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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Welcome to Nuku’alofa

After a boisterous 13 day passage of 1286 nm we are enjoying hanging out at anchor in front of Big Mama’s Yacht Club.

Big Mama’s Yacht Club on Pangaimotu island, a Seven Seas Cruising Association recognized yacht club, has been welcoming cruisers for many years. Earle and his wife – “Big Mama” – run the restaurant and bar as well as ferry service to the mainland. They are very helpful and can provide advice and information as well as facilitating services like  laundry, fuel, potable water, as well as a cheeseburger and beer in paradise. The ferry runs regularly twice a day between Nuku’alofa and Pangaimotu Island, carrying passengers and goods. The island is home to a small permanent community, almost entirely composed of family members related to Earle and Big Mama. Continue reading

Passage to Tonga: Tongatapu

Day 13: Now anchored off ‘Big Mama’s’ in the lagoon of Tongatapu Island Group, just before sunset. Wow, the boat is safe, secure, flat and still.

It’s about a mile across the lagoon from the commercial port with the inbound clearance and fuel wharf. Wharf rats and roaches included. We tied up there for a few hours to clear in with Tonga Customs and Immigration. Maybe tomorrow we can launch the dinghy and have a burger in paradise at Big Mama’s cafe on the beach.