Galatea's Adventures July-August
Update from Fiji:
Versión en Español
We haven't updated you lately since our arrival in Samoa where we had a wonderful stay where we explored the main island and met a tribal chief and an artisan from his village from whom we bought wood carvings. The village, if that's what you can call it, is named Uafato and is located on a far away beach at the end of a trail of rocks, which is very steep (not exactly a road) bordering the coast of Upolu, Samoa. Luckily, we rented a jeep, after crossing several rivers we arrived to one that we couldn't cross so we abandoned the jeep and walked the rest of the way to the village where we met these colorful characters. On our way back we ended up transporting Chief Fot and all of his 250 tatooed kilos sitting in the back seat. We almost got stuck several times on the road with the extra cargo load. He didn't speak a word of English, but we laughed all the way teaching each other Samoan and English along the way. Samoans maintain a very strong sense of traditional culture, architecture, and daily life. From Apia we left for Suva, the capital of Fiji.
We arrived in Fiji after 5 days of sailing and found an active city, and like all of these Pacific Islands, one filled with gentle and beautiful people. We anchored in the bay of the Royal Suva Yacht Club where we were treated first class. Fiji is an archipeilago to which we should dedicate one year of cruising in the future because it is mined with gorgeous islands and reefs. We met our new friends, Cat and Rob, who live in Fiji and run Nai'a (www.naia.com.fj) and had the most wonderful time chatting, eating, and planning for exciting reef preservation and an underwater habitat project in the future. On their recommendation, we saw the best of Fiji inland in the mountains of Viti Levu where we kayaked 25 km of the Upper Navua River. We spent the day shooting rapids, which were sometimes 1.5 m, within a canyon of black lava covered with orchids, firns, and many other tropical plants. We saw corals encrusted in the lava that were elevated from the sea level during the violent birth of this beautiful island. After a week in Fiji we departed for Vanuatu.
For the first time, the Pacific showed her might blowing continuously for 5 days 20-30 knots on the nose. We sailed at 7-9 knots with 2 reefs and a small jib. Then the propeller brake was weakened during the crossing so we maintained our speed under 7 knots. It was a rock-n-rollin' trip, but quick. Dava caught a nice Wahoo, which kept us fed throughout the crossing. Vanuatu received us with a huge display of fireworks - close to 4 am, still blowing hard, we approached the islands of Pentacost (where bungee jumping originated) and Ambrym, both of them with mountains of 2,000 m and a small pass between them?like a large Roman Gate. Not only that, but on Ambrym an active volcano throwing red flames and rocks into the atmosphere, which was perfectly visible with binoculars. We saw animals and figures in the clouds illuminated by red, yellow, and purple and all of this was happening under an almost full moon, which illuminated Galatea's white decks! Truly, this was the most beautiful and emotional sailing we've had yet. There are no words to describe the beauty and power of the Earth's Nature.
Today, we're anchored off a beach of Espiritu Santo, an island on the North end of Vanuatu, which was occupied by the U.S during WWII. Tomorrow, we're planning a dive on the President Coolidge shipwreck sunken right here in the harbor by a US mine. There are also airplanes, tanks, etc. (named million dollar point) providing great diving. Last night we went to a great buffet with local foods and native signing and dancing. The warrior dancers where from the Torres Islands, the Northern most of Vanuatu, and you can just imagine the days of fierce fighting and cannibalism. It was incredible as the same men sang changed from their loin cloths to Polynesian flowered shirts and sang soft melodic songs. When we leave Vanuatu we finish our sailing in the Pacific Ocean as we enter the Coral Sea and Australian waters?it is with great sadness that we leave these lands so fertile in exotic cultures, languages, arts, and people. We will write more and post to our website as we sail to the Torres Strait (crossing the Great Barrier Reef) on the North coast of Australia (1100 nm away).
Sending our love,