Sailing the Pacific

09 November 2010
07 November 2010
05 November 2010
26 October 2010
19 October 2010 | Somewhere between Fiji and Vanuatu
14 October 2010
14 October 2010
14 October 2010
14 October 2010
14 October 2010
03 October 2010
15 September 2010 | Vava'u, Tonga
02 September 2010 | Vava'u, Tonga
08 August 2010
29 July 2010
25 July 2010 | Bora Bora
20 July 2010
16 July 2010 | Moorea
16 July 2010 | Moorea, Society Islands

Eyes Wide Shut

14 October 2010
How sad. That's what I thought when I realised that I've become a blasé traveller. I'm really too well travelled. I often don't batter an eyelid when something happens that (in consideration of where I come from and my native culture) I really should find strange, hilarious or at least amusing.

Here in Fiji, I have made a conscious effort to be a normal Australian in a foreign land and I have two stories and one photo to show for it.

First story
I go to the shop to buy some weet-bix and tokens for the washing machines. I approch the counter with the weet-bix and stand there waiting to be served. The lady is two feet away and facing me but she does not look up from her book. She has dark skin, short black frizzy hair and like most over 50 Fijian women she is wearing a traditional looking dress. She has served me the past few days with a smile but not today. I'm still waiting. 20 seconds later I say "Hi". She keeps reading for a few seconds then looks up at me with a frustrated face and says "I'm nearly finished! What did you want?" I tell her I would like three washing tokens and to pay for the weet-bix. She begins to rummage around in a drawer. "You know, I am nearly at the end of my book but no-one will let me finish!" "Customers can be a real nuisance" I remind her. She looks up at me and shakes her head. "There is a girl who saw the dead body of a man. The dead man had been killed by another man who the girl happens to run into and this man knows that the girl is the only one who knows the man is dead so he tells her to go into the barn. When she is in there he locks it and lights it on fire. There are some little kittens and she puts them in a bag to protect them from the smoke and is looking for a way out and then you come and ask me for some washing tokens!" I can't help but laugh "I'm so sorry". She holds up the cover of the crime novel for me to see, puts the tokens on the table, takes my money, says thankyou, sits down and opens her book.

Story two
I am in a shop wandering around quite aimlessly. I happened to be walking past a stand of lipstick when a shop assistant pounces on me. She is Indian with a strong accent and is wearing a sari "I think this colour would suit you" she holds up probably my least favourite colour, which is a pale vomit pink. I find it hard to hide my disgust but she doesn't notice, in fact she looks encouraged. "Yes" she nods, looking at me in a quizzical manner and I can see the artist is born and there will be no stopping her now. She picks up a black pencil "You see this" she asks. "Quite clearly" I wearily reply. "Well, you can use this to draw your eyebrows on with!" I look at the pencil, then at her. "But... I already have eyebrows!" I am truly puzzled. She looks at me and lets out a high pitched laugh "Oh no, those won't do, they are the wrong shape! You need to shave them off and draw them back on with this pencil. I have a friend who can shave them off for you if you like". I look at her and I'm lost for words. To my horror she goes to pick up some other cosmetic, but before she says another word I've realised that I'm late for lunch and have left the shop.

Vessel Name: Dagmar
Vessel Make/Model: CAL 39
Hailing Port: Melbourne, Australia
Crew: James Thomson and Isabelle Chigros-Fraser
Hello and welcome to our new sailing blog! Our dream is to sail across the Pacific Ocean this year starting in Costa Rica and finishing in Australia. [...]
As we have been told by fellow sailors, when you live at the mercy of the elements plans are like "Jello and Sand"- wobbly and unsteady like Jello (jelly for us aussies) and when you write something in the sand often it will be washed away with the tide. It is for this reason that we didn't finish [...]
'Twenty years from now you will be more dissapointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbour. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.' -Mark Twain
' I felt my pulse beating with suppressed excitement as I threw the mooring bouy overboard. It seemed as if that simple action had severed my connection with the life on the shore; that I had thereby cut adrift the ties of convention. The unrealities and illusions of cities and crowds, that I was free now, free to go where I chose, to do and to live and to conquer as I liked, to play the game wherin a man's qualities count for more than his appearance. 'Maurice Griffiths, The Magic of the Swatchways.