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

Monday, September 22, 2014

Fiji diving (and rambling) continue!!!

What a terrific country, how could you not fall in love with this place!!!  I see that we haven't updated the blog with our current adventures for about a month.  So just what the hell has your Bravo team been up to, anyway???

Well, after diving at the Rainbow Reef (Viani Bay) for a week or so, we needed to head back into Savusavu for supplies, and to pick up our new autopilot, shipped in from Brisbane, to replace the faulty unit that we flown in a couple of months ago (it went "DOA" after about 24 hours of driving....."bad Otto, bad"!).  In all fairness, we had bought a used "brain" from manufacturer TMQ to replace the old 15 year old one.  I guess everything has its limits. 

The lunch view of Bravo off the resort.
Stopped off at Paradise Resort on Taveuni Island along the way for a brief R&R......unfortunately the $32 burgers at the little low key dive resort scared us away after a day or 2, but it was a pretty spot for a bit of kayaking and snorkeling.

Many patches later, our inflatable kayaks are still great for exploring the reefs

TMQ's customer service had been great so we decided to buy a brand new autopilot display and brain from them.  Installation was straightforward, as we kept the old drive unit, compass, and rudder sender.  A days work and Otto is up to his old reliable self once again!!!!!  "Good, Otto, good....."

Hanging around Savusavu (like the sleepy little town a lot, we do!) we decided to take a dive boat out to the Namena Reef, also famous for its soft corals and coral formations.  We went with Koro Sun Diving, along with our friends John and Pat from The Rose.  Had a good day of diving on the spectacular reef, though the boat was packed with about 22 people total, too many for our taste.....really a diving rodeo, and all the bubbles scared a lot of the critters as we descended.  Ah well, it was great to get out on the reef nonetheless.....

Our favorite Savusavu taxi

"Gourmet Powder":  MSG and Salt.......how can you go wrong???

One day we decided to hop a bus from Savusavu to Labasa, the largest city on the island.  It's about a 2-1/2 hour ride, up and over the ridge in the center, to the dry north side of the island.  Different climate, and very different cultural experience. 

Labasa is predominantly Indo Fijian, unlike the rest of Fiji that we've visited so far.  While in town we visited a Hindu temple, Nag Mandir, home of the holy "cobra rock". 

But you already knew this, right???

Even for us, these peppers were pure FIRE!!!
The market was full of various Indian spices and foods, as well as the usual great veggies and aisle after aisle of kava sellers.....these guys take their grog seriously. 

Kava department

Standard price.....$0.50 US per pile

The bus ride was open air, no windows.  Got a bit cold on the ridge, where it was even drizzling a bit.  But all in all another great third world bus ride.  We're suckers for 'em.  (though no squirming sacks of live chickens or guinea pigs like their south American counterparts......damn.....)

Sugar cane is king here.....this is a little cane train near Labasa

We realized how special the diving at Viani Bay had been, and decided to head back around the corner (about 40 miles) to the Bay from Savusavu.  Had a great sail, and Otto drove the whole way!!!

Here are a few photos from some of our dives on the Rainbow Reef.....

Blue spotted ray (honestly, that's the name!!!)

Another dive on the Great White Wall

Unusual "lettuce coral" at the Cabbage Patch dive

Snorkeling with the mantas at Rabi Island

Old tire at a mooring covered with soft corals

Schools of fusiliers

Amazing camoflage

Typical soft coral

Eye of an octopus watches us warily from his little cave

On the "Purple Wall"

John and Adam solve the worlds problems between dives.....
While diving, Cindi and I decided to take the Advanced Open Water diving course from our favorite dive operators, Dolphin Bay.  Great people, and a terrific place to hang out between and after diving.  They'd pick us up on Bravo each morning for another fantastic day on the reef.  Sweet!!!

Finally, after another week or so at Viani it was time to start moving on.  Lots more of Fiji to explore before we need to check out in late October, bound for New Zealand.  We headed over to Koro Island, 45 miles to the west, approaching the main island of Fiji, Viti Levu.  Koro is another beautiful Fijian island, the 6th largest, with 14 villages around its perimeter.  One unique thing about Koro is the availability of "free hold land".....that is, land available for purchase by individuals from outside Fiji.  (only 9% of Fiji is like this, the rest is held by the native villages).  There is a "resort" here of sorts, really a community club for the expats from 26 countries who now own land here in the development.  The approximately 40 solar powered houses seem small, eco friendly, and unobtrusive.  We walked about a mile to the nearest village to do our sevusevu with the chief, but were told he was at the school watching a rugby tournament.  Off we went to watch the tournament, never found the chief.  But the rugby was fun, and we enjoyed another visit to a friendly Fijian village.

Went diving today with a local dive guide, Peceli.  He did a great job directing us around the fringing reefs to a dive site, "The Cavern of Whips".  The coral here has been hit hard by crown of thorns starfish and some bad storms in the last couple of years.  But it was a fun dive anyway, with some terrific caves, and Peceli knew the complex reef like the back of his hand.  Vinaka, Peceli!

66" mahi mahi, our largest so far, nearly 60 lbs!!!  We ate well, as did some of the locals!!!

Will head off tomorrow for Makongai Island, a former leper colony, now a breeding station for turtles and giant clams, about a 25 mile sail to the west.......stay tuned!

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Fulaga Chronicles - Part 5: Dead Men Tell No Tales!!!

It's well known that early Fijians were fierce warriors.  And that cannibalism was a commonly practiced ritual.  Put those two things together, and things can get ugly!!!!!  Little did we know that the idyllic island setting of Fulaga was, like much of Fiji, the site of these rites.

One day, after hiking to the high point of the island to check out the views, Mele and Bis offered to take Graham, Diane, Cindi, and me to see a nearby cave strewn with early human bones.  Bringing out the Indiana Jones in us, how could we refuse???  Lead on, oh fearless guides!!!

We climbed up a short steep rock outcropping to a cave set into the face of the cliff over the village.  There we found a good sized pile of bones...skulls and other bones piled up with no particular reverence, as might be shown in a typical ancestral burial plot.

Bis said that no one knows what the origin of the bones really is....are they ancestors of residents of the village, or remains of vanquished (and presumably eaten) warriors???  To their knowledge no archeologists have ever studied the remains or dated them.  We examined several of the skulls, and most showed signs of being smashed, usually at the back of the head.  This, plus the rather cavalier stacking of the bones, would seem to indicate that no love was felt for the original owners of the bones.....likely not a burial site for ancestors.  The mystery lives on.....

A few days later, we were telling Bis how interesting the cave trip was.  He mentioned that he might be able to find another cache of bones near another cave as well, if we were up for it......UP FOR IT???  Lead on, Bis!!!

Check out Joanna's left foot hold!!!!  We're getting there!!!
 Reaching this batch o' bones was a bit more of a challenge, involving some class 4 rock scrambling.  Happily us kaipalangis wore hiking shoes, though Bis and his wife Joanna were in sandals!  At any rate, we all made it up the short face and gingerly peered over the edge.....once again, another assortment of human bones.  This time they were just sitting on a ledge under a rock overhang.  Here they were sorted a bit.....skulls in one pile, other bones in another.  Again, no real knowledge among the villagers of the origin.  But like the other pile, many of these skulls were cracked open.

Graham, aka "Indie of Ardwall"

Reaching the ledge of bones

"Who goes there???"

 After checking out the bones, we decided to check out the little cave opening next to the ledge.  Bis said no one had been up here yet this year.  He stuck his head in, and immediately we heard a horrendous SCREEECH from deep in the cave!!!  It kept on going!!!  Bis freaked out, so of course so did we kaipalangis!!!  (No matter how old they are, messing about with skulls is bound to put you on edge!!!)  We thought that maybe a feral pig was around the corner, and no one wanted to meet it face to face!!!

But not to be deterred, next in went Indie of Ardwall, not knowing what lay in wait just inside.......We had no flashlights, but he held his arm in with his camera strobe on, reached around, fired off a shot, and pulled back his arm.  We all huddled around the camera to see what beast was in there shrieking so loud.   Graham opened up the image, and we all started to laugh...

Entrance on right, then into the larger cave to the left

It was a baby bird, tucked into a small alcove just inside the cave entrance, whose mother must have left to go get food.  At first we thought it might be an owl, but looking at it's webbed feet, it's obviously a sea bird of some type.  After checking on the internet, it's clearly a baby white tailed tropic bird.

We took a few photos of the feisty chick as we walked past into the large cave beyond.  We were eager to check it out and be gone before mom came back with dinner!!!

Hard to believe how loud the little guy's warning cry was!!!
The cave beyond was quite spectacular, with stalagtites and stalagmites all around.  We hurriedly did a bit more exploration before leaving the little chick to the darkness, awaiting his meal.  All in all, it had been another great day in Fulaga!!!  Thanks, Bis and Joanna, for showing us another unique bit of the island.

Cindi looking for the lost "Temple of Doom"

Bis at a rear entrance to the cave in the face of the cliff, looking out over the water.