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The Saga of Ursa Minor
Jack
Bryan
11/01/2009, Viani Bay, Vanua Levu

One of the rewards of cruising is the variety of interesting and sometimes unusual people you encounter. This morning we were awakened by Jack - a third generation (mostly) English emigrant - in his aluminium skiff. Jack is the major domo of Viani Bay. He has a dive shop, runs poultry and porkers, serves as a trekking guide to the interior, works as a boat captain and delivery skipper, and farms fruits and other commodities of commercial value.

Jack arrived for breakfast and stayed through lunch during which time we covered most of his fifty-plus years of existence in Fiji. We struck a bargain or two for his services and tomorrow he'll be our guide for some snorkelling on Rainbow Reek in the Somosomo Straits.

almost ready to leave marina, again!
Judy
07/01/2009

We've been back in the marina over a week this time. It seems like we have jumbies (Caribbean/African spirits who do naughty things) aboard who prefer it when we're in the marina. We just thought about heading this way and all kinds of things thought it would be a nice time to break down so we'd have the luxury of the marina to fix them. This week has brought more problems with the fresh water system, more problems with the computer, and generally just more frustrations. Good news is that every thing now seems under control, other than that the auto pilot doesn't pilot and the water maker makes bad water, but we'll deal with those later! Tomorrow we'll head out for 10 days of cruising the small islands north of here before I have to hop a plane home for my Dad's kidney surgery. We've had a great time while here with some great friends, so it hasn't been all bad.

getting more stuff fixed!
Judy
06/21/2009, back at Vuda Point Marina

We've been back at Vuda Point Marina for a few days now, getting various things fixed. Originally came back from Malolo to meet up with Chuck Handy on Deviant who was arriving from the Marshalls with a package for us. The night before we sprung a leak in our fresh water system under the floorboards in the galley. A temporary patch didn't hold and we drained what was left in our water tanks. Our water maker isn't working right now, awaiting a new membrane. We had a beautiful sail back to Lautoka port where we had originally cleared in, using the old foresail we'd had recut as a "blade" and all was going fine except that the auto pilot wouldn't work, and the GPS would fail every time we turned on the second alternator. Oh, and the salt water cooling pump on the engine has been leaking ever since it was changed out a few weeks ago. Had a great dinner with Chuck at a chinese restaurant in Lautoka, then the next morning Bryan's computer wouldn't turn on at all.
So, now the computer is in the shop in Lautoka being emptied and re-filled, we're at Vuda Point Marina about 5 miles from Lautoka getting the salt water pump changed out, the GPS and electrical system checked out (they haven't found the glitch yet), and Bryan was able to get the hardware to properly fix the freshwater leak.
Yesterday there was a great live band at the Yacht Club here and we greatly enjoyed the sunny afternoon listening, dancing and drinking Fiji beer with Chuck and our friends Tom and Colleen of Mokisha whom we met in French Polynesia.
I spent much of the weekend on the internet (one great thing here is the high speed access) making reservations to fly to Michigan next month when my Dad is going to have surgery to remove a tumor on his kidney. I wanted to use frequent flyer miles for part of the journey, but finally decided it was too risky when the only airline flying to the US out of Fiji said that if they didn't get me to LAX in time for my next flight, I'd be on my own. With tourism way down here, the airline has been doing some re-arranging lately, and the chances of a delay are too great to take a chance.
I'll be in Michigan July 14-August 16, and hope to catch up with any old friends in the area, as well as my huge family. Bryan will stay at Musket Cove on the boat while I'm gone, a very congenial place to hang out for awhile.

New photo albums in gallery
Judy
05/15/2009, Fiji

I just added some new photo albums of our passage from the Marshalls to Fiji, our brief stay in Denerau Marina, and the beginning of our haulout at Vuda Point Marina. Check out the gallery!

lots and lots of new pictures!!
04/09/2009, Majuro, Marshall Islands

Please check out the photo gallery for lots of new pictures of our stay in Majuro!

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Ursa Minor's Crew
Who: Captains Bryan Lane (callsign NP2NH) and Judy Knape
Port: St. Thomas, Virgin Islands
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