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Saturday, October 31, 2015

Party in Paradise

Carolyne turned 16-years-old on Halloween. The week before, Jim hit 50. I always feel exhausted after October and sometimes - elated it won't come again for another year. We always try and keep our celebrations simple... a nice dinner at a favorite restaurant and thoughtful SMALL gifts. Living on a boat, there's not room to accumulate "stuff" - yet we always seem to. For Jim's birthday, we invited sv Evenstar to our boat after we shared a dinner together at a favorite restaurant. B.J.'s birthday and Jim's birthday were the same day.
Danielle's cake she made and decorated. This girl is so talented!!

B.J., Kathy and Danielle - sv Evenstar
Halloween isn't celebrated in Fiji. Usually I can piggyback Halloween functions and Carolyne's birthday and it's pretty easy. This year I didn't know what to do. The marinas in Savusavu are all very different. Savusavu Marina is in the way back of the estuary. It's a great place to have a party, but too far away from the center of town for many people to venture out on a rainy Saturday night. And, it's the beginning of cyclone season, so many cruisers have already departed.

The Copra Shed is the fancy marina. It has two restaurants, a couple of hotel rooms and a very nice courtyard with picnic tables and a bar. The staff is cordial and professional. There are docks in front of the marina. We have been staying with Copra Shed since our arrival in July and we've loved it. But because the restaurants are open to the public, it's not a good place to have a private party.
Birthday girl

Fairy Leila and her ukulele

Carolyne and Danielle in their costumes at Waitui Marina
Waitui marina isn't fancy, but it has lots of character. It's rustic, doesn't have docks, has one small Indian restaurant and has picnic tables under a corrugated metal roof... which may leak once in a while. The manager, Jolene, is the draw to this marina. She is unmistakably the most lovely person to work with and to know. The only helix moorings available when we arrived in July were at Waitui - there were two left - and we snapped one up immediately.

I went to Jolene last week and asked about having a little get together for Carolyne's birthday at Waitui. Jolene was agreeable and I explained Carolyne wanted to keep it small and sweet - no big celebrations. I soon learned with Jolene, there is no celebrating on a small scale. When we arrived to the marina last night, the outdoor eating area was dressed for a party.

Ninja Caleb and his sparklers

Blue Sea owner Nathan and his son
 160 colorful balloons lined the gutters, a handmade sign was lit with bright lights and Jolene arrived with a beautiful chocolate cake. The kids dressed up and played Twister and lit sparklers and threw loud banging poppers. 

Nathan, owner of the Blue Sea Restaurant, brought out a sound system and played pop tunes and rock and roll. We ordered very reasonably priced dinner from his menu and drank wine with our Swedish and American friends. Some of the employees brought their children. 
Ella, Danielle and Caleb playing TWISTER

Jolene surprised Carolyne with a beautiful cake

Eleanor waiting for lollies

Carolyne had been dying to make pinatas, a yearning from years living in Mexico. She made three small, globe-shaped pinatas and painted them. She taught the Fijian kids the art of smashing and gathering lollies afterwards.

Ninja in full dress

The grown-ups... sort of

Carolyne setting up one of her three pinatas

The aftermath

Because it's close to Diwali Day, sparklers and poppers were for sale

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Sailing and Writer Celebrities

Our family has been sailing over seven years now. We've met oodles of interesting people. Some of these sailors have published their adventures. We're friends with some of them.

Emily and Mark Fagan
(photo from
Emily on s/v Groovy now travels in her land yacht with her husband, Mark. She still writes for sailing magazines, but has expanded her repertoire to include RV publications. Her photos are phenomenal and she's had cover photos for many magazines, as well.
Baby Rocket, James and Jess aboard Hotspur. They're in New Zealand and
have just introduced a new member to the family - a baby boy!
Jess Lloyd-Mostyn on s/v Adamastor has a family sailing blog and her articles have been published in Yacht World, Sailing Today, Ocean Navigator and other magazines. We met Jess, her husband, James, and baby girl, Rocket, in La Cruz, Mexico. She and her family successfully crossed the Pacific with their infant. We shared lovely adventures in French Polynesia together.

Diane Selkirk, who's recently been photographed with lemurs on her head
Our dear friend, Diane Selkirk, is a freelance writer for numerous publications and is a published author. We cruised Mexico with her, her husband Evan, and one of our daughter's besties, Maia.

The Del Viento family
We met Michael Robertson on s/v Del Viento via email. Later, we met him in person with his wife, Windy, and two young daughters, Eleanor and Frances, in La Paz, Mexico. He writes regularly for magazines and most recently collaborated with cruising friends on a book.

Behan and one of her darling daughters
We cruised with Behan Gifford, her husband, Jaime, and their three kids (Niall, Mairen and Siobhan) in the Sea of Cortez. She introduced me to her solar oven and I've wanted one ever since.

Sara Dawn Johnson (photo from
We know Sara Dawn Johnson through other cruisers. Recently, I emailed her to find out about camp-vanning in New Zealand. They sold their boat s/v Wondertime and are adventuring aboard their land boat, Wing'n.

I am honored to have a published sidebar in this book

VOYAGING WITH KIDS: A Guide To Family Life Afloat is a recently published book authored by Behan Gifford, Sara Dawn Johnson and Michael Robertson. This is a must have for any family considering cruising. We wished it had been around when we set sail in 2008.

B.R. Swain is a sailor using a pseudonym for writing romance novels. Swain recently published Hearts For Sail on Wattpad.

Barbara showing Carolyne (right) and other cruising kids
how to make challah in La Cruz, Mexico
 Barbara Gottesman is a once upon a time cruiser, mom and author of How To Slay a Pirate.

We also had the pleasure of meeting Jinx Schwartz while in La Paz, Mexico. She was kind enough to give Carolyne a free book she authored from her Hetta Coffey series.