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Friday, July 24, 2015

Arrived in Fiji!!

Hotspur's final days moored in Pago Pago, American Samoa

Tongan friends in Nuiatoputapu

The children in Nuiatoputapu are darling - but they are not too sure about cameras!

After the 2009 tsunami, the thatched huts were replaced by kits.

Beautiful veggie gardens in Nuiatoputapu
The first 1/3 of the 3 night trip from Tonga to Fiji was delightful. The bonus was the fresh trevally we caught. It made many nice meals, including sushi, garlic & lemon butter, thai green curry and beer battered. We spotted whales along the way and the sapphire blue water was dreamy. But after Saturday, the next 3/4 of the passage stunk and our 3 night trip turned into 4 nights.

The school's principal wearing her beautiful woven "kie".
We lost the wind altogether, wrapped up our spinnaker (again) and already had enough fish from our trevally we couldn't justify bobbing around all day Sunday, lazily casting a lure from the deck. So, we started the motor... hot and noisy. And yay - by Monday the wind was back and we were making good time. Our grib files showed the weather getting nasty on Wednesday so we had plenty of time... but the nasty weather showed up without an invitation on Monday night.

Tin Can Island - Nuiatoputapu

I love the cardboard shade the man on the right is wearing!

Mom and child - Nuiatoputapu

Pandanus drying in the sun - Nuiatoputapu
We were seeing 25 knots on the beam from a SE front with heavy southerly swells – not dangerous... just uncomfortable. We had 2 reefs in the main and the jib was kerchief style to slow Hotspur down. We all were grateful I ordered new zippers and installed them back in Pago Pago – the side panels in our enclosed cockpit kept us nice and dry. Still, our canvas bimini and dodger began to leak with rain and saltwater. The Thompson's we applied dissipated quickly – I think the Sunbrella is just too old. We actually wore our foulies in the tropics to keep warm!
Hello warm and tropical Fiji?

Carolyne - our helper.
Woman weaving kie - Nuiatoputapu

A fishing pig - Nuiatoputapu

The little motu in Nuiatoputapu

Our creative daughter - Nuiatoputapu
To add a little salt in the sore, our auto pilot fell apart. The alternator Jim paid $160 for repairs in Pago Pago worked for less than 2 hours before it died. The stainless connectors on our preventer on the boom broke in half and when Jim rummaged through our bits and found a replacement... that ALSO refused to work for long and mimicked its predecessor in death.

We made it to the Fiji islands, but because of the weather (and the stringent government controls regarding anchoring) we missed the “official hours” to check in by a smidgen. Since we couldn't arrive in Savusavu before closing time, we had no choice but to heave to and wait out the blustery, ugly weather – or else we would have to pay exorbitant “overtime” fees. (Instead of $175US we would be looking at more than $400US.) This meant staying up for watches yet another night. And we were already very tired from not getting good rest in the howling, bumpy conditions. Therefore, we found a little cove where we hove to and jibed back and forth occasionally until morning. We didn't dare risk anchoring... we have heard reports of those who do not adhere to the policy of checking in first before dropping the hook being fined up to $10,000US! (To date, we have been told by a few that you can anchor right outside the Savusavu harbor entrance without being hassled by officials if you arrive in the dark. Rumor or not, $10,000 is a lot of money to risk to find out whether that is true or not!)
Sailing Princess - Nuiatoputapu

Endangered Pacific Hawksbill sea turtle - Pago Pago, American Samoa

The Sitka - Nuiatoputapu

Hotspur feeling very peaceful - Nuiatoputapu

The morning weather was no better, but we cheerfully arrived in Savusavu and found a quiet mooring ball at The Copra Shed after having all the pain-free, on-board visits from the proper authorities, who were all very courteous and polite. Although we were drop-dead-tired, we were eager to get off the boat and explore. We ran into various cruising friends we met along the way in Mexico and French Polynesia. It was great to connect again. We met for wobblies and pizza in the evening and turned in early.
Lots of work to make a kie - Nuiatoputapu

So far, we find Suvasuva enchanting! Lovely people, wonderful food, excellent prices, fresh market produce, lots of diversity and simply... it's just an amazing place.

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