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Anthem Adrift
Declining Gingerly
09/30/2011, Navatu Bay, Vanua Levu

Friendly Navatu Villagers

29 September 2011

As Savusavu forecast is dismal, have decided to believe heavy rain and no wind next few days will eventuate (huh?), so this barge is floating west manana for more favorable milieu. Additionally, dearth of faintest zephyr nights has invigorated normally apathetic mosquito community with renewed enthusiasm.

Waitui Marina's $10 Fiji night introduced new taste sensations and effervescent tums that, given stagnancy (real word?) of atmosphere, produced unique and interesting ambiance. Spicy Indian for lunch possible contributor to additional distinctive aura.

30 September 2011

As weather sages seldom are, leaving port with rainy, windless forecast resulted in sunshine and breeze for delightful sail to tonight's anchorage. Enveloping quietude minimally interrupted by giggling yard apes from nearby, but unseen, village. Scary silence made tolerable by tonic and lime mixed with magical substance labeled "Tanqueray". Plan to duck sevusevu by sneaking off AM for Coconut Bay, next stop and site of possible reconnect with new German friends, Lutz & Gabi on SuAn, was potentially thwarted by friendly villagers boating by. Their disappointment insufficient to overcome pervading inertia.


Scrum, Maul or Ruck?
09/28/2011, Savusavu, Vanua Levu, Fiji

Savusavu Sunrise (as far as you know)

27 September 2011

Rugby is just enough like NFL football to make it completely incomprehensible. A try never fails. Anyway, last night's games, enjoyed (relative term) with couples from Germany and from Seattle (wife was originally Canadian - what's with all these US/Canadian couples anyway?) were good even though Canada drew with Japan and US was almost, but not quite, humiliated by Italy 27 - 10.

Having two beautiful mornings in a row almost makes life worth living... OK, taking your own sailboat through the South Pacific with an enthusiastic partner doesn't suck either, but good weather doesn't hurt.

Useful impending occupation includes stop at butcher as fresh meat ship arrives today and replenishment of rapidly evaporating wine supply.

- Later

Meated and wined, but fickle gods dampened effusive enthusiasm as afternoon subject to periodic deluges. No evidence of ark construction at present, but options remain open. Expect departure for drier (triumph of hope over experience?) side of Viti Levu, through Bligh Water (yes, named after that Bounty guy) Saturday.


Fowl Ball
09/26/2011, Savusavu, Vanua Levu, Fiji

Savusavu Sunset

26 September 2011

Senescent windings in shower sump pump talked the talk, but weren't walking. Loss of mojo discovered only after laborious clearing of hoses, then eventually installing spare pump. Body sludge again bespoils (real word, probably) pristine ecology of Savusavu.

Being awakened from a dead sleep by full volume doodle-doing, one wonders if roosters really expect to get lucky at 3 AM. Suspect sleeping hens are not so frisky around then, but perhaps high achieving chooks are trying to get a jump (figure of speech) on dawn to get a leg up (figure of speech) on sleep-in cocks (figure of speech).

Exciting World Rugby Cup afternoon/evening awaits as Canada to beat Japan for quarter-final berth and US fans fondly recall trouncing of Russia several days ago to avoid noticing likely drubbing by Italy. Personal vexation to be ameliorated by moderate assimilation of mind altering, grape derived substance.


Sump'n Special
09/25/2011, Savusavu, Vanua Levu, Fiji

Copra Shed

25 September 2011

Despite logic and standard dart board quesses from best climatologists on the planet, had 18 - 20 knot quartering breeze for beautiful sleigh ride from lovely and interesting Koro Island into Savusavu on the south coast of Vanua Levu. Moored to a buoy off Copra Shed Marina, supposed center of cruiser activity in these parts. Except for dreary weather it appears to be lovely and meets two fundamental criteria for a great anchorage, fast internet and breakfast. If there's also ice cream may stay awhile.

26 September 2011

Following somewhat slow and gentle morning aboard, Jan performed official clear in duties as I was distracted (attention span of a three year old) by cruisers from US & Italy prior to highly desirable and successful search for brekky complete with critical caffeinated beverage. No familiar boats were sighted on subsequent dinghy tour up the creek (no, not that one, plus we have a paddle) so returned home for eagerly anticipated dismantling of clogged shower sump hose. Did anyone mention that Jan has about four feet of beautiful, occasionally red (depends on light) hair? Minimum reflection on upcoming fun induced decision to first take nano-nap after conveying this blabber to an incredulous world.


Expansive Hospitality
09/24/2011, Koro Island

Church in Nabuna

24 September 2011

Most SCUBA divers put on a mask then stick a rubber thingy in their mouths from which issues compressed air from a big cylinder with maybe over 3000 psi. Strategically engineered valves and diaphragms reduce this so to prevent flying bits of said users as they blow up like Shamu (he's dead now, right?). Jan, who several years ago face-planted over her bike bars onto a parking lot, in order to reduce pressure on rebuilt teeth, just bought a full-face mask. After what has seemed forever for both we got seawater in all our various crevices to test that and new tanks. Good to go on real dive which is anticipated anon.

Enjoyed lovely visit, escorted by Tevita (David) Bolabola (mbola mbola), with Nabuna (Nambuna) villagers who were very gracious and gave us pawpaw, eggplant, breadfruit, taro (surprisingly good, but do NOT eat it as poi) and some other more curious fruits and/or vegetables. He was most helpful and wanted us to help him sell some property on Koro. Beautiful island. Think about it, OK?

Late departure to arrive Savusavu anytime before dark tomorrow as can't check into port until Monday morning. No rush as breakfast buffet not until Wednesday. Entire life currently focused on all-you-can-eat spread at Seaview Restaurant in Hidden Paradise Guest House even though don't want to eat all I can. It's a disease.


Chook 'is Chicken
09/23/2011, Koro Island

Serious Kava

23 September 2011

With expectation to motorsail with ESE wind, was surprised at SSE direction which would have allowed close reach with more than a cat's paw. Sailed periodically anyway displaying pure contrariness to limit clamor emanating from bilge. Forecast rainless overcast missed by a drop or two. Scant encouragement offered next week from typically unreliable weather weasel. Hope is maintained.

Having now acquired acceptable kava and dressed appropriately, offered proper sevusevu to island chief's spokesman, Watson, who was pulled out of church due our late appearance (see above). Yet to see head guy in two attempts. Assume fear for his security as Jan is suspiciously cute and friendly. Although there may have been reference to eating, felt pretty confident of personal safety as gifts of papaya, bread fruit and taro were graciously accepted before departing toward home for green curry chook, combat cribbage and hot water shower. Mellowness pervades as gentle rocking and copious wine have their effect.


09/22/2011, Levuka, Ovalau Island

Levuka Waterfront

21 September 2011

Beautiful off-the-wind sail to Levuka, first capitol of Fiji until convicts from Australia turned it into a den of iniquity and honest folk moved to Suva in 1882. British officials are apparently teetotalers and lack a sense of fun. Current residents are quite laid back and seem unfazed by MH market selling dairy fresh milk powder.

Arrived sufficient time to clear customs (required in and out every entry port) buy groceries and replenish lamentably depleted wine stock with tolerable Broken Shackle Red for a meager $6 US a bottle. Last each of Taylor Cab Sav and 7 Deadly Zins had induced incipient anxiety. Wind and sun kept amps flowing for batteries and movie night.

22 September 2011

After embarrassingly lazy morning, meandered into town for fish and octopus lunch, respectively, before clearing out for tomorrow morning's departure, visiting museum/library and buying more cheap red swill. Matching lethargic afternoon ended with grilled lamb sausage dinner, full contact cribbage and another classic cinematic extravaganza on 15 inch big screen TV.


Rooting Out Snags
09/19/2011, Gau Island

Sawaieke Village at Gau Island

20 September 2011

After leisurely breakfast and a game of cribbage (card game with pegs where your partner most often squashes you like a bug), dropped dink from davits to offer sevusevu to assistant chief as head guy is elsewhere. Only made a few mistakes as we brought powdered kava instead of roots, Jan wore pants, I wore shorts and we both wore sunglasses around our necks. They seemed friendly in any case, but didn't insist we stay for or as lunch.

Heading to Levuka tomorrow as Customs guy in Suva said we had to (and called ahead so they're expecting us - later learned we could probably have just stopped en route, not told any customs people and avoided hassle of unprotected anchorage). At least we can buy plants there and drink the bagged kava ourselves.. maybe. Then probably sail Koro Island before heading north to Savusavu on Vanua Levu. Ought to snorkel here as reported exceptional, but it's overcast and we're currently otherwise disposed.

Speaking of which, alternator ceased alternating. Can't seem to keep exciter connection exciting as it tends to fatigue at terminal. Contemplating additional foot of wire to offer option of breakage elsewhere. Thus constitutes strategy, other than sloth, for balance of day.

Expensive, US Coast Guard approved, night activated, efficient, sealed, LED masthead anchor light still draws amperage. One wonders what mischief those little electrons are provoking as result is other than emitting light. By the way, has anyone else noticed a severe paucity of maintenancelessness (not a real word) over the previous, oh, say, three weeks... eight months? Should one wish to define cruising as boat work in exotic locations, we be there.


Late for Dinner
09/19/2011, Gau Island

Broken Dock at Uninhabited Nukulau

19 September 2011

Remained anchored in 20 meters of steeply descending bottom with stern tied to a pole on Nukulau's lovely beach. If we go around the world again, may venture ashore here instead of spending entire visit testing, rebuilding, testing, rebuilding, testing... autopilot ram and eventually replacing clutch bits from new unit. Despite low voltage indicated at control box, remounted ram (and as a consequence crew) have regained happy.

Windlass took to being cooperative, as well, during preparation for 45 NM sail to Gau Island our first opportunity for sevusevu. This is where visitors present island chief with a gift of kava root and no one subsequently eats them. Once properly known as the Cannibal Islands, this referenced highly rude practice has generally been replaced by more sociable deportment.

Although hard on an 18 to 20 knot wind using tiller pilot attached to Voyager wind vane instead of newly operative autopilot ("If it ain't broke, don't use it" - Don Irvin) sail to Gau didn't suck and Westerbark was delightfully silent until called upon to deliver us through a pass into the lagoon.

As it's too late to go ashore to say hi, will remain aboard abusing adult beverage tonight with prospect of becoming delightfully mellow. Trust that presenting ourselves in the early(ish) morning to appropriate kahuna will be OK with potentially carnivorous, local inhabitants.


09/17/2011, Nukulau Island

S/V Ivalu in Suva

13 September 2011

Beautiful day in Fijiland. After a less than auspicious start (didn't clear in until late yesterday afternoon) got a pant load of stuff done today. Honda generator is in for repair, laundry is in for repair, quarantine and yacht club fees paid. Have a cruising permit for everywhere we're going, a phone number (anybody really wants it, let me know.. free for me if you call!), internet service and groceries.

14 September 2011

Suva's pretty stinky. Did stuff.

15 September 2011

Still stinky. Did more stuff.

16 September 2011

Yada yada.

17 September 2011

Honda generator ran fast, ran slow and held light, but not heavy, load. Yamaha generator guy fixed it so now hard to start, only runs fast and carries no charge. Net result less than that to which aspired. Jacob has enlisted outside help. Has until high noon before this parade ventures to more pristine locale. Not that the fragrance of burning garbage isn't delightful, but a week's enough.

- Later

No help. Left anyway.

Boat is clean(ish), solar panels and inverter have regained productive enthusiasm, life is good(ish).

- Even later

We were having such a good day before autopilot stopped piloting. Said it was.. wasn't. Liar, liar, pants on fire. Best part, after toilsome removal of old unit, is that replacement spare is wrong one. Should have noticed.. didn't. Contemplating dismantling recalcitrant unit manana and/or return Suva (about a two hour sail) for repair. Oh, was anything mentioned about windlass solenoid again sticking? We were having such a good day.


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S/V Anthem
Who: Jack Warren, Janice Holmes
Port: Weeki Wachee, FL
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See profile for information on why this mess is being foisted upon an innocent world and, despite what is probably your better judgement, how to make contact.
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