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Archive for July, 2009:

Arrived in Suva

Wednesday, July 29th, 2009

Marlin arrived in Suva yesterday (Wednesday) afternoon 3pm local time. We are anchored at the Royal Suva Yacht Club; there is no more space in the marina. We left Niuatoputapu on Saturday morning but got a late start as everyone was hungover from the party the previous evening. The party was OK. There was awkward dancing. As Tom put it, the dance floor was in want of less light and better music while the guests were in need of more alcohol. There is a fine science to setting up a good dance floor, but it was what’s to be expected on an island in the middle of nowhere.

We started out beating upwind on port tack, wind from the southwest. By the time we arrived in Suva we were rockin’ and rollin’ with wind from behind, having to gyb the sails at the whimsical shifts of the wind. It was a fast leg and we averaged close to six knots the whole time. We crossed the 180 line of longitude, which is the theoretical International Date Line, half way across the world from Greenwich, England. Now our longitudes will be “E” for East and counting down.

For the geographically challenged, you can check out the route to see where I am.

Niuatoputapu, Tonga

Thursday, July 23rd, 2009

NiuatoputapuSorry again for the sparse updates. It’s partially because the Internet is scarce and partially because there’s nothing really doing on these islands. I usually sleep at least 10 hours a day while we are at anchor and the biggest dilemma of the day is choosing between either rice or pasta with either corned beef or canned tuna for dinner.

Right now I’m in Niuatoputapu, Tonga. The name means “forbidden coconut.” This is the least populated-populated island that we’ve been to, with about 1010 people living here. In fact, there was a death here the other day so I guess the population is now 1009. The island is far away from the other Tongan islands and on the way from Samoa to Fiji. An 8 person airplane stops once a week and a supply boat comes about once a month, weather depending.

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Samoa

Saturday, July 11th, 2009

The HitchhikersSorry, it’s been a while since I’ve updated. I’ve been having too much fun in Samoa to write and before this were were 8 days on an almost deserted island. We set out to leave Bora Bora twice before we finally left. The first time the wind was too strong and on the nose. The second time there was no wind whatsoever. Then, like Goldilocks, the third time was just right.

The “deserted” island we went to was Suwarrow. It’s a national park of the Cook Islands. There was one family that lives there as caretakers for 8 months out of the year. There were also anywhere from 5 to 7 boats anchored there. The first night we arrived, there was a BBQ amongst all the boats on shore. We passed the days snorkeling and fishing, usually unsuccessfully. When it wasn’t too windy we tried trolling in the dinghy. Otherwise we fished off the boat. There were plenty of sharks in the lagoon, about the length of my arm. Sometimes we caught them fishing, other times they would steal our fish before we could reel them in.

Three boats left Suwarrow at the same time, headed for Apia, Samoa. It took us 4 days. By the first night on sea, we were no longer in eyesight of each other but we all ended up getting into Apia the same day, within 5 hours. Arriving on a Sunday, we weren’t allowed to leave the marina until we were checked into the country, which would have to be done on Monday. Luckily, Radek, a Czech guy from another boat, managed to sneak out and smuggle in some beers for the night. We had spent the previous 20 days sailing and on Suwarrow completely dry, as in no alcohol, so we were extremely eager to wet our whistles. In fact, our whistles have been well wetted every night since.

So far, the highlight of Samoa has been our hitch-hiking out to the east coast and staying at the Taufua Beach Fales. “Fale” is a Samoan beach hut. The huts were nice enough; it was the hitch-hiking that was the highlight. A great way to see the countryside and meet the people. Everyone here has been really friendly and we had no troubles getting rides. I can safely say that Samoa has been my favorite place since I left Ecuador.

Now it looks like we will be leaving on Monday for Fiji. Maybe Wednesday. Who knows?

P.S. Here are photos from Samoa

Updated Photos and Route

Tuesday, July 7th, 2009

I’m in Samoa right now and will write about the journey here later. In the meantime, I’ve updated the route and added photos from French Polynesia and Suwarrow.