Fiji Islands

Each leg of the adventure starts off with a crossing. Each crossing, something on the boat takes it's turn at breaking down. It is the rule of the sea. This crossing was no exception. This photo was 5 days into the 8 day crossing and the beginning of our 36 hour stitch the main sail marathon.

Suva Market

Viti Levu

We were excited to see the colors and taste the flavors of Fiji. A mix of Fijian and Indian cultures there is a lot of variety. Out of the 1000's of islands that make up this archipelago only 106 are inhabited, Viti Levu being the largest and home to their capital. Viti meaning Fiji and Levu means great = Fiji Great.

We stopped in here to complete our repairs and rest our bones while easing ourselves back into this sailing lifestyle.



Spices at the market


The guide books describe Suva as the "largest and most cosmopolitan city in Oceania." It is home to 1/5 of Fiji's population and their largest port town. Busy and bustling streets filled with open air buses it feels a lot like Mexico. You can find anything you need for fractions of the prices we had been paying in New Zealand. They have quite a market for second hands and knock off's.

We took in the open air markets, viewed many of their unique temples and even caught a movie, Spiderman 3, at the cineplex. The open air markets, always a lot of fun, were full of the usual fresh produce and delights. This time we were introduced to a few new ones, Indian Jack Fruit, seaweed treats topped with hot chili peppers and in Fiji, the ever present Kava bundles.

Despite how active and busy the city was, we found the people here to be the most friendly and genuine in all of Fiji that we visited. It is sad but the resort areas have become a bit jaded we suspect. In the big city they would walk up to us to start a conversation, give great recommendations or help us find our way.


The Kava plant or yaqona, a.k.a. grog, is a very integral part of the fijian way of life. It grows as a tree style pepper plant, macropiper methysticum. Once harvested the roots are then made into a chopped or powdered form. The pulp is placed in cloth and repeatedly mixed with water. In the old days it was chewed and mixed with the spit of the women, yum, and the men took part in the ceremony complete with special mats, rank and file and lots of clapping. As it is we understand it tastes like dirty water and makes you lips and tongue go numb.

As guests to each town or village we are to bring a bundle of this waka and present this gift to the village chief, a custom known as sevusevu. We bought some lovely bundles from the market but unfortunately never had the opportunity to give an away.

Our next stop was the island of Yanuca, located just south of the main island of Viti Levu. Home to Dan and Sharon, some kind American folks who opened up a beautiful and quaint surfing resort on the northwest corner of the island. Only accessible by boat it is the quintessential quiet get away. Best of all, they love kids and families. They opened their doors and arms and let us relax on their shores a couple of days. Bruce and Kelly boy got a nice day of surfing in at Frigates as well. The boys played on kayaks helped Dan keep the palm tree burn pile going strong. The evenings are filled with visits with other guests, delicious home made meals by Sharon and the kids chased geckos and toads to their hearts content.

Truck load of sugar cane stalks
Lautoka, the second largest town in Fiji is located on the same island of Viti Levu but situated on the west coast. Designated as it's own region, we had to check in with customs one more time. The fun highlight here was to see the sugar cane factory. A train track that leads through town rolls in load after load of stacked sugar cane to be processed. Luckily it only started to run on our last day there as it puts off an enormous amount of black soot which quickly covered the boat.

Malolo'lailai Island

After a quick stop into the town of Latoka on the easter side of Viti Levu to check into customs, we made our way out to the island of Malolo'lailai. Home to the Musket Cove Island Resort. A well protected anchorage with all the ammenities we could need, most of all, water we can swim in. While we waited for newly ordered spare parts for the boat to arrive we got into a great routine of school and chores in the morning and playtime in the afternoon. We spent the majority of our time tucked with these islands.

Bruce and the big boys from the other boats could take a half hour dinghy ride to surf when the swell was up or stay in the bay and kite board when the wind was blowing. We all took turns learning how to wake board and fly our new trainer kite, snorkel and a couple days of play at the pool on shore.

Matthew shows his stuff

Students stand at attention for the lowering of the flag.

Malolo Island School

Adjacent to the Musket Cove Resort is a the smaller island of Malolo. At low tide the two islands are connected by the exposed reef, so the villagers living there can walk across and go to work at the resort. With a dingy ride at high tide you can visit these smaller villages where they await to sell you their hand made carvings, jewelry and trinkets. Kelly girl and I went exploring one morning and found the local school on the island. Surprisingly large, we met up with head master Philipo and arranged a time to come and visit with the boys.

Our lucky day, they were celebrating their version of "Earth Day/Arbor Day". As guests of honor along with the village minister we watched the flag ceremony, they perform music and had a game show of sorts between two teams to answer questions related to their environment and natural resources. They even called a guest up, (Lisa) to answer a trivia question. With the correct spelling of Mamanuca (the island chain of which they are a part of), she won a new sarong. Last but not least we were treated to sweet pastries and juice.

We also had the opportunity to watch our first Kava ceremony. The head men of the village continued to prepare and partake of the yaqona drink while the festivities continued.