Tag Archives: fiji

Foiling: A Young Man’s Sport?

Foiling, all the kids are doing it!  They sure make it look easy as they let the air pull them up and fly across the water at crazy speeds.  It caught Matt’s interest and so he bought a full foiling package (board, fins, foil, kite, pull rope, jacket, and helmet).  

last seaon he was able to balance on the board and get momentum with the kite as I trailed behind him prepared to rescue him and or bring him back up wind.  But he only got a few practice runs in before he perforated his ear drum and had to stay out of the water.  Then we were in NZ where it was too darn cold to get in the water which brings us to today.

Back in Savusavu with our good friend Chris from “Seaglub.”  He is staying with us for a few days to host a party (more on that coming up in our next blog post).  He has a lot more experience and practice surfing, kiting, and foiling.  So, we all go out to see if Matt and Chris can foil behind the dinghy.

Getting Up

Matt used to be a huge wakeboarder and taught many of our friends how to get up and wakeboard and surf behind his mastercraft boat.  So, he uses his starting stance to get to his knees, then up on one leg, then both legs….balance….balance…balance.

With each try he gets better, he gets up easier, he balances more, and is able to get the board down when all it wants to do is go up.

One time the board just took off and I swear we all thought he was going to touch the sky.  I love his expression when he brings it back down and then his complete sense of accomplishment when he lands it.

Practice Makes perfect

of course there were lots of these….

Foiling plays tricks with your sense of balance and your center of gravity because it has the long foil (mast) underwater.  Matt is used to the board being the bottom, but with foiling, the fin on the bottom of the mast (which is 85cm below the water’s surface) is the bottom.

Which caused some more of these….

But Matt kept getting back on and trying.  His body took a beating but no blood was drawn.  Then Chris got up making it look easy (even though we know he has had much more time practicing).


I am not willing to say that foiling is a young man’s sport as these two handsome guys were out there giving it their all and getting it done.  I am sure with a few more practice runs Matt will be foiling like Chris.

Stay tuned for another update as Matt and Chris ditch the dinghy and foil with the kite!

Our blog posts run 10-12 weeks behind actual live events.  This blog post occured in mid-August.  In our last blog post we have an amazing snorkel experience at the Chimney’s in Namena.

Snorkeling the Chimneys at Namena

The small island of Namena is the largest no-take reserve in Fiji.  Established in 1997, Namena is both a marine and bird preseve.  It is slowly coming back to its former glory after the 2016 cyclone devasted the island. Prior to the cyclone, this area boasted over 1,000 fish species, over 600 pairs of red-footed boobies and a major nesting ground for the critically endangered hawksbill sea turtle.

To access Namena you have to enter through one of few passes.  These passes were much easier to navigate than the passes of the Tuamotus in French Polynesia.  Near the island of Namena is one mooring.  We originally tried to anchor near the island but discovered too many bommies.  So, we checked out the mooring and determined it was safe to hold our home.  

The mooring is right in front of a small beach.  Perfect location to watch all of the nesting birds return home from a day of hunting.

Nesting birds are all over the island.  We saw lots of boobies!

We went ashore and found a trail that led us to the other side of the island.  Super pretty beaches.

Best Diving / Snorkeling in Fiji

Namena is the home of some of the best diving in Fiji.  They have many dive sites inside and outside the reef.  The most famous are the chimneys, teutons, mushroom, and grand central station pass.

We don’t have a compressor so we have to be selective about where we dive until we can find a place to refill our tanks.  We decided to snorkel the sites prior to getting all of our gear out.

The Chimneys

The Chimneys consist of two sheer towers about 10 meters in diamer and 25 meters tall.  The stretch majestically from the sea bed to the sun barely below the water’s surface.  My awesome GoPro doesn’t do well far away so I tried to take photos of one of the chimneys in sections.

The water was a bit silty or murky but it very well could have been the tide.  Both chimneys were teaming with little fish.  They stayed together in their schools and created these amazing blocks of color.

Blooming coral created small bursts of color on the top and on the sides of the chimneys.

Teutons and Mushroom Sites

My favorite sites were the Teutons and the Mushooms as there seemed to be even more schools of fish.  

Even the fish were getting into the Barbie craze…a pink comet trail of fish zoomed past me.

It was a strange feeling of being the new kid at school.  I stood out like a sore thumb in a sea of beauty.

Some fish were curious and came up to see me, but most fled at first site of my bubbles.

And then I found a large, beautiful soft coral with 4 nemos!

I simply love this coral and wish I had nemo protecting me!

Look at all of that stunning color! The best aquarium ever.

Namena Resort

Unfortunately, the Nemena Resort was destroyed in 2016 cyclone.  They have a great website that states they are rebuilding, but it sure does not look like it from where we stand.  It looks like there are people living in the houses up on the hill, but not much is going on.

We cetainly enjoyed our time in Namena.  It is amazing to see the underwater world and the land bounce back from the 2016 cyclone.  Nature is spell bounding and endures.

This blog post occured in mid-August.  Our blogs run 10-12 weeks behind actual live events.  Did you see the new Nawi Marina in Savusavu in our last blog?

Voyage: Tonga to Fiji

It was with a heavy heart that we decide to leave Tonga a week earlier than planned.  As it was, we were only allowed 4 weeks to explore dozens of islands.  Sure, we could have extended our visas, but we really needed to pick up our second hand rudder – so we had to leave at the first “decent” weather window.  Our voyage had a rough start.

We left the Neiafu mooring field (main town in Vava’u, Tonga) around 0730.  Our forecast had light 10-12kts of wind from the southeast, moderate 1-2m seas, no cape, but a constant rain.  It was not the best weather window, but it was good for us as the winds put us in an angle where we could use our starboard rudder.  Remember we are still operating with only one rudder.

Matt decided to put up full sail (both the main and genoa) because the winds were “light.”  However, as we were exiting the Faihava pass a storm popped up and gave us winds coming from multiple directions.  Auto pilot could not control the steering with one rudder and we quickly jumped to hand steering until we got outside the pass.  Once we had more room, we rapidly reefed the main and genoa.  So much for the forecast!

There was a large group of boats that decided to leave with us.  Some were going to Vanuatu, some to Fiji and others were headed west.  It only took a few hours before we lost sight of all the boats.  We could still see some of them on AIS, but there was no visual with the naked eye.  The images of the orange boats and white boats are all leaving Tonga.

The Voyage

I took stugeron (sea sick pill) but I failed to put on my transderm patch.  Why do you ask?  I did not think I needed it since we had light winds in the forecast.  Silly me!  I tried to weather through the crappy feeling, but 3 hours later I succumed and put the patch on.  The seas coming from the SE hit our aft side of the boat causing us to rock funny and that did not sit well with me.  But after I put the patch on I felt better.

On our first day we averaged 7.1kt with a max of 13.7kt as we surfed down a wave.  We traveled 175nm on the first day of our voyage.

It was gloomy and drizzly the entire day.

We had to constantly manage our sail trim with these big seas.  Auto pilot would easily get overpowered with a rogue wave changing our course from 290T to 240T in a blink of an eye.  

Day 2

We tried to fly our parasail as the winds were deaddown.  It was a super sporty ride and we were making great time with boat speeds hitting 9-11kts!  However, the waves would cause us to surf and the additional speed put too much pressure on the sail.  So we took her down after only a few hours and put our genoa out.  Speeds decreased from 9-11kts with the parasail to 5-7kts with the genoa.  

As luck would have it, we entered Fijian waters at night which was not ideal.  But we have great charts and satellite images which kept us safe.  The photo below shows us (red boat) on a trajectory through the island and reefs.

We tried very hard to arrive to the Savusavu channel before dark, but we fell short by 45 minutes.  The channel is narrow and has boats on both sides.  With one rudder and limited mobility, we decided it would not be wise to enter in the dark so we dropped the hook at Custeau Resort for the night.

Overall Trip Details:

  • Total Travel Time:  60hours
  • Total Miles Travelled:  413nm
  • Average overall speed: 7.1kts
  • Max Speed: 14.7kts
  • Engine Hours used:  Port: 5 hours and Starboard 16 hours

We ended up using our starboard engine more to compensate for the missing rudder.  But overall we were able to sail the majority of this voyage.

The next morning we got up early and made our way into the channel.  Copra Shed Marina sent Pio out to assist us with the mooring which was so appreciated!

Our blog posts run 8-10 weeks behind actual live events.  This blog occurred mid-August.  Did you read our last blog, “The Majestic of Kenutu.”