Friday, June 30, 2017

Happy 150th Birthday Canada!

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
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Today we begin our 4th year exploring the world!  Yet, no matter where we find ourselves, we never forget how proud we are to be CANADIAN!  We may have our problems, but our experience has taught us that we come from one of the most privileged places on the planet!

That doesn't make us any better than anyone else on this great planet, but we feel blessed to have the affluence and freedom to travel the world!

Early this morning we decorated Blowin' Bubbles and are hosting a happy birthday Canada party tonight!

As we turn this page we too are celebrating 3 years living our dream.  To date we have traveled 14,641 nautical miles in 1096 days, visited 13 countries and have gathered a LIFETIME of memories!

We have made many new friends and miss those who we keep leaving behind...  In the last year we have been on port 256 days and underway for 108 days.  We traveled 5220 nautical miles this year. These charts shows where we spent our time over the last three years.




 In terms of percentage:


We have had an awesome time!

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Taveuni, Fiji... Plans in the Sand....

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 such an amazing week in Namena, we wondered if Fiji had much more to offer....  After a Quick stop back near Savusavu for some supplies, we motored some 50 nautical miles to a very protected bay called Viani Bay.  




In its own micro-climate the rain can be falling and the wind can be howling just a few miles away and here in the bay....  perfect weather... 

We first stopped here for a few days to dive some of the more famous Fiji dive sites like The Purple Wall, The White Wall and The Cabbage Patch.  We saw some lovely things, but were ready to move on...








You should know that cruisers always write down their plans in the sand at low tide, so it was not surprising that we had originally intended to position ourselves at the north east side of Taviuni so we cold catch the elusive wind we needed to visit the seldom seen Lau Group of islands...  To get to the Lau, you need to sail south east, and that is the way the wind blows about 95% of the time, so we were not sure how long we would have to wait for the "right" wind....

After a brief stop in Miati at the far north end of Taviuni, we circled around the top of the island and found a protected bay just off Qamea Island called Namata Bay.  As we were anchoring we realized there were a bunch of bommies that were going to reek havoc on our anchor chain, so I dove and placed small floats (fenders) along the chain to keep it off the reef...

Satisfied all was well we retired to the main salon to make dinner.  About an hour later I noticed that one of the fenders that I had used was missing from the anchor line... NUTS!  Fenders are not cheap, so I frantically started looking everywhere for where it might have drifted...

As I am looking out the bay I see a tiny aluminum rowboat coming toward us with a man and small boy in it....  Minutes later the boat pulled up and I was presented with the errant fender...  The man introduced himself as Thomas Mitchel, and that he has seen our fender drift off so gathered his son, and gone after it....  Rowing almost a mile from shore her retrieved the fender and was coming to return it...


After profusely thanking him, I asked how much he wanted for his services...  Nothing, was his answer, other than would we come to shore before we left and sign his "log book".

Agreeing to visit the next day, we gathered some small gifts and school supplies for his family, we went to shore the next day to meet one of the most fascinating families we have met so far on our journey...

His parents, George & Casa began welcoming cruisers to Namata Bay many years ago, and since 1995 had logbook entries in two well worn cloth wrapped books...  His dad passed a few years ago, and with Casa still living next door, Thomas and his wife, Sia, continue the legacy of kindness...  Their two older children were at school in the next bay, but their youngest son (who I met the day before) was thrilled with his new pencils...  We left pencil cases for the older kids, and gave our small gifts to the adults...
Sia and their youngest son.

Thomas


Our entry into the "Logbook"


With the logbook as a catalyst, we were regaled with many stories of visiting yachties and of of them and the world they live in.  Just before we headed back to our boat, Sia presented Shelley with an armload of veggies from her garden, and Casa (Thomas' mom) brought us 2 litre ice cream container full of cooked casava, breadfruit and beans... YUMMY STUFF!
Part of our care package!
The next day (Saturday) we met the older children on the beach when we went on yet another sea shell collecting expedition....  Thomas' two older children and one of their cousins joined us on our hunt and told us all about so many of the things they knew...  like, what trees gave fruit that was good to eat, and which ones were poisonous...  smart kids...  They also asked us what felt like a million questions and seemed genuinely interested in our answers...

Just before we went back to Blowin' Bubbles, Thomas invited us to go to church the next morning, then join the family for lunch... We agreed quickly and on the way back to the boat discussed what we might bring to the lunch.

We settled on Cherry Bars with drizzled chocolate because when we were talking fruit with the children, we learned that they had never eaten a cherry before, and while we did not have any fresh cherries, Shelley did a have a few cans of cherries stashed in the larder....  We also decided that macaroni salad might be something different, so made a big bowl of that.

On Sunday morning we dusted off some decent clothes and made our way to shore where all the children met us for our walk down the beach to the Methodist Church.  Tucked up behind a few houses down the beach was a simple frame building.  Inside, there were no pews, no musical instrument and an imposing pulpit at the front of the sanctuary...

It wasn't long before we were offered chairs, that appeared (presumably for us)...  Thinking we already stood out, we politely declined and joined everyone else on the floor.  The service started and ended entirely in Fijian, but was none the less a wonderful experience.  They sang all their hymns acapella and sounded amazing.  While the words were completely foreign to us, we recognized some of the tunes...  

After we stopped back at the boat, we arrived with our salad and desert to an amazing spread offered by the Mitchell family... I can't begin to tell you all the thing I ate that day, but I can tell you it was delicious!  The children clearly did not think too much of the macaroni salad, but devoured the two trays of cherry bars!  I will say, Thomas had 3 helpings of the salad, so it wasn't a complete failure....



We were sent "home" with a hand made mat!
After lunch we taught the kids how to play Boci Ball...



Remember, I said plans were written in sand...  Well, it turns out that Monday was going to be a perfect window to the Lau Group, but in the mean time we learned that our friends, Lanny and Ginger from S/V Swiftsure were just a few days away....

Since we had not seen each other for over six months, we decided not to go to the Lau, but to head back to Viani Bay and wait for them.  

Image may contain: sky, ocean, cloud, boat, mountain, outdoor, nature and water

They arrived and have gone to Savusavu to check into Fiji, so we are enjoying the beauty and serenity of the bay for a few more days.  

We met the owners of a new dive operation (Adventure Dive, Fiji).  Marina and Jonne took us with them in their dive boat to town yesterday for some provisions.  We had a great day!







More Soon!


Monday, June 5, 2017

Right To Write Ministry : 80 Happy Kids!

Right To Write Ministry : 80 Happy Kids!: Yesterday, a local man drifted by our boat and introduced himself...  No an uncommon experience in the friendly islands of Fiji... When we...

Friday, June 2, 2017

Some GREAT Publicity....

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
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
As most of you know who regularly follow our lives, we have been giving away school supplies in many of the places we visit.  Our Right to Write Ministry has been an important part of our journey so far.



A few months ago we were contacted by a woman who writes for Observer Magazine, which is the national publication for The United Church of Canada, which is the church I retired from when we started our journey.  Sheima Benembarek contacted us today to say that the article she wrote is appearing in the June issue of the magazine.  We are thrilled!

Sheima captured the real essence of who and what we are as it relates to our efforts with kids...  For that, we thank her and hope as many people as possible will see what we are up to on our Facebook page and our Right to Write Blog...

The link to the article is here: http://www.ucobserver.org/faith/2017/06/wind_backs/

As for us, we have just spent an AMAZING week all alone anchored off the beautiful Fijian Island, called Namena.  Located about 30 miles south of Savusavu, one of Fiji's bigger cities, we had this bird and diving paradise to ourselves for 5 lovely days and nights.  It was the home to an Eco Resort before Cyclone Winston destroyed it last year.  Now all that remains are the shells of some of the cabins and what looks like a few local families squatting on the old resort property at the opposite end of the island from where we were...

Before setting off for Namena, we provisioned in Savusavu, and stopped just off the Michael Cousteau Resort to buy our Marine Park Tags ($30fj) that goes to the local people who own the island so they do not fish there.  We also had them fill our 9 scuba tanks so we didn't have to run our little compressor all day to do what a big compressor can do in a few hours...






When we arrived we discovered that the "mooring" that was suppose to be there was missing (likely another victim of Winston), so we anchored the first night.  The next morning we dove the reef under the boat and found the remains of the original mooring.  Over the next few days we scrounged all the bits we needed and we repaired the mooring...  A little deposit into the Karma bank never hurts...






As almost no one lives there, there are Papayas and Bananas EVERYWHERE!

On a Papaya quest!



Banana quest...

Papaya Banana SMOOTHE!

Each day we dove one of the spectacular reefs, and explored what has become a bird sanctuary on the island.
Red Footed Booby Birds

On Friday we reluctantly sailed back to the Cousteau Resort to pick up a few supplies so we could continue our journey east, toward our next destination in this Pacific paradise...


While at the resort we met Gabby who is a security guard and local pastor.  We gave him a bunch of school supplies for the kids in his village.

We are having some problems with our underwater cameras, but here are a few pictures we managed to get this week...Enjoy!









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