Bula – Pete here.
Back in Suva, anchored in Lacala Bay behind the breakwater, windy wet wild night – first real rain we’ve seen this season. Fiji needs it. Just back from Solodamu, even Kadavu is dry although near as bad as it is the west and north. Forecast is for a wet week.
Lots of news since the last blog. We heard from Vikki and Jimmy on Kiritea this morning. They made Tonga after 24 days Picton to Tonga – Jimmy reckons it must be slowest trip on record, even with a few days in Minerva. They reckon they’ll be headed this way at the end of the month. Ratbag is back in Vau’va after an altercation with a reef in Nukelofa and an unscheduled haul out. Chris, if it’s any comfort we spoke to Captain Ron off Island Girl/Lela. He reckons Kurt hit the same reef on Rattie 20 years ago!!
Ali had an accident with a car at Lami one night and ended up with a hole in her ankle that’s taking some healing. Same time I ended up with a bad case of blood poisoning in one leg. All in all its kept us ship-bound for a period. Jack and Spike have been handling it but raring to go – bit hard for two young boys when both parents are immobilised at once. Jack is snorkelling every chance he gets and Spike is certainly not a baby any longer. We had a joint birthday party for his 3rd and my 50th at Kaluba a few Sunday’s back. The usual enormous lovo and two enormous chocolate cakes.
We have a couple of trips to Beqa, first with Rick, Liz, Zac and Pania (fantastic to catch up Raglan gang) and then to recuperate after the injuries. Have anchored up off a beautiful beach on the south west corner of Beqa outside a cute backpackers/homestay run by Sam and his Swiss wife Christine – Lawaki Beach House. Sam and Chris have organic gardens, fresh artesian water and solar powered electricity, comfortable guest bures and bunk house right on the beach bordering a MPA (marine protected area) with safe swimming and snorkelling over brilliant coral. We can recommend it to anyone needing a relaxing spot with great hosts and very reasonable prices – check out www.lawakibeachhousefiji.com
The PhD has been keeping me busy – it’s a few years since I’ve put my brain to any academic work and I have to admit it’s a little rusty. I’ve been accepted to deliver a paper this week to Fiji National University’s Symposium on Renewable Energy. I’ve called it “It’s a wind generator Jim, just not as we know it”. A copy is attached. The PowerPoint is far more digestible. I’ll ask Vikki to put a link to that up when they get in from Tonga. It’s my first conference in more than a decade so I’m a little nervous to be honest. I’ve also had an abstract accepted for USP’s Future Challenges/Ancient Wisdom conference at the end of November. So that’s me, a schoolboy again. I’ve sent off my final research proposal to my supervisor’s last month. If they’re happy I’ll put the result on this site as well.
Things in the village are well. There seemed to be baby’s everywhere. Three married couples have moved home since last year and there are five more babies due before Christmas!! We caught three good mahi-mahi on the trip down. Our priority at present is disposing of Lia Fal. Much of the gear has been stripped off and stored in the village. We have received permission from FIMSA to sink her on the edge of the reef, as long as we get agreement first from the Department for the Environment and NLTB – so off to see them next week with Bish. Then it will be back to Solodamu to strip out the motor and any other gear. We want to try and get the 3 tonne of lead out if we can.
We had a trip to Kavala Bay two weeks back. We have brought down from Suva a multi-agency FLMMA/IUCN management planning team for a week long series of “ridge to reef” village workshops. Sea transport is the single largest cost to the programme, for the Kadavu FLMMA project it is well over 50% of all costs. Had the proposed Solodamu vessel been available it would have been the most cost-effective and efficient service of the various options available to the team organisers. We sailed 8 down – close hauled in 20kts of South Easterly which rose to 40kts by the time we got to the entrance of Kavala – a wild wet ride which left some of the team a little green gilled. The trip back a week later was easier – 15kts of SE and a run for a change.
On the trip back from Solodamu yesterday we had 6 passengers, including Big Ben, John, Dos and Ima. It was Dos’s birthday so we celebrated with a cake, a humpback whale and calf, 5 spinner dolphins playing on the bow and two fat mahi-mahi on the lure. Hibiscus was laden with produce from the village – pawpaw, bananas, tomatoes, beans, eggplant, cabbage, Chinese cabbage, lettuce, carrots, taro, kumela – even radishes – all fresh from the farm – so if your sailing to Solodamu this season do your vege shopping in the village.
We had a working party meeting before we left. Most of the focus was on Lia Fal. Next week we’ll have a village meeting to workshop where to next with the project. Ali is meeting with Girl Guides about delivering the bras next year. We’ve made contact with Fiji Voyaging Society and hope to get a Solodamu rep on board Uto Ni Yalo in the future.
Loloma to all reading this