Logbook: Mociu (Honeymoon Rock)

Technically this isn’t a logbook entry because we spent the day here with The Gong Show (our dinghy). On a flat windless day we sped the 4.5 miles around the side of Malalo Island to a place with a reportedly gorgeous beach and nice snorkeling – Mociu or Honeymoon Rock (S17°43'07.74" E177°08'54.03").

The beach was one of those perfect beaches. Often tourist boats come here and we were lucky enough to only see a few with small groups of snorkelers and we had the beach to ourselves. Great sand, great color water in all directions in the shallows, and we had perfect weather for it.

We started snorkeling off the beach and quickly decided that we must not be in the right spot. We saw a tourist boat go to the North side of the island with snorkelers and so we followed. Lovely live coral, nice array of fish. It was a good day in the water. Maybe not spectacular after all we’ve seen, but I’ll take that day any time.

Espresso aboard Estrellita

Gear reviews on this blog normally involve boat related gear but I have to give a shout out to our 6 year old All-Clad manual espresso machine. No corrosion, no breakage, no reduction in quality – it just keeps working. Not only for our coffees but for those we make for friends in what we have affectionately been calling “Café Estrellita”.

P1050160We really enjoy having people over impromptu, in the middle of the day and it is nice to have something fancy, non alcoholic and relatively inexpensive to offer people who come aboard. With a stash of raw sugar and some UHT milk in a small glass jar, it is a small social production, a fragrant ritual that for this former Western Washingtonian, feels like home turf.

While buddy boating with some of our favorite people it got to the point where we would go on our shared VHF channel and simply say “Café Estrellita is open” and soon enough people would start stopping by. We even started keeping a stash of decaf for one friend who would come over with his own soy milk. If you don’t use it daily it would probably be annoying to store but we are happy to make room for it.

There are many pieces of actual boat gear aboard that I love, and a lot of toys as well, but if I had to go with my favorite piece of “home” it would be a tie between our thick memory foam mattress and this fancy but reliable piece of kitchen gear*.

*We paid about $100 which as coffee addicted working people felt reasonable. Unfortunately, it appears not to be manufactured anymore by All-Clad and the replacement mark is $178!

Logbook: Musket Cove on Malolo Island (Fiji)


P1060444I am pleasantly surprised at how much we have enjoyed our two weeks at Musket Cove. We thought it would be pool-and-bar-resort, cruiser-summer-camp living – which we quite enjoy but usually not for more than a week. Musket Cove did not disappoint on that factor. The bar is fun, the cruiser gang is lively, having a cocktail at a resort pool is always fun, and all of the facilities were free or inexpensive after joining the Musket Cove Yacht Club ($15FJD for the two of us).

But what kept us here (besides boat chores) was the water sports and the much higher than average concentration of water sport junkies on cruising boats. It seems like every other boat in the anchorage this early in the season has a surfer aboard and we have had a small kite gang going most windy days. The surf breaks in the area are world renown and the sand bar is a fun kite spot. The “stoked” vibe among the water sports junkies is contagious and *gasp* there was even one other female kiter in the anchorage…and she rocked.

11259478_10153249656851772_3882370747196610116_nWith all of the out of the tropics travel we’ve done, we had our first five days of kiting in 2015 all at Musket Cove. On one windless day we checked out the surf (awesome) and snorkel (ok) at Namotu and on another windless day we snorkeled at Honeymoon Island (North side was lovely – more on that later).

We anchored outside of the mooring field which was a little deep (nearly 60’ at high tide) but in good holding. Apparently the spot gets crazy busy in high season and it has already changed in the two weeks we’ve been here with boats arriving from NZ and boats going in the water from Vuda Point.

We’re heading now into “town” for some errands and supplies and who knows where to next.

Making Our Own Cockpit Cushions

P1060455I took a sewing and cooking class in middle school in which I learned some basic sewing. Fast forward nearly 30 years later and I have done almost no sewing since. I am definitely not an experienced seamstress and so it was with some trepidation that I bought a Sailrite sewing machine and the supplies for some major canvas projects on our boat.

While the sewing machine was crossing the ocean from the USofA to Fiji in a container, I watched a bunch of videos from Sailrite’s impressive stock of free tutorials on their youtube page. In addition to their project videos, if you are inexperienced like me, I particularly recommend their basic sewing videos and their sewing machine tension adjustment videos.

As previously blogged about, the first projects I worked on were simple repairs to the sacrificial sun covering on our jib, our mainsail cover, dodger, bimini, and our mainsail. Because I was mostly working with UV proof GoreTex TenaraP1060459 thread on these sun exposed bits, I had a great deal of problems maintaining proper thread tension and I was very happy I had watched all of the tensioning videos and read through Sailrite’s tensioning and Tenara/PTFE section in the small manual that came with the machine. Even so, occasionally as the fabric thickness changed on the jib I would drop a zig or a zag and get a single straight stitch. As this was simply the sunbrella covering, the stitching of which has partially rotten off twice in the sun, I am still glad to have chosen the Tenara.

The first major item of new business that I tacked were cockpit cushions. Somehow, we have managed to cruise for nearly 5 years without them. We have had blue chairs a la West Marine, and we still have (and enjoy) our beanbag pillows from Tahiti, but we were seriously overdue for some arse cushioning.


Sailrite’s video on making your own cockpit cushions, available free on their site, is truly impressive as an educational -instructional piece. The video is clear and precise. Everything I needed to do the job was explained including a materials list and project checklist. They spend time going over the complicated bits several times and show the simple bits only once.  I must have watched the entire video 4 times and parts of it a half dozen more during the project and by following their directions, magically, everything turned out. Each time a cushion fit into its home I was a little stunned.

cc3 (2)Our cushions are not professional quality and the small irregularities of an amateur sewing on her own boat while floating at anchor in Fiji are obvious to me. However, having seen what “pros” produce in our current location, we are confident that our final product is as good as what we would pay for here and of course, at a huge savings, plus the pride of having made them ourselves. If I hadn’t already paid for the sewing machine with our maintenance projects, I certainly covered the rest of the cost by making our own cushions.

cc2 (2)
Lesson learned: I wish I had watched the video before ordering materials – definitely a mistake. I would have ordered piping instead of making my own (possible to do, certainly, but time consuming and not really money saving), would have done a better job of estimating materials and I would have ordered a hot knife. With that said, I was able to do without the hot knife and as we won’t be pulling the covers off often I think that it will be fine. Regarding the Sailrite machine, I don’t have a lot of experience with sewing machines so all I can say is it has ploughed through every job I’ve put at it, fairly easily (except slippery Tenara).

Let the sewing projects begin!



When we started cruising we were advised that most boats “out there” had a sewing machine and it would be easy to pay someone to borrow theirs if you needed to do a repair.

Apparently, everyone else got the same advice and didn’t buy one because we didn’t find that to be true. Plus, if you own an expensive delicate machine, would YOU loan it out to someone who wanted to take it for a dinghy ride? I don’t think so.

GOPR0119 (2)And we needed one. We thought sewing machines were expensive until we found out how much it was going to cost to restitch the sunbrella on our jib in Tahiti – OUCH! Some really nice friends helped us sew up our sunbrella once but otherwise we have had to pay professionals.

This cyclone season, we were lucky enough to band together with a bunch of other cruisers on a container coming to Fiji, under the guidance of someone who had negotiated shipping to Fiji and customs clearances before. And so, as part of our order of heavy goods, we ordered a Sailrite LSZ-1 PLUS.

In the few weeks we’ve had the machine, I’ve resewn the suncovering on our genoa, restitched some bits on our main, our aging mainsail cover, dodger, bimini and connector panel.

Already the machine has paid for itself and we have some big projects in mind for the future including (after almost 5 years of cruising) proper cockpit cushions!

Floating in Fiji



P1060439Estrellita 5.10b is back in the water.

The boat floats,  The dinghy floats. The engines have sputtered to life.

We are still putting tools and supplies away. We are still working on boat projects, but we are doing so floating at anchor, with the breeze floating through the boat, with afternoon swims, with snorkeling, sunsets and a view. And if the wind cooperates, some kiteboarding.

A week or two of boat work and we start seriously cruising Fiji.

It. Feels. Good.

*As a side note, we’ve changed the commenting procedure to make it easier for anyone to comment on this blog. Give us a test.


Click on the dollar and buy Livia and Carol a cold frosty one:


Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner