Fiji and Samoa 2006
It's been another great season this year in the Pacific, we've met up with lots of old friends, and had a lot of fun. Dylan's clocked up around 1000 nautical miles of ocean sailing experience - we were hoping he would sleep a lot on passage, but no, still the same exuberance and energy as always! Here's some pics from this year in the islands, thanks everyone who joined us this year - Crispy, Nick, Steph, Dan, Nic, Natalie, Paige, Svenni - and lived the 'Moet' life for a while, and shared these photos with us non-digital camera folk. Hope these bring back some happy memories!
underwater marine life at reefs off Namotu island; we saw sharks, stingrays and tons of fish! The coral is fully alive here and very colourful.
paige and natalie came to us from san francisco, and so did nick and steph
namotu island, always room for one more board, off wave hunting, tavarua from above
dylan makes some friends, island baby, we get a visit from the local boys, preparing a green coconut for drinking
FIJI: the perfect sandcay at koro island, naigini island beach, snorkelling at naigini, the calm lagoon at mana.
nice one dan! and thanks for the fish neil!
crispy, (in the middle) my old friend from school, came to Fiji for 3 weeks, and tackled some of the biggest waves out at Wilkes. Wish we had a picture of that!!! The pic on the right is the copra shed marina at Savusavu, where we tied up for a week and experienced some small town comforts... (cold beer, hot showers, and take away pizza!)
svenni learnt to fly frans's 9m kite, sand bar at malololeilei, kiting off nananu-i-ra at high tide, fiji sunset
Dylan: I eat, I drink, I sleep, I eat...
sailing, natalie, girls on the anchor, svenni up the mast
jungle walk in fiji, savusavu beach area, sailing under spinnaker, yum yum bounty rum
selling taro at lautoka market, preparing leaves for weaving, showing the visitors around the village, punti ready to play vindi-vindi on Rabi island
dylan's 2nd birthday party at musket cove along with other boat children, storytime, playing in the bedroom, drawing in svenni's bunk
friendly dolphin swimming alongside, dylan is learning to swim, lush tropical waterfall in tavenui, tiare jumping off moet, viani bay
coconut husks, mangrove shores of northern viti levu, horseriding in a roadless village, inland vanua levu
another bloody mary night for Sylvia, Svenni and Natalie; Dylan wondering if he can manage the plank alone; Dan, Nick and Nic at the island bar; Sylvia and Frans
SAMOA: church in Apia, the most colourful bus system in the pacific, our accomodation in Lolomanu, and Dylan's first bike
I think the thing I liked best about Samoa (other than the ludicrously cheap duty-free) were the pink and green buses. In fact, every bus was decked out in different colours and all pumped out loud island music as they bumped and sputtered along the inland roads. Arrival in Western Samoa, with its protected harbour at Apia, and relatively small size (each of the 2 main islands are around 50 land miles long), meant it was an excellent area to leave the boat for a few days and cruise around by bus. After a reasonably rough and very wet 6 day trip up from Fiji, we gladly stepped off Moet for a little holiday. We stayed at Tafua Beach fales in Lolomanu, which had the most beautifully basic fales to stay in. It was great to sleep on land for a few nights and have a feast prepared for us on long sociable tables each night. The food was superb, as was the Fiafia entertainment, and Tai and her husband were perfect hosts.
Overall, we found the Samoans more reserved than the Fijians, and after the remote islands of Rabi and Naigani, the string of lights along Upolu's coast made us feel we had (almost) returned to a bustling metropolis. We sailed into Apia harbour just in time for the Teuila festival, and watched marching bands, church choirs, Samoan rappers and traditional dancing all a short walk away from the dinghy dock. Apia is a busy, friendly little town and we were happy to meet several other boats who were headed down to Tonga. We also met a few who had moored beside us in Savusavu, Fiji, and we compared trip reports.
It seemed like many people had rough trips, and a 3 boats arriving from Suvorov and other islands to the east limped into the harbour with shredded roller furling. We suffered no damage in our gale other than a thorough soaking as water steadily dripped through duct-taped air vents and what we thought were sealed hatches! It takes 5 days of pounding into a heavy sea to find out where your leaks are, and most boats have a few!
Luckily, our passage down to Tonga was milder, and our main problem was not enough wind rather than too much. We spoke to Des, from Russell Radio in NZ, each night to report our position and get an updated weather report. It was disheartening to hear 'light winds again tomorrow folks, around the 5 knot mark'. Still, once the wind filled in we made good progress, caught a couple of tuna along the way (yum!), and it was a pleasure to be able to sit on the foredeck with Dylan, dangling our feet in the water, when our last trip we couldn't even stick our head outside without a wave dumping on our heads!
Now we are here in Tonga, and planning to stay the summer season here. It's a great area. I'm still sorting through our Tonga pictures, and I'll put some of these on a new page in the coming weeks....