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, 2018

Sunday, May 27, 2018

100,000 VIEWS!


Wow!  Who knew our little blog would ever reach such a milestone.  I suppose by internet standards, this not such a great achievement, but we are very pleased.


The truth is we have actually 105,800 views as our original blog that we wrote on our trip home from South Carolina in 2010 has 5,800 views.  

Since 2010 we have published 423 posts (394 on our regular blog and 29 on the South Carolina blog).  

Below is a screenshot of the stats from our main blog....  Interesting.
We hope we have a chance to continue to share our story with all of you!


THANK YOU!



Monday, May 21, 2018

This is How the Other Half Lives....

Since returning from Suva, we have had the opportunity to see how the other half lives.  Our first stop here on the western (sunny) side of Fiji, was Port Denerau Marina....  I decided to spoil my beautiful wife with a night in a fancy marina, and we were not dissapointed.....  At 45' (14 meters) and 13 tonns we were DWARFED by the amazing boats around this place.




This is Larry's (The owner of Google) boat and amphibious car/boat being put in the water...


We did enjoy a quick trip into Nadi for some groceries, then a chance to see our friends from SV Terrapin again.  We met at the Hard Rock Cafe and enjoyed happy hour beer and wine, then went to a waterside restaraunt and had some super (albeit expensive) hamburgers... What a treat!




Our friends from SV Terrapin



The next day (all we could afford was one night in this place) we motored for just a few hours to Musket Cove where we got a mooring and enjoyed all the benefits of lifetime membership (bought last year for $20) in thier yacht club.



This is how the cool kids get here....





Sunset on an island that only appears at low tiide....



Benefits include great showers, use of their cool swimming pool, access to icecream... and a chance to see how the other half lives...

We also are very excited now as we were able to make a very acceptable deal with the marina manager to leave Blowin' Bubbles at Musket Cove while we return to Canada in a few weeks.  Not only will they keep the boat in the water, but have assured us that they will check on her on a regular basis making a little easier for me to leave her...

They run a super fast shuttle back and forth to the mainland, so we will have no problem getting to the airport.

For now, we have moved to Sawani Bay to relax and get ready to come home to Canada.  If anyone is interested, we have booked two speaking engagements so far to talk about our trip and our Right to Write work.  On June 10th we will be speaking at Trinity United Church in Guelph Ontario at 10:00am and on June 24th at 10:00 we will be at Wesley United Church in Cambridge Ontario.

We will let you know if/when we arrange other public speaking events.

More Soon....

Monday, May 14, 2018

Suva 2018

Suva is the capital city of Fiji.  As such, this is a busy and crowded place.  Such a contrast to most of the rest of Fiji.  Surprisingly, since the main international airport is located in Denerau almost 3 hours away, many tourists who visit Fiji, never see the capital.

Last year this was the place we went for Shelley's Gallbladder surgery and this is where I saw the dentist.  While we were in Tarawa, I lost a filling and learned that there is no dentist anywhere in Kiribati!  We tried to use a "temporary filling" from our medical kit. but it only lasted a few days.

So for the last month, I have just sucked it up until we could get to Suva.  As it turns out, I broke another tooth a few weeks later, so seeing the dentist became even more imperative.

In most 2nd and third world countries, dental care is usually limited to tooth extraction.  Primitive, but it works...  Fortunately here in Suva is the Stewart Street Dental Clinic, where Dr. Singh and his staff have all the latest dental equipment and all the skills necessary to fix most dental problems.  This prices here are also about a third of what they cost at home!




In the end, I needed 2 crowns and a root canal!  He was able to to one of the crowns and half the root canal now and we will come back (by bus) at the end of the month to finish up the root canal and get the second crown.  This whole adventure will cost us about $2600 FJ (or about $1300 US).  Not only that, he has a CNC machine right in the office that makes the crowns while you wait!  Every other dentist in Fiji must send the file to China to have the crowns made making people wait 4-6 weeks... At the same time he gave Shelley a check up, X rays, and a cleaning for $150 FJ ($75 US)!

Shelley met a Lady who make purses.  We negotiated a good price on 3 of these and will sell them when we get home to raise money for Right to Write.



We also found a lady in the Central Market who was willing to make us 500 more pencil cases for our Right to Write work...  In less than a week she was done and we are VERY happy with the results!  If we raise enough money in Canada we will have her make some more before we leave!




When we were in Vuda Point we tried to get our carburator for the 15hp Yamaha engine fixed.  Al we could do was find out that the only Yamaha dealer in Fiji doesn't stock them and it would be 4-6 weeks for them to get one in for $600fj.... After hearing this we decided to wait until we got home and buy one there.  On a whim, I called the only outboard repair place in Suva who didn't specialize, and asked if he could have a look at it.  He agreed, and on Saturday afternoon we met Francis at his shop and in less than 40 minutes he repaired our carburetor and asked the grand total of $25  FJ!  He is our new hero!


He runs a BUSY shop!




The night before we left Suva, we were invited to a friends boat, SV Amarula, where Eric and Lynne fed us a wonderful chicken dinner.  the only catch was we could only visit at high tide as they were half hauled out of the water, when something broke and are now stuck half way up the ramp!  Like all things in Fiji, it will work out for them, it will just be on Fijian time...



About 10 miles from Suva we saw a ketch washed up on a reef!  We reported it and only later learned that it was wrecked some time ago...  It might be a good idea to mark known wrecks like that somehow so it doesn't keep getting reported...




As I write this, we are sailing west along the south shore of Viti Levu, the main Fijian Island, back to the west side where we will spend the rest of our time before we put the boat on the hard and fly home to Canada.

Saturday, May 5, 2018

Return to Fiji...

After one last beautiful sunset in Tarawa, we knew it was time to get going toward Fiji where we have made plans to leave Blowin' Bubbles in June when we fly home to Canada.


Just after leaving Tarawa we hooked a 38lb (14 kilo) Wahoo!  It put up quite a fight and getting it up our 4' (1 meter) freeboard was quite a challenge.  Sadly, dispatching the fish made quite a mess...
Sorry for the droopy pants.... at that point the fish was winning....


After giving thanks for such a great gift from the sea we nearly filled our freezer and had great tasting fish all the way to Fiji...

We had extremely light winds most of the way to Rotuma.  Rotuma is the most remote of all the Fijian islands and is rarely visited by cruising boats....  We were the second boat in 2018 to check in.




This island represents what cruising must have been like 20+ years ago.  Rotuma is isolated in many ways.  Although there is work being done at this time to extend the runway, it currently sees planes only infrequently and as many get cancelled as arrive.  Supply ships come from Viti Levu about 3-4 times a year, so folks here have learned to fend for themselves...


While they may not have too many of the features of modern living, they proudly say that one could never go hungry in this paradise....  With a population of just over 1900 people here live very differently than their countrymen in mainland Fiji, but seem very content.

Since we had given away the last of our school supplies in Kiribati, we were disappointed that we couldn't leave something for the children here.

There is no public transportation or taxis anywhere on the island so getting around could have been difficult except that anyone going in your direction seemed to be happy to give a ride...  After checking in with the officials, we were told by the Bio-Security officer that he would be happy to come back to the anchorage (10 km from the main village) the next day and bring us to the village...

We met a number of people in town including a very enterprising man who has painstakingly converted a portion of his home into a "Homestay" where for $100fj ($50US) you get a room with a private bathroom, and three meals a day! The only real difficulty is getting here!  But once you are here you would have the experience of a lifetime....





After a few days we determined that there was a decent weather window to travel the last 250 NM to the Yasawa Islands in western Fiji.  We departed around noon and by 2200 it stated raining heavily.  That rain continued almost continuously for more that 16 hours!  No matter how watertight the boat is, some of that rain eventually found its way in...  We ended up with a small leak coming from a wiring conduit on the ceiling of our sleeping cabin!  We did repair the leak but not before the sheets and mattress got fairly soaked....  The joy of living on the ocean ...

Just after dark two days later we arrived at Yasawa Island, the most northerly island of the Yasawa group...  With good satellite images and a careful lookout with an almost full moon shining through the finally broken clouds, we anchored safely and had a good nights rest.

The next morning we read our cruising guide an learned that the people of this particular village charged cruisers $20 per day o anchor in their bay.  Not knowing if this was still the case, and in possession of NO Fijian currency, we decided to move to Nanuya Bay where the 1980's film Blue Lagoon was shot starring the beautiful Brooke Shields and some guy who I can't remember....





We were able to exchange some US dollars at the resort close by and hiked the same trail we did the year before back to Lo's Tea House for decadent chocolate cake...

As we were walking back along the shore at low tide, we saw our sister ship Terrapin motoring into the bay...  Phil & Aimie and their two girls were the last people we saw when we left Fiji in October and it turns out, the first people we saw when we returned...  Cool eh?



We had sundowners together that took us well into the night...  What great way to live...

By now our food provisions were getting pretty thin and we haven't had any fresh veggies for more than a week, we decided it was time to get to the mainland, so we pulled anchor at 0630 in the morning and sailed to Vuda Point Marina where we fueled the boat and tied the boat to the shore (dock) for the first time in more than a year!


We were re-united with Lisa from SV Enchanter (AKA Endless Summer) and enjoyed pizza, wine and beer at the Marina Restaurant... What a treat! The next afternoon, just after getting back from shopping in Lautoka, we heard our names being called...  On the dock was a friend we met way back in Cuba, Kellie (and her friend Tiffany).  They are crewing for a delivery from Tahiti to Australia...  Again, cool eh?


Not too happy in Marinas, we took a day to re-provision, get internet, and clean up the boat before we sailed overnight to Suva, the capital city of Fiji.  We have a dentist appointment on Tuesday this week and we got our broken (for the second time) iPad screen fixed...


We are now anchored in Lami Bay, just outside the city where for $1.11 FJ each we take the bus to town for everything a big city has to offer.

A new dress for our second daughter's wedding in July



Suva is a busy place......
One last bit of news.... Congratulations to our oldest daughter, Kristi and her husband, Garret who welcomed their first child, Glen William into the world on May 3rd...  A big boy at 10lb 1oz, he will make great crew in the years to come...


More soon...