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...

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Two steps forward, one step back--Cha-Cha-Cha

The view of the boatyard from the top of our mast. It's
much higher when you're out of the water because we're blocked
up 8 feet higher than normal.
Conrad has been knocking the socks off me in the 'updating blogs' department. And I need those socks because it is cold here. Yes, it's only in the 60's overnight and 70's during the day but keep in mind that we don't have heat and still have thin blood from living in the tropics for the last few years.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Chicago Visit 2016

Conrad and Grandma
When you grow up in Chicago, you don't usually think of it as a vacation destination, especially in the winter (even the 'end' of winter). Add to this the fact that we have spent the last several years in places dominated by beaches and tropical weather and you can see why I found myself cringing at the idea of intentionally subjecting ourselves to long pants, possible snow and--the horror--shoes.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Doing stuff. And things.

Auckland Art Gallery
Matt has been hard at work doing fiberglass work to close up some unneeded through hulls. The boat yard has also given us a vacuum pump to help dry out the hull. We'll continue to let it dry out while we visit Chicago for awhile. Our parents got together and generously bought us tickets to make the trip. Conrad and Mark are excited to visit their birthplace after three years away.