The Island of Ovalau


We left Makogai in the morning for the short trip to Levuka on the island of Ovalau. Once outside the reef pass at Mokagai there was clear water in the Koro Sea until the pass into Levuka. A perfect angle in the moderate SE trades set up a great three hour day sail. We did find a stow-a-way, however.

Our stow-a-way from Makogai

She got feisty fighting off the camera. A Praying Mantis is faster than auto focus.

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Green Flash

The Koro Sea

After six weeks and a few days, we left Savusavu on Vanua Levu and headed southwest to Koro Island, in the Koro Sea and its namesake. The Koro Sea is essentially created by the archipelago of the Fiji Islands. Reef systems of the Lau Group to the east and south break the open Pacific swell. The Koro Sea, while still open and deep water, is noticeably calmer than open ocean. This was a motor-sail in light air, so we took the opportunity of running the water maker during the six-hour passage. We arrived at Dere Bay on the west side of the island and found one other yacht already there.

Dere Bay on Koro Island. A few buildings, not many people.

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New Feet, Deep Feet, and a Rescue

Boat work in Paradise

We have new feet. More properly speaking, we have new flex mounts on the engine. The Beta is running more smoothly and sounding better than it has in a very long time. We now realize the failed flex mount was probably in the process of failing for a long time and we just hadn’t realized it was happening because the damage progressed slowly. Remember back to the failed engine mounting foot replaced in Papeete, Tahiti. This failure was the flex mount in the same location. The flex mount seemed fine, until a catastrophic final break in Savusavu one day, puttering over to take on fresh water.

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Powerless in Paradise

Cruising is working on your boat in exotic locations.

This is one of those cliches that every cruiser knows, and knows to be true.

We are still enjoying Savusavu. We are thankful to be in a place that’s easy to enjoy: A protected anchorage, ready access to well-stocked markets, a number of good restaurants, lovely people, and good facilities for guests. We’re getting to know people, both local residents like the friendly and efficient marina staff, and our fellow cruisers. Continue reading


Bula means “Cheers!”, “Hello!” Literally, it means “life” according to the Lonely Planet guide. It’s the greeting, offered with a big smile, you’ll receive and give whenever you meet someone, or just pass them by along the roadside, here in Fiji. It’s among the first Fijian words we heard on arrival, and the first one we learned. Continue reading

Moon Jellies

A couple of evenings ago, as Ruth was just preparing to turn in with her book in hand, Randy called out from the cockpit where he’d gone for a last look around: “come up here and see this!” Outside, peering over the edge of the boat was Randy, pointing to a mass of floating jellyfish slowly moving up on the incoming tide.They were moon jellies, thousands of them, perhaps millions for all we could tell. The water was milky white with their bodies. They surrounded Velic and as deep and as far as we could see in the dark, the water had this milky look. Twenty minutes later, they were gone and the water around the boat was a clear deep blue again. Moon jellyfish are common in the western Pacific. We had seen them before, sometimes several of them together. But we had never witnessed such a mass of them. It was eery, and beautiful. Continue reading

How to take cold showers

Once the cold water is running, remind yourself of two things: 1) This is ambient temperature water, not really ‘cold’, and 2) It’s not going to get warmer. You see, in the first world, we turn on the water and wait for it to warm up before stepping in. Here, turn on the water and let it run over your legs, then over your forearms. When the first chill is off your arms and legs, then stick in your head and let the water run through your hair, but not yet over your whole head and shoulders. This cools you down a bit. Then just step in and start the suds. It’s not going to get warmer. But in a bit, you get cooler and it feels great – taking the tropical heat out of your bones.

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