Graham Shaw
Wed 26 Oct 2011 19:51
The following pics I missed from the Tonga blog.  I thought they are worth sharing.
Photos from Evita, lovely shot of the whale fluking.
Just to give you an idea how huge these humpbacks are, the dinghy in the background is about 3 metres (10 feet) long.
Party time in the Spanish restuarant in Tonga, our last night there.
The goat really wandered around the restuarant, and joined in on the singing on stage.!!!
OsKar being mauled by Lucas, yet again.
We had a beautiful sail to Fiji, perfect spinnaker flying weather, it is a pity I ripped it the first day out. And when retreiving the other spinnaker, there was a seam split out on that one.  No spinnaker tape on board so a job for when we reach dry land.
Suva, the capital of Fiji is a large city by the sea, the biggest we have been near since Panama.  The place is very diverse, with many different cultures. Some of the info in the cruising guide leads you to believe the place is very hostile, with numerous troubled waters within it's boundaries.  Hence this was why I was not particulary excited about visiting Fiji.  To my surprise the place was lovely, very virbrant, and beyond friendly, in fact I would say the most friendly place we have visited to date.
Everyone is very helpful in many ways, not just because they are trying to sell you something, but because they want to help you.  There are three main cultures, the indigenous Fijians, the Indians and Chinese.  All these cultures work side by side in all business, but definitely more of the business side is Indian, the food industry is Chinese and the Fiji industry is the culture and tourism.
The area of Fiji is huge, with numerous islands to visit, we clearly cannot do this place any justice.  The outer islands are the most beautiful, but you are not allowed to visit these until you have cleared in, then you would end up going back wards - against the wind.  We spent the whole time in one anchorage, which was the port of Suva, not a pretty place the water is filthy from the illegal fishing boats which have been confiscated, with oil and diesel pouring into the harbour.  On a daily basis you will have diesel filled sea water surounding your boat.  To make up for the poor harbour there is a wonderful yacht club, The Royal Suva Yacht Club, which will cater for your every need - including showing of the rugby - yehhippii.  Lovely freindly atmostphere, many fun nights were had here.
We met up again with Papillion, and Evita, which makes Lucas very happy - three children to terrorise.  We managed a number of evenings out trying the local cusine (local meaning the local Indian and Chinese restuarants.  Beautiful food, at a steal.  One thing about Fiji is how very cheap it is here, the food especially, it is so cheap you cannot afford not to eat out.  There are some beautiful crafts, which I could not resist buying - I will be devastated if we cannot get these into Oz.
Sunset over Suva.
Rusting fishing vessels, confiscated for illegal fishing.
A curious Chinese hydrographic or research ship.
Some beer we found in Suva. This beer for all those who do not know is brewed in Guernsey, this is the first time we have ever seen it outside of the Channel Islands!  The crazy thing is that it was cheaper than you could get it in Guernsey or Jersey!
I feel we need to revisit this place when we have a number of months in hand - too short of a time in such a huge place.
Next stop Vanuatu - a short hop, just four nights at sea. We were flying along, in fact we ended up going too fast so we had to slow right down so we made landfall at first light.
About sixteen miles from Tanna (the island where we are now), I could see a light from the island.  It looked like a fire, I was a little confused thinking why someone would have such a large fire burning.  Then it dawned on me, the fire was the active volcano.  Yes, how blonde???  I realised on the island of Tanna was a volcano, but I just didn't appreciate it was an active one - where did I miss that info?  Anyway more on that later.
We arrived in the dawn hours, watching the volcano erupting in the dark.  A few other boats were in the anchorage, some we had not seen in a while - Connect 4 and Karinya. Karinya we had seen in Suva, but Connect 4 was last time met in Taihiti.  Our arrival was timed just perfectly - they were going out to see a traditional village.  The previous night they had a feast on the beach, with some chewing of kava.  This is the local (local everywhere in the Pacific islands) numbing natural drug, they have this in many islands.  It is made from the root of the kava tree which is ground up and added to water.  It looks like dirty dish water, and taste about the same.  It gives a numbing effect to your mouth, and is a kind of relaxant.  But when chewed, you whole mouth and throat go numb.  The only problem with this chewing of kava, is the local guy chews it for you, then spits it out into the water, then you drink it - glad I missed that tasting.  Also when they eat the chicken nothing goes to waste, instead of deboning the chichen, the chicken is just smashed in its entirety, and mixed in.  I am very glad someone passed on these bits of information before I was invited to a feast!!
The traditional village was very nice, a little bit put on for the tourists - i.e us.  The men dressed in tradional costumes and put a few dances on for us.  The village is up kept just for the tourist to look at, but saying all this they still live in straw huts, and live very much off the land, they just wear normal clothes.  This place is very remote, and they do not access the main islands of Vanuatu, so they are very welcome of anything you can spare from your boat, the basics that we take for granted, eg flour, rice etc.
Approach to Port Resolution, with the sun rising behind us.
The family pig, she ran up to you just like a dog and lay down for her belly to be scratched!
Traditional tree house, yes you can stay there.
Traditional dancing with a lot of cheek!
How to light a fire when you do not have a Bic.
I feel a little over dressed?
We finished the first night with a get together with Karinya and Connect 4, which of course ended up in lots of party games, and big hangovers.
As there is no internet connection here we will probably be in Noumea in New Caledonia by the time you are reading this.  After that there is only one more passage (of about 800 nautical miles) and we will be in Australia!