The Adventure Continues

20 October 2013 | Fulanga, Southern Lau Group, Fiji
20 October 2013 | Village of Maunaithaki, Fulanga, Lau Group, Fiji
20 October 2013 | Village of Maunaithaki, Fulanga, Lau Group, Fiji
20 October 2013 | Southern Lau Group, Fiji
29 September 2013
10 August 2013 | Savusavu, Vanua Levu
06 July 2013
02 July 2013
01 July 2013
13 November 2012 | Vava'u, Tonga
04 September 2012 | Bora Bora, French Polynesia
31 July 2012 | Uturoa, Raiatea
14 June 2012 | Tiputa, Rangiroa, Tuamotus

PARADISE FOUND - The Island of Fulanga (Vulaga). WOW!

20 October 2013 | Southern Lau Group, Fiji
Shades of aquamarine, turquoise, jade, amethyst and a spectrum of colors I'm not sure there are names for; some subtle, some neon. White sandy beaches so bright it is difficult to look at them without the dimming aid of Polaroid's. Cartoon-like coral islets shaped like cupcakes, muffins and mushrooms dot the lagoon. They have been carved from the never ending ebb and flow of tides and wave action. Adding even more fantasy and character to their shapes, they each have their own little symbiotic groupies of plants and trees for landscaping. Jagged coral arches frame peek-a-boo views of distant crashing waves on the reef. All of this comes with assurance that you will never get bored with the scenery because as the light of day changes so do the colors, the shapes and the shadows. Magical!

Getting to Vulaga (pronounced Vulanga, or outside the Lau, Fulanga) requires equal parts of luck, flexibility and desire. When you are lucky enough to get a specific weather window you have to sometimes hustle to get everything ready for the passage, even putting your previous plans aside and heading in a new direction, literally. We missed the last window and I was very disappointed. Then we thought it was getting too late in the season to go even if a new window did open because we had a list of other places on our itinerary and Vulaga is not exactly on the way to anyplace else. Subject closed - back to plan "A." But wait. While provisioning in Savusavu a weather window opened. "But I realllly want to go." Bob realllly didn't want to go. But, as the saying goes - "When mama ain't happy, nobody's happy." Get the picture? Bob, bless his heart, said "We're going to Vulaga." "Hooray!" He didn't say hooray, I did! Love you Bob!

After 32 hours at sea we arrived within view of Vulaga, just after sun up on Monday morning, August 12. We waited a few hours for slack tide to allow us to navigate safely through the pass in the reef. It is a fairly narrow pass (165 feet) and only about 20 feet deep. There is always a bit of anxiety when entering a new anchorage, but when that includes timing the tidal changes to negotiate a pass, rapidly changing depth, waves crashing on both sides of the boat and coral bommies scattered about, we instinctively tense up a bit. Once through, exhaling very loudly and our shoulders dropping to their normal positions is our bodies' way of signaling our brains we are safe. I love that feeling!

Bob has a ritual he calls 'anchor down beer.' Once the anchor is down and the snubbers attached he sits down for a cold one. This time it was only 10:30a.m.,so I was sure he would delay the celebratory brewskie. Nope! I guess a ritual is a ritual, regardless of the time of day! After all, we are on island time and as Jimmy says, "Its five o'clock somewhere."

Next ritual of the day was Sevusevu - not to be confused with Savusavu, our last port of call (although it is not unusual to hear cruisers mix up the names). Sevusevu is a significant and ancient ceremony of Fijan culture. It's kind of like bringing a hostess gift when someone invites you to their house for dinner. In this case it is a formal way of asking for acceptance into the village. A gift of kava root (yaqona) is given to the headman of the village (or Turanga ni Koro) who in turn presents it to the chief. You might wonder how we find the Turanga ni Koro. The term coconut telegraph comes to mind here, because it seems the villagers know we have arrived and the headman is standing by before the hook is down. The moment we hit the land/village someone appears to guide us to the appropriate person. Properly dressed in our sulus (skirts) Bob and I walked the trail to the village, about a twenty minute walk on a cleared and very wide path. I am happy to report that Bob has truly embraced wearing a sulu and has become one with his skirt. He has learned to" wrap and fold" now without any help. So, you can teach an old dog new tricks!

On the path to the village of Maunaithaki.

The children . . . always the first to greet us!

Maunaithaki village house.

Sevusevu with the 82 year old Chief.

The main village on Vulaga has a population of about 80 people. The houses are quite spacious; most have wood frames, corrugated metal siding and roofs, and concrete floors. The cooking facilities are always in a separate area on wood fired stoves. There is no refrigeration, no electricity, and water for the whole community is from a large rain catchment tank with one spigot. The houses and village are very tidy; this was the cleanest village we have seen so far. There are two other villages on the island; one within walking distance and the other requires a boat ride. The only school is in the main village, employs four teachers, and has 50 students K through level 8.

We knew right away this was a place that would keep us captivated in awe for weeks. It is sensory overload of the best kind. Every day we experienced something for the first time. Have you guessed? We loved it there. Probably the best way to convey our odyssey in Vulaga is in bite size pieces, one story at a time. Even after only a week in Vulaga, trying to recall all that we had seen and done in that short time was like trying to drink from a fire hose! And so the adventure continues . . . .

Maunaithaki house with a tree garden!
Vessel Name: Bright Angel
Vessel Make/Model: 1990 Mason 44 Hull # 141
Hailing Port: Olympia, WA
Crew: Linda & Bob Hargreaves
Linda and Bob are long-time residents of Washington State - Linda was born and raised in Aberdeen and has lived in Washington all her life; Bob was born in San Diego, and moved to Washington when he was five years old. [...]
After leaving Olympia in August 2010 and sailing down the West Coast to San Diego, Bob & Linda joined the 2010 Baja Ha-Ha fleet and sailed to Mexico, where they spent a year and a half sailing in the Sea of Cortez and along Pacific Mexico. In April 2012 they joined the Pacific Puddle Jump and [...]
Bright Angel's Photos - Main
Every once in a while something will catch my eye that also tickles my funny bone. It could be a twisted sense of humor that makes me laugh, or maybe some cultural rift - who knows!? With apologies to any whom these might offend (and certainly no offense is intended) let me share a few of my chuckles (or in some cases sheer amazement) with you. LOL!
16 Photos
Created 21 October 2013
The remote island of Fulanga (also spelled Vulaga) in the southern Lau Group of Fiji is truly "Paradise Found!" We stayed in Fulanga for 35 wonderful, awe inspiring and relaxing days - and even then, we were reluctant to leave! Fulanga was resplendent with beautiful beaches, magical islands and the friendliest and most outgoing people you can imagine! With no apologies for the bulk of this album and its sub-albums, suffice to say that these are only a fraction of our digital memories of this magical place, and even less of the mental images that we will long cherish! Enjoy!
9 Photos | 14 Sub-Albums
Created 18 October 2013
One Saturday while we were in Savusavu, we took a bus trip with several of our cruising friends to Labasa (pronounced "Lambasa") for the day. Saturday is a big market day in any Fijian town or village, and Labasa is no exception - so there was plenty of hubbub and lots to see at the market. There was also a parade down mainstreet, and plenty of other unusual sights and sounds to stimulate our senses. Here are some of the highlights of that fun day!
52 Photos
Created 29 September 2013
14 Photos
Created 7 July 2013
We visited Auckland several times, and took some interesting side trips on the way back to Whangarei. Here, and in the sub-albums below, are some the highlights.
12 Photos | 8 Sub-Albums
Created 4 July 2013
We were not able to be home for Christmas in 2012, but we did get to have Christmas dinner with cruising friends Bev and Robbie (SV Mersoleil, from Seattle) and other boaters at the Riverside Drive Marina. Even though we were at Whangarei Marina in Town Basin, we got an invite to attend from Bev & Robbie, and were made to feel very welcome. It wasn't "Home for the Holidays" but it was a very nice time, nonetheless!
5 Photos
Created 3 July 2013
Going on walks or day hikes was a favorite pastime of ours in Whangarei, and there were always interesting places to go - around the Town Basin, in the hills and forests behind the town, and to the ocean beaches past Whangarei Heads. Please come along and join us on some of our favorite walks.
7 Photos | 7 Sub-Albums
Created 2 July 2013
We are not prone to visiting tourist attractions (or "tourist traps" as we sometimes call them), but we succumbed to a few "temptations" while in New Zealand - notably Sheep World (just north of Auckland), going up the Sky Tower in Auckland, and riding the Wynyard Loop trolley, also in Auckland. We hope you enjoy these photos of our visits to these "attractions;" for more information, see our blog post on "Tourist Attractions."
43 Photos
Created 1 July 2013
Linda wrote an "illustrated" Christmas Letter that she sent to family and friends from New Zealand in Dec 2012. That letter is now posted as a blog entry, and these photos are the accompanying "illustrations."
17 Photos
Created 30 June 2013
On December 8, 2012, we departed Opua and headed south to Whangarei. We planned to "park" the boat in Whangarei throughout the New Zealand summer while we focused on "land cruising" (sight seeing), a trip back to the States (in Jan & Feb), and boat projects (including a haulout in April for bottom paint and other jobs). The trip to Whangarei included two overnight stops - the first in Whangamumu Bay, and the second in Urquharts Bay, just inside Bream Head and at the start of the up river trip to the Town Basin in Whangarei. We tied to the dock at Whangarei Marina at 1630 hrs on December 10 - Linda's Birthday, with some help from our friends Bev & Robbie (SV Mersoleil), who then also helped us celebrate the day at Reva's Restaurant, just across the river from our slip. With the dock lines secured in Whangarei, our 2012 odyssey across the Pacific from Banderas Bay, Mexico - nearly 7000 nm all total - had finally come to a successful end, and we we ready to rest!
21 Photos
Created 29 June 2013
Our first stop, where we cleared into New Zealand, was Opua. Before moving south to Whangarei we visited some of the local sights.
17 Photos
Created 25 June 2013
Some things in New Zealand take some getting used to - like the lingo, the accent, the place names (at least those in Maori), and some of the unusual things in the grocery stores, about town, and out in the country. Here's a sampling.
21 Photos
Created 24 June 2013
Daniel's Bay (Hakatea Bay) - site of the TV series "Survivor Marquesas" - was our first stop on Nuku Hiva, an overnight passage from Hiva Oa. A higtlight of our stay in Daniel's Bay was the hike up to see Vaipo Falls, with a 2,000 foot drop supposedly the third highest waterfall in the world.
42 Photos
Created 6 August 2012
After leaving Hiva Oa, Hanamoenoa Bay on the neighboring island of Tahuata was the next anchorage we visited. It was a beautiful bay full of surprises - some good, some not so good!
9 Photos
Created 6 August 2012
Hiva Oa was our first "Landfall in Paradise" after leaving Mexico, and our introduction to life in the islands of French Polynesia.
14 Photos
Created 6 August 2012
Our 28 day crossing from Banderas Bay, Mexico, to Hiva Oa, Marquesas, was the culmination of many months (if not years) of planning and preparation. Shown here are some of final projects in Mexico, as well as some highlights from the crossing itself.
39 Photos
Created 5 August 2012
Just about everywhere you walk in French Polynesia is like being in a botanical garden - the flowers, trees, fruit - it's one of the special treats of being here!
43 Photos
Created 4 August 2012