Aloha, Family and Friends,
We checked into Fiji at Savusavu on Venua Levu Island on May 31 and explored the Cousteau Resort, Fawn Harbor and Viani Bay on that island, Yavu Island in Budd Reef, Matagi Bay on Matagi Island, Namata Bay and Naiviivi Bay on Gamea Island, Vurevure Bay on Taveuni Island, all on the eastern side of Fiji. Unfortunately, we did not have time to go further east to the Lau Group of Islands. We sailed to Suva on Viti Levu Island on July 1, where we accomplished some business at the American Embassy and enjoyed the capital city. We anchored in Vunaniu Bay and Momi Bay on Viti Levu Island as we traveled to Vuda Point Marina for our reservation on July 8 to keep the boat during our travels to Colorado for Julie's wedding. The eastern islands are much more lush and green compared to the western islands. We even spent time looking at purchasing property here in Fiji; however, we have put it on "Hold" for the present time, after our recent purchase of 4 acres in Olowalu on Maui. We so enjoyed the friendliness of the Fijians and their beautiful country, both on land and in the sea that we definitely would like to return! Ellen left for Boulder, Colorado on July 11 and the guys flew out from Nadi Airport on July 23. While she was gone, they sailed to Musket Cove to surf for a few days before having to leave for the wedding.
We returned to Fiji on August 5 at 5:10AM! We spent all day unpacking and stowing everything, desperately trying to stay awake so that we could reset our time clocks. At 5:30pm we went to First Landing (the resort located next to the marina) for their delicious half-price pizza. They made an exception for us and started cooking our pizza early, so we could eat and be in bed at 7pm! The next day we were still tired/jet lagged, but had lots of wash to do (6 loads of all our sheets, towels, and clothes the guys had not washed while I was away! in the marina's only ONE washer and ONE dryer). On Wednesday we took a taxi to Lautoka to visit Customs to obtain permission to visit the Yasawas, etc. and to reprovision for the next several weeks. The refrigerator and freezer had been turned off, so we had to reprovision with chicken, eggs, butter, etc! We finished all our work at the marina and headed to Musket Cove on Malolo Lailai Island, arriving there after lunch on Thursday, August 8. Unfortunately, we didn't catch any fish. We were disappointed since the guys had caught two tuna on their trips back and forth to the marina while Ellen was away. Musket Cove has excellent surfing nearby (Tavarua), windsurfing, kite surfing, snorkeling, scuba diving, $1.50 bar, restaurant with barbecues, shops, golf course, tennis courts, airport (lots of calm water where sea planes land), two resorts with swimming pools...a very nice place to hang out! Unfortunately our weather was not terrific, with lots of wind and rain, which did allow time for me to make our flag for Vanuatu and to prepare five passage meals of curry dinners of chicken or lamb with rice.
We sailed back to Lautoka to reprovision since we were told that everything is twice as expensive in Vanuatu and New Caledonia as in Fiji and to check out of Fiji on Monday, August 19. We returned to Musket Cove the following day. We made all our final preparations to leave on Thursday August 22. We left Musket Cove about 10am with *Abel Tasman* (Al, Lucinda, and young daughters Lindsay and Erin), sailed out through Wilkes Pass by the surf resort of Tavarua. At about 11:30 AM, we decided to turn around and return to Musket Cove. We just could not imagine spending a night in conditions of 3 meter seas and 35+ knot winds on the beam. We spent the night in Musket Cove in nice calm conditions, but we remained aboard and were very quiet on the VHF, since we had checked out of Fiji. We headed out at 9am on Friday (in spite of my never wanting to start a passage on Fridays!) and found that the wind had moved around to the east, so we continued on...not a very nice day, but we were definitely going FAST! We arrived here in Port Resolution, Tanna Island, Vanuatu (pronounced van-WAH-too)yesterday morning after a 3 night passage of almost 500 miles from Musket Cove on Malolo Lailai Island in Fiji. It was a very rolly passage beginning with a 3 meter swell on our beam and 35+ knot winds. We are very happy to be in this anchorage, although we have just deployed a stern anchor, which we HATE to do, to keep us pointed into the swell and to stop the rolling. Even the terrible roll did not keep us from sleeping like logs for over 12 hours after a delicious dinner of freshly caught mahimahi!!! So, we are glad to be here and ready to explore the many different islands each with their own cultures, customs and language! We have also been told that they only stopped cannibalism in the 1960's!!!! We are also eagerly awaiting a visit from Ed and Belle Blumenstock and Leann Vargo on September 14.
Update - August 30: Port Resolution, here in Tanna, is the highlight of our cruising season this year. We are surrounded by native villages who live like they were in the stone age. Have you heard of the Jon Frum Cargo Cult? They are here and it has been so interesting visiting them along with the Mormon missionaries who are desperately trying to convert them away from their truly bizarre beliefs. In addition, we are anchored just under a very active volcano which is constantly erupting giving us tremendous earthquakes and noise. What a incredible place! We have also been visiting "custom villages" (traditional villages where the native wear only nambas and grass skirts and nothing else).
We will head to Noumea, New Caledonia about the middle of October
and spend about a week there before heading to Mooloolaba, Australia where
we will spend cyclone season this year from November 15 to April 15 in a marina.
We will be touring Australia and doing some boat work, before we head to Thailand.
We are hoping that Julie and Chris will be joining us for Christmas. This
might be an excellent time for anyone who is considering a trip to tour the
big country down under to visit us.
That brings you up to date with our recent adventures and our future plans. I am sure that you are all wondering about THE wedding! Apple Valley Farm was a beautiful setting for a beautiful ceremony to celebrate the love of two absolutely beautiful people, Julie and Chris on July 27, 2002! The weather was perfect: sunny, cool and clear air, with no smoke from any of the forest fires, in spite of two which were very close to Boulder/Lyons. We also wish to thank all of you who were able to join us for the celebration. We were so excited to see friends whom we had not seen for many years and to have you share such a happy occasion with us. Thank you for coming. We want to thank you all for your blessings and your kind generosity in the lovely gifts and cards which you sent to Julie and Chris.
Please check out our website at www.peaceandaloha.com for pictures and updates to May 1, 2002 at the present time. We are hoping to complete the update to the present with more pictures and more details soon. If it is possible, we will update sooner here in Vanuatu. Also remember that you can email us at this address or send pictures and REAL letters (like upcoming Christmas cards!) to our address: c/o Julie Johnson 6175 Habitat Dr. #1068 Boulder, CO 80301 phone: 303-527-0423.
We hope that everyone is well, happy, and has had an enjoyable relaxing summer. Please keep in touch! Take care! Be Safe and God Bless! We love you all!
Love and hugs,
Ellen, David, Jason and Eric
S/V PEACE AND ALOHA
August 30, 2002
Port Resolution, Tanna Island, Vanuatu