Thursday, November 16, 2017

Fast Lane to Nadi Town
By Michael
MUSKET COVE


Loading the dinghy on the dock in Denarau
for the trip home.
We've been pretty stationary in one of Fiji's main cruising boat hubs: Musket Cove. It's not a remote remote Fijian village, it's not the bustling and interesting Suva, it's just a tourist resort that opens its doors to cruising sailors. No apologies, it's a lovely setting, we'll protected, and we've had the pleasure of  hanging with one of the best cohorts of cruising families we've seen in a while.

But for all it offers, Malololailai Island is not a good place to provision. The veggies here aren't bad, but we left our last good place to provision with too few staples aboard, and knowing that we're leaving Fiji at the end of this month, we've been careful not to over-buy. The result is we've needed to get back to Nadi Town (via Denarau) a few times to get what we need. Fortunately, Windy found a mode of transport much cheaper and more appealing than the only (high-priced) ferry that brings the tourists and their luggage back and forth.

About a month ago, Windy went exploring by dinghy with Susan of Wiz. They found a couple of villages on the island and met Sia. At some point, the cruising women learned that Sia's husband makes the trip to Denarau every Saturday (market day in Fiji and much of the world), for a shopping run. His panga makes what would be a 3-hour trip in Del Viento into a 30-minute E-ticket ride (does anyone even use that expression any more?).

So a few times now, Windy's made the passage. The panga arrives at 7:00am, they're in Denarau by 7:30, the village usually has a driver waiting at the dock to take shoppers into Nadi Town. In town, Windy fills her cart and then lets the cashier know she's with Sia, her stuff gets boxed and put aside, and she's free to go to another store. When shopping day is done, a driver collects all the people and provisions, takes everything back to the panga, everyone loads up, and makes the passage home.

--MR



Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Boo and Birthday
By Michaeal
MUSKET COVE, FIJI


Even Mona gets thirsty.
The end of October is always a special time for the Del Viento crew. Windy turns a year older, Eleanor’s birthday is just before Halloween, there’s the dress-up-and-candy day itself, and then soon after, I pull another year away from Windy.

Eleanor’s birthday was low-key and enjoyable. For Halloween we planned to be on a mooring off Musket Cove, a resort on an island off the coast of Nadi. We heard there might be other kid boats there, many waiting for a window to make the hop to New Zealand.

It didn’t disappoint, one of our girls’ favorite cruising Halloweens so far—and that’s saying a lot, given the success of Santa Rosalia a few years back and Woodacre before that.

Next Halloween? We're shooting for Montana. More on those plans in a future post.

--MR







It's really all about this group, kind of magical. All the kids
clicked, nearly all a bit on the older side. They're not all pictured
here, but from Del Viento, Terrapin, Pesto, Me Too, So What, Enough,
and an unnamed boat.

Eleanor opening one of  her birthday gifts, a
pedal for her electric piano. All wearing her new
21 Pilots t-shirt and her new bandana.
Definitely a black theme, welcome 14!

On the beach doing the birthday cake thing.

The girls came up with and executed their costumes
themselves. Surprisingly, all we had to acquire were
the plastic flowers for Frida's head décor. Leo wasn't
around, so Mona painted her own cardboard
background and frame.

Halloween 2017

Not all of them, only those we could rally for this photo.
Many of the adults were in costume too and thanks to
some of us just back from trips to the States,
there were the Halloween staples like you
cannot find in Fiji: Snickers, Take Five, Twix, etc.




Thursday, October 26, 2017

Who Sailed the Boat Here?
By Windy
MUSKET COVE, FIJI


Not missing Dad.
A Musket Cove Yacht Club lifetime membership is quite possibly the best US$5 a cruiser can spend. Our plastic laminated member cards had entitled the girls and me to spend the past few weeks walking sandy paths, lounging on a shady veranda, chilling with friends on the picnic island, and soaking in the pool at the casually classy Musket Cove Resort on Malolo Lailai Island, Fiji. Now it was time leave our mooring and head to Port Denarau Marina on the main island, Viti Levu, to pick up Mike, flying in from the U.S. the next day. But I decided to first fill out a club membership form for Mike.

"He should already have one," said Bale the office manager.

"Why should he?"

"Because he's the most important."

I paused, then a realization dawned on me: crew cannot be members absent a captain. "Oh, Mike didn't arrive with us," I said.

"Who sailed the boat here?"

"I did," I said.

"Then you are the captain!" She smiled.

"Yes!" I said.

It wasn't a lie. There's no strict hierarchy aboard Del Viento, and with Mike gone there was no question who’d been captain these past few weeks. But that was new. The three hour sail from Nadi Bay to Musket Cove had been my first solo sail—though it wasn’t truly solo because I had my kid crew with me.

I thought back to that journey. I’d been nervous. Even though everything I’d be doing I'd done a hundred times before, I realized that I'd never taken total responsibility. Perhaps I'd never captained the boat before? Does Mike feel this responsibility? Or have we truly split the job, always sharing responsibility?

I realized how much peace of mind having backup had always given me. Countless times, two hands aboard had been better than one. Simply raising Del Viento’s huge old mainsail is usually a two-person job. I thought back to groundings that did not happen and collisions avoided because we had two sets of eyes on the job. Just recently I’d caught a sheet on a hatch. It was certainly something I could have dealt with alone, but it was helpful to have one of us on the foredeck to free the line and the other at the helm managing the boat.

Eleanor and Dillon (Sangvind) flying a kite.
In my experience, many singlehanders are extra careful, extra conservative, they take meticulous care of their vessel. My singlehander brain switched on. What could go wrong during this really short passage in protected waters? An injury could happen. If I were seriously injured would the girls be able to manage and seek help? I decided, yes, they could. What if I went overboard? Ditto.

What concerned me most was equipment failure, especially engine failure. Our raw-water engine pump was on its last legs. In fact, Mike was returning with a replacement. I was banking on squeezing a few more hours out of the old one. I came up with a plan in the event I lost the engine en route.

Having dropped Mike off at the airport, the day of departure was upon us. Together, the girls and I raised anchor and headed across Nadi Bay, weaving through the fleet of boats anchored off Port Denarau. Once underway, my nerves calmed. Winds were light and on the nose. We continued motoring toward Musket Cove. I kept an eye on the temperature gauge. When the wind later increased, still on the nose, I advanced the throttle. I could have raised the sails, but we'd have had to tack back and forth and I was eager to reach our destination.

Then I noticed the engine temperature needle creeping towards the red. I leaned over the transom. Water was spitting out of the exhaust, but the volume was diminished and was accompanied by a bit of steam. Alarmed, I throttled way back. While I watched the temperature gauge, I ran through my options in the event I lost the motor:

  • sail
  • drift and let the engine cool and try again
  • anchor
  • call for a tow

I decided my best option would be to raise sail and head back downwind to Nadi Bay, which is wide open and shallow. I would be comfortable getting there and anchoring under sail.

Fortunately, it didn't come to that. Throttling back did the trick. The engine temp returned to normal as did the water from the exhaust, the steam was gone. After an hour of slow motoring we entered the mooring field at Musket Cove. The moorings were full. Circling around, we found a spot behind our friends on Full Circle. Within minutes of anchoring I was sitting in the cockpit with a cold beer, watching Frances fly around the anchorage on a surfboard, towed by Sangvind's fast dinghy. I gave myself an imaginary pat on the back: this was definitely going to be worth the journey.


--WR
Eleanor on the Spit near Musket Cove.

Musket Cove resort life: learning to make pulisami.



All is good aboard (this is a selfie taken inside the head).

















When's Dad coming home?

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Good Old Boat Show
By Michael
DENERAU, FIJI


The 2017 United States Sailboat Show in Annapolis, Maryland was a good, exhausting, productive, and fun time. Things are definitely different when viewed from behind a booth. For starters, I was there all five days and never even stepped foot on a boat, not a one! I had no time for such luxury. I hardly walked the show at all. Get this: over five days, I consumed only two Painkillers.
But it's all good, I was there to work, to spread the word about Good Old Boat, The Sailing Magazine for the Rest of Us. Who are the rest of us? Like I told a thousand show-goers, "If you own and maintain a fiberglass sailboat, this is the magazine for you." On the first two days of the show we set records for signing up new subscribers. What a pleasure to have met at least a hundred regular readers during the show. (And what a pleasure to have met about a dozen readers of this blog!)
For those who've never been, this is the mother of all boat shows. Everyone is there. Some of my favorite moments were meeting long-time friends face-to-face for the first time.

Here's a (partial) photo essay (there were lots of great moments that happened without my camera at hand, lots of other heroes I met):

I took this about midnight, the night before the show was set to start,
from across the bay.

Inside the show at night, everything buttoned up and ready for the opening.
Our booth looking sharp...this was long before we ran out of the
2,500 magazines we gave away. That's Karla behind the counter
and Chuck in the captain's chair.

This is Carolyn Shearlock, tireless promoter of all things
galley. Have you been to theboatgalley.com lately?

Mark Pillsbury (center) is Editor of Cruising World magazine.
Jeremy "Mac" McGeary (right) is a master wordsmith who
graces the Good Old Boat masthead and who started work at
Cruising World shortly after the sextant was invented. He
has an endless supply of good stories. After this photo was
taken, I sat back and listened to Jeremy and Mark
remind each other of different anecdotes regarding a
stuffed purple monkey--I think I've got that right.

Her shirt should read "#BrittanyStrong." This is the Windtraveler writer
herself, here at the show just weeks after Irma turned her life upside down,
here to raise money to help her island community. She's a dynamo.
Buy your own shirt or donate here.

Ah, Tim Murphy, another master wordsmith who has long made
others' words great on the page. Lucky for me, Tim is the editor of
Voyaging With Kids

Wendy Hinman is a fellow freelancer and boating author.
Everyone has heard of Tightwads on the Loose. Her new
title is Sea Trials

I swear, every time I run into Lin Pardey, she seeks my
advice on sailing. I think here she'd just asked me about
heavy weather sailing and I'm explaining the best
approaches. I think someday she is going to be
quite the sailor.

My good friend Jen Brett. She bought some of my early
stories when she worked at Blue Water Sailing years ago.
She is now the Senior Editor at Cruising World and
still a pleasure to work with.

Behan! Imagine writing a book with someone and corresponding
for years, and then meeting in person for the first time--this is
what that looks like. Such a pleasure. Her Totem is a short distance
from circumnavigating.

I was Wendy Mitman Clarke's biggest fan when she was writing
a column for Cruising World years ago. We've met before, but
since then she and her talented daughter contributed to
Voyaging With Kids and it was a real pleasure to
catch up in person. I'm reading her latest now:
Still Water Bending.


Jimmy Cornell has done a lot, but I appreciate most his
World Cruising Routes, love it. Better still, he's a fan of
Good Old Boat!

My second family; we email each other daily. From left to right:
the word guy Jeremy "Mac" McGeary, me, the money gal Karla
Sandness, the artsy gal Nancy Koucky, and the ad man Chuck
Koucky. Together we put out the magazine we all want to read,
and have fun doing so.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Headed for the Annapolis Sailboat Show
By Michael
WASHINGTON, DC


That was my sunrise view out the window of the A330 I just flew aboard from Nadi, Fiji, to LAX. I realized this was my 7th flight across the Pacific, the 6th on Fiji Airways. It’s a terribly long, overnight slog, but thankfully direct—and Nadi (pronounced nan-di) airport is an easy one to fly through and with a comfortable international terminal (they actually have these large, bed-like platforms that passengers are encouraged to spread out on).

I left Windy and the girls in Fiji and I’m headed for the Annapolis Sailboat Show. I’ve been to the show nearly a dozen times, but this will be my first visit where I’ll be working the show, from the Good Old Boat magazine stall. I’m not a salesman and have been anxious about the prospect of spending 4 days spreading the word about The Sailing Magazine for the Rest of Us. But that was then.

I just spent a few days in California visiting family as well as boatyards and marinas from Morro Bay to Oxnard, passing out magazine copies to sailors and telling them about Good Old Boat, my role as editor, and what we’ve got planned. I always received a warm, encouraging reception and I look forward to more.

I’m also looking forward to meeting in person all of the people I’ve known for years, but have never met. First are the fellow Good Old Boat folks with whom I email daily. Then there are all the editors of the magazines I’ve sold to over the years, my publisher Lin Pardey, my co-author Behan Gifford of Totem, my friend author Rob Avery—and I learned just this morning that my friend Brittany of Windtraveler will be at the show. It’s going to feel more like a party or festival than a boat show.

If your a Log of Del Viento reader, I hope to see you there too. Stop by the Good Old Boat exhibit and say hello.

--MR
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