08 November 2008 | Vuda Point Marina, Fiji
30 October 2008 | Waya Island, Yasawa Group, Fiji
29 October 2008 | Drawaqa Island, Yasawa Islands, Fiji
23 October 2008 | Somo somo Bay, Yasawa Islands, Fiji
21 October 2008 | Blue Lagoon, Yasawa Islands, Fiji
16 October 2008 | Blue Lagoon, Yasawa Islands, Fiji
14 October 2008 | Sawa-i-lau, Yasawa Islands, Fiji
12 October 2008 | Musket Cove, Fiji
09 October 2008 | Vuda Point Marina
11 September 2008 | Vuda Point, Fiji
03 September 2008 | Musket Cove, Fiji
29 August 2008 | Suva
26 August 2008 | Nadi, Fiji
21 August 2008 | Lautoka, Fiji
20 August 2008 | In transit to Fiji
16 August 2008 | Uoleva, Haapai Group, Tonga
11 August 2008 | Lifuka, Haapai Group, Tonga
07 August 2008 | Haafeva, Haapai Group, Tonga
01 August 2008 | Nukualofa

New Zealand Polynesia

28 May 2008 | Rarotonga
We arrived in Rarotonga late Saturday afternoon which was great, because it is not a harbor one would want to attempt at night for the first time. The entry is straightforward, but the mooring is not. We are anchored bow out, with lines to the wharf about 20' away, with boats on both sides. The swell/surge was pretty rowdy the first night but all the boats stayed in position and there were no problems. The seas have been pretty quiet ever since. If a storm comes in from the north we'll have to leave immediately because of the conditions it will create in the harbor.

Sunday we were strolling around the closed-up town when a woman leaving the ATM stopped us and asked how we liked her island. We said fine so far but we just arrived. Well then, said Juliette, I'll just have to show you around, introduce you to my Mum and show you her lagoon. Juliette had just returned after living in New Zealand for 56 years. Her father had died, she is his heir, and is sorting out the property. So we stopped at Mum's, had ice cream and soda, admired the lagoon, then drove around the island. We invited her onto the boat as she dropped us off, but she took one look at the ladder, the dinghy ferry to the boat stern and said no thanks. Lovely woman. Would you do that for a stranger you found downtown on a Sunday?

During the many hours of motoring during the passage we began hearing a noise from the PTO system that sounded like a cat fight; on and off for about a day and a half. Steve finally concluded it was the bearings in our alternator, that temple we worship and that provides us electricity. We have another, but much smaller, and it filled the need and got us to port. Getting replacement parts is tough; from the US is a week, NZ about 4 days, if they have it. After many calls we started looking for local alternatives and went to the local autoparts store; no alternator, but they suggested Peter might be able to repair ours. In walks Peter; an hour later he picks up our alternator and returns three hours after that, all repaired, $50 please. Keep in mind this is a US, high output, non-standard alternator. New radar dome winging its way to us now. We are VERY lucky.

Rarotonga gets short shrift from the cruising books and articles, but we love it. Yes the anchorage is marginal, but: NZ wines, and liquor at half the price of French Polynesia; English spoken, or should I say the Kiwi version of it; great food at 60% of FP. Yes, they get fees for everything Heath inspection, Ag inspection, check-in, and driver's license. Yes, we now both have Cook Island drivers licenses immortalized with our photo in plastic. Can't wait to hand it to the Calif. Highway Patrol; no speak English, thank you. At least for the car license it's just waiting in line and paying the fee. For a scooter license you have to take a driver's test-but first you rent the scooter and drive it to the police station. Gotta love that bureaucracy.
Vessel Name: Surprise
Vessel Make/Model: Schumacher 46
Hailing Port: Richmond, CA.
Crew: Steve and Susan Chamberlin
About: Varies by voyage.
Surprise was built in NZ by Davie Norris at Franklin Boatbuilders in Christchurch in 1997. 2 Pacific Cups, Mexico, B.C. and Alaska. Next stop South Pacific. She is a performance cruiser designed by the late Carl Schumacher and, in racing trim, carries a PHRF of 6. Fractional rig, no overlapping [...]
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