January 7, 2011

December – Generosity and Abundance

We continued to relax in Vurevure bay after our guests left. There were days to spend wandering the beach, visiting friends, taking photographs, and sitting on INTENTION enjoying the beauty all around. It is wonderful to have no schedule.


INTENTION in Vurevure Bay


Along the Beach



Patterns in the Sand One morning, quite to my surprise a woman and a boy approached INTENTION in a row boat. They were from the first village up the river. We had spoken with them when we explored the river in our dinghy. She came by with her son to give us some vegetables and fruit. She gifted us with cucumber, egg plant, mangos and papaya in abundance. I gave her a bit of money although she had not requested any. A few days later she returned again, this time with her husband. She gave us bok choy and more cucumbers. I continue to be impressed by the generosity of the folks we’ve met.
Late November there has been a lot of rain. We have been taking advantage of this, putting out buckets and plugging drains on the deck. We gathered enough water this way to fill our tanks. On one occasion the dinghy had filled with so much water that the inflatable floor lifted. The dinghy became our large bath tub.
Claude and Danielle had given us a whole rack of bananas from their yard. We ate what we could and with the many that became over ripe Jim made wonderful banana bread. We shared this bread with Claude and Danielle.
Early December we went to visit Peter and Lillian, the Danish couple that have the pineapple farm. We spent a delightful afternoon learning about the project they are involved in. They have started a farmers group and are focusing on elimination of the use of chemical fertilizer and soil regeneration. The farmers have watched the taro get smaller and they are eager to do what is necessary to regenerate the farm land. Peter and Lillian have gotten a grant for education and implementation. Someone who is knowledgeably in permaculture is coming from Australia to assist them, to teach classes. They have had one class already and the room was so full people were standing outside to listen and learn. Peter and Lillian have had their farm for 20 years. They are initiating a new way of doing agriculture and are bringing the native farmers along. While we were there we, of course, got some pineapples as well as lettuces, tomatoes, green onions and herbs. Those pineapples turned out to be the sweetest and juiciest ones we’d had.


Peter and Lilian
When we arrived back at our dinghy in the afternoon the tide had risen considerably. Although we thought we had pulled the dinghy way up on the shore, it was not high enough. Sea water had splashed into it and with our small baler we could not empty it fast enough before the next wave came and filled it again. The dinghy, full of water, was too heavy to pull up higher on the beach. Trying to empty the dinghy was becoming a Sisyphean effort. We were rescued by Ducky, the Fijian fellow who mans the pearl hut. He saw us struggling and came over in his boat with a 5 gallon bucket. With his help we could make headway baling and were able to lighten the dinghy enough to pull it up on the beach. Successful, we made it back to INTENTION with our pineapples and vegetables.


Ducky showing Oysters


Awesome Aquas


Underwater Jewels
It was a season for suicide. No, no one on INTENTION got the holiday blues, unless the fish and the bugs did. One morning we found a fish in the dinghy. He apparently jumped in during the night and could not get out. He was long and thin and bony. The level of detailed work to pick out the good stuff was a kin to the effort of eating pomegranate. Still I was thankful to have fresh fish. Besides cleaning fish I’ve been cleaning the ceiling. A bunch of tiny bugs decided to romance the light at night and then commit suicide on the ceiling like rejected lovers.
We also visited Jim Henning at his farm. While his Fijian friends and family drank kava, we had tea and cookies. He asked captain Jim about his sailing travels and he listened with great interest. We asked him if he ever slaughtered any of his livestock. If he did we would be happy to buy a bit of meat. He asked if we like pork as he planned to kill a pig soon. We answered in the affirmative. As we were leaving he gave us a bunch of bananas. Jim Henning seems to really enjoy it when people come to visit.


Henning’s Farm at Sunset


Farmer Jim and Captain Jim
A couple of days later I heard a squeal in the morning. That afternoon a large pork roast was delivered to us by boat. It was a gift, no money requested. Bless Jim Henning. We got three very tasty meals out of it.


Pork Sholder Roast
We decided to leave Vurevure about a week before Christmas. We spent a day just visiting to say farewell to all the wonderful people there. Peter and Lillian again had pineapple and vegetables gathered for us to take. We said good bye to Ducky at the pearl hut. No one was home at Claude’s and Danielle’s so we left a note expressing our gratitude. We stopped at the village and were given a papaya. We visited Jim Henning to say thanks and gave him a pineapple. He in turn gave us more bananas. The following day we were set to leave.
The morning was magic on December 18, the day we left Vurevure. It is rare for me to rise at dawn although that is often my intention. But on this occasion the orange light of the early morning pierced my eyelids enough to wake me. The reward was great. On this morning there was a large arch of a double rainbow. So grand was the scale of it, I could not fit it into my camera lens. I had to be satisfied with merely capturing a portion.


Last Sunrise in Vurevure Bay


Hopeful Double Rainbow   In this secluded bay it is not uncommon for the water to take on the appearance of undulating silk. INTENTION, alone here in the midst of the water is serene beyond all my ability to describe. It is something that can only be felt like the gentle rocking that adds to the stillness. And I contemplate, how is it that the water with it’s constant motion and infinity of ripples upon ripples, can induce such stillness? Then there are the sounds, the soft surf breaking on the coral, the occasional crow of the rooster, the rattling of the unoccupied auto-pilot. If the breeze picks up even a bit and I am attentive enough, I can hear it barely blow through the spinnaker pole. The sound is like a woodwind instrument or a distant pipe organ. It seems that if I listened hard enough I could even hear the clouds glide imperceptibly across the sky or the mist rising off the mountains.


Smooth silky Water


Misty Mountains
I have watched the land change from dull darkness, first to golden green in the foreground while the mountains still remain dark. Then as the sun rose just a bit higher the mountains brightened and the foreground turned emerald. Now the mountains have become dark dull green. The clouds that left them temporarily again shroud their tops. The palm-treed land closer to the water is taking on it’s many shades of green.
On this morning a lone boat moves across the sterling sheet of the water. Being in the shallows of the coral, it does not have the motor running. Or perhaps the single boater is respecting the tranquility of the morning. Now and then I am surprised by a school of small fish jumping across the surface of the water. They make a sound as though someone took a handful of pebbles to skip across a lake. They shine like little silver birds as they skim over the top.
7am and I have for the past hour been able to capture the best part of the day. Activity has started already, now two boats with motor running transverse the bay. A couple of vehicles are passing along the road. Even the sound of the surf seems to have progressed to a distant roar. My aim is to hold the tranquility of the morning inside as I proceed with the activities of the day. The rest of the morning was spent securing the boat to sail. We left midday with a rainbow circle around the sun. Going was slow. We lost all wind midway and arrived in Savusavu on the evening of the 19th.
It was especially nice to see Jeff and Christie again. We new they were to leave for New Zealand in just a few days.


Circle around the Sun


Savusavu Sunset


Spear fishing in the shallows of the reef
Jim and I and others who have boats at Savusavu Marina dock were invited to come to the home of Tua and Robin for Christmas dinner. Robin owns Savusavu Marina. We were treated to a scrumptious four course meal. In addition to having ham, chicken and muscles, there were unique South Pacific treats such as tamarind chutney and marinated cumquats. I drank Tua’s homemade pineapple wine. We were also treated to a lovely sunset from their hillside home.


Sunset from Robin’s hillside Home


Boxing day we had another feast, a potluck, at Waitui Marina. Jim brought banana bread made from the abundance of bananas we’d been gifted with in Tavenui. It was great to connect with cruisers we hadn’t seen for a while and to make new friends. The meal was wonderful.  Jim particularly enjoyed the roast turkey and cranberries, contributed by Philip and Leslie on Carina and cooked by Joe on Jublee.  The dressing, mashed potatoes, and gravy made this feast extraordinary.
Since our return to Savusavu we have been spending a fair amount of time visiting. Other cruisers are a wealth of information and eagerly share trip stories, computer programs, insights about maintenance and marine products and various other resources. For the new year Jim and I have started a program of walking daily in the morning and swimming in the afternoon. We look forward to the arrival of crew on January 8. More sailing and exploration to follow.


Morning walks down the road

Comments Comments | Categories: Uncategorized | Autor: admin

December 3, 2010

Beginning of December 2010

Beginning of December 2010

I, Jim, am feeling so blessed to have the opportunity to share myself, my space, my home, and my boat, INTENTION, with so many beautiful friends, both old and new, that have chosen to spend some time with me. I have enjoyed discovering who each person is. Loving them for all their many unique gifts and contributions to me and to all of us aboard.

Comments Comments | Categories: Uncategorized | Autor: admin

Mid November

Mid November

We stayed in Savusavu for a couple of weeks and then sailed out again to Taveuni. We love being in Vurevure bay. The beauty and the friendliness of the people make it really special.
On November 17th we took the bus into Somosomo to pick up Berenice and Savaad. They arrived by ferry just after noon. We managed to find a man with a van who agreed to wait while we shopped and then take us around the side of the island where INTENTION is moored. We bought fresh fruit at the roadside stands and a bit of meat and other items at the grocery store.
At last we arrived at the pearl farm back in Vurevure Bay where the dinghy was tied. We packed luggage and groceries in the dinghy as well as ourselves and made it out to INTENTION.

image001 (Small).jpg

Berenice, Jim and Alice purchase fruit at a roadside stand

image003 (Small).jpg

Entrance to Claude and Danial’s Civa Pearl Farm

image005 (Small).jpg

INTENTION waiting for us. Jim Henning’s copra farm in the background

The following morning we packed a lunch and headed for Bouma Waterfalls. We walked part of the way and then a kind fellow picked us up and gave us a ride. Accept for some tourist just passing through, most of the day we had the falls all to ourselves.

image007 (Small).jpg

Alice, Jim and Savaad slathering up for the walk

image009 (Small).jpg

The first and best of the Bouma Waterfalls

image011 (Small).jpg

Berenice enjoys a swim in pool

image013 (Small).jpg

Savaad in the clear water

image015 (Small).jpg

Jim dives from ledge behind the falls

On our walk returning from the falls, we passed by the local primary school just as the kids were getting out. They accompanied us, telling us about the plants along the way. One boy climbed a tree to get us a green coconut water to drink. They sang songs while we waited out the rain under a shelter. Delightful.

image017 (Small).jpg

Greeted with, “give me five.”

image019 (Small).jpg

Determined to get a coconut for us

image021 (Small).jpg

A couple sticks and an old tire gives hours of entertainment

There is one man in Vurevure Village who has a truck. We arranged for him to give us a ride to Lavena and to pick us up in the late afternoon after our coastal walk. At 8am we were climbing into the truck and off to where the road ends. Again we packed a lunch for a full day’s excursion.
On the trail we passed what appeared to be burial grounds. The graves are decorated with fabric torn in ribbons. Further down the path Jim and Savaad took interest in a tin canoe made of corrugated metal. Again we met Louie on the trail and he invited us to come to his house for tea on the way back.

image023 (Small).jpg

Hugs along the trail

image025 (Small).jpg

Burial site along the path

image027 (Small).jpg

Jim admires innovation in local tin outrigger canoe

image029 (Small).jpg

Suspension bridge over a rushing river

We picnicked near the river and then walked the path to the waterfall. Because of the recent rain the volume of water was great and the current was strong. The logs that had been stuck vertical in the passage way were now horizontal in the water. Savaad and Jim swam up the river and through the passage to the falls. Berenice and I, Alice, watched from the rocks.

image031 (Small).jpg

A lovely shaded spot near the river.

image033 (Small).jpg

River coming from the falls

image035 (Small).jpg

Savaad and Jim make their way over rocks and logs to the waterfall

image037 (Small).jpg

Fijian walking across the water

On the way back we stopped at Louie’s. The rain had started and we were happy for the hot lemon leaf tea and fresh cucumbers from the garden. The children were full of smiles. We all enjoyed each others company.

image039 (Small).jpg

The village where Louie lives

image041 (Small).jpg

Louie’s wife, children and Savaad

image043 (Small).jpg

Berenice enjoys the happy children

image045 (Small).jpg

And so does Savaad

Louie is the man to go to for lobster. He said if the ocean was calm enough he would get some for us. The next morning I rose at 6am to see if Louie was on shore waving. That would be our signal that he had lobster for us. No Louie that morning but a fabulous sunrise.

image047 (Small).jpg

Sunrise in Vurevure bay

Jim Henning’s farm of rolling hills and coconut palms is a beautiful sight. The four of us went to visit. Jim, who is 80, has a good sense of humor. He said he’d been watching us. Savaad replied that we’d been watching him too. We all got a laugh. After chatting for a while, we went for a stroll over the hills and down the beach.

image049 (Small).jpg

Berenice collecting shells along the shore

We also took a dinghy ride up the river. The reflection of the trees in the still water creates a feeling of serenity. Eventually we came to a village. Beyond the village the river is not passable.

image051 (Small).jpg

A thousand shades of green reflected in the still water

image053 (Small).jpg

A child plays on Billybong, bamboo raft, as his sister looks on

Louie did show up on shore with lobster the last day Berenice and Savaad were here. We had a wonderful farewell meal of lobster dipped in hot butter. For desert we finished off the bottle of delicious Frangelico they brought.
It was such a delight to have them with us. We hope they come again and stay longer.

Comments Comments | Categories: Uncategorized | Autor: admin

Qamea and and back in Savusavu

Qamea and and back in Savusavu

Qamea Island

After about five days at Vurevure we sailed to the nearby island of Quamea. There we anchored in the crystal clear water of the white sand bay of the Mitchell family. We visited the family on shore, swam and did some beach combing. When the children noticed Fede collecting shells they went home to get something special. They returned carrying a nautilus shell as a gift.


Mitchell’s bay


Gift of a Nautilus

Around the other side of Mitchell’s bay was another bay with a resort. We took a ride in the dinghy to check it out and also to stop at a small store and purchase a few food items.
Another couple on a yacht, that we had met in Mitchell’s bay, told us about told us about a sheltered spot with mangroves. With their assistance in dodging the reef we safely sailed INTENTION into the deep inlet.


Beach along a resort on Qamea


Mangrove reflection

Back in Savusavu

It was late October and time to head back to Savusavu. Fede still had one more dive to do to complete his scuba and get his open water certification. We anchored out at Cousteau’s. Fede swam and walked the shore of the resort. Jim and I did some shopping in town and the necessary paper work was done to release Fede as a crew member. Thanks for coming along.


Beauty can be dangerous, the poisonous Scorpion Fish


Tiny island off Cousteau’s, Fede went to investigate.

We had heard about a waterfall that one can get to by bus. On one of his few remaining days left, Fede caught the bus to Lambasa and at about the half way point, got off. He went down to the village and swam in the falls with the Fijians.


Fede flips into the pool below


Fede with Villagers

Jim and I did our own touring around. We went for a long walk up the hills over looking Savusavu. From a high point we saw the traditional double hull sailing canoes entering Nakama Creek.


View from cell phone tower overlooking of Nakama Creek, Savusavu


Two red double hulled canoes sailing into Savusavu


Polynesian double hulled canoe under full sail

Crew departure

Fede had been a great help especially during the long crossings. We’ll miss his energy, enthusiasm and playfulness. I especially appreciate Fede’s fabulous photos and artistic eye.




Goodbye Fede

Comments Comments | Categories: Uncategorized | Autor: admin

Vurevure Bay

October 2010 – Taveuni – Vurevure Bay

The Henning’s Home

On a point over looking the sea is Jim Henning’s house. His grandfather came to Fiji from Germany in the late 1800s. Jim grew up on the copra farm in Vurevure bay. His 200 acre copra farm is rolling hills of coconut trees, with chickens, pigs, goats, sheep, cows and horses grazing underneath. Cyclone Tomas damaged or downed over a thousand of his coconut trees. On one side a white sand beach with leaning trees lines the coast of his property . A coral reef spreads from the point sheltering the bays. We spent one afternoon visiting him and found out he had just had his 80th birthday. He gets around slowly but his mind is sharp.


Ocean point Henning’s farm


Copra farm Tranquility


Beach on Henning’s land


Coconut sunset

Up the river and under the sea

We also took a dinghy excursion up the river. We went as far as we could until we came to a village where the river was blocked by fallen trees.


Up river as far as we could go

On a day when Jim and I rested and relaxed on INTENTION, Fede went on shore to go snorkeling among the coral near the pearl farm. He also visited the pineapple plantation located in this bay. He brought back some fresh fruit and vegetables that had been harvested on the spot as he walked through the garden.


Hut perched in the water for tending the oysters.


Exquisite squid



Beauty beneath the surface is all around


Pineapple farm

Comments Comments | Categories: Uncategorized | Autor: admin

Taveuni, Bouma Falls, Lavena

Arrival in Taveuni

After a few days we moved out to Cousteau’s in preparation to sailing on to Taveuni. Again the wind was blowing from the east. It took us 24 hours of tacking to arrive.
Taveuni is as one would imagine Shangri La. On our sail along the coast we passed numerous waterfalls cascading down through lush vegetation. The highest mountain peak is always veiled in clouds. As we sailed along the southeast shore we looked for Vurevure bay. We slid in through the opening in the coral reef and found calm anchorage.

image001 (Medium).jpg

image003 (Medium).jpg

Some of the numerous cascades/waterfalls of Taveuni

Soon we were greeted by a man in a small motor boat, Claude. He came to Fiji originally on a sailing yacht. Three and a half years ago he moved here from Quebec, Canada, with his partner Danielle, and started Civa Pearl Farm. Fiji produces possibly the finest pearls in the world, gold, red green, violet, a rainbow of rich colors. Claude, so friendly and helpful, told us we could tie our dinghy at the entrance to the river near his house. He also said we were free to use his outdoor hose and shower.

Hike to Bouma Falls

Our first visit to the shore was to the village of Vurevure to offer kava to the ratu, chief. After paying our respects the three of us began our four km walk to Bouma fall. We hiked, swam and picnicked at this paradise. There are three waterfalls to hike to and swim in. The closest one is the tallest and the best for swimming, with a sandy entrance. Both the second and the third have boulders all around. There are spectacular views on the way to the upper falls. This day was my birthday and my idea of heaven.

image005 (Medium).jpg

First Falls

image007 (Medium).jpg

Second Falls

image009 (Medium).jpg

Fede at the river crossing on the way to second falls

image011 (Medium).jpg

View of Quamea Island in distance while hiking the trail to second waterfall

image013 (Medium).jpg

Falls number 3

image015 (Medium).jpg

Jim’s swan dive at the third falls

image017 (Medium).jpg

Paradise found

October 2010 – Taveuni – Bouma Falls, Lavena

Lavena Costal Walk

Lavena costal walk is another wonderful excursion on Taveuni. Waiting for the bus to take us to Lavena Village, Fede played ‘ring around the rosie’ with the children. The bus dropped us off where the road stops, at the beginning of the costal walk. The path was tree lined and strewed with delicate flowers. After crossing over streams and passing beach with black boulders, we came to a river with a suspension bridge. The trail continues and eventually leads to another river with a path along side it. That path took us up to a double waterfall that could only be reached by swimming.
Along the way we met Louie, a man who lives in a village along the route. He opened a young coconut for us to drink and invited us to come to his home for tea on our return hike. It was raining on our way back so we were glad to have shelter and a hot cup of tea with taro and cassava.

image019 (Medium).jpg

Fede plays ‘Ring around the Rosie’ with the children while waiting for the bus

image021 (Medium).jpg

Flowers scattered underfoot along trail

image023 (Medium).jpg

How many more waves before the rocks fall?

image025 (Medium).jpg

Friendly Louie

image027 (Medium).jpg

Suspension bridge crossing over rushing river

image029 (Medium).jpg

Swimming to the falls

image031 (Medium).jpg

Lavena Costal Walk Falls – slippery slide on left

Comments Comments | Categories: Uncategorized | Autor: admin

September 2010 – Futuna

September 2010 – Futuna

September and it is springtime in the southern hemisphere. The land has even more color. Trees with orange flowers dot the hills. The fruit trees have now recovered from cyclone, Tomas, that occurred in early March. At the market we now find papayas the size of footballs and some bigger. Finally there is again an abundance of bananas and plenty of pineapples.
The month has been filled with doing jobs around the boat, greasing winches, wiping walls, working on the auto pilot. We spent one day in Lambasa. It is a town about an hour and a half drive from Savusavu on the drier side of Fiji’s north island, Vanua Levu. The highlight of the trip was the return over the mountains and the views of Savusavu Bay.


It continues of course to be beautiful here, sometimes with incredible colored skies reflected in the water. Tomorrow, Sept 26, new crew arrives. More sailing adventures are about to begin as we provision for our crossing to French Wallis/ Furtuna Islands.


New Crew

Fede arrived, after a very long plane ride all the way from Italy. We had arranged for a traditional meal, lovo, to be delivered to the boat that afternoon. Our purchase of the meal was in support of the fundraiser for the paddling club. It arrived in a basket made from palm leaves. There was fish and chicken, cassava, taro and taro leaves all cooked in coconut milk. The food had been wrapped in banana leaves and cooked underground on hot rocks.


Fede at the helm


Women’s Polynesian Canoe Paddling practice


Delicious Plate of food cooked in Lovo

The following day we shopped in the morning and did the necessary Customs and Immigration paper work to add Fede as crew and to depart Fiji for a few weeks of exploration and adventure. That afternoon we were beginning our sail to Futuna.

Friendly Futuna

Both Fede and I were mildly seasick part of the trip. I did however greatly enjoy the night watch, the waves with their twinkling florescent lights after bouncing off the bow as they splashed and hissed along the side of the hull. Three days later on the morning of October 1st we arrived at the French island of Futuna.


INTENTION anchored in the harbor at Futuna

We found the people of Futuna to be very friendly, and kind. I don’t speak French and Jim speaks only a few words. Nor does Fede speak French. Not much English is spoken in Futuna, but with gestures and smiles we communicated.
Upon arrival Jim and Fede went on shore to check in with immigration. After asking directions of a woman, she invited them unto her porch to have a coffee. Jim, who usually doesn’t drink coffee, told her how much he enjoyed it. She then gave them a large can of instant coffee, a bag of sugar, a bag of powdered milk, a bag of flour and a tin of canned chicken. We were all very moved by such generosity.
It was easy to get rides wherever we wanted to go. Everyday I was given a lei. The first day I complimented a woman on her beautiful lei and the next thing I knew she was putting it around my neck.


Alice with one of the many Lei’s given her

Sunday, October 3rd was the most extraordinary day. We really got to experience the generosity of the folks of Futuna. Fede had gone off early to try to catch a ride on a fishing boat to the near by island of Aloofe while Jim and I were socializing, having coffee on a neighboring yacht. Mid morning we went ashore to explore. We walked or rode in the back of trucks as we were picked up and dropped off. The coast of Futuna is dotted with villages with unoccupied land in between. The mountainous interior of the island appears not to be inhabited at all. I spotted a couple sitting on their porch and asked if I could take their photograph. They looked so typically Polynesian to me, the man in a sulu and the woman in a brightly colored mumu. There was a roasted pig in a woven basket made from a palm leaf and a roast chicken on the porch. I took the photo and showed them. They then insisted that I take a piece of chicken. So I broke off a leg and we ate it. Then the woman went into the house, came out with a bag and placed the whole chicken along with some taro in the bag and gave it to me. I was nearly teary eyed with gratitude.
We continued our walk down the street when another woman waved us into her home. We stood in the doorway and she came out with two fresh fruit homemade popsicles, so refreshing on such a hot day. She handed out three more to little children and we all sat around enjoying the cool, sweet treat.


Generous couple on porch


Cold, Sticky and sweet

Back on the street and again we got another a ride. They let us off near a beach with boats and with another bundle, something wrapped in banana leaves. This place looked like the Sunday picnic spot as many people were gathered. Children splashed joyfully in the water.


Getting off at the beach


Picnic beach with Aloofe Island in background


Beautiful teenage girls enjoying another awesome Sunday afternoon


Joyful guys enjoying another awesome Sunday at the beach

A young girl gave us a bottle of water. Jim and I sat on the rocks and had a luscious roast chicken lunch. I unwrapped the banana leaf bundle to find a gelatinous desert inside that reminded me of gummy candy. Whatever it was, it was cooked in coconut milk and was deliciously sweet. My guess would be that it was tapioca which is made from cassava. At the end of the day Jim and I were picked up and given a ride all the way back to where INTENTION was anchored. I am quite certain that was a long way out of their way.

Tour of Futuna
A couple of days later we met a great guy who heads up the Red Cross food distribution program on Futuna. English was one of several languages he speaks fluently as he had been an exchange student in Massachusetts for a year. One side of the island was hit hard by cyclone Tomas. The crops and fruit trees were wiped out so the Red Cross is providing additional food for 6 months until the island’s gardens are able to fully recover. He drove us around the other side of the island where the damage was still visible. Coconut trees were being replanted and some houses had tarps where walls and roofs had been ripped off. There is still no road that goes completely around the island as it has not been rebuilt since the waves completely washed it away.
The food the Red Cross gives away is canned instant coffee, bags of sugar, bags of powered milk, bags of flour, and tins of canned chicken. This is exactly the gift given to Jim upon his arrival. Because of the local political structure, with villages and village chiefs, there is a need for equanimity. The Red Cross fairly distributes food to those in need and those in not that great a need.


Our Red Cross tour guide


Coming over the mountain to the more damaged side


Sand still washed up on the road more than 6 months after cyclone


What’s left of the washed-out road will probably not be rebuilt

Aloofe looked appealing so we hoisted anchor and sailed toward the white sand beach. After all it is attractive enough that two dogs swim the strait everyday between Futuna and Aloofe. The coral all along the shore makes for clear turquoise water but for a boat drawing 6 feet there is no good protected anchorage. We went for a brief swim but not feeling secure we moved on and decided to sail to Wallis, another French island 125 miles further east. The wind seems to blow consistently from the east or not at all. After not getting very far we spent the night bobbing on the sea not going anywhere. In the morning the gods of the winds again did not smile upon this voyage so we sailed back.


White sand beach of Aloofe


Two dogs on their daily swim between Aloofe and Futuna

Back to Savusavu

After just over a week at Futuna we headed back to Savusavu, Fiji. A Blue-face booby decided to join us for part of the trip. He behaved like an experienced passenger allowing us to get quite close to him.


Blue-Faced Booby hitching a ride



Blue-faced Booby posing for his portrait

In Savusavu we grabbed a mooring at Waitui Marina .We checked in with customs and restocked the boat with food. Fede began scuba certification classes.



Fan coral, fish and Fede certified for SCUBA

Comments Comments | Categories: Uncategorized | Autor: admin

September 3, 2010

A Problem that Ends Well

A Problem that Ends Well

August was a month with a Friday the 13th. As though the date were the center of an hour glass, all the events of the days prior had to sift through that narrow passage to spread out on the other side.

After Pam and Rae left, Jim and I, (Alice) had just a few days to do a bit of cleaning and organizing before our next crew member came on board. Nicola arrived from Australia on Saturday morning, August 7. The timing was perfect. A gathering of yachties was planned for that afternoon at the Planters Club. Its hillside location and large deck provides a good view of Nakema Creek, Savusavu and most of the sailboats from a variety of different nations moored in its calm secure waters. It is an old private club established for the entertainment of the local copra planters, primarily as a place to drink and hang out.

Like the other Cruisers, we brought some meat to barbeque and Nicola & I made a great potato salad to share. One fellow brought his guitar, another his banjo, and another a harmonica. There were conga drums and Jeff and Christie brought their ukuleles. All enjoyed the music. Nicola, who also plays the ukulele was delighted to meet Jeff and Christie and to hear them play and sing.

View of Nakema Creek, Savusavu

Nicola, Jeff and Christie playing at Planter’s Club

The following day we relaxed and did a few more jobs around INTENTION. Monday we shopped and around noon the three of us plus Bogi, left for Cousteau’s. We were giving ourselves a head start to sail out to Taveuni as soon as the wind and the sea were agreeable.

Jim inspecting rigging

Nicola sailing to Cousteau’s

Anchored out at Cousteau’s there was snorkeling plus a couple of hikes. On Tuesday we all went for a hike to a hill overlooking the bay. On Wednesday while I relaxed in a hammock on the foredeck of INTENTION, Jim, Nicola, and Bogi went for a long hike all the way to the telecommunication tower.




Tower on the hill top

View on hike up to tower


View from the top

Jim and Nicola are ecstatic at making it to the tower

Conditions looked favorable to sail out on Friday, August 13. Thursday, Jim, Nicola and I took a short bus trip into town to stock up on supplies. Jim got a call from Bogi that Customs wanted to see him. So after lunch we went to Customs. The man who wanted to see him was not there but he was told that he must return the boat to Savusavu, Nakema Creek. He had to return to Customs the following morning.

On Friday, August 13 instead of sailing out to Taveuni we returned to Savusavu on INTENTION. When Jim met with Customs he was told that he broke a Fijian Customs rule that he was required to inform Customs of his sailing itinerary before INTENTION leaves Savusavu even if all the sailing was completely within their jurisdiction. Customs wanted to know where the boat had sailed previously and Jim told them, “Buca Bay.” Customs then imposed a fine of $1250 Fijian. And until it was resolved, Jim or INTENTION could not leave Savusavu. Jim told the man at Customs that he was not going to pay and that he would appeal it to a higher authority in Suva. Jim spent the day composing a letter, telling where he’d been and that his experience had been that this rule had not been enforced at any of the other ports in Fiji. He also explained that the Customs officer who first checked him in at Savusavu did not inform him of this rule. He them brought the letter to Customs. We were told we would hear back from Customs on Tuesday. The question was, “What Tuesday?”

Saturday Nicola went into town to investigate her options to explore Taveuni by land. On Sunday Nicola took the 7am bus, the “Black Virus,” that would then take her to a ferry at the Mission in Buca Bay which departs daily at 10am to Taveuni Island.

Formidable bus the Black Virus

For Jim the next few days were spent trying to resolve the matter with Customs. On Monday we spoke with a Customs broker, Herbert, who said he would contact the official in Suva directly. The issue was with our previous sail to Buca Bay. Jim told Herbert that we checked in with the police in Buca Bay shortly after our arrival. That information was included in a subsequent letter along with the official’s name and badge number. This letter was faxed to the head Customs official in Suva. The next day a local Customs official came to the boat requesting that Jim sign a piece of paper admitting guilt and agreeing to pay the fine. Jim courteously refused.

Nicola returned on Thursday from Taveuni. She’d had a great time. The waterfalls were not crowded and she’d had time alone in nature.




Waterfalls and hiking trail on Taveuni
The following day the three of us were invited to enjoy a wonderful breakfast on Jeff and Christie’s boat, SHARAZAD. Just a couple of days before, they had moved their boat to the dock where INTENTION is staying. We gorged ourselves on waffles and fresh fruit compose while listening to the International Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain. To work off our breakfast the five of us went for a hike that afternoon. We walked up a hill overlooking Savusavu Bay.
Jim and Bogi assisting Jeff with docking

View of Savusavu Bay, Nakema Creek

On Saturday Nicola had to leave. We hope she will sail with us again. She was fun, great company, harmonious crew, and a fabulous cook.

Jim and I spent the bulk of the next week doing jobs around INTENTION and hoping to hear good news from Herbert. On Thursday, August 26, when we went to his office, he made a phone call to the Head of Customs and Revenue in Suva. He was told that a letter would be faxed to Customs in Savusavu and the issue would be dropped, no fine and INTENTION released to sail again. On Friday morning Jim got that confirmed, when he and Herbert went to Customs.

Finally the matter resolved in our favor with the promise to Customs to always respect their rules. Now, we will be sure to inform Customs when we leave the Nakema Creek, Savusavu area. We are both very grateful for the very positive outcome of this issue. In the future we will make it a point to thoroughly research Custom’s rules and requirements no matter where we go.

Jim and Alice happy and glowing
Comments Comments | Categories: Uncategorized | Autor: admin

August 9, 2010


On the Fourth of July Pam, Nicky, and Lee arrived, our visiting crew from Byron Bay, Australia. The women are all friends through an ocean swimming club. Each morning they don their “cossies “(swimming costume) and jump off the dock for a swim.


Donning “Cossies” and jumping “in”
After a few days of relaxing in Savusavu and getting supplies six of us (three women, Jim, Alice, and Bogi) headed off for a sailing adventure. A short one and a half hour sail from Savusavu is split rock and Jean Cousteau’s Marine reserve and resort. This is a great place for snorkeling. We stayed for couple of days swimming and snorkeling in the water and exploring the resort. We enjoyed lounging on the beach chairs, hammocks, and using the opportunity to take freshwater showers.
Bogi and fish


Exploring Cousteau’s beach

From Cousteau’s we headed to Fawn Harbor, spend one night there, then on to Boca Bay, where Bogi’s village is located.

Captain Jim shouting orders, Nicky intimidated

The Handsome captain

Jim and Bogi at the helm

Ladies relaxing on the foredeck

Sunset Fawn Harbor

Bogi’s village
The following morning we went into the village where lovo was being prepared for us. Lovo is a traditional way of cooking. Rocks are heated on burning wood. Rice and fish are soaked in coconut milk and wrapped in taro leaves. These bundles are placed on the hot rocks along with cassava and taro root. More rocks are placed on top. Everything is left to cook for hours.

Preparing Lovo

Nicky and Lee swimming
While the lovo was cooking we took a guided river trip in the dinghy. After going about two miles up the river, Nicky, Lee and Pam got out for a swim. Lee and Nicky remained in the water letting the current assist them in their swim all the way back to the village.
After a shower and a bit of laundry, we went to the neighboring village to visit the school. The school is in a lovely setting on a hill with a view of the bay. Nicky and Lee are both school teachers and had brought books to donate. The teachers seemed happy to have them take over a couple of classes. At noon classes were let out for lunch. Many of the mothers came to the school to have a picnic lunch with their children. Then it was time for us to eat lovo, take a nap and go for a walk around the village and to the beach.

Lee hanging laundry

Nicky teaching

Alice and Jim walk around village

Nicky’s balancing act on the beach
That evening a couple of women from the village joined us on INTENTION to do some fishing from the deck. They came with bright lights, fishing line wrapped around bottles and gooey bait. There was lots of laughter and sticky fingers, but only two very small fish were caught, neither worth keeping.
We did not go completely without fresh fish. While sailing Bogi put out trawling lines. The afternoon we sailed into Buca Bay a fish was hooked. None of us know what kind it was. It was dark gray, had one yellow top fin and no scales. Nicky and I filleted the fish which fed all of us.
Richard came by bus to the village with his visiting crew, Anna. Our last evening at Buca Bay, Bogi arranged for a group of musicians to come on board INTENTION and provide us with a farewell concert. Richard and Anna were on board also. After a while it was time for them to retire so Bogi brought them to the village in the dinghy. He said he would return shortly. Hours went by and Bogi did not return. The musicians continued to play even after they ran out of kava. We were all getting sleepy, a bit cold and wondered what the heck was going on. Finally Bogi came back in a large fishing boat with Richard and Anna on board as well as other folks from the village, towing the dinghy behind. Apparently the dinghy had gotten loose at the village and drifted out toward open water. Bogi marshaled forces to scour the bay, in search of the dinghy, that was at last found miles away not far from the entrance to the bay. We are thankful for the large lights the fishing folks have and that the current and wind were not any stronger.

Richard climbed the mast for this one
The following morning it was time to say farewell to Nicky and Lee. They caught the morning bus back to Savusavu. They were scheduled to fly out the next day. We all had great fun together, much laughter. We will miss them.
We stayed one more night in Buca Bay and then set sail for Taveuni. Pam and I were already not feeling well. We had the “squishies,” diarrhea. Thank God Bogi had stayed on board to sail with us. Pam and I were both useless. We originally planned to spend the following day sailing around to the other side of Taveuni where the waterfalls are located. I had been looking forward to a good long hike. Now I found myself feverish and unable to get out of bed except to go to the toilet. It was decided the best thing to do was to head back to Savusavu as quickly as possible. The wind was right. Jim and Bogi sailed INTENTION back to Cousteau’s arriving after dark. That evening Jim felt illness coming on. We were all grateful it was just a short sail the following day back to the dock. Upon returning we learned that Richard and Anna had been sick also. They’d found out that some medication was available. Jim made the trip into town to the doctor/pharmacist and we all began a five day regimen of antibiotics.
We got well just in time for Rae’s arrival. Rae is a long time friend and swimming buddy of Pam’s. She also enjoys a morning swim off the dock.
For three days there was a cultural carnival in Savusavu. The carnival consisted of one ferris wheel, a couple of rows of food booths on either side of a grassy area. At the head of the grassy area was the stage where those who sponsored the event could sit. The grassy area was the place for the performances and for the audience to sit and stand. Rae and I, Alice, went two evenings to see the dancing. There was “Robi” dances the first evening we went. The following evening there was Bollywood performances. Bollywood, I guess that is India’s copy of Hollywood. The first evening was very enjoyable. The Robi dancing is from a certain part of Fiji where a Tahitian/Hawaiian type dancing is done. There were woven leaves around the hips and great gyrations. There were also a couple of performances by young men who danced like Michael Jackson or did the robot. Rae and I laughed and smiled through all of it, so much so that Rae’s cheeks were sore. The following evening we went to the Bollywood show. There were ongoing problems with the sound system. Overall we did not find these dances as interesting, an imitation of what is done in current Indian films. It was also fun to hear the constant screaming in the background. The ferris wheel had a continuous line of those desiring to ride. The people were packed five or six in a seat and it seemed that all the riders screamed throughout the turning.


Rae had been here nearly a week when it looked like the wind and weather may be OK to sail to Namena, a marine reserve. Namena is a four hour sail past Cousteau’s. Just beyond Cousteau’s is a reef. It isn’t until one is past the opening of the reef that one can assess the conditions. About two hours outside the reef, the seas and winds not getting any calmer, we decided to turn around and go back to Cousteau’s. We have heard that there is no sheltered anchorage at Namena and we would have had to endure a rough, rocky, night. There was more snorkeling at Cousteau’s over the next few days. The discovery of some large, colorful clams added interest. Again there was the opportunity for a fresh water shower.

Rae pointing out shower






I finally did get a chance for a hike. Not far from Cousteau’s is the steep road up to Bogi’s hillside home. The five of us dinghied onto the beach and hiked up. After a brief rest at a house about half way up, we took a further walk all the way up to the top. From that high point we could see the ocean on the other side also. What a fabulous view from on top of a windy hill.

View from part way up the hill

Jim pushing Alice up the hill
After spending four days out we returned to Savusavu. Back at the dock we have our normal rituals, morning swim and sunset glass of wine in the cock pit. Rae taught us a card game, Frustration, that we played three nights in a row. On the evening of the 30th of July we had a going away, birthday party celebration complete with chocolate cake. The morning of the 31st it was time to say “moce” Fijian for good bye. We will miss our guests. It has been a great experience living in close quarters. Sometimes like rocks in a tumbler we are polishing our rough edges, other times like a party of best friends. It has been enriching. Currently Jim and Alice are relaxing and taking lots of space, relatively, until our next arrival in a few days.

Jim icing the cake


Pam and Rae enjoyed the party

Rainbow the morning of their departure
Comments Comments | Categories: Uncategorized | Autor: admin



Jim had more work to do on INTENTION’s engine and it was determined that it would be easier done on a nearby dock at Savusavu Marina, away from the main mooring area. It is quiet here and a pleasant place to swim daily.

Enjoying a sunset swim
One morning I woke to find one of the tomatoes I’d left on the galley counter had a bite out of it. Oh no, some pesky rodent, perhaps a mouse, is on the boat. We purchased a trap in town and set it with a glob of peanut butter and listened all night for the sound of mice. The next morning the bait was gone but the trap not sprung. I set it again the next night. Then discovered the culprit, two myna birds boldly feel comfortable enough to enter the galley and forage. What a relief. We welcome them and their repertoire of songs, but now make sure that all tempting items are stowed away.


Unexpected Friends in the galley
Of course, the engine work turned out to be much more involved and take longer than was originally anticipated. The rod bearings that had been sent from SABB did not look the same as the old bearings and did not look like parts in the catalog. Jim contacted SABB thinking that they had sent the wrong ones. After about 10 days of the e-mails and Skype calls and waiting for the engineer in Norway to return from vacation, Jim was assured the new design of the bearing would work. Leon, a mechanic here, was able to hoist the engine, disassemble and replace the needed parts. The engine was started, horray! After about 5 seconds there was smoke and sparks and a quick shutdown. The battery wired to the starter was fried. Days were spent rewiring most of the engine’s electrical connections. The problem was found. Now at last all is working well. So a two-day job turned into a few weeks job. I guess that is to be expected.
Many of the Fijians build bamboo rafts. They are used for fishing and moved by a long pole pushed against the bottom. They’re good in shallow areas. Jim joined others out on a raft.

Fun with locals on raft
We went fishing with a couple of locals one night. We were hoping to catch “selala “. The fishing is best done on a dark moonless night. We hung flashlights in plastic bags over the side of the dingy. The fish are attracted to the light. Fishing line is wrapped around plastic bottles. The hook is baited and tossed over. The bait is a mixture of flour and water with a can of tuna added. This sticky concoction is twisted onto small hooks, a skill in itself to be able to sufficiently wrap this goo so it stays on the hook. My fingers got plenty gooey in the process but I still seemed to lose my bait without a bite. Three small fish were caught. None were selala. Jim and I ate these morsels the next day which turned out to be almost enough for two people.
The dock where INTENTION is tied is near the police station and a village. Frequently in the morning around 7:30 AM we can hear men singing. It is the police singing the national anthem, often followed by some hymns. It is not uncommon for people from the village, especially children, to come on the dock to look around. They are curious about living on a boat. One afternoon I heard four young guys on the dock singing lovely harmonies. I especially enjoyed the music because it was Fijian songs.
For nearly a month INTENTION was the only sailing yacht on this newly established marina dock. Then we were joined by Richard, a delightful fellow from New Zealand, on his 20 foot Flicka HEART OF GO
INTENTION and crew on dock LD. He loves it here also, away from all the other moorings, with less development and more space to swim and little noise. I find it pleasant to wash the dishes on the dock, shower on the dock with a hose, and jump in the water for a swim anytime. Small black birds congregate on the tower nearby. We watch their early evening flight, moving in waves through the sky and hearing their cheerful chirping. Sometimes we just sit mesmerized watching the patterns of wind on the water.
Comments Comments | Categories: Uncategorized | Autor: admin