The South Pacific Cyclone Season
had pretty clearly ended, so we left Opua
on May 7th '05 and sailed Naga the 1100 miles or so north from
New Zealand to Fiji.
It was enormously gratifying to feel the air and sea water temperatures
rise every day as we headed again for the tropics. Rarely have we felt
such delight in peeling off progressively more layers of clothing!
The waters between the Southwest
Pacific and New Zealand have a well-justified
reputation for storms, with sudden changes, high winds and very bad
Our weather was moderate to strong, mostly around 25 knots from the
South, just fine.
Seven boats that left a week
or so after we did, however, were abandoned
in heavy winds and seas between New Zealand and Tonga or Fiji.
No one was lost, but it was a heavy - and not altogether unusual - toll.
Fiji is a beautiful country with
extreme diversities of weather, race, culture, and wealth.
Just as they did in Trinidad, the British colonialists had the "brilliant
bring in indentured labor from India to work the sugar industry.
As a result, again as in Trinidad, something around half the population
is now Indian.
The other half is native Fijian - mostly Melanesian, with quite a lot
and other Pacific islands blood mixed in. As in Trinidad, the Indians
the lion's share of commerce - along with the few whites that remained
A traditional Fijian dwelling.
Modern society brings modern dwellings
for the many who live closer to "the bottom."
Suva is quite a bustling major city,
but you don't have to go far to find another world:
||No it's not a bird,
nor a plane, and it's definitely not Superman either: It's Jack
taking a flying leap in Chrissi's waterhole! Up in the bush just
outside the Tradewinds anchorage near Suva, Chrissi discovered this
amazing multi-tiered, waterfalling swimming hole.
After doing our urban thing in Suva
and getting back on the Internet for a while
we finally sailed off for the other side of the island, with a terrific
stop in Beqa.
The tiny village of Ruqua - it's
the main village of the island - nestles along the beach
on the lee side of Fiji's wonderful Beqa island (also spelled Bequa
Simon was the
first person we met at Ruqua when he roared up and invited himself
aboard for a visit. When he discovered Chrissi's canvas shop in
the aft cabin, he opted immediately to have Chrissi make him an
engine cover for his boat - her first happy Fijian customer!
Charles from the Franco-Irish
sailboat Petrel gave me (Jack) that lure for my birthday,
and it wasn't in the water even 30 seconds in the Bequa Lagoon
when Chrissi caught this delicious Spanish Mackerel - at least
that's what we think it was! Thanks Charles!!
We took this "ferry boat"
(visible in the background behind the boat)
to Navua on the mainland. A good market town in its own right, you
can also catch the bus into the capitol city of Suva from there.
Note the pink spool and the fishing line:
Chrissi could not resist fishing from the ferry!
And it made her smile when she thought of that big fish out there.
I've mentioned the South Pacific
Convergence Zone before. Its arrival can make it rain and bluster
for weeks on end, with high possibilities of weird and harsh weather
- it's really the best for
causing "cabin fever." Well here it is, visiting us this time
We've met the SPCZ in almost all the Pacific Islands we've visited.
Seems like you just have to expect a few weeks of this stuff out here.
There was a lot more to Fiji, with
visits to Denarau - an amazingly huge tourist enclave
that looked the same as all the rest of them, it certainly didn't look
And there was Musket Cove in the
Mamanuca island group, Saweni Bay,
and the amazing Indian city of Lautoka.
Lots of Fiji - a wonderful diverse
country with lots to offer,
but that's about all the photos for now. . .
From Fiji, we
sailed a storm-tossed 500 miles to VANUATU!
and enjoy Fiji with some good books: