Directions

Our latest entry always comes up first...

Click this link if you want to start at the beginning of our trip from
South Carolina (where we bought the boat) to Lake Ontario Click this link:

If you want to see the story of our 2 1/2 year project getting
Blowin' Bubbles ready for our life on board click here:
FIRST "REFIT" BLOG ENTRY - March 2011

If you want to start at the beginning of our trip:
START OF TRIP - July 2014
2015, 2016, 2017

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Vuda, Fiji

Welcome to our Blog. Our latest entry always comes up first... 
Click this link if you want to start at the beginning:
FIRST BLOG ENTRY
If you want to start at the beginning of our trip:
START OF TRIP
If you want to see the story of our trip from South Carolina
(where we bought the boat)
 to Lake Ontario Click this link:
  SOUTH CAROLINA
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
After departing from New Zealand a day late (Saturday April 15th), we made the 1100 nautical mile passage in 10 days.  The trip was surprisingly uneventful.  In fact, we motored nearly 90 hours because of the lack of wind.  With the help of Peter Mott at Northland Radio we had daily radio contact and were able to avoid a developing cyclone along the way...



Beautiful sunsets....

Ready to be warm again...


Some flat seas...

Back to catching FISH!


We arrived very late on the 25th and anchored just inside the main barrier reef for the night.  Early the next morning we motored the last three hours to the Vuda Marina where we were greeted with a lovely song and cheerful BULA BULA's, which is the Fijian way of saying hello...



Customs, Immigration, Bio Security, and our Health inspection went without any trouble and by noon we were settled into a med mooring style slip.  We re-connected with Lisa (s/v Enchanter) and she took us under her wing and gave us the lay of the land and took us (by bus) to Lautoka (one of the big cities here in Fiji) for provisions and to acquire an internet hookup...  Big THANK YOU to Scott & Nikki (s/v Beachouse) for giving us the internet gizmo for Fiji when we saw them in New Zealand...




$1 Fijian = $.50 US

The bus to town  $1.60 FJ

Lisa & Cannela (s/v Enchanter)

Our first "Happy Hour" in a very long time...

Our first Fijian sunset....

The one big job we had NOT completed in New Zealand was to haul the boat and paint the bottom.  Like everything else in NZ, the cost for a haul-out is really expensive...  Last year we met Adam, the manager of the Vuda Marina in Tahiti and he sold us a haul-out certificate for $50....   The regular cost for that here is around $250... GREAT savings...
Boats stored in "Cyclone Pits" 
Anyway, the other real advantage to getting work like that done here in Fiji is also the fact that we were able to hire 2 men for 2 days for $8 Fijian ($4 US) per hour!  At our age sanding the bottom is one of our least favorite jobs, so the money spent was really worth it...  In addition, these guys worked HARD!  We figured it would take two days to prep the boat.  They had it done in HALF a day!  By the  end of the first day we had the bottom sanded and the first coat of bottom paint on.  ALL the staff at Vuda Marina went OUT OF THEIR WAY to make us feel welcome and did professional work at exceptionally fair prices...  This by the way, was the first place we ever stopped where the staff actually learned our names!  It felt pretty cool....







We had to remove the wind generator....

And still didn't have much clearance...

Bottom paint on...


Bootstrap DONE!


We only needed half a day on the second day to finish the bottom and re-paint the boot strap (the line just above the bottom)..

We were launched yesterday (Saturday) and Shelley did some major provisioning so we are ready to leave tomorrow (Monday) for our Fiji Island Adventure!

As an aside, we found some Fijian ladies who are willing to make us pencil cases for our Right to Write Project.  Because we are so far from Canada now, we have real trouble getting them from the folks back home...  We also have started a Go Fund Me page to help offset some of the cost of our work out here....  We hope people will see some value in what we are doing and help support us...

Press on the picture to link to our page:


More soon from the islands....

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Ready To Go Part 2....

Welcome to our Blog. Our latest entry always comes up first... 
Click this link if you want to start at the beginning:
FIRST BLOG ENTRY
If you want to start at the beginning of our trip:
START OF TRIP
If you want to see the story of our trip from South Carolina
(where we bought the boat)
 to Lake Ontario Click this link:
  SOUTH CAROLINA
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
With FAR less wind than was predicted, Cyclone Cook has almost passed us by.  We have little to no wind and the bay we are anchored in is flat calm.

Our plan now is to depart tomorrow morning (Friday April 14th) here in New Zealand.  We are expecting NW winds around 15 knots and 3 meter seas from the NE.  This should make things a little lumpy for the first few days....  You can check on our latest position by using the link at the top right corner of the page, or by clicking HERE.


A beautiful little girl playing "Pirates" with her brother in Russell, NZ..
The last few days have been spent exploring the area in and around Russell, NZ.  A lovely vacation town with about 700 permanent residents.  This number swells in the New Zealand summer, but at the moment very quaint.

It was also the first national capital of NZ and the safe harbor for MANY whaling and merchant ships in days gone by.

The Russell Boat Club.
 We were invited to the boat club on Sunday evening for a roast lamb dinner.  Great food and incredibly friendly people...



Throughout the village there are beautiful reminders of the towns rich history.

The oldest church in New Zealand.... Complete with bullet holes in the walls...


An old whaling boat...

Maori Totems...






The public wharf.

What can I say?







There are local volunteers who help local boaters with land based services and weather.


While Shopping in Russell, we couldn't help ourselves when we passed a great fishing shop...



You can NEVER have too many fishing rods!
Here in the bay we are surrounded by friends like Amy & David on Starry Horizons, and Ann & Mark from 360 Blue.  The other day Amy and Shelley walked over 20 kilometers!








We were invited to the home of Peter and Angela Mott who for may years operated a business in Auckland, who have now semi-retired here in Russell and who give generously to the cruising community by operating NORTHLAND RADIO.  With thousands of dollars worth of top notch gear, Peter operates one of the most powerful high frequency/HAM stations in the Pacific ocean.



Entirely, with his own resources. he communicates with boats like ours on a daily basis as a check-in facility.  In an emergency he often co-ordinates the appropriate search and rescue centers to help mariners in trouble...

Thank you Peter for all you do!

We will be heading back into Opua in the morning for fuel and to check out with customs.  We hope to be underway before noon.

We will check in via our HF radio along the way.

We leave you with a few more of Shelley's beautiful pictures...















Cheers!