting discussions. We were invited to come up to Neil and Wangli's house the next day and she ladened me with wonderful fresh vegetable and fruits from her luscious garden; they were leaving that night to go to Suva for a week and we felt so lucky to have met them. They are cruisers from Australia who decided to build their home there and keep the boat anchored in Dere Bay. Rob and Jenny, Marlin, Joe, Namita, and Greg were so welcoming and fun to be with. We dove the Black Rock that same day and left for Savusavu after a rainstorm and rainbow the following morning. What fun we are having!    I forgot to mention the birds:  parrots, barking doves, hawks, herons, and swallows all share the jungle together. It is nice to be in the forest once again. Hope all is well on the homefront; we love you all!

From Makogai to Koro and now Savusavu

Friday, July 8, 2011

Journey to Savusavu

Here are some photos to show the journey from Leutoka to Savusavu,
capturing just a few of the awesome moments we have had these last two
weeks. Hopefully our internet connection is strong enough to send
these. As David has mentioned, we have a bad habit of finding our safe
anchorages a bit too late in the day, but the incredible sunsets have
certainly made us feel welcomed! The first sunset photo is our first
stop on the way to the north of Viti Levu Island, inside the reefed
pass. After anchoring for a few days in the north east corner next to
Nananu-i-take Island, safely tucked away from the intense outside
wind, we took off past Ellington Wharf and the kiters enjoying the
wind we were about to encounter on our nose. After about 5 NM of
motoring into this headwind, we ducked into beautiful Viti Levu Bay to
enjoy the calm and quiet, while watching some village women fishing
from their bamboo/reed boats. Their journey back to the village made
us realize that stand up paddling is not a new activity by any means!
Our wonderful sail from Naigoni Island to Makogai was, again, in the
afternoon, and the sunset welcomed us to safety one more time. This
former, very famous magical leper colony from 1911-1969, helped
thousands of people feel welcomed, worthwhile, productive, and joyful,
even though the leprosy seemed to be a death sentence. It was so
interesting to learn about all that was accomplished here during that
time. It is now a very low key research station for the preservation
of the giant clams which are endangered and students come here on
internships, looking for ways to help save these marvelous creatures
of the sea. We dove here and found some of the clams in their wild
einvironment; the snorkeling was incredible near Sidewinder and out by
the entrance to the bay. What a great adventure we had there!
Here are the pictures for this part of our journey........I will writeabout Koro in the next email.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Makogai to Koro

Well some ocean crossings are scary, some are boring and then some, a very few I might add, are down right beautiful. And that's what we had yesterday going from Makogai to Koro which is about 20 miles away. We had sunshine and anywhere from 10 to 15 knts. of wind right on the beam and averaged around 5.5 knts. the whole way. It was such great sailing that we hand steered the total trip just enjoying the experience and remembering what made us want to begin this adventure in the first place. The only thing that wasn't perfect about the day was the fish that hit my jig got off before I could grab the pole so instead of fresh fish for dinner we ate ashore on the island of Koro with some new found friends who live there. Koro (17 degrees 116.484 S 179 degrees 21.591 E )is about half way from Makogai to Savusavu but we plan on hanging here for a few days doing a little exploring before heading out again. We have exhausted our veggie and fruit supply and hope to buy a few things here but Savusavu will be our main provisioning location. During the crossing yesterday I mentioned to Suzi that at about that time all our friends there at 9th Street in Laguna were having their beach party celebrating the 4th and we both smiled as we visualized all those happy faces laughing and talking as they ate and drank there on the sand. We hoped the weather was good and a small part of us wanted to be there enjoying the good times. It's times like that that makes us miss home !!! But you can't do it all....... and for us, today means a hike to the near by village and then an afternoon snorkel at the outer reef that is suppose to be killer. Will let you know how it all goes.  Love to all and we sure hope life is getting easier for Marc with both arms in casts.  See ya,  David & Suzi

Monday, July 4, 2011

July 4th

Suzi and David have been communicating by sailmail, thus their missives have been brief with no photos. Although Marc and I will not be joining them, they had invested a lot of time and effort to head north, so they continue on to Taveuni. I have been remiss in posting blogs, but below is today's. -K.

We did a few small projects today on Sidewinder and then got ready to go ashore; the rainstorm moved in quickly and we never did leave the boat. We are planning on leaving [Makongai] tomorrow for the next island up, Koro Island, and the anchorage is Dere Bay. There is a resort there and a village not too far away so we hope good weather helps us find the reefs, anchor, and adventure into new territories. Hope your 4th is full of sunshine and joy. -Suzi