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_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Marcy home Walvis Bay Angling Club club AFASyn Ushuaia Marcy and crew

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

FROM TONGA TO FIJI

Ceylon

Marcy’s passage from Tonga to Fiji started off in rough seas. After sailing out the pass and clearing the end of the island under double reefed main alone, we bore off to our heading. The rhumb line (direct heading) to our destination lay directly downwind. The motion on board wasn’t nice - there was a nasty roll on top of a quick corkscrew motion. The waves weren’t huge, but they were steep and confused, and just the right wavelength to really bounce Marcy around. Peter felt seasick for the first time since leaving Seattle, and Ginger was looking a little green herself. A lone whale spouted ahead of us as we held on for dear life and tried to adjust to the movements. We talked about our time in Tonga and remembered the sweet natured children we had met there.

kids on the wharf, Niuatoputapu

High school group

Riding home from school Niuatoputapu

We had brought some watercolor paint sets and other school supplies to donate to the elementary school, and the kids exuberantly posed for our camera.

Hihifo school

Our memories of Tonga were great company on this passage. The first night of the passage was one of those we like to forget: cooking, eating and reading were out of the question and neither of us got much sleep. By late in the second day, though, conditions were easing up. We shook out reefs, unrolled the jib, and as we closed in on Fiji all of the surrounding islets had provided protection from the waves. The last day felt like sailing on Puget Sound on a summer day, without a trace of ocean swell. We entered Savu Savu harbor and picked up a buoy at the historic Copra Shed marina to clear into Fiji.

mooring Savu Savu

Steaming hot volcanic streams empty into the Savu Savu bay.

Hot springs Savu Savu

The anchorage has a good view of the commercial pier, where a succession of ramshackle ferries dock. These ships are handled like dinghies, with all maneuvers carried out at top speed. This ship has dropped anchor and is backing down to the pier, her vehicle ramp is already dropping down.

ferry Savu Savu

After the visits from the officials, we went ashore to change money and pay the fees at the various offices.

Savu Savu government buildings

The phone booths fascinated us. Are those some sort of primitive weapons? They look like a Captain Kirk jousting weapon from Star Trek.

phone booth Fiji

At last we were able to replenish supplies. Beer first, of course. Fiji Bitter is pretty good stuff. We still rate Vailima export from independant Samoa as the best in the Pacific so far…..

Fiji beer

The market had all of our fresh food and kava needs….

Savu Savu market entrance

Savu Savu market kava

Cruising sailboats need to carry a supply of kava bundles rolled in traditional ceremonial newspaper to present to the various chiefs that we will encounter in exploring Fiji.

From our mooring in the bay we had heard some workers singing beautiful traditional songs during their lunch break. The sounds drifting over the water at mid-day made us pause and listen. Later we noticed this skiff ferrying the brush clearing workers across the harbor on their way home. Throughout the Pacific we have seen no reluctance to really load a boat down.

Savu Savu commute

The most interesting cargo load we’ve seen yet was a water tank being transported island to island in Tonga. This boat had crossed several miles of open ocean and had run a rough pass by the time we took the photo.

water tank from volcano island

We’re happy to be snug in a protected harbor. In the morning we wake to the scent of tropical flowers and the sound of strange bird calls.

orchids Fiji

After a few days in Savu Savu we will head north to explore the east coast of the big island of Vanua Levu.

Fiji Iris

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