Leela Year Six - Across the Pacific

Well.... to our own surprise here we are

17 May 2022 | Vuda Marina, Lautoka, Fiji
26 January 2022 | Australia
08 November 2021 | Viti Levu, Fiji
02 September 2021 | Paradise Resort, Taveuni
29 August 2021 | Paradise Resort, Taveuni, Fiji
10 August 2021 | Western S Pacific
19 June 2021 | New Jersey
14 March 2021 | At sea
05 March 2021 | Raroia, Tuamotus
05 February 2021 | Raivavae, The Australs Group, French Polynesia
04 February 2021 | Raivavae, The Australs Group, French Polynesia
17 January 2021 | Tahiti
13 December 2020 | Papeete, Tahiti
14 November 2020 | Pape’ete, Tahiti
14 November 2020 | Tahiti
01 October 2020 | Fakarava
24 September 2020 | Fakarava South Pass
19 August 2020 | Papeete, Tahiti
02 August 2020 | Pape’ete, French Polynesia
09 July 2020 | Papeete, Tahiti

Fiji and (Changing) Plans

08 November 2021 | Viti Levu, Fiji
Wow..... It's been a VERY long time since I last posted, sorry about that. We have been in a bit of a strange (emotional) place for the last few weeks. On the one hand we are LOVING cruising in Fiji, and on the other hand we have had time to contemplate our future in the light of global uncertainty and passing years. Hitting seventy while still sailing across the Pacific was a useful focus. There are older guys than me out here but not that many AND Janaki was promised a maximum two years at sea - three years ago ....

So we have been having lots of fun but always with a little anxiety in the background while we worked through the pros, cons and implications of either sailing to NZ, sailing to Australia or remaining in Fiji. All of them them are pretty nice options on the face of it, but they needed to be addressed in the context of the bigger picture ‘what does our future look like?’ which is a LOT trickier. When we set out we were pretty distressed by the domestic situation in the US so we decided to spend two years crossing the Pacific then pop our heads up and see what the world looked like. That worked well didn't it?.....

Anyway, the long and the short of it is we are now tentatively planning for life ashore again. The changeover will not be too sudden. We have decided that, rather than sailing on to Australia or NZ this year, we will keep Leela in Fiji and fly to Australia in December. This will allow us the option of one or two more seasons cruising in what has turned out to be our absolutely favorite country. It also means we are not facing another long passage this year which is something of a relief.

The rest of the plan is a little more fuzzy. We have an apartment booked in Sydney for December which is exciting and will give us a taste of city living. We were hoping to visit Janaki's mum in West Australia immediately after that, but that now looks unlikely so we have flipped the schedule and rented a camper van to take a look around whatever parts of Eastern Australia we are allowed into. We are pretty used to the uncertainty associated with travelling and Covid by now, but Australia (today) is trickier than most. Hopefully we will get to WA in March then, all being well, a trip to the UK on our way back to the boat. I’m feeling particularly bad about all the air miles this involves but our current distributed family makes it difficult to avoid. Hopefully we can evolve out of this peripatetic lifestyle, settle somewhere (the BIG question....) and actually stay in one place for a bit.

We are both a bit concerned about what we will do then as we don’t have a lot of practice with ‘settled’ but we are definitely up for giving it a try at this point. Our stretch goal is to have defined the ‘where’ by the time we get back to Leela next year - urk.....

Anyway, big changes afoot involving LOTS of lists. Right now we need to:
1. Prepare Leela for a cyclone season in a cyclone pit in Fiji - not trivial.
2. Sort out the administrative challenges of going to Australia and onward from there.
3. Prepare the information needed to sell the boat remotely in the event that we cannot get back here - it's a VERY uncertain world at the moment so contingency plans are essential.
4. Do as much exploring, snorkeling and diving as we can cope with in case we cannot get back here.....

At this moment we are anchored in a bay on the NW corner of Viti Levu, the main Fijian island, and feeling a tad isolated. All our recent buddy boats have now left for Australia or New Zealand or stacked their boat and headed home. It would be a good time to find a noisy bar but there probably isn’t one within twenty miles and we are not allowed ashore anyway. Cruising in Covid times.....

Tomorrow we will make a short, six hour, crossing to Yadua, a small island off the western end of Vanua Levu. Our friends tell us it has great snorkeling and is only one day’s downwind sailing to Vuda Marina and our cyclone pit in the unlikely event of an early storm.

Fiji? We are still loving it. The islands are varied and beautiful, with pleasantly short passages between them. The photo is of us anchored in an amazing area in the northern Lau, taken by a friend’s drone. The people are a delight. They are always cheerful, helpful and very generous. In many ways they remind us of another island people, Newfoundlanders, and that is a high bar.

The underwater world is amazing. I will do a separate post describing some of our sightings and post an album soon. Until then, stay safe.
Vessel Name: Leela
Vessel Make/Model: Bristol 38.8
Hailing Port: Portsmouth, NH
Crew: Graham and Janaki
We are a Brit and an Australian now based in the wonderful community of Portsmouth, New Hampshire. We have a delightful home there but a couple of years ago we began to feel a bit over-domesticated so we thought we would buy another boat and head south. [...]
Leela, a Bristol 38.8 has turned out to be a wonderful cruising boat for us. Some might find it a little cramped by modern standards but it feels like just the right balance of living space and storage to us. She sails like a dream. She is remarkably well balanced and is comfortable in pretty [...]
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