The loop is complete – back in New Zealand

You might have been wondering what was going on with us, no news for the past six months – almost gave this blog up – that’s how lazy we were. After the fall (your spring) uneventful crossing from New Zealand to Fiji we cleared the customs in Savusavu on Vanua Levu island. From there we were planning on visiting the Lau islands. These are the most isolated islands of Fiji where people live a simple traditional life still following the old customs of welcoming the visitors with Kava ceremony after the visitor presents the gift, such as yagona, which is a root from which Kava drink is made and can easily be bought from the markets in the city. One has to ask the permission to visit the village, take photos, swim etc. Everybody who sails there also buys extra sugar, tea, flour to exchange for fruits or vegetables, or other useful items, especially items for school like books, paper, pens. Unfortunately the weather wasn’t favorable to sail in that direction, but we did have an experience of this traditional welcoming on Kadavu Island that lies just below Viti Levu which is the main island of Fiji. No hats, no sunglasses, the shoulders and knees have to be covered. The people of Fiji have a reputation of being the friendliest people of this planet and we have to agree. We spent about ten days here and got also invited to the Sunday feast, which was one of the best meals we had in Fiji! This island is quite rich as they are the ones who grow yagona and sell it on the main island and so all the tea, sugar etc. we still have on Vanille we are hoping to add to some Christmas food basket collection (here in NZ). We also managed some snorkelling on the magnificent and famous Astrolabe reef which is part of Kadavu island. By this time JP’s two sisters were getting ready for a visit and so we sailed to the main island to pick them up from the airport. With them we visited Yasawa group of islands, where one can hop from island to island in few hours or a day, each one with crystal clear water, colourful corals, lots of fish, long sand beaches...we had a great time, swimming, snorkelling, kayaking, eating...laughing was on the daily menu! The rest of the season we spent with friends, just bumming around, being lazy, enjoying each day as it came. After many years of intense travelling it was nice to do just nothing. On the 26th of October we departed Fiji and after eight days and three hours we tied to custom dock in Opua, once again in New Zealand. For this crossing we had a wind most of the time and so JP was very happy! (I was less happy trying to balance the pots and pans in the galley!) Everything is in flower here, the spring is almost over and the summer cruising season is just around the corner. We will do more sailing around the islands here, as we don’t have that many things to fix. I am once again flying to California to see my sister, JP will stay and will take care of the few things that need looking after. We reserved a place in Tauranga, hopefully a more exiting city than Whangarei, where we were last year. We will try to be a bit more active with this blog in the future as well. We hope all of you are doing well and till next time – CHEERS to you from New Zealand!