18-09-2006 Savusavu English

Hello everybody,


Sailing around we made a lot of friends who were not able to read the crypt code we call Dutch and now, at last after a thousand promises, here it is, in English.

We’ve put you on the list but if you don’t want that or just forgot who we are, please mail us and we’ll remove you address.


At last we arrived in Fiji in the little hidden paradise of Savu Savu.

Our goodbye in NZ was not an easy one. But it was time to go.

Monday morning at 08.30h Frank Lundberg, the musical director of the Whangarei Brass where I played trumpet for the last year, arrived on board as a special crewmember.

We already promised him in November that he could make this trip to Opua and we had a wonderful trip.

Exact at 09.00h we departed and we were pleased by a last farewell greeting by Dennis.

Than suddenly trumpet sounds from a jetty in Onerahi!!!!

Vic and Dough blow their longs out against a strong southwestern but oh what a nice scenery. The tears flow richly over the cheeks of the admiral. Thank you guys, awesome!!


Indeed the weather was a bit stormy and we see big showers pass before and behind us. Probably we were all the time on the right spot. The strong wind stood straight in the river delta at the Heads and the Mary-Eliza bumped her way out through high and steep waves. Frank liked it and he enjoyed himself. Confident in skipper, ship and in the good hands (for a bite and a drink) of the admiral he puffs one cigarette after the other so there is no doubt; there is no matter of seasickness.


Once around the corner the sails go up and things ease a bit. We have a good backstay wind and there are no waves. Meanwhile we drink coffee and eat the special garlic meatballs with other stuff. We pass all the well-known places and we all enjoy it a lot. When we got Mike and Barbara on the VHF they invited us to anchor the Mary-Eliza just in front of their wonderful house in Wangaruru and join them for diner. What a pleasant evening we had! Mike picked us up in his dinghy and had to row us back, so he had his exercise for that evening, but we drank his beer and wine anyway. The good diner was very much appreciated and the company was more than pleasant. Early in the morning we set off for Opua. Mr. Frank, who seems to be a celebrity in Whangarei, made a phone call to radio station More FM and the same minute we heard ourselves on the radio. I guess we are much more famous in NZ than in Holland. After rounding the Hole in the Rock we had to go windwards to get into the Bay of Islands. Showers came over and sometimes we had 35 Kts on the wind meter. Again a very nice day and after dropping the anchor in Opua we all felt satisfied and happy that the Mary-Eliza did so well.


After two weeks we departed and headed for Fiji. The weather scientists promised us an easy trip with nice backstay winds. That lasted for about one day because than the pattern changed a bit. (BTW we got telephone calls all the way out of the BoI until far offshore). The wind shifted to the NE (the way we were heading) and gained in force to 35 Kts. That was no fun! In the evening and night we had 40+ Kts of wind and the next two days it stayed around 35 Kts NE. We were sick and everyone on the boats leaving in our group was sick as we heard on the radio. After four days of no food our digestion systems started working again and we nibbled all kind of things to get our strength back. From than on we had the wind always a bit in front so we really had to fight our way up. It was even more difficult because we had to fight a strong current from the north. All together it took us 10 days to arrive in Fiji. That is more than the average but we didn’t do badly. Especially in the real rough weather it came out that the Mary-Eliza did 50-60 miles per day better in the right direction than the other boats.


And now, we’re happy to be in SavuSavu. It’s hot, everybody is smiling, a beer in the bar costs US$ 1.00!!!!! and we have a lot to discuss with our fellow yachties. It is amazing in what a different world we are now. There is no stress and we’re glad to have left the rules and regulations of NZ behind. Nature is overwhelming and the 3 hour ride in an old bus to Labasa is quit an experience. Food is wonderful and cheap and in many varieties by the Melanesian, Indian and Chinese influences. Sometimes we pick up a game of the world championship soccer although the games are mostly played a couple of days ago. We are anchored in front of a resort where white people pay about US$ 500 per day and in the evening when we are nipping our beer we hear the tropical sounds of the local band playing for the guests. Sure we can stand this for a wile.


Our plan is to explore the eastern part of Fiji and we set off for Viani. The charts we have are about good but most of the time things seem not on their place. Reefs actually are located about a mile N,S,W or E of what’s on the chart. That makes life pretty difficult and once we hit something hard luckily not hard. The tension however is enormous and we feel our hearts beat in our chests when we are too near reefs and we don’t know wich way to go. Normally you read the color of the water but this part of Fiji is famous for it’s overcast so it’s all together a nerve cracking experience.  We visit Somosomo on the island Taveuni and via Matei we go to the island Rambi. The very special thing here is that the English moved the complete population of one of the Gilbert Islands to this island. We ask permission of the local policeman to visit the village. We meet there a complete different kind of people than the Fijians, with long hear and an other language. But friendly they are. We visit the enormous Methodist Church and get a tour by one of the helpers. Just before we planned to leave a little canoe comes to us and hands over three big papaya’s so we felt strongly to go back to the village with a bag of presents so that’s what we did.

We went back to Somosomo to store some food and after that we went to Koro. No lack of wind and with an average of more than 7 Kts we arrive already at 15.30h  on the anchorage. Next day we went strait to Makongai. That’s where the reservation is for big clams. And when I say big I mean BIG. Clams as big as 2 meters (or 6Ft for the English out of the middle ages, or Americans).


This island was from 1911 until 1969 a leprosy colony but now it’s almost completely deserted.  We make the hike to a little village at the other site of the island and see the marks of the ancient times. It makes all a deep impression.

We set off for Leleuvia for a pit stop at a low level backpackers resort. People can stay there for US$ 20 a day all in. That means you go to the toilet with a bucket of water to do the job. Anyway, we have a nice diner in the cantina and meet the three guests with whom we have a long talk until late in the evening. Than we make our way to the capital Suva. A lot to tell about that place but I’ll keep that for the next report. We decided to stay the maximum time (four months) in Fiji before heading for New Caledonia and Australia.


Don’t hesitate to mail us on KD5YSV@Winlink.org but be sure it is only text because we receive the mails by SSB radio. Or use svmaryeliza@gmail.com but that can take a little longer.




Robert and Jacky


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