Saturday, November 16, 2013

Test Post

Test Post - Wahoo, We're back in business!! (able to post)

Friday, October 18, 2013

rough sail overnight

Well, after a more than rough sail overnight ( winds 25-30+ with crazy seas) we made it to the small island of Vanikoro which is part of the Santa Cruz island group in the southern Solomons. It was a long, wet sail with seas that didn't allow you to stand in one place very long and wind that kept Sidewinder feeling like a runaway train even though she only had a double reefed main and a staysail out. Neither Suiz nor I got much sleep and now that we are tucked into this totally protected bay I'm sure both of us will sleep like babes tonight. From here it's up further into the Solomons and then on to Ponhpei or now we are thinking of maybe heading up to Papau New Guinea and then on to Micronesia. I'll let you know our decision-

Wednesday, October 16, 2013


We arrived yesterday after a delightful downwind sail from the north tip of Gaua with Java and Maaliwalas. Our new friends on this yacht are from the Philippines and are wonderful people; they are headed back home after 6 years of sailing around the world, and we are looking forward to connecting with them there in the Philippines, if we actually get there. We will sail with them at least partially through the Solomons. Because of weather predictions, I think we will need to leave here tomorrow and head up to the first of the Solomon Islands in the Santa Cruz group. There is a low that is supposed to hit the Torres, the north islands in Vanuatu, by Saturday or Sunday, and we do not want to be close by. We will let you know more tomorrow morn when we depart, although, it has been difficult sending messages out in the morning. The water here is the clearest, aqua blue water I have ever seen and the snorkeling would have been incredible if the sun had been out. The pool at the double waterfall is deep and refreshing, and the villagers very welcoming, although we are a bit over-whelmed by all that they want from us. It is hard not to feel a bit used, even though we are visiting their homes and sleeping in their front yards. Much to think about....... It certainly has been an amazing anchorage for the three of us.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Gaua Island

Arrived here on Gaua Island, Lakcona Bay, around 5 PM, thank goodness! It was a mighty rolly roudy crossing with swells big enough to push us around and wind on the aft beam anywhere between 13 and 28kts !PHEW !!!! It is so nice to be in this little cove, in the quiet of the bay. It was an intense afternoon to say the least, but Sidewinder did really well and so did Capt David and Suzi. Our plan is to head around the corner to a more protected bay on the northeast side and enjoy the rain that is predicted to arrive tomorrow eve. It would be nice if there was good snorkeling but am not sure about this island......need to do a bit more investigating. There is supposed to be good internet there in Lusalava. Guess we will find out. From here we head north to Waterfall Bay, Vanua Lava, and then onward.

Sending you my love and healing spirit continually through-out the day, dear Kris buddy. Love you, S

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Taking Fond Memories of Vanuatu People and Spirit As We Head North

Time to be on our way, enjoying the last of the islands of Vanuatu and preparing ourselves for the sail to Pohnpei, Micronesa, for cyclone season. It has been a wonderful trip through these magical, lush green isalnds and the people have welcomed us with warm smiles and generous ways.  We have been traveling way too fast and regret not having enough time to spend with the people, as well as snorkeling and diving these pristine waters. The weather drives us at this time of the year and so I must just be happy with where we have been and grateful for the connections we were able to make. Pictures tell so much more, so I do hope this internet connection will allow me to send a few more wonderful memories your way. Love to all!
 The expertise these people desplay sailing and paddling between islands is amazing. They venture out in conditions that leave us hunkered down at anchor and think nothing of it.
 Transporting themselves while fishing, laughing, and living their lives to the fullest in Malakula.
 I enjoyed singing with these women and sharing the family spirit, while David hung with the guys, talking about selecting the right piece of wood to carve a ore out of. It takes about a day to make one ore using nothing but a machete and some strong arms.
 Chief Joseph brought the cruisers in the bay some roasted pig, yams, and salad to share.
 Each time we arrive in a new place, we experience the calm and peace. Asanvari Bay is exceptional!
 Alex, David and Ian spent some time talking about life while Suzi hiked the beautiful falls.
 These are the two who would like to share their waterfall with the world and bring some stimulation to the village. They love their village, but want their families to expand and learn about the world beyond themselves. They do cherish what they have, but they also want the village children to have more opportunities and education.   How lucky we are to get to know these people and we hope their dreams come true.( notice the waterfall in the background )

Monday, October 7, 2013

Loltong Village

First two pics are from Loltong Village at the northern end of Pentecost Island taken at the yacht club on the beach when we had dinner with Donna and Evan from Java

The double waterfall at Nasavari Bay, on Maewa Island was stunning. I had an incredible hike up the waterfall and to a lookout. Alex and son, Ian, part of the family who owns the land, have great dreams for this waterfall restaurant and bar there; it was a very special place. I have more pics and will hope to add them to the blog sometime today or tomorrow

The last two pics are from our wreck dive on the Coolidge and our reef dive. It was great getting into the water again!

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Asanvari Bay

We are sorry that we have no pictures to help share this adventure, but the internet is so sketchy, that sending pics is almost impossible. These few updates by dear Casey just let our blog followers know that we are still enjoying the flow of life in the islands which are so removed from the reality most of you are experiencing on a daily basis. The trip from Loltong, Pentecost, to Asanvari Bay, Maewo, took about 4 hours with pretty big swells on our aft stern and  strange gusty winds; at least the winds were behind us and most of the time we were blessed with 18=20 kts, enough to push us through the big waves. It was awesome rounding the corner and heading into peaceful Asanvari Bay, with crystal clear water, high lush green cliffs reaching up to the blue sky, a stunning waterfall in sight, a beautiful little yacht club on the beach, a lovely little village nestled behind the rocky point. and a few very friendly villagers in home-made kayaks fishing and transporting themselves from village to home. Often times Vanuatu islands have reminded me of old Hana Hawaii........really beautiful. David and I took Worm to the shore, visited the club, paid $5 each for the privilege of exploring the waterfall,etc., toured the village with Angelica, our 14 yr old guide whose family cannot afford to send her to Secondary school on Ambae the next island over, and then hung on the beach with some wonderful welcoming local men and women who shared life stories with us. David lounged in a hammock with Freddy, one of the teachers here at the primary school, and probably could have spent the rest of the afternoon enjoying the peace. We did finally muster up the energy to dinghy over to the gushing waterfall, took fresh water baths and chatted with the owner of the land. He has created a little restaurant and bar, with dinghy landing and lots of gardens, inviting visitors to partake in the special experience. Today I will hike to the upper falls, buy some baskets, visit the school, and just bask in the quiet ambience of the bay. Capt Dave is letting his cranky knee rest, so he will fore-go the hike. As you can out here is pretty awesome! Java and Sidewinder will sail to the big town of Lugenville on the island of Espiritu Santos tomorrow. Love to all!

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

  • The morning after the crazy storm, we took Worm over to the little village across the channel, along with our local guide, Nerriah, to see the baby dugong. It had died last Sunday, so we missed him, but we had a lovely hour with the locals who had taken care of it. When we got ready to leave, the ladies showered us with gifts of pumpkin and chotles(another veggie)with beautiful smiles on their faces, and I felt grateful for the encounter. Guess it was not our time to convene with the dugongs but there is still hope that we will be able to swim with them up on the northwest coast of this island. We had a great sail up the coast of Malakula Tuesday afternoon and arrived in Banam Bay ( S 16 20' E 167 45')with time to enjoy a visit onto another beautiful beach and into a village filled with friendly, welcoming people who proudly showed us around and introduced us to everyone. Gifts of sweet spring onions, island cabbage, another pumpkin, paw paws, tomatoes, and nuts were given to us and we went back to Sidewinder and Java, reflecting on the generosity of such poor people. This morning we gave the family some gifts of our own, said our good-byes and sailed across the ocean to Ambryn. David and I snorkeled this afternoon off Sidewinder, around the nearby south lava rock point in crystal clear pretty warm water, amazed by the different coral here, as compared to other islands. It was awesome getting back into the warm water again. Tomorrow we head up around the corner to Ranon or Ranvetlam Bay and perhaps arrange for a hike to the volcano; depends on how adventurous we are. We still have a lot of places to go and we are running out of time.......seems like we have been moving now way too fast, but it is now all about the weather and getting out of the cyclone zone for a rest. And the beat goes on....... Love to all, Suzi and David


Hi there! Thanks for letting me know where I truly am! is 168 08' E and the correct name is
Loltong. We meandered around the village this morning and actually found a computer class being given by the official office representing the govt of Vanuatu. The villagers were all young guys, learning what they can do on the computer and they were very engaged when we dropped into the class. The women work a lot in the gardens, up in the hills, making sure they have food each night, and they are known for making beautiful baskets, which they all use to carry whatever. Seems like there are children everywhere, of course, and life goes on and on. The children are so friendly and always seem to be screaming with frolic and joy; they also sing together at the top of their lungs when they see a visitor. The primary school was in session when we walked by but we definitely were a distraction and they were peeking out the windows and waving to us.  Poverty here takes on a very different look because they have clean water, lots of healthy food which grows easily, and the climate is warm. Although I would love to see development mean there would be fewer kids, it is easy to see that there is a lot of love and connections between the people in the village and everyone seems to be pretty happy. I do have lots of thoughts and feelings, though, about the male domination in these and so many cultures and it is very prevalent here in Vanuatu.  Life.... I have two little sores on my feet which seem to be festering so I am staying out of the water for now; luckily there is a constant  dreamy breeze keeping me coolish. This afternoon we are going into the little yacht club here on the beach for a local dinner and the village string band is coming to play for us, which will be very fun. We are enjoying Evan and Donna and are very happy to have a buddy boat with which to hang and do passages. Yesterday's sail up the coast was a bit tense because bullets of 25-30kt winds would hit the boat about every 10 min or so; we had a double reefed main up and a small staysail and that was just perfect. You would never know it was that boisterous out there while snuggled inside this reef. What a magical place this is. I will send this email first and then try to send a few pictures. Cross the fingers and toes!  Love you, S

Monday, September 23, 2013

baby dugong

The calm finally came to us around 3PM and the glassy pink water, reflecting the clearing clouds was spectacular. It was a very intense morning as the wind picked up, sometimes to 40kts, and we turned on the engine and drove forward, just enough to help release the tension on the anchor by keeping us pointed into the wind as it accelerated. Unfortunately, this anchorage did not give us the complete protection from the wind as we had hoped, but at least the reef outside helped keep the swells down. We were so thankful to not be out in the ocean dealing with this gale force wind!!! Amazing how tense it makes you feel inside and out, and I continued silently to breathe deeply and ask the wind to finish and quiet down......of course, I am sure when it began to diminish, it was just because of my plea! :)) Ah.....such power! Seriously, thank you, Wind, for moving on! We did fill our tanks with water and I know the villagers were so very grateful. Tomorrow morning we are going with a local from this island over to the village to find their resident baby dugong; sometimes they do come into this bay, but so far, we have not seen them.  Later tomorrow we will move to another island with good protection, where there are supposed to be more dugongs and some hiking. It will be nice to have some good weather so we can enjoy this area. Hope all is well with everyone. S&D

Saturday, September 21, 2013


Hi you all - David here with another daily update from Sidewinder the wonder ship. We left Laymen Bay on the north end of Epi this morning around 09:00 and sailed over to the south end of Malakula where we are hunkered down in a great little bay ( 16 31.8 S 167 46.0 E )which hopefully will offer us enough protection from the forecasted winds that are suppose to begin tomorrow afternoon. The trip over was delightful with even a spinnaker run to entertain Sidewinders crew and to remind us of our best cruising partners of all time Richard and Virginia on s/v Mandy. The first time we met them on the west coast of the Baja just days after we had left San Diego, they helped us patch our spinnaker. Well the patch is still there and holding like it was done in a sail loft instead of the cockpit of Mandy in Bahia Santa Maria. I love flying that kite and remembering the special times we spent with them. But I also have to mention yet another fish tail, this one was a bull Mahi Mahi about 4 ft. long that fought like a big dog. In fact he fought so hard that after I horsed him in along side the boat and missed with my first gaft attempt he made that last ditch effort and slipped off the hook. I was soooo bummed I yelled at the top of my lungs " Fuc..........." I so wanted to land that beauty and have fish dinner for us along with our cruising partners Evan and Donna off s/v Java. He was big enough to give some to the locals as well and nothing like a little fresh fish to put smiles on their faces. But it wasn't meant to be so that lovely green, golden and blue monster is still out there swimming around with a new knowledge of what not to bite into.
Tomorrow will be a rest day with no crossings or anything on the agenda. Suzi may venture over to the local village and go to church but this old Pirate is hanging out with a good book and a cold beer thank you. It's time for a little R & R ...    So hope all is well at your end's and we will stay in touch. See ya -  D & S   PS. Suzi here just needing to mention the huuuuge turtles with heads the size of coconuts, grazing on the bountiful flat green covered coral laying on the black sandy bottom, right underneath Sidewinder. They were the largest turtles I have seen since the galapagoes and they could care less that I was hovering just above them. WOW! What a treat!


We are now at the north end of Epi in a great little bay with a village large enough to even have not one but two little stores. Calling these stores is maybe pushing it a bit but they do sell things and they sure are stores to the locals. They even have fresh baked bread and peanut butter and to top it off they have "COLD" beer !!! You heard right cold beer and they opened it for us as well so we could stand right there and drink it. Try doing that in the states !!!!  Anyway, as Suzi said in yesterdays post we had a killer sail up from Efate. One of those sails where the wind was at about 120 degrees off the course at about 15-20 knts. and we made it to our new anchorage on one rump line reach !!! From anchor to anchor on one reach is something you don't do very often, we always have to jibe here or tack there or something but to run the rump line from point to point just doesn't happen. It did yesterday and I even hooked a marlin or sailfish or something so big it gave me a stiffy but after almost spooling me ( taking all my line ) the line snapped right at the leader and I lost him. Oh well, too big to land so just as well, but why did he have to go and take my favorite squid jig ?? Hope it gives him a tooth ache before it rusts out and drops free. But all in all it was a killer day and we averaged over 7 knts. which for us is speeding down the line.
Tomorrow we head for the south end of Malakuta where there are a few really protected anchorages and we will need one as there is some weather on the way, that's what the weather forecasters say and I jump when I hear talk like that. So we are "jumping" for a protected little bay with a shallow bottom and good holding. We will try to let you know how the trip went but you know how that goes, can't always depend on these sailmails going out. Steve I don't know if you read the blog or not and knew you would like hearing about a great sail day, as you know, they just come around that often, when it does happen you really enjoy it.

Monday, September 16, 2013


The villages in Vanuatu are beautifully neat, tidy, colorful, and organized. We have already had some very special times with lovely people we have met and we look forward to meeting many more. The power of the volcano is felt and respected by all on Tanna.  What fun to explore this remote area of the world! Today we leave to go around the corner to Mele Bay here on the island of Efate and are looking forward to some wonderful water time. It is cooler here than in Fiji, but we do have sunshine today and that is good! From here we will head up to Havannah Bay and then onward to the northern islands of Vanuatu. Each island has a different culture as well as some great diving, we hear. Off we go!  Love to all,  Suzi and David

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Port Vila, Efate, and Onward To Explore More of Vanuatu

 The volcano energy was quite incredible to be near. What a thrill to hear it roar with life!
Finally we have been able to connect with a strong enough signal to at least say hi to all and update you with our next plan! Thank you to Casey, who has been able to post a few blogs to at least let you know we did, indeed, check into Vanuatu by way of Anatom and we did have a fantastic time standing next to the rim of the volcano on Tanna, as it was groaning, grumbling,  spewing, and explodying. We have been in Port Vila, the capital "city" of Vanuatu, on the island of Efate, for over a week and are close to being able to move on up the chain of islands. We were able to re-connect with great friends from the past, Nick and Kathy on Impala and Linda and Jim on Chesapeake; it was fun finding different restaurants to try and visiting with all of them before they continued on to New Caledonia and Australia. We are now hoping to buddy boat with Evan and Donna on s/v Java, whom we met a while back in Fiji, and make our way up the chain looking for new cultural adventures and surf. We are all still possibly heading for Pohnpei, Micronesia for the typhoon season, but that seems a long way into the future and "ya never know!"  It has been a major challenge to get set up with internet and we do hope that Digicel will be okay for us, but right now, the connection is sporadic with them so we are using left over wi-fi time given to us by our cruising buddies who left a few days ago. We shall see.......  I will try my best to include here some of the pictures from Tanna, so you can all see that we are really finding wonderful people and interesting things to do out so far away. Continue to enjoy life
 Across from where we anchored in Rort Resolution, Tanna, the hot mountain was full of hot springs.
The energy of Tanna's volcanic god was incredible to be near. WOW !!

Monday, September 2, 2013

headed for Port Vila

We moved up to Dillon's Bay on the island of Erronango yesterday and had a tough sail. 20-25 all the way with seas so confused they didn't know what direction they wanted to go. Very rolly, hard to even move from one side of the boat to the other. Would have liked to hang here and explore but the weather report is telling us to move on because of high winds (35 +) on the way. So we will pull anchor around noon headed for Port Vila, the capital of Vanuatu and the largest city in these parts by far.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Vanuatu Volcano

The volcano was a "E" ticket ride for sure !!! I got some great photos but even they don't convey the power, sound and feeling of smallness that you felt standing on the edge looking down into that pit of molten lava when it erupted. Oh I might add that I also felt stupid for being there flirting with nature. It kept running through my mind that the whole damn thing could blow up at any moment and we wouldn't have a chance in hell of fleeing. IT was an experience of a life time and only in Vanuatu could you get within 5 miles of that thing. In the States it may be 10 miles !!!! When we get to Port Vila and have internet again we'll post some shots that might give you a feeling of what it was like but I already know they won't do it justice. On a whole Vanuatu is much more primitive than anywhere we have been so far with the native housing all thatched huts with dirt paths passing between them but it's pretty as hell and the pride they have in their meager existence is obvious. The beaches are beautiful and the main one here in Port Resolution even has a crude shower up under the palm trees. The kids all have smiles on their faces and the adults are very approachable and quick with their own smiles. I think we may be moving on to the next island tomorrow, sort of depends on the weather grib forecast.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Last Days At Musket Cove Photos Tell the Story

Leaving has its ups and downs
We will miss Leanne +John on Redsky, Tom +Monica on Tanga. Such good times!
 From back of Redsky after our last day at Namotu surfing
 Tahle was a special friend at the Trader Store
Ken and Ilene on Silver Ruffian
Ernie, Redsky, Tanga, Sue and Grace enjoying final BBQ
Grace, Kathy and Jeff all from the USA
Surf buddies Sunja and Greg with David
Such loving bar-tenders, wishing us a Bula spirit always
On the sand-bank for Geoff's almost full moon party/bonfire

  • Friend Geoff hosts his friends from Calif and shows them the best of times!

Precious Time With Casey

 We were both learning to play the ukes so not much music going on..........just a bit of practicing
 Ah!  the pleasures of surfing at Namotu with friends.
 What a great night of eating and dancing with our dear friends. YAHOO!!
 Jules, Ernie, and Casey enjoy some kind of meaningful conversation, I am sure!
 A band at the Island Bar provided us with a fine excuse to party 'til we dropped!
 Having such a special time with son Casey, living the life here in Fiji.
 Casey, John, and Tom after an awesome surf session; doesn't get much better than this!
Such great fun to be had with Leanne and Jules! Dancing helps the spirit soar, as we all know!

Lots of Love Until We See You Again!

It was so difficult for David and I say good-bye to Casey last week after having such an incredible time with him on Sidewinder, and now.........we also say good-bye to all of our wonderful friends at Musket Cove. What an amazing journey we are on! What a joy to have Casey Sobolewski share with us our wonderful adventure; we miss him bigtime! We surfed, snorkeled, did some great dives, had many yummy BBQ's with the gang at Musket, partied with the greatest of friends, and had very precious quality time just BEING with dear Casey. He is such a wonderful, gentle, kind, compassionate soul, and I am so proud to be in his life. David was so touched with his "most mellow son in the world" and what a blessing to have him want to come spend this time with us in our small space on Sidewinder. Now that he has returned to his own bed ( I am sure feels so so nice :)) and his life with friends and family, we are now moving onward, having to say some of our own farewells to our Fijian family in Musket and our dear friends. As I have said before, it is for me, one of the most difficult part of this cruising lifestyle. It is so special to bond with new friends and know our friendships will last forever. The countless early morning hikes with Lynn, Brigette, and others were so great for me; having a chance to share ideas, thoughts, and feelings with other women, is so up-lifting. Dear Earnie, from Lauren Grace, is so kind, funny, warm, and willing to help everyone; what a treat to have him in our lives. Sue and Andrew, Geoff, and Don will always be wonderful friends we will find back in Musket Cove and Nandi, where they do their best to make lives more fun and enjoyable for all. We will miss Leanne and John on Redsky, as well as Monica and Tom on Tanga; what fun we have had with them surfing, dancing, laughing, and just enjoying life together. Sorry to miss giving John on Zazoo a big hug and thank you, as well. The pictures will tell the story and I know that I have said enough.

We are heading to Lautoka right now and will check out of Fiji this morning, given an updated favorable weather forecast. Our plan is to sail to Vanuatu and explore those beautiful islands until mid-October, when we will need to start our journey north up to Pohnpei, the most eastern island in Micronesia. The other possibility would be to go to New Caledonia and Australia, but I think we are leaning toward moving north for more surfing and diving adventures. Leaving Fiji is the first step..........and very hard to do without tears, for me. It is always easier when you know that someday we might possibly return. This is paradise, indeed, and it would not be so without such lovely people. What a gift to be here for so long!!!!    
 Hope all is well on the homefront and lots of love to all of you!   Suzi and David

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Great Fun With Casey Continues On

It has been so wonderful having Casey visit us here in Fiji and so far, today is the first day we have been yachtbound on Sidewinder due to wind. Since his arrival at the end of July, we have been playing hard and having so much fun with son, Casey. It is such a pleasure to be with him and his mellowness has made our small space workable. The surf, sun, and wonderful water have fully co-operated and all our friends have welcomed him with open arms, wishing they could adopt him. He certainly has made living on Sidewinder very easy for me and, of course, Capt David has thoroughy enjoyed teaching him as much as he can in such a short amount of time. He he has quickly stepped up to the plate and is helping with engine, anchoring, driving, sailing, loading the boards into the dinghy ( a great help to me!) and just about everything. We will both miss him so darn much after next Tuesday night, when he flies home, but til then, we continue to cherish the time with him.  After checking out the waves, our first day, on the way to Musket Cove, our adventuring has not stopped until today. Casey met everyone his first night at the barbecue, and the island has embraced him with the Bula spirit. Surfing has been at the top of the list for activities, but we also have snorkeled all over the place. Last week, with the north winds, we took off for Robinson Crusoe Resort and decided from there to head for Kadavu for some diving.  We glided over the glassy water with stars all around the next night and arrived the next morning for a few days of diving and exploring the village life. Unfortunately, we never did find the mantas, but the snorkeling and diving were beautiful. With high wind weather approaching, we sailed our way back to Musket Cove a few days ago and have surfed and partied with friends since our arrival. What great fun we have had. The pictures, of course, will tell the story more thoroughly and there will be more to come, I am sure. For now.........we are truly loving all the time we have with son, Casey.