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.

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

P1060588 (2)

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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Logbook: Tavua

This was a quick overnight stop on our way to Navadra from Musket Cove. It was lovely scenery, no habitation, nice beach, and some nice snorkeling. However it took us a lot of woP1060557rk to find a good sand patch where our chain wouldn’t touch coral (even though we were buoying our chain) and then we found that the bottom was a shallow layer of sand over a coral shelf which means a good bite at first, but dragging when you put some rpms (or wind) on your anchor test. We set gently, put on an anchor alarm and wind alarm and slept uneasily.

Tip: Wondering why your water clarity is sometimes good and sometimes bad in the same place? If you have sand nearby, anything that upsets the sand (strong swell or wind waves, etc) will make the bay murkier. Having the sun overhead (midday) is also good for visibility. Most people think of those two, but many people forget the tides. You want a maximum of ocean water (clear) and a minimum of land/lagoon influenced water (cloudy with stuff) so, all things being equal, you will have the best water clarity as you approach high water slack, at the end of the flooding tide.


Sewing Project: Shower Caddy

So, perhaps a bit of TMI, but we are cockpit shower-ers. In close quarters with other boats we wear swimsuits or wait for dark, and when not in close quarters with other boats, as we like to say “What you see with binoculars is your own damn fault”.

P1060543After years of dealing with shampoo and soap bottles jammed into the small opening where our cockpit shower exits the cockpit combing, with our new sewing machine I made a caddy for our stern pulpit using Sunbrella, a UV resistant mesh product like Phifertex and some 2” velcro. I measured the distance between bars, added the circumference of the bars (twice) and velcro width (four times) and seam allotment (twice) and that was the length of the sunbrella fabric to cut. For the width I measured between our dinghy engine hoist and dinghy engine bracket (plus seam allotment – twice). After that I was really free handing the mesh and the pockets look a little lumpy close up. Good enough for us!

Inside the caddy fit 4 reusable squeeze bottles I picked up at REI.

Sometimes it is the little boat improvements that are the most exciting. Our cockpit transformation is 2/3 of the way done: cockpit cushions (check), shower caddy (check) and now we need new mesh pockets near the dodger to replace our shredded ones.

Logbook: Robinson Crusoe and Castaway Island


Double logbook because we spent very little time at either of these places. We anchored off Likuri Island (Robinson Crusoe Resort) for two nights/one actual day and we spent a lunch hour poaching the mooring off Castaway Island on our way to our next stop (Navadra).

We went to Robinson Crusoe to check out a kite spot (looked reasonable but not inspiring to us) and because we had heard fun things GOPR0283 (2)about the resort. The resort is still friendly and still has shows but there has been a change of owners and the kite school and dive operation are no longer in residence. We arrived just in time to catch the last bit of the daily show (fun) and walked around the entire island. Ultimately we decided to continue on the next day. The anchorage was P1060566a treat – 15 feet of good sand – after the deep anchoring (55+ ft) at Musket Cove. The pass was calm in the conditions we chose and satellite imagery showed it clearly.

Castaway looked absolutely lovely. If we hadn’t had stronger wind and bigger swell on its way we might have tried hard to work out a way to stay overnight. As it was we had some brie, sausage and crackers and shouted “WILSON”.

Fiji First Impressions


Fiji is a big country with many different regions that are very different from each other. It’s much like French Polynesia in that sense. We’ve seen very little of it this early in the season.

We’ve been moving around in Fiji charter style – trying to find our “fit” in this new country. Because we came to Vuda Point for the cyclone season we are starting on the “wrong side” and most of the tasty bits of Fiji are to weather (non-sailors: this means trickier sailing or to some people a no-go).

P1060628We also figured, based on reading blogs and chatting with people, that the Mamanucas and Yasawas were less likely to house our favorite places because they are loaded with resorts and not loaded with underwater goodies. So far in those areas, we are finding lots of lovely places, have found one difficult but great place (Navadra – logbook soon), are having a good time, meeting very friendly people, are finding it exceedingly easy to cruise here (much like Mexico) but haven’t fallen in love with the country yet.

Our general plan for Fiji is that unless we are tired, or needing to do boat work, we plan move around until we do say “WOW” and then stop for a while.

As always, YMMV. We are nature people more than culture people which is less usual in cruisers. It’s also difficult to convey why we are (so far) underwhelmed when Fiji is so damn photogenic that every picture I take looks like paradise.



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