On the way

Marcus is better, but still fever. Should be gone in 2 days. We're on our way to some paradise islands, the Mamanuca Islands. Will need to stop at another anchorage for tonight however. Too many coral heads on the way...
It poured rain all day yesterday with winds up to 30 knots. At night it finally calmed down. It will still stay rainy for the next days. Rhank god for our clears in the cockpit, so we can be outside without getting wet. Downstairs is almost unbearibly hot and we can't open the hatches when it rains unless we put the boat cover on which however is too much work for just a couple of hours at one place.

By the way, the photogallery at http://sailing.smichah.de is updated.


Sick in paradise

Yesterday we left Savusavu and sailed to Namena island, a little natural reserve island, bought by a hotel, in the middle of a ring of reef. On the way Marcus caught a huge Mahi Mahi that we BBQed last night in a dinner party on board Alita with 2 other sailor couples as guests. First party on board this year! Yummy.
We're in a peaceful place now and had a wonderful sail over. Unfortunately the cold that I felt the last days now made me feel even more uncomfortable today with fever and Marcus is really bad off now with very high fever. It's normal for him, but still not a good situation. It will be fine in 3 days. However we might have to move tomorrow to another anchorage since this is not a good and protected anchorage. I hope we can stay, whole daysail trip is too much for us in this condition. It's divers paradise here and we wanted to go diving with 3 other boats today. Oh well, the others went, we stayed in bed. You can't have it all. Here are some pix to cheer up.

The barbour situation in Neiafu / Tonga, after the fishing boat between us and the wall left

 Port Maurelle, Vava'u / Tonga
 Our parasailor (spinnaker)
 Crossing the border to Tonga we had to change courtesy flags. The top flag is the flag for Tonga, the yellow one the quarantine flag, which you need to put up until you're cleared in a country by health.
 A little sand island with 6 palm trees on it in the middle of nowhere, Fiji
 The new cockpit during sailing
 Marcus happy - that was yesterday ;-)

 View to Venua Levu island, sailing in Savusavu bay yesterday

 I climbed to the front while sailing to get tho shot;-)
 Some dirt water coming in from the river at land
 Namena island, where we are anchored now (next to the sailboat you see on the picture)
 Namena from the other side...


Hello Fiji

After a sail where we had anything from up to 35 knots of wind down to 5 knots of wind, we arrived on Vanua Levu the second largest island of Fiji, in the town of Savusavu on October 20th, 1245 pm. On the way over I read in my tourist guide for the South Pacific about Fiji that over 200 yrs ago the Brits brought Indians to Fiji for work. Now in many places there are more Indians than Fijians (people from Melanesia). Thank god I was prepared, otherwise I would think we had the wrong map, the pacific is in a different place and we ended up in India. Lots of them here. And right now, this whole week, they are celebrating a big Indian holiday, a day when a king came back home, with the “Festival of Lights”. They celebrate that more here than the Independence Day. The holiday actually is on Thursday, but the celebrations, mostly in form of fireworks, is going on already. We had a party at the Cobra Shed Marina, where we’re at the dock, today. It was open for everyone in the public, but “only” us cruisers came. They set up tables and a buffet in the garden, had their girls and the staff do some indian dances and had a firework at the end. It was a nice evening that we spent with other “boaties”. Lots of Germans are here.
We finished the official procedures of coming into the country by paying a good amount of money to health and biosecurity for their clearance. Also we already got the crusing permit for the outer islands. With this paper, we can go to all the places, show the paper to the chief of the village and ask for permission to stay in “their backyard”, namely their anchorage. The permission will usually be given during a formal ceremony, the Kava ceremony. To be dressed properly for that, I bought fabric today to make traditional skirts for all Alita crew – men and girls. We will wear these when we go to these places. That’s going to be fun.
My guidebook says Savusavu is the most beautiful town of Fiji. If that’s the truth. I don’t want to see the rest. Savusvavu is nice and has a little charm, but it’s all simple, no nice building, dirty etc. Just look at the pictures. But Savusavu is surrounded by green, beautiful looking hills with trees and palm trees.
There are boaties here that we know from last year already, so it was great to catch up with them. We went out for dinner with them yesterday and today. Marcus sailed with them from NZ to Vava’u / Tonga. They came to Fiji already a long time ago.  So, socializing is no problem here. That’s great.
Busa (welcome) to Fiji. And vinaka(thank you) to god, all is going well.
Moce (good-bye). 
 Here are the first impressions.

 Look through the trees and you'll see Alita on the dock.

 View out to the street from the customs building
 View from our boat.
 Some high end sailing yachts can be seen in the background of this picture. Maybe they are up for sale ;-)

Good-bye Tonga

My season in Tonga was quite short, less than 2 weeks. Again I enjoyed every second of it, in the beautiful country with the lovely people that I already miss. I entered Tonga together with Her Majesty, the old mother of the King. I left Tonga 10 days later on Alita with Marcus, quiet at night, just when everybody else went to bed. We sailed almost every day. We saw whales, we had Dolphins check us out and play with us for a while. I saw Nemo and his family and friends and many other fish. On my last snorkel I even saw a turtle. We left on short notice. I did not even have time to prepare. But the weather predictions changed and we did not want to be stuck in Tonga when we know we have crew coming in Fiji. Our last act in Tonga, refueling the boat, was quite a challenge, which took us half the day. The wind with average 20 knots came right onto the harbor wall where we should have tied up to. We actually went there, but as we came closer we saw that the wall was coming out further on the higher part. Unfortunately we had low water 8 am in the morning. With the wind pressing us to the wall and waves swinging us up and down this construction would have damaged our beautiful lady. So we quickly needed to get away, which is quite difficult when the wind presses you against the wall. Marcus tried to hold Alita away from the pier while I tried to drive her away. Unfortunately the Bow Thruster did not help at all to move her away. So my chance was the wind that presses the bow to the pier making the stern come off a bit. I used the chance and with full gas I backed her up. Puh, that was exciting. Then we decided to go sideways to a fisher boat, which was moored along the wall which was in direction of the wind. That procedure took about an hour. And just as we had tied up, the fisher came and wanted to leave. That cost us another 30 min. and a scratch. Then Marcus was able to do customs, immigration (or ex-migration?), we did our last stock up with veggies and fruits and we waited for the diesel to come. Which happened about 3hrs later.  We left our anchorage at 7.15 am that morning and left the harbor about 4pm. After a short sleep and dinner we left the waters of Vava’u shortly after 8pm on the 17th of October.  It was time to say good-bye again to a country I definitely want to go back to. Not just to see the whales. I will miss you, Tonga!
Here are my good-bye photos.

Ohh, I am a happy cook. Brought herbs with me from back home.
 My piano in its travel case
 Backpacker's Paradise lodge on the island of Ovalu, south of Lifuka in the Ha'apais. Season is over and the people pray the don't have to build it up again next year. A cyclone destroyed quite a bit in the Ha'apais last year.
 Damages from the last cyclone - more from the waves than the wind.

 A cute watch dog.
 My composing studio on board.