Here’s a short cavalcade of adjectives. Welcoming, friendly, cheap, lush and green. That’s our first impression of Fiji. We’re very happy to be here. The vibe is warm, chilled and open plus being able to converse in english is helpful…..although my french did improve after the best part of a couple of years in French Polynesia. Wow, was it really that long?

Warning ….The next section contains sailing jargon so feel free to skip if you have no interest.

How was the crossing? 12 days at sea and a little boisterous. First few days were fast. Grace was humming. We flew the twin headsails poled out and headed straight downwind. A bit rolly but saves miles by not having to gybe the angles. We had a couple of ”oh no” moments. The headsail halyard chaffed through but we managed to wrap the sails before they fell in the sea. Dave valiantly went up the mast a couple of days later but it was too pitchy and rolly to sort it out. He described the experience as ’not very nice’.

Then we ripped the mainsail. We were able to sail with the third reef in plus the stay sail. Not a massive sail area. plus we flew the cruising chute when appropriate. A sail boat without white sails is a bit limited. We chose to put the engine on for a short while at the end of the passage as we wanted to get in. No purists on Grace I’m afraid.

We have decided to buy a new mainsail rather than spend money getting it fixed for it to rip somewhere else. We bought new sails when we got Grace so they are about 10 years old. In my time distorted head, i still think of them as being new but they are obviously not. Wear and tear, UV light, strong winds all contribute to their ongoing damage.

Today Dave is swapping the starter motor on the engine. I’m sat in a cafe (bizarrely it appears to be run by a rather scary South Korean religious cult) looking out at the rain. Thinking about it, i’ve just contributed to their fundamentalist literature costs by buying a smoothie.

In stop press news, I’m unexpectedly flying back to the UK on Sunday. My dad is currently suffering health wise so i’m heading home. Dave will stay here in Fiji for the time being until we know more. Stand by. There may be a lull in transmissions for a while.

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