Kite Spot: Nananu-i-ra, Fiji

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IMG_8911 (2) After slogging up the West Coast of Viti Levu from Lautoka under power we dropped anchor at Nananu-i-ra. Actually, although the kite spot is called Nananu-i-ra we actually anchored off Nananu-i-cake.

At first we anchored at the north end of that island, then we moved closer to the kite launch (S17°19'41.83" E178°13'03.60") on the southern tip of that island, and when the wind really cranked up – too strong for our smallest kite – we moved back to the more protected northern end.

P1060641The kite launch is good at all tides. At particularly low tides there is coral under the water that comes closer to the surface. For our friend who was learning it was not a good spot at low water but otherwise was fine for us.

There is an acceleration *if* the wind has a strong easterly component. Too far north or too far south and the wind gets shut down and doesn’t reach kite point. The good news is that ESE wind is the normal wind in the area. Bad news was we had some unusual wind directions while we were there. Still, we had a number of great days on the water.

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For us it was also nice to be around other kiters again. Several schools and resorts stopped at the point to kite. Some megayacht crews went out on the water and we had friends on their wind surf kit.

Although we had a fun stop and we would stop again if in the area, this kite launch doesn’t rate up there in our top spots so far in the South Pacific Islands.


Logbook: Blue Lagoon


P1060628The pictures in this blog post are from our lovely walk across Nanuya Island from the anchorage to the other side which has a village of sorts. Not many people live there anymore and the one resort structure we saw (which has Lo’s tea shop at the end) was shuttered. Some nice women in the village pointed us toward Lo’s which had been open earlier in the day but was closed when we arrived. It was a fun hike, through varied scenery with some good views of one of the passes into the lagoon.

P1060626After that, we don’t know what to say. It’s quite pretty there. With certain winds you can certainly kite. It’s named after the movie that was filmed there but it isn’t particularly blue and…well, we didn’t find whatever it is that grabs us or excites us. The resort was under very loud construction and had kicked out friends of ours the night before so although we enjoyed a round of beers there with a group of fun people, we weren’t motivated to become happy hour regulars. So, we moved on after two nights.

Video: A Taste of the Tuamotus

The newest installation of our "A Taste of..." cruising video series has been uploaded. Here is a taste of our favorite cruising destination so far - the Tuamotus, French Polynesia.

View it directly on youtube here if you prefer.

Liquid Motivation: Land Travel Series

P1050685P1060090 While we were traveling by plane to Tonga and New Zealand we drew on the liquid motivation a number of readers have passed our way.

First, a BIG thank you to Toledo Clayworks who bought us a round of Maka beers while we were in Tonga *and* a round of Moa in New Zealand.  The Maka beers were frosty, local and hit the spot, but of course did not compare to the tasty microbrews we found in New Zealand.

P1060140P1060091Our second BIG thank you goes to our friends, Jamie and Tyler. Thinking back to our time with you guys over dinners at your table, we thought a large slab of meat and a round of microbrews were an appropriate remembrance of times past.

Here we are with two enormous piles of ribs and two Crafty Trouts which weren’t as good as Laughing Lab but brought back memories of Bristols. Love you guys!

IMG_0516Our third BIG thank you goes to our friends Dave and Allison who funded a Superbowl day of, um, “festivities” for us while we were traipsing about New Zealand – you know what we’re talking about. Still waiting to host you somewhere tropical you two!

Want to see what else we’ve used our liquid motivation for? Click here.

Sewing Project: Pardey Pillows


WP1060541hen we were preparing our boat (and selves) for cruising we watched all of Lin and Larry Pardey’s videos (and read all of their books). The inspiration for these pillows came from one of their videos. I can’t remember which one so you’ll just have to watch them all and figure it out for me ;)

In the video, Lin shows some pillow cases made in a velvet-like material that she used to stow fabric items, like sleeping bags. I thought to myself “Brilliant!” and enlisted my sister-in-law to not only make us slip covers, but also to make us pillow covers.

P1060537My very, very nice sister-in-law did an excellent job but I chose a crappy fabric for the pillows and so even though the slip covers she made looks like new after 3 years of hard cruising, the pillows were disintegrating and the cotton fabric had absorbed salt air and humidity from the start.

Tip: The Crypton Suede we bought for the slip covers, and used in this version of the pillows, is almost indestructible. We’ve spilled wine, coffee, etc on it. Rubber our salty, sunblocky skin all over it. More than three years cruising in the tropics and each time we machine wash the covers, they come out looking new again.

P1060538I used the exact same Sailrite video/pattern that I used to make the cockpit cushions. I measured out panels of the Crypton Suede (Curaco) 14” x 20” and used 6” as my width. I didn’t bother adding for seam allowances because I didn’t care what exact size the pillows were, just the approximate dimensions. I also put the zipper on the small end of the pillow this time so it makes them more comfortable to lay on while watching videos.

We have 4 pillows: one for towels, one for bedding, one for sleeping bags and one for everything else. When we go between laundry for a long time, the pillows can get half-empty and if it bothers us, I’ll consolidate – putting one pillow and its contents inside another.

And there you go. Hidden storage, comfy pillows, and linens that don’t smell (too much) like “boat”.

Logbook: Navadra

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Navadra* was one of those anchorages – you know, the one where it is incredibly beautiful and it is becomes your new favorite place and then the weather turns and it quickly devolves into ‘when can we get out of here?!’. We had 5 fantastic days in Navadra and then 2 extremely uncomfortable ones.

P1060597 (2)Let’s start with the good. It’s uninhabited. This is good for us not because we hate people but because for us, cavorting around uninhabited incredibly beautiful islands is a big part of the South Pacific dream. There is a gorgeous sand spit connecting two lush green islands with rocky cliffs. There are goats to chase – that’s just good clean fun right there. And there is nice snorkeling in the bay. We saw some big stuff (spotted rays, turtles, wrasses) and various coral and fish. There is a lot of damage as well, but enough fun stuff to keep you interested. We had good water clarity when the swell wasn’t too big in the anchorage. Also, you can kite there. So, basically, a fun playground for us.

The bad: SW swell is very common here and when that rolls in, it breaks on the reefs in the anchorage and on the beaches. Sporty dinghy landings to say the least, crappy nights of sleep. The anchorages are mostly deep although there are some moderate depths you can sneak into. The wind in the Mamanucas and Yasawas has a bad habit of turning North when nothing of the sort has been predicted. When that happens, the island north of Navadra seems to funnel it, you guessed it, straight into the anchorage.

Why did we stay those last two nights? We were waiting for the wind to turn back SE so we could head north to Blue Lagoon, which it did, and we did. But by the second day things were uncomfortable enough that we decided we were leaving the next morning and if the winds were still North we were heading back the way we came instead of continuing up the chain.

*In Fiji, if you see a “d” after a vowel you add an “n” in front when pronouncing it. Thus Nadi sounds like Nandi when spoken and Navadra sounds like Navandra.

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