Police band playing

I loved hearing and watching the police band of Fiji. Need some more practice, but they were fun. Especially since they were dancing and making fun at the same time…. They are touring through cities in Fiji with the marching band and a jazz band for the "Crime awareness program". There was a 4 day "Karnival" in Savusavu for that with a big wheel for the children to enjoy a ride (one that would not pass any technical inspection in Germany) and some stalls where they sold food and some toys for the kids. "Volksfest" in small. Lovely.

Just got a new little tool with which I can quickly extract sounds from videos to mp3. So cool! I can't upload the videos, too much data.

So, enjoy the sound of the marching band!

Song 1

Song 2

Song 3

Song 4

Song 5

Song 6

Breakfast Fiji style

Fruits fresh from the market - and toast „Alita-Fiji-style": with ham & cheese & starfruit
Yummy! Cost: about 1,5 EUR. The most expensive part: ham & cheese slices. ;-)



Being in Savusavu we use the time doing some work - and relaxing.
Here are our workplaces:

Mine Marcus'

Marcus repaired the part of the watermaker that stopped working in Minerva Reef, I did some sewing work: rain covers (I already posted the pictures), handbag (not for the boat ;-) ), some repairs, a pull-up sytem for the mosquito net at the gangway and so on. Now we can't think of any more enhancements. Hmmm. I love the new sewing machine but now I can't think of anything to sew anymore….;-)

So, the time has come to do my tax declaration ;-)

Today the police walking music band came walking through the main street - a parade against crime in Savusavu. The parade ended in a little park close to here, where they have a little fair now for 4 days. Pictures will follow tomorrow. The music band was really great and FUNNY.

They made a cool show every time they stopped. All the people laughed. Typical and sweet like in polynesia: they don't take things so serious, that is such a great concept. This is the first time I saw a band having fun, laughing, dancing and playing great music at the same time! So it turns out to be some fun here in Savusavu, always some action. On saturday the navy band played in front of the market, they made great music. And I love live music. In think the Navy ship leaves on friday, we'll see.

So long.


Being in Savusavu we use the time doing some work - and relaxing.
Here are our workplaces:

Mine Marcus'



So now we're here again in Fiji. 1,5 weeks into Fiji we have seen a few beautiful island spots and Savusavu again. We arrived here 5 days ago because Christian left on the 12th and Peter on the 13th and both wanted to see something of the island here. Not that there is much to see or that they really did see much. We had a great time out on the islands. My favourite: Leleuvia and Namena, both with little resorts on them. In Leleuvia the reef is just growing and the owner is very welcoming to yachties. He has put a mooring which he does not charge for and you can use the chairs, hammocks (Hängematte) etc. for free, knowing that we'll consume drinks. Which we did. We even took a dinner night out there. I enjoyed my time and wished we would have stayed longer. But we're always on the run, and unfortunately during our breaks we're in not very nice places like Savusavu.

So from Leleuvia we went out to Makogai island, a former refuge for lepra patients. You can still see the foundations of the old houses, electric installations etc. and a cemetry. Now on this side they have marine research center, which sounds way more than it is. They spawn some shells and host 3 turtles right now, who are sick and they think they get better just by being in that place!? I sat down with the bigger one, which we had already seen in Levuka on her way to the rescue center. She was afraid, but on her round tours in her pool she always stopped where I sat and looked up and took a deep breath. So cute. I could have watched her a long time.

From there we went on to Namena island, a diver's paradise so they say. Marcus and Chrisitan went diving, they said it was nice but not spectacular. Both are spoiled. Christian and I went snorkling the day before and it was nice, but also not specatcular. ON the day after our arrival, when M. and C. went diving, Peter and I directly went ashore to the little resort. WIth $5 entry fee you were allowed to walk around the island and watch the (baby) red footed boobie birds and also use their chairs etc on the beach. To our surprise we found THE south sea BEAUTIFUL beach on the other side of the little (about 1km long) island. That's where I spent most of the day.

In the afternoon when the other two boys came, Marcus found a frisbee game, which is popular in Canada. It's like golf, just playing frisbee into baskets rather than little balls into holes. There are always obstacles in the way (palm trees) and you have to do long or very long passes, sometimes uphill or downhill and around corners. That was a lot of fun. 12 posts to play, most of them par 3. We played with one of the employees of there, Nami, who was a lovely, funny man and who has practiced a lot….That was my favourite day so far and probably will remain so for the rest of Fiji.

From here, Savusau, we're first going to travel to the garden island Taveuni and from there to the Lau group. The travel there will be different to what we know. Not only will we have to do the „Sevusevu" and ask all the chiefs for the ok to acnhor (bringing them Kava), but also now they want money, $50-100 per stay per anchorage. Wow, that's going to be expensive and we won't change a lot of anchorages. That means however I won't bring them rice, flour etc, which usually they wanted. You cannot have all. Money or goods, not all of it.

While we're here in Savusavu we do last repairs or enhancements. So, guests gone, things done. ;-) Yesterday I sewed rain covers /protection for the saloon hatches and our bedroom hatch. So no when it rains we don't have to close the hatches anymore and suffer from heat. Great! The downside of course is now, that less wind gets in. But better less wind than none. Now we can shift the protection from side to center to side, depending where the rain comes from. While we're at the dock, the rain comes fro the  left, so all is tied down more on the left than on the right. My new Singer Hevay Duty Machine is a champion!!! Sewed through everything, no problems!!! Love it. That's how a machine should work!

Still in NZ i had made a cover for the lazy bag (cover of the main sail) since it never really closed in the front and the UV and rain kill the sail:

The good thing about Savusavu: cheap fruits and vegetables in the market right here, cheap restaurants, showers at land and taxis who will take me to the beach nearby for little money (or I unpack my bike tomorrow). 

USNS Mercy

For a couple of days now the USNS Mercy has been here with lots of US navy and some Australian navy on board. They cruise around the pacific with lots of doctors on board and go to remote places to give medical help. They bring doctors on land and try to treat as many as possible on land. When they find people who need more help they bring them aboard this gigantic hospital ship and treat them there. I have already seen hundreds of people being shipped back and forth. What a nice thing for the people here. The lines are long. The washing lady says this is the first time they have come here. She would like to have her knee checked, but she can't, she has work to do. Her husband died a year ago. So these days Savusavu is full with the people from the helping boat, mostly navy but also nurses, doctors etc. They all have a day free (different days of course) and and can come to land. Why a boost for the stores here. They probably made the business for a whole year in one week. Especially the „Captain's Cafe" here in the marina. They sold the huge pizzas like crazy. Often the soldiers had ordered a couple of big ones and took them back to the boat. Amazing. From here they continue the journey through the pacific and go to places like Manila. Good work! Oh, the poor guys driving back and forth on the little boats (working there) have to wear long blue overalls, helmet and life vest! Argh. I can barely stand the heat in skirt and T-Shirt.

Wave view from from the top

I promised to write an exciting story from under way to Fiji. Well, it was the next day after we left Minerva heading for Fiji. The winds were so light we decided to put up the spinnaker sail early in the morning just at sunrise. Once the spi was hanging the wind was unstable, changing direction and strength. That made us get the spinnaker back in. Since we expected more wind from the right direction a little bit later Marcus decided to just put the „condom" (that's what I call the cover) down and tie the spi to the mast but still tied up to the top. The wind however played too much with this construction, we were afraid it would not be good. So, take this whole bag down. Easier said then done. The boat was rolling the waves, the bag banging left to right. During that banging the bag itself (the cover) got caught in the second spreader (Saling) and decided to hold on tight - probably afraid of shaking around even more. Well, the boys tried for a long while until it was clear someone had to go up. Of course the someone was me, since I have waited 4 years to be allowed to go up the mast while out on the ocean. Sounds crazy - and it is. Even more since I could not go up the mast but had to go up the outer side stay (whatever you call it in English; in German it's „Want"). Why does it make a difference, you might ask. Well, there are a few reasons:
1) you're about 1,5m to the side of the mast so the acceleration force to the sides is a lot more when the boat is rocking side to side at about 20degrees angel - you have to hold on even more
2) there is nothing really to hold on to. At the bottom you can hold on to the inner side stay. But while the outer side stay goes straight up the inner one goes up in an about 30deg angle towards the mast. So if you go up the outer one you have to stretch your arm and leg more and more to be able to stabilize yourself. At about 3,5 m height it gets impossible To hold on to the inner one. On my first attempt up I then let go and found myself winding around the outer stay in a speed I did  not expect. At this time Christian was holding on to the spinnaker bag, Marcus was pulling me up by hand on the main haylyard and Peter was in the cockpit also on the main haylyard winching. Why was I spinning around? Have you ever tired to hold on to a wire that's about 1/4 of an inch thick while someone gives you a spin around it? There is NO way you can prevent yourself from spinning around. So if that happens and you don't get down quickly, you might get tangled and stuck up there. Luckily I was spinning once to the left and once to the right on a diameter of about 1,5m. I was not too happy about that. So a quick yell and Peter let me down quickly before I get tangled. By that time my arms were already sore from trying to hold on. At least I was wearing gloves, otherwise I would have hurt my hands. So now I was back down but the spinnaker was still trapped. That meant we had to find a way to get me up safely. We had some discussion on how to do it. I wanted a securing line to the inner stay - the problem is that the distance varies and while I am busy holding on to the outer stay I would only have one had to adjust and hold on to the inner one. At the end Marcus decided that he would secure me. which felt very scary to me, since he can't keep me from swinging left to right, only from spinning around - if the does not go overboard, that is. So, that's what we did on attempt no. 3. I took a deep breath, the adrenalin was kicking in with lots of power. Christian was still holding on to the spinnaker while Peter started winching me up (Marcus wanted me to climb and help, but there was no way I could pull myself up on a slippery thin wire) as Marcus took a line and walked back besides the cockpit. When it was time to let go of my stabilizing inner stay I was a bit nervous. First I took my hand off but still had managed to use my toes for stabilizing, but the last meter of about 5m I had to be without everything. Of course as soon as I let go I swang to the left side, Marcus however prevented me from spinning. Then with the next wave I swang back to the right and then to the left again. It went on until I finally reached a height to grab the spinnaker. Yes, I am there, I thought and grabbed it to pull it out. But no, I did not have enough power to pull it out from about 50cm above my head while I am still swinging back and forth. So Peter had to pull me up a bit more, knowing that every inch in height adds a lot to the acceleration force of the side swings. Finally I made it, the spinnaker came off and Peter could quickly let me down again. When I was back on the cek I could hardly move, I was exhausted. When I was done untieing all the security knots and lines and had taken my mast seat off I went into the cockpit and sat down and did nothing for the next couple of minutes. I couldn't move, my hands were shaking, I was sure I was going to be REALLY sore. Luckily it was not too bad the next day. I was a bit sore, but not as much as I had expected. What an adventure. Of course I'd do it again. Luckily I am usually the lightest one and the only one not afraid of heights - and quite familiar with the mast. This is actually the first time I did not take a picture while up there, neither did anyone else. Sad. 

You might be able to imagine the situation when you look at the following picture: 

This ia about how much we were healing over in the worst waves - to both sides as the boat was rolling. Now you can see the first spreader, the one I had to go up to, just still in the picture. From the outer end of it you can barely see a wire going down to the side of theboat. That's the one I went up. Then from where the spreader meets the mas (top left corner of the picture) the inner wire stay meets the mast and then goes down and out to meet the bottom of the outer stay on the deck. CAn you imagine how difficult it is to hold on to this construction? But fun!