About Us

Welcome to our blog, describing our voyage aboard the two BRAVO's; the first boat a Kelly Peterson 46 with homeport in Seattle, Washington. The second is a new Boreal 52, launched in Treguier, France in February 2020.

We headed south from Seattle in 2010, and have been voyaging in one form or another since. Cheers, Adam and Cindi

"As for me, I am tormented by an everlasting itch for things remote. I love to sail forbidden seas, and land on barbarous coasts." -Herman Melville, 1844

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Savusavu.....a wonderful welcome to Fiji!!!

Marina gangplank gets a bit steep at low tide!!!


Local DHL office became a regular hangout waiting for parts deliveries
We've been in Savusavu for 2-1/2 weeks now, taking care of Bravo's needs developed on the last passage.  It's been a great place for us to ease into the laid back Fijian way of life.  The people in this sleepy little town couldn't be more helpful or friendly, and we've found that we can accomplish a lot with a little around here (with a bit of help from our friends Mr. DHL and Ms. Visa, to be sure).

Downtown Savusavu....see the steam vents at low tide?  Hot springs all around

Local raft.  Owner has to pay $5 Fijian (about $3 US) per year registration fee!!!

So we'll start off with the project update, then move on to more of the fun stuff!

Ready for the motor-ectomy....60hz on left, 50hz on the right.....
Watermaker motor:  Our new 60hz motor arrived safe and sound a week after we did.  A couple of hours later it was purring like a kitten after swapping for the 50hz motor installed in New Zealand.  Thanks to Rich at CruiseRO for all of the help in getting it here!

Radar:  The "malfunction" turned out to be simply that the AGC (Automatic Gain Control) had been turned off, to "manual" mode, and it was set to zero.....about the same thing as turning the volume to zero on your iPod and thinking the thing is broken!!!  Took a couple of hours to finally find it, but the "repair" took 2 seconds!!!  Sweet as, the happy dance began in earnest!!!

This is Otto's brain.....
Autopilot:  With help from the Australian manufacturer, TMQ, we figured out that the fault was in the black box, or brain of the beast.  Although it's a 15 year old system, they had a "refurbished" (whatever that means!!!) matching unit in the shop.  Shipped in 5 days, it was a true plug and play installation!!!  Another happy dance!

Hydrovane wind vane:  Found a big block of "Starboard" plastic down in the bilge and shaped a new block to replace the lower bracket ship which fell into the briny deep when the bolts vibrated loose on the passage from NZ.  A few hours of grunting and swearing, and the rascal looks better than new!!!

SSB radio:  Per the last post, the old one was truly toast due to the water leak.  We ordered a new Icom 802 from the US.  It arrived yesterday, and was on the air with great signal reports 3 hours later.  Still have to hook it up for email capability, but good to go for now.

Underwater strobe:  While getting the camera gear ready for a snorkel, we found that leaking batteries had fried the unit.  What???  Here in the land of some of the most spectacular diving on the planet?????   Grrrrrrr........no worries, again thanks to DHL, a new one arrived from Oz yesterday.

We've also been busy caulking deck leaks (remember that ruined radio???), and Cindi's sewn some cool hatch covers that will allow us to keep our hatches open for breeze when it rains!

Other than projects, Savusavu has been a terrific place to just hang out and chill for a couple of weeks.  It's a really social cruiser scene, with yachts from all around the world congregating.  Happy hours at the "yacht club" are a great spot to meet friends from past crossroads and swap tall sailing tales over a few bottles of Fiji Bitter......tasty business!

One day Epeli, a great guy who works at the marina invited a few of us over to Naidi, his small, traditional village, about a 15 minute drive away, for a "lovo" or feast cooked in a pit oven dug in the ground, same as the "umu" of Tonga.

We brought our kava (yaquona) as an offering for the chief, in order to be accepted by the villagers.   So the first order of business was that four of us were selected by an elder of the village to go for the presentation.  After about 5 or 10 somewhat tense minutes of chanting and rapid discussion in Fijian, along with lots of gestures with our kava root, the 84 year old chief smiled a huge warm smile, and said "welcome to our village.....you are part of our family now".  Whew!!!

With that, we were free to wander around the village, speaking with both kids and adults, who were mostly eager to welcome us.  The kids especially were terrific, even interupting their afternoon rugby games to join us.

 Epeli then walked us around the village, over to the lovo where dinner was just about ready.  They peeled away the pile of banana leaves, uncovering packages of fish, pork, spam, casava, taro, and other unknown delicacies (sometimes it's best not to ask.....)

opening the oven

We wandered back to a lean-to where they have their evening kava circle, and the kava did begin to flow.  One clap for a 1/2 coconut cup, ("low tide") 2 claps for a full ("high tide" or "tsunami") it was tough to match Epeli and the boys cup for cup.

Cindi powers down another "low tide"
But we held our own pretty well until dinner was ready!

Fantastic spread, with lots of good coconut sauces and other bits and pieces.  No one went away hungry.

After dinner, as the men of the village finished up with their evening chores, they joined us for an evening of great guitar and ukelele music, beautiful Fijian harmonizing, and bowl after bowl of kava.  Although they get together to talk and drink kava every evening, the music is special, and they seemed to enjoy the occasion of our visit as an excuse to party as much as we did.  Nice.

Epeli mixing up the next batch of kava...."tsunami over here, please!!!"

A really wonderful evening with Epeli and the village. Vinaka Vakelevu......thank you very much.

Outrigger canoes stored outside the WaiTui marina

Cindi has gone out paddling with a group of locals for a couple of evening training sessions.  A good workout and great social event, paddling the tippy outriggers has been a lot of fun.  Not sure if one is in Bravo's future.....we still enjoy our inflatable kayaks.

So what's next for Bravo, projects newly completed (knock on teak!!!), and her crew?  Well, it looks like we have a somewhat unusual period of calm weather, with the typical SE tradewinds "in remission" for a few days.  When the trades are blowing, it can be quite a bitch to sail to the southern Lau group of islands, about 185 miles to the SE.  It looks like we'll need to motor most of the way, but that's heaps better than a long bash to windward.

The Lau group is the most remote part of Fiji, just recently opened up to any tourists.  The villages still observe traditional Fijian ways, and offer a rare opportunity to participate in the village culture.

Grocery shopping in the public market
We've stocked the boat with about 6 weeks of supplies, including much for trading and gifting the locals, as their supply boat only comes about once per month.

Prasad and his wife wrap up our yaquona.
Naturally we've laid in a good supply of top quality yaquona (kava) for our sevusevu offerings to the village chiefs.  Each 1/2 kilo bunch is wrapped in ribbons and newspaper, which the chiefs like as a way to read the news.

 Stay tuned!

Oh, one final story in this already too long blog post.....the other day, I was speaking with JoLynn, the wonderful woman who runs the DHL outpost here.  She is of Maori and Samoan descent, and grew up in New Zealand.  She's married to a local Fijian man, Sanjay, the village ace mechanic.  She told me that last year, the family took its first trip to visit her family in NZ.  Sanjay had never been out of Fiji, and has only rarely left this island.  As he walked around NZ with his eyes wide open, Sanjay's biggest amazement, among many like elevators and escalators, was seeing that "palangis" (white people) actually work for a living!!!  In his 40 or so years living in Savusavu, the only palangis he'd ever seen were either tourists or yachties, and he never saw a white person who worked!!!    Then she told me about her 6 year old son, Caleb, who couldn't wait to get to NZ.  When they finally got to the main Fijian airport waiting to catch the flight to NZ, he was in awe.  Looking at all the glass and glitter, in an air conditioned airport terminal building, he said, "Mom, I love New Zealand.....can we live here????" 

Ahhhhh, Fiji, ya gotta love it.......

Amazing sunsets off our rear deck (pre photoshop)