Sorry for the lack of posting, but we've not really been up to anything new.
Our days are still filled with snorkeling, swimming, fishing, surfing, cookouts, beach walks and meeting interesting people. We've done some small day sails to a couple nearby islands to enjoy those beach's and reefs, but mostly stay where we are since it has everything we want or need.
Our swim ladder broke, in an un-repairable location, so now we are forced to stand on the side of the dingy, spin around, sit on Tanga, and then raise our feet thru the gate to get on the mother ship. No big deal, but that's been the extent of our drama thus far.
Today we'll get into some tennis then off to the pool to relax. Probably go fishing tomorrow to put on a beach fire at night.
Congrats to the Martins on their wedding, we wish you eternal bliss!
I've been lucky so far and have been able to keep Tom off a surf board. He's always wanted to bring one, and surf the different breaks around the world but I've always been able to find a reason why he shouldn't do it. I know it seems controlling and irrational but I have a huge fear of his lack of fear, and I am convinced he will break his body.
Well my luck ran out the other night. We were at the island bar, getting ready for the sunset when a boat loaded with hunky, rowdy young men unloaded at the resort up the beach and they all headed for the island bar. Turns out, the World Surfing Tour Competition is here at an island 1 mile away. UhOh, I lost my husband for the night as he starts hanging with the surfing pros and the press for this event and releases his inner child as he talks all things surfing for the rest of the night (into the wee hours of the morning).
As we are riding our dink back to Tanga, he tells me he has a ride out to the break and is going to do practice sessions with the surfing pros the next day. At this point, I've already lost the argument before it began so I just begged him to be careful and have fun. But I was secretly hoping that he would oversleep since the boat would be leaving in three hours.
He set the alarm and left with a big (albeit tired) grin on his face and came back exhausted and sore but healthy and happy. He said it was a light surf but he was able to still get inside some tubes. My goal is now to keep him out of the board shops, when we get to a town, since he is convinced he's a world cup ready surfer.
However, there was some drama during the event that you won't see published. One of the support guys got hit by a box jelly fish and had to be med evac'd out. Also, on the first day of competition, the number one ranked surfer in the world (Parkor) went for a short fishing trip at 0530 and failed to show up for the first round. The number four surfer (Slater) decided not to show for the first round due to a birth of a cousin or niece.
Our routine hasn't changed much in the last few days, with the above exception.
We just got confirmation of our parts delivery due date (raw water pump, hydraulic seal, new fans etc.) and it's a bit longer than we intended to stay, but no biggie. Looks like we'll be here for three more weeks then head into Port Denarou (on the main island) to meet with customs to clear our gear. The most important item we have coming is a new case for our waterproof camera, Our GoPro Hero Camera. About 2 weeks ago, while snorkeling, we noticed a tiny drop of water inside the waterproof case. The camera is fine but we don't want to use it in the water until our new case comes in, so we won't be taking any water shots till then, hence the lack of Toms surf photos (BUGGER).
We used to chuckle at the fact that we never wore shoes, only flip flops. Now we have moved to the next level, we are always barefoot. The bottoms of our feet have become quite rugged due to walking on sand all day, every day.
Enough of our woes, have a great day!
Just as this was going to press, we had a bit of a jolt this morning. Our Dingy was missing!!
As we were drinking our sunrise coffee this morning, Tom did his usual walk around the deck to check the ground tackle and the dingy painter (the line that we use for anchoring and docking the dink) for chaffing and security. All was well. An hour later, I went up to hang a towel to dry and noticed the dingy was gone! After scanning the horizon and the windward beach, and saying a few expletives, I yelled for Tom and we got out the binoculars. Still no luck, this is bad bad bad. Tom made a general announcement over the VHF and a boat nearby, launched his dingy and came to pick up Tom so they could look for it. I stayed by the radio hoping a local would call it in. After about an hour, I could see Tom on shore so I assumed (correctly) that they found it.
We aren't sure what happened but we have our suspicions. The line was intact so it came un-cleated from Tanga somehow. But when the boys found the dinghy, the motor was in gear and the throttle was wide open as if it had been running. Also our 1 gallon fuel tank was empty. This leads us to believe that it was "borrowed" . But if that's correct, why? To get to our boat, you would need to swim almost a quarter mile, and why leave it in an uninhabited area? If someone came out to us in a boat and "borrowed" it, again why? But there is no natural explanation for the gear selector to have moved (no vibration in the world could do that). No worries, we are just puzzled. We're so happy its back since it would cost about $8000 Fijian dollars to replace.
On one of the few sunny days earlier this week, we went ashore with the goal of walking around the other half of Malolo Lai Lai Island. About a week ago, we walked one half of the island so on this particular day; we set off to walk around the other half of the island.
After a short walk on a sand/dirt road, we were able to find a path through the trees and shrubs, to the beach. We quickly discovered that this half of the island, is about 80% volcanic rock with just a few beaches. The good news, is that the tide was going out, which helped expose more of the volcanic rock and areas for us to walk. Parts were smooth black rock surfaces to walk on, however most of it, was black rocks and sometimes boulders. With our flip flops on, we had to watch our footing, make sure we didn't slip and scratch or bang our feet or ankles of jagged rocks. We were totally secluded and never saw another person during our entire 3+ hour walk. The scenery was beautiful and we saw several brightly colored crabs. Once we were back in civilization, we enjoyed a late lunch and cold beverages at the local restaurant.
The next 3 days, we were stuck on the boat. Constant rain and 30kt wind kept us boat bound. Tom did a great job with a rain water catch system. He took an unused shower curtain, elevated it, but made sure it was secure so it wouldn't blow away, and had it draining down into a 3 gallon water jug. We managed to collect many gallons of delicious rain water! We both occupied ourselves by reading several books and watching movies. I made some homemade wheat/multigrain bread and chocolate chip cookies.
Waking with the sun shining, we were motivated to get off the boat and have a change of scenery. The winds were still howling, but at least it wasn't raining! We went ashore and did a few loads of laundry. I quite enjoy laundry day, because we sit at the Island Bar, enjoying some beers, while we take turns switching loads for washer/dryer/folding. We are getting to know the bartender, Josie, and she is teaching us some Fijian language, or at least trying to teach us! So far, we know "Bola" (hello), "Vinaka" (thank you), "Keri Keri" (please), "Dua" (one), "Rua" (two),"Tali"(more).
We wanted to mention about a neat water craft thing we saw. A few guys pulled into the anchorage and launched a jet ski that had a 4 inch hose hooked to a guy that was in the water about 30 feet away. Then the guy in the water lifted up using the force of the water driven through nozzles on each foot that were about 8 inches around and a stability nozzle about 2 inches around in each hand. He was able to lift about 10 feet off the surface and move in all directions. It was fun to watch and a neat contraption. Although when the wind picked up his stability was gone and into the water he would fall, looks like a fun toy for a quiet lake, a water driven kinda jet pack thingy.
A few more pictures have been added to our Fiji Gallery.
The last few days we've been up to exactly the things we love. Actually we've developed a bit of a routine.
We usually awake just before sunrise and watch a beautiful day start with a cup of coffee in the cockpit and watch the sun come up over the Island as we discuss what's on today's agenda. Then a little breakfast. Then we're off to do what we planned out, then a nice sunset viewing to end the day. We're usually asleep by "cruisers midnight" 9pm. Then rinse and repeat.
We've snorkeled several of the reefs around here but still have ten or fifteen yet to explore, and several that we want to do again (actually every swim has ended with "we want to do that reef again!"). While the damage to the coral from a cyclone two years ago is evident, the reefs are still teeming with gillions of fish. We've seen a couple new species, but not a huge difference from Tonga's variety. During a swim yesterday, we did see some Lobsters for the first time. We were tempted but didn't harvest them. We've only seen one crown of thorns (a scourge on reefs that's under eradication attempts across the South Pacific), but since we didn't have the spear, he lived to continue wreaking havoc on the reef.
On days we don't snorkel, we go for walks on the beach, we have yet to climb the peaks around us yet, but their on the to do list. During our most recent walk, we went around half of the smaller island before calling it a day. We saw lots of feeder fish being fed on by juvenile tuna and a small sea snake that startled Tom since he almost stepped right on it. Sea snakes are very very toxic to humans but pose almost no threat since their mouths are too small to bite anything other than the webbing between your fingers or toes. We still give them a wide berth, but they are very curious and like to inspect the source of heat we represent.
Last night we attended a Fijian pig feast. It was wonderful to sit on the beach watching the sunset and eat while a couple Islanders with guitars played and sang, they both had wonderful voices and even though we didn't know the words, it was a great accompaniment to the good grub. Just as we were finishing and saying our goodbyes, the band broke out in a rendition of "Take Me Home" by John Denver, and we got a chuckle, but it was well preformed. Then we walked down the beach by the moonlight and back to dink for the ride home.
A few nights ago, we experienced our first thunderstorm aboard Tanga. Right after sunset, we watched lightening in the sky, in three different areas, mostly coming from the west, which we were right in the path. By 11pm, the first of two storms was on top of us. Thunder roaring, lightening cracking and lighting up the sky, huge down pour of rain, and very strong winds (around 40 knots); all lasting for over an hour. We were both glad we were safely attached to a mooring ball, specifically, a mooring that is attached to a sunken bull dozer!
After the hour pasted, the winds slowed down to steady 20knots until the second storm passed over us. The second storm was not as intense of the first, but still brought thunder, lightning, rain and wind. Tom stayed awake and alert through both storms while I went to bed right before the second storm.
We added a few more pictures in the Fiji Photo Gallery.
After living in Whangarei New Zealand for 5 months and then being in Suva for 6 days, it is really great living "Island Life" again! Musket Cove on Malolo Lai Lai Island is picture perfect. We are snuggled nicely between Malolo Lai Lai Island and Malolo Island. We have plenty of beautiful white beaches to walk on, many different reefs to dive, small mountains to climb, a few restaurants and bars, a market, laundry and showers.
Just about every day, we go swimming, snorkeling, walk the beaches, maybe have a few beers at the island bar, and just enjoy watching the sun rise and set. We can see getting sucked into staying here for a long period of time. It's just too perfect.
Here's a little story from yesterday. While we were snorkeling for the second time, I kept feeling like I was getting stung or bit underwater, on my arms, legs, back, stomach, just about everywhere. After some time swimming around looking at the reef and fish, I finally had had enough with the biting feeling (at this point thinking it's all in my head because I couldn't see anything biting me) and told Tom "let's go back to the dinghy", which was anchored in about 10 feet of water. Once we were both in the dink, I asked Tom, "Did you feel like you were being bitten underwater?" He said, "Yeah, on my face, I just thought I shaved to close." I told him I felt it everywhere but couldn't see anything in the water. So, we both leaned over the dinghy and stared at the water surface, and sure enough, we saw the tiniest jelly fishes, about 2 centimeters big, We have never seen them so tiny before! No ill effects from them, just the sting/bite feeling when they hit us.
Whew, I need a rest from typing this, off to the beach!
New Photo Gallery up for Fiji!