About Us

Welcome to our blog, describing our voyage aboard Bravo, a Kelly Peterson 46 sailboat with homeport in Seattle, Washington. We headed south in 2010, destined for Mexico and beyond. 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


Friday, October 10, 2014

Life in the BIG CITY

Suva, that is.  We arrived here in Fiji's capital about a week ago.  Wow, talk about culture shock after the past 3 months in the outer islands and villages!!!  Suva is big and gritty, a terrific mix of native Fijian islanders, Indo Fijians and Chinese cultures all mixed together.  And like the rest of Fiji, home to some of the friendliest people on the planet!


We've been thoroughly enjoying the sights, people and FOOD of the city!!!  (Suva has terrific, cheap Indian and Chinese restaurants, from hole in the walls (our favorites) to pretty posh eateries).

Even saw a first run movie ("The Judge".....a bit long, a bit clicheed, but not bad, with some great acting) in a brand new AIR CONDITIONED theater.....reclining seats far better than 1st class airlines, and they serve food and alcohol at your seat!!!  Yeah baby.....




 One day, while poking around the craft markets for a few souvenirs, we found a booth owned by Max, a great young Suvan guy.  He had the best crafts we've found in Fiji, and it turned out that he gets some of the carvings  "raw" from carvers in Fulaga, and has them finished here in Suva.  He also knew several friends of ours on other yachts, and invited us to visit him and his family in their village nearby for some kava and dinner.

Last night we took a cab to Suvavou Village and had a wonderful visit with Max, wife Marry, and his immediate and extended family.



They have a bunch of young kids (including 3 of the quadruplets born 6 months ago) and family from the village.  Really nice how these extended families hang together to help each other out.  We enjoyed kava on the front porch before a fine dinner.



Vinaka vakalevu, Max and Marry, for a great evening.



Today was a big national holiday;  Fijian Independence Day, also known as Fiji Day.  We, of course, never being ones who can resist a good parade with proper pomp and circumstance, headed down to Albert Park to check out the action.  Plenty of military marching, guns and cannons firing, speeches, flag waving, how can ya go wrong???!  Even a ferris wheel and cotton candy!!!  Good stuff, and a real sense of national pride shown by the people.




















"This thing come with a manual?????"



And finally, here's one of our favorite streets in Suva....guess they were going to replace the sign, but it was.......


















Here's a proud business that just shouldn't be anywhere else but Goodenough Street!!!




It looks like the weather is finally clearing after about 2 weeks of rainy, squally conditions, so we plan to head south tomorrow to the Kadavu area.  Home of the Astrolabe Reef, the island group is known for its terrific diving.  We hope to stay for about a week, before heading back up here to Suva to wait for our weather window for the passage back to New Zealand for the summer.  Stay tuned!


Lomoviti Rambles

The BRAVO crew has spent the past few weeks exploring the Lomoviti group of islands....a terrific area for adventures on the east side of the main Fijian island of Viti Levu.

Makongai Island:

Map of island, showing where patients were segregated by nationality

This island, a former leper colony abandoned in 1969, is now owned by the Fijian Fisheries Dept, and is now used primarily for aquaculture; breeding sea turtles and giant clams for release into waters around the country.  Much of its sad history eerily remains, though the tropical bush is  gradually taking over.  After delivering our gift of kava to one of the caretakers in a rather "casual" sevusevu (we were told it would be given to the chief of the village on the island later......hmmmmm) he gave us a good tour of the ruins of the old colony.




Remains of old patient wharf

One of several remaining "cell blocks" for jailed patients...not a nice way to spend your last days...

Movie theater, Makongai style, we were told the first movie theater in Fiji...screen was concrete wall on left, projection booth on right...movie goers would sit on mats in the middle!  Alfred Hitchcock must've been the favorite!

The cemetery was particularly moving...we were told that approximately 5,000 people are buried here, and folks still come every year from around the world, including Europe, to visit graves of deceased relatives.









Since around 1980 the island has been used by the Dept of Fisheries for happier purposes, replenishing the reefs of Fiji with sea turtles and giant clams.  We saw many of each in the tanks near the main wharf.




Do ya think these guys are used to being fed???



These little guys hatched about 2 months ago













Clam, about 3 feet across, was planted on the reef 18 years ago, now completely embedded in coral

Leleuvia Island:

After several days at Makongai, we had a great sail over to the tiny island of Leleuvia, just south of Ovalau Island.  Leleuvia is home to a small, very casual resort, which has installed a couple of moorings for visiting yachts to protect their coral reef from anchors.  We grabbed one and stayed there for about a week, enjoying the hospitality of the resort and the sheltered waters of their reef.

Bright corals growing in little concrete "pots" to be planted on the reef at Leleuvia.
They've been protecting and rebuilding their reef for years, and it shows, with excellent snorkeling right around the island.














 


We did a dive one day with Seru, the local divemaster, who showed us a good wall dive a couple of miles away.  The dive, though not as spectacular as the Rainbow Reef, was interesting nonetheless, with fun caves and chimneys to visit.




But the highlight of the dive was near the end, when we spotted a hawksbill turtle swim by on the wall.



 Seru jetted ahead to grab it, and we carried the rascal up to the boat waiting above.  The resort participates in a tagging research program, and has tagged about 50 turtles so far.  The turtles have been spotted as far as Hawaii and New Caledonia, so they do migrate long distances.











We brought the rather pissed off turtle to the dive shed, where all of the kids on the island came running to see.


After he was measured and the tag was crimped onto his front flipper, he was carried back to the beach, where he happily crawled back to the water and swam off, seemingly none the worse for the experience, (do turtles get PTSD???)  and sporting a flashy new bit of jewelry.








We left Leluevia and headed south to Suva, Fiji's capital.......time for BIG CITY adventures!