We've been 6 weeks in Fiji without a blog update- our apologies to those of you who were getting worried about our lack of communication. After a very low key check in at SavuSavu .....ashore at a picnic table..... we caught up with old friend Rob, of Changing Spots. SavuSavu is a busy town, with many restaurants, stores, and opportunities for re-provisioning. We had planned on only staying a few days, but somehow this stretched to two weeks! Finally we managed to tear ourselves away, intending to spend one night off of Cousteau Resort, before heading out to Namema Island. That one night turned into three when we met up with old friends David and Silvie from Puddytat. They gave us some good info on places we might want to visit before we headed over to Namena, Fiji's first marine reserve, where we planned to do some diving. Unfortunately, we discovered that one of our regulators was leaking air, so we had to satisfy ourselves with snorkeling and a bit of paddleboarding. Next we sailed to Koro Island, where there are free mooring buoys and a very welcoming ex-pat community. Koro has a "club" where the locals gather every evening for happy hour in order to swap stores and meet the cruisers. There are over 500 building lots on the island, but only about 40 homes have been constructed so far, and at any given time, only 5-10 of them are occupied, so it is a small community. They are a very self sufficient lot, growing their own vegetables and fruit, collecting rainwater, and powering their houses off the grid on solar power and large battery banks. In many ways, their houses are a lot like boats. On our second night we were invited to the birthday party of one of the full-time residents, Neil, a larger than life Scotsman, and his lovely wife Hwei-Ying. At that party, we were also fortunate enough to meet Samantha from Yorkshire and her husband from Argentina, who were to be leaving for an extended visit abroad. They kindly invited us to visit their house & garden and gave us free rein to pick whatever we wanted. What a treat to help ourselves to bananas, papaya, spinach, radishes, squash, tomatoes, lettuce, lemons, & eggplant with the only restriction being how much we could carry. We also shared the bay with Ding & Sue on Chiquita from New Zealand and Fruits de Mer from Holland. We spent a very pleasant 10 days in the bay, snorkeling , diving, and wandering the back trails of the island. Our explorations also included wandering through a dilapidated house that had been the prize for some survivor type reality show. After a brief stop back in SavuSavu to resupply, we headed east, and after a lovely 1 day sail, arrived at Viani Bay. Rob & Thia joined a day later, and together we have enjoyed the last 10 days in this delightful setting. Camping in the back yard of a delightful local family, who invited us to Sunday lunch, and with whom we shared Colin's chocolate & orange birthday cake. Young Andrew was especially fond of the chocolate cake! Have also met one on of Fiji's well know characters, Mr. Jack Fisher, who is renowned amongst the cruising community for providing inexpensive guide services to the white wall and cabbage patch dive sites. The weather has not been the best of late, so we've mostly been paddle boarding & kayaking around the local area. Today we completed a major maintenance task - giving the outboard engine a thorough overhaul, including removing & cleaning the carburetor, as it had started acting up. One other project on the books, the spice rack, is making slow but steady progress towards the galley wall, as layers of varnish are added every few days. That's about it for now. We'll try and be a bit more consistent from now on....... and not let our busy schedule become an excuse!
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