Aloha to all our family and friends,
We are in FIJI!!!! We have been very very busy since we sent out our last update on March 31, 2002. We spent April 5-16 "on the hard" at Tauranga Bridge Marina painting our bottom and doing other repairs, while she was out of the water. During that time, we were also finalizing all our provisioning, washing, medical kit, etc in preparation for our passage to Fiji from New Zealand. We finished our final shopping, washing, and sold our Little Ford Laser to Rent-a-Dent and were all ready to leave on April 23, but we could not head northwest in 30 knot winds from the northwest! We managed to finally leave with Ron and Anna on *Lazy Jack* on April 30 and spent that night at Slipper Island. The following day we sailed to Whangaparapara on Great Barrier Island in 20-25 knot winds. We made the mistake of deciding to wait a day for the winds to calm. We finally left on May 5 in 35 knot winds and rather large seas. We had difficulty making it out the harbor, so *Lazy Jack* waited until late afternoon and sailed overnight to Opua. We spent the night in Tutukaka, and then motored all day and were in our slip at Opua Marina about 2:30pm on May 6. We definitely understand why Kiwis are such excellent sailors: they have to sail in 40 knot winds with 2-3 meter seas or they sail with NO wind!!!
We finally had a weather window to head to Fiji on May 15, after much washing, repairing items, purchasing more food and boat parts and enjoying the Bay of Islands. Unfortunately, we did not have a car, so we didn't go too far. We did walk the 2 hours along the water to the town of Paihia and then we took a taxi home, since we were carrying lots of groceries!
We left with 27 other boats in fairly rough seas, so the first two days were very difficult for me. I think that I had become too accustomed to being on solid land. Unfortunately, our friends on *Lazy Jack* had to turn around on the second day out because neither their auto-pilot nor their wind vane was working, so they were hand-steering and could not imagine doing that for up to 10 days! They FINALLY arrived here in Savusavu about 8pm last Tuesday, May 11. Eric and David guided them with lights on our dinghy to a mooring at Copra Shed Marina.
We arrived in South Minerva Reef on May 20 (the same amount of time as our reverse trip to New Zealand last November...but it seemed like forever!). We had stopped because David was concerned about the lack of wind and how much diesel we were using.
We found South Minerva to be even more pristine than North, where we spent two weeks on our trip to NZ. We captured lobsters (HUGE and absolutely delicious!) and Eric speared orange spotted pig fish, green job fish, emperor fish and caught trevally on a hook, so our freezer is full again. Unfortunately, the gray reef sharks are everywhere...so we were always close by our dinghy. We left on May 26, but decided to spend the night in North Minerva because there was absolutely no wind! We left the following day and arrived at the Copra Shed Marina in Savusavu the morning of May 30 after a nice motor/sail here.
We have washed all our clothes (heavy clothes and blankets have been replaced by light dresses, shorts and bathing suits), replaced all the gasoline and diesel (we actually used alot less than we thought, because of our clean bottom and clean turbo-charger!), and have been enjoying the market, bread bakery....enjoying the warmth of the climate here in Fiji and of the beautiful friendly people! The country side is very lush and green while the reef out by the Cousteau Resort is full of many beautifully colored reef fish, some larger ones that Eric could spear (we don't really need any more fish, since we caught two large mahimahi ...and we have been going out to eat alot here), and lovely soft corals of many different colors! There seem to be many different fish and corals here from other places where we have snorkeled! Another adventure!
I actually started this update over a week ago! We were so very busy the last few days in Savusavu, looking at property, shopping and getting ready to leave, etc. etc, I haven't had a chance to sit down and finish. We left the Copra Shed Marina last Friday and have sailed to a different anchorage every day! We anchored at Fawn Harbour, Yavu in Budd Reef, Matagi Bay and we are now in Namata Bay on Qamea with three other boats (*Lazy Jack*, *Sabina* and *Chewink*). We have snorkeled everywhere and haven't seen anything as beautiful as what we saw outside Cousteau's Resort, but the visibility is slightly better; however, we always see something new and interesting to make our trip worthwhile! Unfortunately, the winds have been blowing 20-25 knots, so it makes it very difficult (read: impossible) to travel to the outer reef. We hope to enjoy many of the islands in eastern Fiji, and possibly visit the Lau Group since we have special permission, before we head to Suva. Lots to see with 333 islands in Fiji!
Our plans are to be in Suva at the end of the month, then to Vuda Point Marina near Lautoka by July 8. I will be flying to Boulder on July 11 with the guys following on July 23. We will return to *Peace and Aloha* on August 5 (Leave Boulder on August 3) after Julie and Chris are married on July 27. We are looking forward to seeing many of you there! Our address is really Julie's which is 6175 Habitat Drive #1068 Boulder, CO 80301 1-303-527-0423 or this email!
After we return, we will spend a month or so in Fiji, then on to Vanuatu, New Caledonia and we will spend cyclone season near Brisbane in Australia. Not so many miles to sail nor overnights at sea for this sailing season!!!
We hope that you are all well, happy and enjoying the lazy hazy days of summer! Please keep in touch via this email! I have also been working on updating our website at www.peaceandaloha.com and hot news is completed to November 30, 2001 with many pictures. Hopefully, I will complete more while we are in Colorado. I do apologize for not keeping up with answering emails or our website, but I do find that I don't have enough hours in my day out here! Please continue to be patient....Thank you!
Take care. Be safe and God Bless.
Love, Peace and Aloha,
Ellen, David, Jason and Eric
S/V PEACE AND ALOHA
June 18, 2002
Namata Bay, Qamea, Fiji Islands