Wednesday, September 30, 2009


We woke up to talk of a tsunami warning in Fiji yesterday! It was cancelled a few hours later with no noticeable surge here. Have heard brief reports of death and destruction in the Samoas and devastation of a village in Nuatoputapu in N Tonga. Reminds us we are travelling in an area of geological instability where volcanos and earthquakes are a reality! By the way, how is that San Andrea Fault line holding up? :)

Sunday, September 27, 2009


This traditional ceremony is still practiced in the remote villages. We were anchored in Yalobi Bay on the South end of Waya Island, which is part of the Yasawa Island chain in the Western part of Fiji. Some of these small islands are uninhabited, many now have rustic 'backpacker' resorts. Yesterday, on arriving, we rowed to shore and asked for the 'Tui Waya' which I assumed meant the chief or headman of the village. The children pointed us to an elderly man sitting on the beach under the palm trees lining the shore. We approached him and were invited to sit on the sand with him. He was sitting with a young woman named Tamma who operated a backpacker resort in the village. This was the first time since we have been in Fiji that we have attempted the Sevu-Sevu ceremony. We placed the bundle of Yaquona root before us on the sand. This plant, sold in most markets in the cities, is ground up and mixed with water to make kava, a mild narcotic that men, traditionally, though western women have been seen to participate, consume socially. Our brief encounter with it in Tonga found it to be very mild. Tui ignored the proffered gift at first and smilingly asked us questions about where we came from, where we had been, our families and Toketie. He told us the village did not have a chief at the moment but after sharing conversation for a while, he agreed to accept our gift, clapped his hands three times and welcomed us to the village. We were now formally under their protection and as guests could wander freely. Tui asked us what we would like to do while visiting and we mentioned hiking, as the island was mountainous, much like some of the volcanic islands in the Marquesas. He said there were many trails and advised using a guide.
Today the sky is clear, the sun is very hot and there is no breeze. It is very peaceful in the bay. We rowed ashore and decided it was too hot a day to attempt a hike. On seeing us, Tui and Tamma waved us into a grass hut with open sides with a long table. He asked if we were interested in any crafts they made and began to spread out before us an assortment of necklaces of amacite, shells, seeds, sharks teeth, as well as some decorative cloth made into sulus or wraps. We picked up a few gifts to take home and walked the length of the beach along the village. Several other families welcomed us, one young man knocking a coconut from a tree and hacking the top off for us to drink. Another older lady took us into her grass hut to show us her crafts, of which we bought a small blue beaded necklace, supposedly mother of pearl.
Later in the day, the wind came up from the South and was blowing directly into the bay. We swung on our anchor close to the reef lining the shore and the swells started to build, foretelling an anxious night on anchor watch and little sleep. Nature had once again intruded into our tranquil paradise.
By first light, we were bouncing in the large swells rolling into the bay and the anchor alarm was going off indicating less than six feet between our keel and the reef. We pulled up the anchor and motor sailed our way back to the big island for the shelter of Saweni Bay where we had been so comfortable before.
So we are back in our quiet little bay and the sun is shining again. We will probably stay here and work on the list of boat chores Toketie seems to endlessly acquire. It is peaceful and sheltered and good holding. There is only one other boat in the bay at the moment but last night several came in for the night and left early in the morning. We can swim here and there is a beach to explore and if really desperate, we could walk up to the highway and catch the bus into Lautoka. But for now we are relaxing and thinking of people and places far away. In November, we will be back in Victoria and that may be a shock to our tropically acclimated systems!
For the moment, we are out of wifi range so we can only be reached via winlink!

Monday, September 21, 2009

September 22, 2009 – Vuda Point Marina, Fiji

After 7 relaxing weeks at Musket Cove, we have finally slipped our mooring and motored in very light air the three hours back to Vuda Point Marina.  Our water tanks were getting low and potable water is a luxury on the outer islands.  Running out of beer and wine had nothing to do with the decision!

The last week in Musket Cove saw torrential tropical rainfall for about 12 hours straight, followed by brisk 30 kt winds.  We had a couple of movie and reading days on board and when the sun came out again, the dozen or more boats in the bay converged on the Island Bar to fire up the barbq pits and share stories about how none of us know exactly where we will go to next!  Musket Cove is a wonderful place and they make it very easy to stay.  A protected anchorage with plenty of moorings, most supplies readily available, reasonable drinks at the Island Bar, and of course the swimming pool.  Not to mention great hiking trails and friendly people.  Our favourite bartender, Vasiti, took these pics of an octopus right at the edge of the bar.  I had seen a larger one in the same area a couple of weeks before, but did not have the camera along.  And we saw the biggest turtle we have ever seen several times out in the bay, not to mention the small fish antics as they ruffle the surface of the water, probably running from barracuda or mahi-mahi.  

But now we are sweltering in the heat in the marina where very little breeze can penetrate.  Yesterday we rode the chicken bus into Lautoka and stocked up on supplies.  Last night was $10 pizza night at the resort next door so a whole gang of people descended on it.  Today, filling water tanks and tidying up!

Only 6 more weeks and Toketie will be 'put to bed' for 6 months while we fly to Seoul for a few days on the way home to Victoria.  Looking forward to family and friends and Mikey's wine!!!!

Octopus at Musket Cove

Our favorite Island Bartender, Vasiti, took these wonderful pics at the edge of the water! (remember that if you click on a pic, it will enlarge it)

Saturday, September 05, 2009

Musket Cove Regatta Pirates Day!

After the 'rum' inoculation, things started to get 'out of hand', at least for those who still had their hands!  When this wench tried to steal me, well things just got sillier from there....