Fiji at the end and onward to Australia!

Well, we have had a crazy, busy two months. Since my last real post, we went to several other places in Fiji: a bay on the island of Waya, another bay called Blue Lagoon, a third named Musket Cove, and finally, Port Denarau (which is the most touristy part of Fiji). (There are LOTS of photos of these wonderful places down below with descriptions.

Key highlights of this part of our Fiji trip:

(1) We stayed at the Westin for two nights.  It was the FIRST time we have stayed off of Do Over in almost a year!  That is unheard of!  The same bed for almost a year after all of my work and pleasure travel prior to this trip?  Crazy.  We used the air conditioning.  We took long showers.  We watched TV.  We used their Internet.  We used the pools.  The kids (and Dan) played volleyball with resort people.

(2) We went to the waterpark with Sarah and her boys.  The kids had a spectacular time and Sarah and I got to hang out and chat in between waterslide runs.  (She was much more adventurous than I was on the waterslides.)

(3) We were berthed next to the mega-yachts at Port Denarau.  I felt like a wee little nothing next to the yachts of the Google founders.  We saw a helicopter take off of Senses (Larry Page’s yacht).

(4) We celebrated Halloween at the lamest Hard Rock Cafe “Party” ever.  But, the kids got to dress up.

(5) We went to dinner with Sarah and Gavin at a very cool restaurant.

(6) We got our boat cleaned up some and a few maintenance and cosmetic issues attended to.

(7)  Ryan snorkeled again with crazy, aggressive fish in Blue Lagoon–and he really enjoyed it.  I have to say thank you to Kate and Steve from Blue Summit for letting Ryan use their daughter, Hannah’s mask and snorkel.  Without it, Ryan may never have finally started snorkeling!

We decided to list “Do Over” with a wonderful broker, Anna Manach, from Australia we had heard about through the owners of “Oniva” (who sold their catamaran with her). We got in touch with Anna via email and had decided to list with her, but we were still sailing and had not reached Denarau and were not yet prepared to get our listing ready. Interestingly, Anna and her partner, Martin, were in Fiji meeting with some other clients, when she stumbled upon our boat in the Denarau Marina. We didn’t even know she was there and she did not either!  So, we actually got to meet them both and they are wonderful people!   This motivated Dan and me to get our boat listed and ready to show–and to definitely list with Anna.

Within 5 days of listing, we had one person who wanted to come to Fiji to see our boat. We did the mad dash to make the boat look great, but the man who came to see her had never been on a sailboat and had plans to take a bunch of his Chinese family members out to sea during cyclone season to head to Thailand. He had flown to Australia from England and then on to Fiji because there were more catamarans for sale there. We were not sure what his intentions were, but he asked questions like: Can the boat sail for more than a month without stopping? “Yes, but you may want to stop along the way just to see something.” Can I refuel on deserted islands? “If they’re deserted, they probably won’t have an Exxon.” Well, okay, we really said something less sarcastic, but you get the point. Would my family and I need to clear into customs on every island we visit? “Um, unless you want to face arrest or stiff penalties, I would recommend it. That’s usually what people do.” Can you change the mainsail while you’re out to sea? “Well, you really don’t want to do that. It is a very heavy and large sail. And—it’s not like a normal catamaran carries an extra mainsail. And, wait, why would you want to disassemble your mainsail?” He really wasn’t asking if he could take his sail down; he wanted to know if he could take it OFF. It was quite strange. Knowing this would go nowhere, we continued to prepare to sail to New Zealand.

Anna then called and said there was another interested buyer, Sam, and he flew to Fiji to see the boat. We really liked Sam (who is married and has a two year-old daughter, Chloe), and hoped Do Over would go to a family like this who would use her and treat her well. Not surprisingly, he was hesitant to make an offer in Fiji on a boat that would need to be in Australia, so we weren’t sure if Sam would be Do Over’s new owner.  We were still planning to head to New Zealand.

After speaking with Anna, she felt she could sell Do Over very quickly if we sailed to Australia rather than New Zealand. The market for catamarans is much better in Australia. So, we made a last-minute decision to sail to Australia. The trip was to be longer, but presumably easier, or so we thought… Ha!

The beginning of our sail was lovely (of course, I was wearing a scopolamine patch), but the tail end near Australia was TERRIBLE. Dan said it was like there was a force field around Australia, and I couldn’t describe it any better than that. The wind was coming directly from the land so we just couldn’t sail our way in there. We actually decided to “heave to” in the middle of the ocean for about 4 or 5 hours just so the wind could change a bit, because we were just beating nonstop into the waves and we didn’t seem to be heading any closer to Australia. It was crazy.  We only lost about 7.5 miles progress (drifting) but we got a reprieve from the loud and rough slamming into the waves.

On this terrible trip to Australia, Do Over did great. The kids did great. Dan was fed-up with the force-field but did great. I was a wreck. I couldn’t WAIT to get to land.  Why did I decide to sail half-way around the world?  Am I certifiably crazy?  Maybe…No, actually–most definitely.  However, I am HERE, alive and in one piece.  They say with childbirth you forget the pain and are ready to have more babies.  Is that really the same with long, ocean sailing passages?  God, I hope not, but I fear it is the case because Dan and I are already talking about possibly sailing again when the kids go to college.  I must be a masochist.

We had to go to Coff’s Harbor in Australia because we just couldn’t get in to our intended port.  Coff’s had suffered massive damage a year before and was still rebuilding, so we had to stay on anchor with a swell-ridden anchorage.  So what.  Land was in sight.  I got to go to a restaurant.  I am not complaining.  After two nights, or maybe it was only one…we opted to sail on down to Port Macquarie.  I will continue our ongoing saga in another post.

Meeting the Chief on Waya


The cute, local Waya girls



This island of Fiji (Waya) looked more like the Marquesas


Very similar to the Marquesas…




Traveling with Blue Summit


Restaurant at “Blue Lagoon”


Dan and me at Blue Lagoon


Clear water and good snorkeling at Blue Lagoon


A hike behind the Blue Lagoon Bay.  It was breathtaking!


The views on our hike…


More beautiful views…




Grandma sold her necklaces here.  I bought one, and they’re all made out of shells.


Modest village with the most beautiful views.


The “tea house” on the trail.  Sodas and cake for us.


The kids looking for seashells.


Another beautiful Fijian view…


Ariana and Ryan


Do Over from the hillside




Happy Hour at Musket Cove with Blue Summit, Paw Paw and Sojourn


Touch Rugby in Musket Cove.  This is the kids’ PE for school!


Halloween–Ryan was a Shadow and Ariana was an Obnoxious Tourist.  I don’t think people would have known Ariana was dressed up unless her brother was also, since we were in the land of tourists…


Dinner with Gavin and Sarah at Habibi


Our Room at the Westin.  First night in almost a year off the boat!


View from our Room at the Westin.  We were upgraded to oceanfront because I have preferred status with Starwood.  We didn’t care.  Garden view would have been GREAT!  We tend to have ocean-front regularly on Do Over…


One of the Westin Pools


Post mini-golf at Denarau.  Ryan beat us all.


Ariana and Ryan catching a Swim in Denarau


Our goodbye song from the folks in Fiji!


Leaving Vuda Bay, Fiji.  Off to Australia!


Foreshadowing on our Trip to Australia.  This ominous sky made for ominous sea conditions…