Sunday, September 4, 2016

Perry Versus The Volcano

We had heard so much about getting an up-close--and seemingly dangerously close--view of lava spewing out of Mt. Yasur that it seemed impossible that the experience could live up to the hype. It matched the hype and then some. In fact, our evening at the volcano on Tanna has surmounted our list of most memorable experiences so far in almost four years aboard.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Rethinking chili as a passage dinner (Fiji to Vanuatu)

Mystery Island, pre-cruise ship

As we were leaving Fiji to head to Vanuatu, we overheard a conversation on the VHF radio between an approaching freighter and the Port Authority about a possible tsunami warning. We had cell phone service just long enough to find out that a 7.2 magnitude earthquake had hit just south of Vanuatu (the direction we were heading). We were right at the pass out of the lagoon, heading towards the ocean, which would have been a bad spot to be if a tsunami had come.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Lazy days in Port Denarau and Musket Cove

Conrad at Big Bula Water Park. Photo
courtesy of Marie-Claude Osterrath
Blog-writing on Perry is one of the casualties of being back in civilization. After spending weeks without seeing any other cruisers (other than our friends on Amelie IV), Port Denarau and Nadi were a bit of a shock to our systems. There is always something to do.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Kadavu (Fiji)

We have spent the last couple weeks in the Great Astrolabe Reef area, which didn't make the cut during last season's visit to Fiji. The land is much greener here than up north. There is no cyclone damage and plentiful water. The main island of Kadavu, owing to its moist, well draining soil, is the source of the best yaqona (kava) in Fiji. It's a major cash crop for the folks here and the well kempt villages reflect the added income it provides.  As with most of the traditional villages in Fiji, visitors (including boats) are required to present an offering of yaqona to the village chief in a ceremony called sevusevu. Ironically, the yaqona we are bringing to our recent sevusevus may have been grown in Kadavu, shipped and sold to merchants in bigger towns, bought by us, only to be sailed back and returned to villages in Kadavu. It seems like cutting out the middleman could help both the producers and the cruisers, but it's tradition.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Bright Lights, Big City

Perry as seen from a bay near Avea in the Lau Group

Savasavu has a population of a little over 3,000 people. To put that number into (somewhat morbid) perspective, almost as many people have been shot this year in our hometown of Chicago (and some people think our lifestyle is dangerous!). But after five weeks in the remote islands of the Lau Group, Savusavu feels like a bustling metropolis to us.

Monday, June 20, 2016

The Lau Group (Fiji)

Kids from Cicia visiting Perry. Not many cruising boats get to this island.

Our nearly month long (so far) visit to the Lau Group has been very different from our visit last year. Our work with Sea Mercy has kept us busy doing assessments of the needs of hard-to-reach villages after the destruction Cyclone Winston and delivering donated and purchased aid.  We've also done a number of projects within the villages including clearing and cutting logs, building fences, wiring generators, installing water makers, and anything else that the villages need help with.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Spraying and splashing and leaking (just a bit)

Cam from Port Whangarei Marine Center spraying on our Coppercoat.
Kiwis swear a lot. At first I thought it was because we were in a boatyard and that's just how the tradesmen talked. But in the time I spent at playgrounds and walking along the scenic waterfront paths in Whangarei, I was continually, mildly surprised to hear the F-word casually uttered in conversation by moms pushing young kids in strollers. Seems that just the way it 'effin is here...