Another Christmas in Fiji!

Well here we are again for our 2nd Christmas in Fiji. This time last year we awoke to see the lovely charter yacht, the Fiji Siren, anchored just by Rainbow Reef. We were especially excited because our friend, Elizabeth from St. Croix in the US Virgin Islands happened to be onboard with some of her family for Christmas 2016.

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rimg2327We had a lovely get together with them, then we enjoyed some fabulous diving and exploring in the Somosomo Strait and Taveuni region for about 3 weeks, before we sailed around to Suva to do some maintenance work on Amarula before meeting up with family on the west coast of Viti Levu in April.

We were very excited to finally have family onboard (especially the grandkids) after so many years far, far away from Australia! And we all had a wonderful time together, as you can see in the blog posts here:
Family Fun in Fiji Part 1, Part 2, Part 3

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Just as the cruising season started in May Eric took off for a 2 week visit back to Australia. He hadn’t even landed in Australia when Lynne got an email to say the first potential cyclone of the season (which was theoretically over!) was heading towards Fiji! Thankfully it passed north of here and we breathed a huge sigh of relief, but it reminds us that we can never entirely relax.

Between trips back to Australia this year, continuing to do boat jobs and meeting up with our broker here in Fiji, we did manage to do more exploring further afield. We took off to the Yasawas in July after Lynne returned from Australia. Then later in August we sailed along the north coast of Viti Levu to catch up with friends in Savusavu, who had sailed to Fiji after spending the cyclone season in New Zealand. After a few days of partying and singalongs with former Caribbean cruising buddies, Sean & Sabine (Chevaldy), David & Susan (Enchantress), Gaylyn & Thomas (Qi) we all went off again in search of new cruising grounds.

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We discovered that although diving around Fiji is spectacular, the conditions at this time of year compared to those we had experienced during cyclone season soon after we arrived in Fiji last December/ January were less than ideal. Similarly, the winds were more challenging during August/ September and it took us a number of attempts to finally make it across to the Lau group of islands. These are the easternmost islands in Fiji and it is not permitted to visit these islands en route from Tonga, prior to checking in at one of the official Fijian ports of entry. Consequently, getting there involves either motoring/ sailing against the prevailing winds or taking the tiny northerly weather windows and making a run for it. In our bid to head to Lau, we decided to go where the wind took us and we thoroughly enjoyed visits to Makogai & Naigani, Levuka (Fiji’s former colonial capital, now a World Heritage site) and even back up to the northern tip of Taveuni, before we had winds that were conducive to sailing to Vanua Balavu in the Lau group!! As we still haven’t got around to doing a post on the Lau group, here some photos for now, for a taster :)

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In fact the past few months have been somewhat hectic. Eric returned to Australia for a 4 week trip in September, after which Lynne was due to fly to UK and Australia for an extended trip. Unfortunately, instead of returning to Fiji on 18th October, Eric found himself in hospital on the Gold Coast that day being fitted with a pacemaker having collapsed a few days earlier (thankfully there, not in Fiji)!! One good thing about being a Vietnam Veteran, he now has a Gold Health card, which not only covers all medical treatment in Australia, but also seems to fast track services for Vets. Here he is the evening after his morning surgery consuming wine with dinner!!! 20171018_194056

When Eric did finally return to Fiji and Lynne was satisfied that he was going to be okay on his own, she took off to UK for a long awaited visit to catch up with family and friends there. During the 3 week trip there were maybe 2 days when she wasn’t visiting or being visited, so it was full on, but lots of fun. On the way back to Fiji, Lynne stopped over in Australia and was fortunate enough to catch up with all 8 of the grandkids this time! It was the first time she had seen Daniel’s 3 boys in over 6 years! And, best of all she had her first cuddles with Evie, our latest granddaughter :)

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So as 2017 draws to a close, we’d like to take this opportunity to wish our friends and family all around the world a very Merry Christmas and a Happy 2018. We send special hugs and thoughts to our friends over in the Caribbean and the US who are still going through major challenges after losing homes, boats, businesses and jobs this year and we hope that you soon manage to rebuild your lives and those special communities that we came to love when we were over there. Thinking of you xx

On a final note, please also help us to find new owners for our lovely home SV Amarula by sharing our For Sale page. Thanks so much. And if you’d like to read our Interview With A Cruiser article that was published in September, you’ll find that here

Levuka, Fiji’s former capital

Levuka has been on our wish list since we first read about its history, as the former capital of Fiji. Although our initial plan when setting sail from Savusavu was to head to the Lau group, the wind had other ideas, so we took advantage of the opportunity to visit Levuka after stopping off in Makogai and Naigani.

This past Tuesday was Fiji Day, which is a public holiday to commemorate Fiji’s independence on 10th October 1970. The original handing over of Fiji to Queen Victoria took place at Nasova, just south of Levuka, in 1874.

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Levuka is a step back in time and, as a result of the town having some of the most intact examples of colonial influence in the South Pacific, it was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2013.

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Unfortunately a number of the buildings were battered by Cyclone Winston in February 2016, but renovations and rebuilding are slowly happening. The first Morris Hedstrom store to open in Fiji was in Levuka and is now an impressive museum and library. Sadly the ‘new’ Morris Hedstrom store could do with a facelift! Above the pretty Bank of NSW is a Chinese/ Fijian restaurant where we decided to treat ourselves and have dinner. It was a friendly and reasonable place, marred only by the noise from the town generator directly across the road.

A little further along the road we came to the Sacred Heart church with its white picket fence, behind which was the Marist Convent School for Girls! This is now a coeducational primary school, but it’s interesting to note that there was a girl’s school established back in 1882. Walking past the school you come to the original police station, next to the newer one, then the road to the left past the police station leads up to the original Levuka Public School, Fiji’s oldest school. Many of Fiji’s leaders were educated here.

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The Ovalau Club was once a members only club and the domain of the white colonials, however in later years it became a popular drinking place open to everyone. Next to the Ovalau club is the former Town Hall and just past here is the burnt out Masonic Hall. We were told by a local that the original inhabitants of Levuka, mistrusted the masons and suspected satanic rites were taking place, even believing that secret passages from the hall led to Scotland, so one day they marched into town and burnt out the building!

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Beyond the ruins of the Masonic Hall is the large sports ground, Levuka Bowling Club and 199 steps leading up to Mission Hill with wonderful views across the bay. We were walking the dogs and there were a few street dogs around the steps, so we decided to make our way back towards the waterfront to have a look at the old Royal Hotel and the War Memorial. Then we walked to the edge of town past Levuka Village to Gun Rock, which was used for target practice by the navy ships during the colonial era. From here we hopped in a taxi back to the port and enjoyed learning more about Levuka’s history from the driver. When he dropped us back at the port, to our amazement, he absolutely refused payment and told us how much he had enjoyed talking with us! And this, after he had told us his house had been destroyed in Cyclone Winston and he was busy rebuilding it. How incredibly kind of him!

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At the entrance to the port is a fairly nondescript drinking fountain. This is apparently the site of the original pigeon post from Levuka to Suva, a faster option than today’s postal service! The post office is at the port and close by is the island’s largest employer PAFCO, the Pacific Fishing Company.

We were delightfully impressed by Levuka and despite the weather, the backdrop from the anchorage was really quite stunning. I hope we get a chance to return before we eventually leave Fiji :)

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Inadvertent adventures in the Lomaiviti islands

After a brief, but always fun, catch up with friends in Savusavu we took advantage of a weather window to head south east to Fulaga in the remote Lau group. Although these islands belong to Fiji, many of the islanders’ descendants hail from Tonga and are culturally quite separate from other Fijian islanders.

The Lau group is often missed out because it is illegal to make landfall there before clearing in at one of Fiji’s official ports further west, and getting back there involves sailing/ motoring against the prevailing winds or waiting for one of the elusive, and often inaccurate, weather windows.

Our weather window proved to be inaccurate, so rather than beat and motor our way almost 200 miles into unpleasant seas, we did what we have become accustomed to doing (whenever feasible) and we sailed where the wind took us. This is no hardship as it simply means we get to explore other places and enjoy Fiji’s islands in a different order! Plan

So where did the wind take us…..?  We initially considered stopping off at Koro, but with darkness falling before we had a chance to find a suitable anchorage we continued west to Makogai, an island we had been wanting to visit for some time. This region was hit particularly badly by Cyclone Winston in February 2016 and, between Sea Mercy and a group of cruisers, including friends of ours, the villages are gradually being rebuilt and islands replanted.

Here is a video taken a year after the cyclone. Credit David and Fiona of

Makogai’s main claim to fame is that it was set up as a leper colony during the British era and around 4000 lepers from around the whole region were brought here whilst it was operational, between 1911 and 1969. The island’s caretaker and his 2 sons showed us around the ruins of the colony and explained the history. More recently a Mariculture centre for cultivating giant clams has been established. The clams, once they reach a certain age, are transported to reefs around Fiji. Unfortunately, work at the Mariculture centre has been on hold since the cyclone passed through as most of the guest/ volunteer accommodation was destroyed.

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Many of Fiji’s islands are surrounded by reefs with narrow passes through which to enter, and the diving, especially at the passes is superb. Unfortunately though, during our couple of days at Makogai we were unable to dive due to the strong winds, so we sailed further west to anchor off the stunningly beautiful island, Naigani, where we had one of our best dives in Fiji yet. Stunning colours of soft corals and tiny reef fish, in abundance!

We anchored off the north west tip of the island and went ashore to discover a beautiful beach with a lush tropical backdrop reminiscent of some of the islands we visited 10 years ago in Madagascar. We had seen smoke in the distance and thought we might come across a fishing camp, but the jungle was so dense we couldn’t find a way through.

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On the south east point of the island was a resort, but it was also destroyed in TC Winston. We checked their website and were interested to read in the history section about the links to East Africa. We have often commented that the language here has some similarities to KiSwahili, the language spoken in East Africa, and we had been told by Russ in the Yasawas that Fijians’ heritage has been linked with Lake Tanganyika, but this was the first time we had seen anything written about it.

“The history of modern iTaukei Melanesian Fijians, as recorded by the 19th centuary colonial missionaries from the oral histories and traditional dances (meke) of that era, tell of one of three forebears, Lutunasobasoba, arriving near Vuda (between Nadi and Lautoka) aboard the great ocean canoe Kaunitoni, after journeying across the Indian and Pacific oceans from Lake Taganyika (in Tanzania) c.1000 CE, almost two millenia after the Lapita settlements.” taken from Naigani resort’s website

Although we would love to have spent more time exploring the island and reefs, we decided to push on to Levuka before the weather closed in and the southerly winds picked up. More to come soon…….



Weather concerns and cruiser interviews!

As the ‘safe’ sailing season in Fiji draws to a close we say farewell to friends, new and old, as they gradually make their way west to Australia or south to New Zealand over the next few weeks. A minority, who prefer to stay within the tropics, head north via Tuvalu and Kiribati to the Marshall Islands.

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Despite a great deal of discussion and deliberation, we have decided to remain in Fiji for another cyclone season and Lynne will head to UK for her first Christmas at home with Mum for 25 years! Meanwhile Eric and the boys will hold the fort in Fiji and we’ll all be praying for another calm cyclone season…….

So, in case you’re wondering what we’ve been doing for the past few months, we’ve been out and about exploring some of the more remote parts of Fiji :)

Viti Levu north coast, Lomaiviti islands, Lau group (Vanua Balavu and Fulaga) – click the links for posts and photos (some are still a work in progress…)

Since we came back into good internet, we have been glued to our friends’ posts about the horrendous hurricanes in the US & the Caribbean :( Not forgetting the terrible earthquakes in Mexico, volcanoes in Vanuatu, fires in Montana, flooding in Nepal/ India etc, etc….

Our thoughts and hearts are with our many friends who have been badly affected, losing their boats, homes, and livelihoods and even worse than Mother Nature’s wrath is the looting, which is taking place. Very, very sad that people will stoop so low…… yet, on the other hand we have witnessed incredible selflessness, as friends who have lost everything are working tirelessly to help their communities and islands rebuild. Our friends on SV Totem have compiled various ways you can help out the islands. You’ll find the links in this post

Whilst the media has moved on, the islands and the people will be needing support and assistance for a long time to come <3

Meanwhile, I got  notification recently that the interview we submitted to the Interview With A Cruiser website a few months ago has been published. This is a fun project. Livia has interviewed the crews of many boats over the years and it’s fascinating to read everyone’s perspectives and why we are all out here doing what we do. As I read through the answers we gave some weeks ago our recent trip is a classic example of our cruising tip “Go with the wind. Relax and enjoy, rather than try to rush to meet schedules and be prepared to change your plans. ”











Getting out and about in Fiji (Viti Levu’s north coast)

After meeting up with Anna, our yacht broker, we decided it was high time we went off exploring other parts of Fiji before the cyclone season came round again. Plus we had friends to catch up with over in Savusavu (the port we checked into when we first arrived in Fiji last December)

On our way around the north coast of Viti Levu (Fiji’s main island) we checked for potential cyclone holes in the Ba River, but even though the river was quite deep in places, the shallow sandbanks at the entrance stretched way out into the bay. The winds were light, so we decided to raise the spinnaker. Unfortunately the halyard managed to tangle itself around the spreader and although we attempted to wriggle it free, it wasn’t playing, so Lynne volunteered to climb the mast to release it!RIMG4120

Otherwise we had a very pleasant sail almost the whole way to Volivoli Point on the north east tip of the island. As most of the north coast sailing involves staying inside the reef and keeping a good lookout, we decided to anchor off the coast near Tavua at dusk, and continue on to Nananu-i-Ra the next day. VL north coast

The north coast is far less populated than the south coast (between Suva and Lautoka) yet it is still possible to see communications towers dotted on the landscape. Consequently we were generally within internet range for most of the way, albeit often only 2G and very slow.RIMG4132

Once we arrived at Volivoli we were hoping to do some diving, however the trade winds were blowing 20+ knots for much of the time, so we did some land-based hiking around Volivoli Point and took the boys on a dinghy trip through the mangroves in search of the town of Rakiraki. Our plan was to head deep into the mangroves and walk to the town, but the entrance to the mangroves was very shallow so we had to watch the time. We only managed to walk as far as the tombstone of Udre Udre. The interesting fact about this character is that he was a Fijian chief and a cannibal, who managed to find himself a place in the Guinness Book of World Records as having the most voracious appetite in the world! Here is Eric looking slightly apprehensive as he stands beside the tomb of Udre Udre! RIMG4150

We waited a day or so at Volivoli, then crossed the channel to Nananu-i-Thake where we found a sheltered anchorage, but the winds continued to blow, so after a couple of days exploring Nananu-i-Ra island we decided to sail across Bligh Water, carefully making our way through all the reefs, to Savusavu.

Bligh Water

When we left Nananu-i-Thake the winds (and forecast) were light, so we raised our newly repaired main sail and were having a lovely sail when we noticed lots of activity over to our starboard side. The film crew we had met the day before were out filming at the top of the island. We were busy watching them and at the same time heading towards the pass, which was inaccurately marked on our electronic charts.


A short distance before the pass the wind decided to gust over 20 knots and shift direction making it dangerous for us to attempt the pass with the main sail up, so we quickly altered course towards the film crew and dropped the main sail, then carefully made our way out through the pass. Ah, the joys of sailing!

Of course, once we cleared the pass the winds died again and we had a slow sail across to southern Vanua Levu. We anchored in Wainunu bay and tucked in behind Caniqu reef. We were up early in the morning as we wanted to dive the Nasonisoni pass before the current picked up. Conditions were good, the wind was light and we had a reasonable dive before continuing on to Savusavu that evening. We spent the next few days catching up with friends, provisioning for the Lau group and waiting for a weather window…..

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Exploring the Yasawas, Fiji

Although July is now over, it doesn’t need to be the end of living Plastic Free! How was your Plastic Free July? Please do share your ideas for becoming Plastic Free, as per our previous post. Thank you :) PlasticFreeJuly-org logo banner 600ppiMeanwhile, at the end of June we decided to take off for a couple of weeks to explore the Yasawas, the string of islands off to the north west of Fiji, whilst we were waiting for a visit from the yacht broker in Sydney.

The Yasawas are an easy sail from Lautoka, so once we had provisioned we set sail for the first group of islands. Our plan was to head to Waya island, but we spotted a potential anchorage off the north west coast of Kuata and after reading up about the diving off that point, we decided to stop there. As we were heading towards the anchorage the dive boat from the nearby lodge kindly guided us to the best spot. RIMG3839Although the diving wasn’t so great, we did enjoy hiking to the summit for wonderful views across to Waya and Waya Sewa to the north. RIMG3844Unfortunately the wind blew from the south west causing quite a swell, so we moved up to the north coast of Waya Sewa a couple of days later. Here we met Bob, Sam & Karen on SV Lexington, one of the ARC boats. Eric, Sam and Bob went ashore to greet the chief of the village and take the gift (Kava) for Sevusevu, then we all enjoyed sharing stories and a few drinks together before their early departure for Denerau the next morning. The ARC boats tend to be on a mission and their time in each country is quite limited. Despite only meeting them a month ago they have already been through Vanuatu and are now in Australia!

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Unfortunately we had no internet connection the next morning, and as it was one of our granddaughter’s birthdays we made our way further north so we were able to call her on Skype! We anchored off the Octopus Resort at the north west tip of Waya and spent a few days there making repairs to our mainsail and visiting new friends, Russ, Knox and Naulu at the beach next to Octopus. We enjoyed chatting with them and learning more about Fiji, in particular the Yasawas.

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Once again we had some weather heading our way and Russ advised us to head around to the more protected anchorage off Nalauwaki village around the corner. This was a good move and after doing our Sevusevu there at the village and visiting the local school, we took a hike way up to the peaks overlooking the bay. What a spectacular view!

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The anchorage was empty when we arrived but within a day or two we had 3 or 4 more boats join us and we enjoyed get togethers with Lesley and Robert on SV Julie and also Kerry and Phil on SV Wild Sweet. We were interested to hear that Lesley and Robert’s daughter, Amanda, had been part of the all female crew on Tracy Edward’s ‘Maiden’, ‘In 1990 she completed The Whitbread Around the World Race (now The Volvo Race) as rigger aboard Maiden, the first all-women Whitbread boat.

Before we left Waya we walked back over the hill to take some antiseptic cream to Russ’s uncle and to say goodbye. The uncle was delighted to receive the medication and Russ insisted we stay for lunch, which was a tasty chicken, cassava and vegetable dish prepared by Knox.

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We said our farewells and the next morning we sailed north to Manta Ray resort in the hope of seeing the manta rays that feed in the pass between the islands here.

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Unfortunately the rays hadn’t been around for a few weeks and they didn’t come whilst we were there, so we continued north to check out more of the Yasawas. We were heading around towards Somosomo bay on the north coast of Naviti, when we saw a lovely beach on the north west coast. One of the real gems of the Yasawas is the stunning white sand beaches. After finding a reasonable place to anchor we made our way ashore through the coral and enjoyed a walk and Frisbee with the boys.

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Before returning to Amarula we dingied towards what looked like a small resort. As we got closer a group of women on the shore started waving and shouting to us to come over. They were delighted by the dogs and invited us to sit and watch the sun set with them. We asked what they were doing and they showed us the bags of seaweed (sea grapes) and sea cucumbers they had been collecting. We had never seen this type of sea weed (nama) before, so they gave us some to taste. It was quite good and in fact Russ and Knox had been telling us about it a few days earlier. It is one of the main products from the Yasawas and is sold in the markets throughout Fiji. They make a salad with it by mixing it together with lemon juice, chilli, onions, coconut and tuna. The next morning a mini cruise ship anchored nearby and took the passengers ashore to the beach. The women from the village had told us they were coming and later that afternoon the village put on a meke (local dancing) and feast for the cruise ship. Meanwhile we relocated to the anchorage in the eastern part of Somosomo Bay for a quiet evening onboard.

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The next morning we went to the beach to try and find the track across to the east coast of Naviti island, where there is supposed to be the wreck of a plane dating back to WWII, but despite following a track part way across the island, it just ended and we couldn’t find a way through.

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As there was plenty of wind to sail north we returned to the boat and sailed up to Nanuya Sewa and anchored off the Nanuya Boathouse resort. We had heard that the resort was yacht friendly and had a small shop, so we went to see what was available. I asked about fresh produce and they told us to give them a list and come back to collect it later, as they pick it fresh from their farm and we have to admit these are some of the tastiest fruit and vegetables we have had in Fiji! Delicious, and really quite reasonably priced. From the resort there is a trail right across the island, past their impressive solar ‘farm’ to a shack on the beach at the other side, where an enterprising local lady has set up a ‘tea room’! She sells home made donuts, cake, tea and coffee and has even made her way into the Lonely Planet Guide and Trip Advisor!

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From Nanuya we took the wind and sailed north, hoping to get up to the limestone caves at Sawa-i-Lau just off the southern tip of Yasawa Island. Unfortunately, as we rounded the top of Nacula island the wind gusted to 30+ knots making it unpleasant conditions for our potential kayaking and snorkelling expedition. The forecast was for similar winds for the next few days, so we turned back and sailed down to Vaga Bay to anchor off Botaira Beach Resort. This was a pleasant anchorage only 2 miles north of the channel where the manta rays can often be spotted. We decided to dinghy round to the channel the next morning, but still no mantas….. however we caught a lovely giant trevally on the way down and had a second one on the line on our way back, when BAM, just as Eric was pulling it in, a shark snatched the catch and all we ended up with was the head! Later that afternoon we went ashore for a beer at the resort and met the co-owner Mita (auntie of Knox who we met at Waya!) and enjoyed chatting with her.

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The next morning we set off early for Lautoka and en route we picked up Knox from the Octopus Resort boat! He was very excited to sail with us back to Lautoka and we had great wind for the first couple of hours, but then it died completely and we had to motor*. We arrived late in the afternoon and anchored off Bekana island, which is now open to the public again. It was closed for a number of months as the Survivor TV show was using it as one of their bases whilst filming here in Fiji. The resort welcomes yachties and has an all day happy hour on beer prices, great food, and water is also available from their dock. It’s a lovely, relaxing place to sit and wind down after a day shopping or sourcing boat parts in Lautoka.

A few days after we got back from the Yasawas we got a call from Knox inviting us to the annual passing out parade (video) at Natabua High School where his daughter is a student. The special guest was the Police Commissioner BrigadierGeneral Sitiveni Qiliho and the marching by these students was most impressive! Well done!

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So for the past couple of weeks we have been back in the Lautoka/ Saweni/ Denerau/ Malolo area. We’re happy to report that Anna, the broker from Sydney, finally made it out to Fiji just last week and had a personal tour of Amarula, so if you have an interest in purchasing our lovely home, please feel free to contact Anna at Nautilus Yacht Management. For more details and information, please check out our page here.

*Note: The winds on this coast are so fickle! We have often found ourselves in the Denerau/ Nadi anchorage with winds blowing 12 – 15 knots, so we’ve up anchored and set sail for Malolo only to have the wind die on us almost immediately. Up goes the spinnaker then bam, the wind starts gusting over 15 knots again, so down comes the spinnaker and the wind dies. Then when you reach your destination, guess what happens…. yup, the wind blows!

Oceans of plastic trash….. Part 2

A number of years ago I did a post about the plastic trash in the oceans, after seeing a disturbing trailer for a film that was being made about one of the most remote islands in the world, Midway Atoll.Midway Journey movieAs live aboard global cruisers, we have seen a massive increase in the amount of trash that washes up on deserted beaches in our 15 years sailing around the world.

The point of this post is to bring together links to a number of organisations and initiatives and even individuals, who are taking action to change this and work towards cleaning up our planet and in particular, becoming plastic free. PlasticFreeJuly-org logo banner 600ppi
This month is Plastic Free July and whilst any effort to increase awareness and encourage us all to take action, is great, let’s not make it simply JULY. Let’s keep on keeping on through each and every month of each and every year :) Here are some suggestions for living Plastic Free

Please take a moment to read through some of these links and support these initiatives and share them. And let us know if you have other links we can add to this list, as I know there are many, many campaigns taking place, which need to be shared. Thank you!

  • A wonderful story here by a diver who helped to save this turtle’s life
  • Unfortunately that is not the case for huge numbers of turtles
  • Sadly this whale didn’t receive the help it needed
  • The relentless impact of plastic waste on one of the most remote islands in the Pacific….
  • More plastic than fish in the ocean by 2050 if we do not take action now!
  • Sea turtles can’t tell the difference
  • Nothing that we use for 5 minutes should pollute our oceans for 500 years
  • Plastic Pollution Coalition: Refuse single use plastic bags

Let’s really consider the impact OUR waste has on our oceans and our world.

The list can and should go on and on until we are ALL not only aware but part of the Plastic Revolution to make our world PLASTIC FREE. Please send us your links so we can add them to this post. Thank you!

Flitting between Fiji and Australia!

After many years away from Australia we have been making up for lost time. We had family visit us in Fiji during April, then Eric went for a quick visit to Australia in May, followed by Lynne  in June!

Healthwise, we’re happy to report all is well with both of us :) Lynne got busy in our container. Big thanks to Jody and Ralph for helping clear out a lot of redundant items like the old radar, sonar and echo sounder that we brought back from Tanzania circa 2000 after selling Eric’s old trawler there! Unfortunately, over the years that we have been away and a few serious storms of late (Cyclone Debbie in particular), the container roof has sprung a few leaks, but fortunately the only major casualties were the boxes of paperwork dating back to the building of Amarula.

Most of the time was spent dealing with business stuff, but we did have chance to pop over to Iluka one Saturday morning to watch Lachie (our grandson) play soccer with his mates, 20170603_094419and I took a walk to the waterfront to see the yachts at anchor there.20170603_084905Although it was rather chilly whilst I was in Australia, the weather for the first 10 days was stunning. We took advantage of the sunshine and went for a 4WD trip through the forest down to Brooms Head beach, where the plan was to have a sausage sizzle, but oops…. someone forgot the frypan 😀 , so we had cold beers & crisps instead and Lachie & Chilli enjoyed a run and play on the beach!

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The 2nd weekend Lynne was in Australia the heavens opened and stayed open from Friday midday until after she flew back to Fiji. She had planned to meet up with a couple of the women from the Women Who Sail Australia FB group, but with the long weekend (Monday was the Queen’s birthday holiday in NSW) the business jobs had to be dealt with and she ran out of time. Next time…… But she did reconnect with some Yamba friends for the occasional coffee, plus a dear friend from her early Tanzania days 20+ years ago. Jenny hopped in her new Mazda Gekko campervan and came down for an overnight stay. As Jenny is one of the band members of the ukele group known as ‘The Loveys’ we had a lot of fun listening to her renditions of some of the songs the band have recorded together. All in all a successful and fun trip back home!

Meanwhile Eric’s friend John flew to Fiji to spend time relaxing & fishing with Eric, whilst Lynne was back in Oz. As you can see, they achieved plenty of both!

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So now we’re both back in Fiji, we’re preparing Amarula to be sold. We’re hoping the broker Anna will be coming for a visit to Fiji next week and get a chance to do a walk through and give us some tips. In the meantime, please share our For Sale page and send good vibes for a quick sale. Thanks & good wishes to all :)


Cyclone Season is OVER!!! Right??

Earlier this week the Captain left his First Mate in charge, whilst he flew back to Australia. Now that we’re into May and officially out of cyclone season here in the South Pacific, we figured this would all be just fine.

No sooner had his plane taken off than the first cyclone warning hit my email inbox! Woah!! And here we all were busily watching TC Donna as she wreaked havoc in Vanuatu and New Caledonia, when sneaky TC Ella started to form with a vengeance heading straight for Fiji! TC Ella

Fortunately, with good friends (with plenty of experience sitting through cyclones) on hand for both assistance and advice, I settled in to follow the weather reports and relocate to a safe position to head into the mangroves, should the need arise. TC Ella #74

Whilst the predictions for TC Ella have improved again this morning (for those of us in Fiji) we cannot be complacent, as anything could still happen over the next 2 or 3 days…..


Family Fun in Fiji (Part 3)! Or Dreams Do Come True :)

Well, family visitors to SV Amarula have been few and far between. Eric’s daughter, Nicole, visited us a few times when we were based in Tanzania, her last visit was in 2009 when we had a lovely mock wedding for her and her partner 2

Eric’s other daughter, Jody, came out on a honeymoon trip with her husband Graeme in 2008 and we had visits from Lynne’s niece (2004, also the year our very first grandson was born in Australia!), Lynne’s brother (early 2005) and nephew (end 2005). But once we set sail from Tanzania in October 2009 until NOW, we’ve had no family visits!


But now that we’re in Fiji, we’re just a short distance (relatively) from Australia and we enjoyed visits during April from both of Eric’s daughters and 4 of our gorgeous grandkids! Nicole, Dave and their 3 daughters Abby, Brooky and Lilly joined us for a week onboard before moving to a resort for another week. During their time at the resort we were able to anchor Amarula in the bay and had chance to spend more time with the family and even enjoyed a delicious meal ashore with them at the resort one evening. RIMG3309

Part 3 of our Family Fun came yesterday when Jody, Graeme and their delightful son Lachie spent the day with us on Amarula, together with Graeme’s brother John and his partner Lin. They were passing through Fiji on a cruise ship to celebrate John’s 60th, so we met them at Lautoka port and sailed off to a nearby island in the Mamanucas to spend the day swimming, snorkelling and kayaking.

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Although it was just one day, it was wonderful to reconnect after almost 6 years! In fact both Lachie (Jody and Graeme’s son) and Lilly (Nicole and Dave’s youngest daughter) were both just days old the last time Lynne was back in Australia. We look forward to seeing the rest of the grandkids, Bayden, Sebastian, Austin and little Evie (not yet a year old) when we visit Australia later this month!

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We are eternally grateful however for social media and the internet, as we have enjoyed seeing photos and videos of the family over the years, not to mention having occasional video skype chats when we’ve had good enough internet :)

What a special APRIL it has been! We hope to have a lot more family visits now we’re back in this part of the world, although Eric’s dream was to have his grandkids onboard before we sold Amarula. We’re half way there, having had 4 of the 8 grandkids visit us now!

And today is Eric’s 71st birthday. We reminisced about his 70th last year when our friends, Sue and John on SV Marilyn put together a lovely surprise birthday party for him.

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And we couldn’t have spent his actual 70th birthday in a more stunning anchorage. The Bay of Virgins at Fatu Hiva, French Polynesia has to be one of the most spectacular backdrops in the world!