04 Dec 2004

Overview 31 Aug 2003
1 Apr 2002 6 Apr 2004
15 July 2002 2 Dec 2004
5 Nov 2002 13 Jan 2005
5 Feb 2003 August 2005
5 Apr 2003 April 2006

December 4, 2004:    Ah, a fresh new page to fill up with all my blathering. How fun. Now, where did I leave off? Ye gods, it was in Raiatea! Can I actually remember that far back???

    Raiatea was the first place we had been to in a while where there were actually other cruising boats. See, there's a boatyard there, and all the folks who wanted to slooooow doooown their transit of the South Pacific hauled their boats out in Raiatea, then came back to them at the end of cyclone season. This was the end of cyclone season, so we got to watch the slow trickle of boats getting back in the water and shipshape and all that.

    We didn't do much cruising though, until roundabout my birthday (April 18), when I decided I really DIDN'T want to be anchored off the yard, I wanted to GO somewhere. So we hopped around to "Johnny Depp's anchorage," as we have dubbed it. See, the first time we went there, I was feeling a bit obsessed about Pirates of the Caribbean. And this anchorage just had one boat in it, a beautiful small one that just happened to look like a pirate ship. So we anchored there for my birthday, met the people on the boat (Not Johnny Depp, :( ) and went for a snorkel, where I found our first live tiger cowrie. There were also a fair amount of oysters on the reef there, which we picked up, ate as an appetizer, and discovered a few more (small) kechi pearls. Not a bad birthday, if I do say so myself.

    After that, we started heading west permanently. A night in Bora Bora, then to Maupiti, where we stayed for a week or two, having fun with the folks on Cookie Cutter, a Canadian boat. Eventually, though, the lack of teenagers around drew us further westward - as far as we knew, the only other teenagers were Nick and Chris on Lady Starlight, in Tonga.

    Tonga, here we come!

    The passage there was long and dreary, as cruising season wasn't quite on us yet, and the trade winds just REFUSED to fill in. There was one day on the two-week passage where we made about 10 nautical miles towards Tonga. The rest of them (though there weren't many) were somewhere north-westerly, which is the direction we were sort of pointing, though to tell the truth we were beating into about 2 knots of wind.

    Let me tell you, Tonga was a relief after that. All the anchorages were nice and close, there was protection everywhere, and, hey, there were kids! Hallelujah.

    It took a month or two (or three) for other boats to start coming through, but we were having fun in the meantime, cruising around with Lady Starlight, sitting in Neiafu harbor off the town (more like a village), etc. etc. etc. The people there were very nice, and we got to know a lot of them fairly well, just from going shopping at the little supermarkets and bakeries and such.

    I could go on forever about Tonga, but I guess the Tonga pages are really more appropriate for all that.

    Anyways, we went down to the Ha'apai Group (still Tonga) for a week or two from July-August, which was a lot of fun - except that we hopped our starboard engine off its mounts, ripped the seal that keeps the water out (luckily there's a secondary seal that was, mostly undamaged), and had to limp around on just one engine. When we got back up to Vava'u, we got parts shipped up from New Zealand (1 month) and then hauled on a slipway there for a week and a half to do some repairs. While we were up there, we also slapped on a few coats of bottom paint (antifouling) and raised the waterline (which was looking a bit green) a few more inches. So we're looking all spiffy again now.

    Meanwhile, a bunch more kid-boats pulled in, so we were having fun with THEM whenever we could. They were ALL going down to New Zealand for the (cyclone) season, and tried very VERY VERY hard to get us to go with them. I said YES why not, but the rest of the family wasn't so enthusiastic. Besides, Chris had to get to Fiji the beginning of October to take the SATs - they weren't given in Tonga.

    It was very, very hard to leave wonderful Vava'u. I really didn't want to, which is the first place where I've REALLY felt that. I could have stayed there so much longer. It was so great! But Chris needed to take the SATs, so off we went. :(

    So yeah. We sailed over here to Fiji (Suva, actually, which is the biggest city in the South Pacific islands, or so some say), where Chris promptly got a 1500 on the SATs. Way to go, bro! The city of Suva is quite cute, really, with all the Indian influence, and the curries are to DIE for, but the anchorage is really quite a pit. Plus, Cookie Cutter (aforementioned Canadian boat) was up north waiting for us, so we hurried off to see them. The plan was to cruise the top of Viti Levu with them, but sadly five days into our time with Cookie, our insurance company alerts us that, unless we get a bottom survey inside a week, our insurance is canceled. Whoops! Man, I hate insurance guys. :P

    So, instead of continuing on with Cookie Cutter, slowly depleting the South Pacific population of gastropods (seashells), we toodled on off to Savusavu, where we got the bottom survey done in record time. We also got to check out the place where it is most probable that we'll spend the cyclone season - or at least some of it. My assessment was that it was oKAY.... but not as good as New Zealand :D There were some kids there, which was another pull, but then we realized they were all fairly young... as in 9-12 range.

    I was about to start that paragraph with "So" when I realized the last TWO started like that. whoops. Anyway.

    We are now (well, were then) once more out of teenage companionship. Bummer. But it was getting on towards the beginning of November, when Chris MIGHT have had another SAT. But the school wasn't giving them, so we bashed our way down south for two days for nothing. I hate it when we do that. Our front window also started leaking on that sail (correction: gushing salt water) so we had a bit of repair work to do in Suva. Turns out the whole lower seal on it had become kaput. oops. But hopefully that is now seaworthy again.

    We were only there for a week or so when our friends on Ilya told us, very excitedly, that "there are young people in the next bay over!" whoo-hoo!!!

    So we headed on over there and met the boat Seeka, with two teenage guys 15 and 17, with their dad. They're pommies (English) trying to pose as aussies. Well, not trying to POSE as aussies. Trying to be aussies, more likely. Anyways, we've  been having fun with them, playing tennis and pool and swimming and such. Tradewinds Hotel has been our evening hang-out. Sadly, Seeka is leaving in about a week to head back to Oz, but maybe we'll see them next season...

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