Day 64, Year 2: Another Small World Experience
Date: Wednesday, June 27, 2007
Weather: More of the Same . . . Sunny Day with Periods of Misty Rain
Location: Bay of Islands, Vanua Balavu, Northern Lau Group

Our solitude in the Bay of Islands ended today. Early this morning, our friend Sam from Daliconi came by in his fishing boat. We had seen no one since leaving the village, but Sam told us that he had been fishing on Monday evening just off the point next to us. So I guess we haven’t been as alone as we thought. He came by to say hello and give us a beautiful coral trout for dinner and another fish for bait so we can catch our own. We explained to him that we are hopeless fishermen, but he encouraged us to keep trying. I cleaned the fish, and While I was in the dinghy getting ready to throw the waste overboard, I noticed that I had two new friends hovering close-by. The most beautiful couple of cuddlefish (squid) were right beside the dinghy. I watched, had Mark give me the camera to take pictures, and just enjoyed our visitors. When I would put something in the water, they would shoot like a rocket out of sight, but soon they would return. They finally tired of playing and went away. I threw out the fish waste, cleaned the bucket, and got back aboard Windbird. Not too long afterwards, I heard Mark call to me saying that another boat was coming into the Bay of Islands. He thought it might be the boat that had checked into Daliconi just before we arrived–Chaotic Harmony. As it got closer, we could see that it was a catamaran and we were most certain that it must be the same boat. The boat went past our little cove, but in less than half an hour, it was back and anchored not too far from us. At that point, we were able to positively identify the boat as Chaotic Harmony. Shortly after anchoring, the dinghy from the boat came to Windbird. Gavin, the captain, and his five year-old son Fletcher, came to pay us a visit and to invite us over for sundowners this evening. We talked long enough to learn that Chaotic Harmony sails out of Cairns, Australia, and there are three children aboard–one 5, another 10, and another 15 years old. Gavin explained that he takes two years off every five years to cruise in the Western Pacific. They are currently in the second year of a two year cruising cycle.

After Gavin and Fletcher left, we spent the rest of the morning doing chores aboard Windbird and then went snorkeling in the early afternoon. It was higher tide today than yesterday which we found to be not as good for snorkeling. But we still saw some beautiful fish and we were happy. Then just before the sun went down, we went over to visit with our neighbors and we discovered that we have more in common that we had anticipated.

On our voyage, we have had a few “small world” experiences–times when we have met people halfway around the world that know good friends back home. And it happened again today. We arrived at Chaotic Harmony to find Fletcher, the five year-old, and Baden, the ten year-old preparing a squid they had just caught. We also met fifteen year-old Estelle. Not long after we arrived, Baden served the freshest calimari we have ever had. It was delicious. We sat and talked about where we were from and what we did before we went sailing. Gavin is physician with a 24-hour practice in Cairns. This allows him to come and go, so he leaves the practice to sail for two years out of every seven. But even during the two year sailing stints, Gaven often leaves the family here in Fiji while he goes home to work for a couple of months. when we were explained that we are from New Hampshire, but that we spent the last two years in the US living aboard Windbird in Boston, Massachusetts, Gavin and Catherine said they knew exactly where those places were as they had spent Christmas 2005 in Booth Bay, Maine. It turns out that a few years ago, in Bavatu Bay where we are headed tomorrow, they met Judy and David Nutt and their children. David and Judy are from the Booth Bay area, and David is the brother of Patsy Decker, a good friend of ours. When the two families parted here in Vanua Balavu, they joked about having Christmas together back in Maine when the Nutts completed their circumnavigation. I guess you had better be careful what you joke about out here, because it more than likely could be become reality. The LeSueurs flew from Australia to Booth Bay for Christmas. They even visited the family home in Hanover, New Hampshire, while they were there. We had a great time talking about mutual friends and then went on to enjoy a delightful evening together. Fletcher, the five year-old, drew a wonderful map of the world for me and made sure I brought it home with me so we could find our way. I will cherish that map and the moments in time we shared with new friends from Australia.

Tomorrow we will move to the north side of the island to Bavatu Bay. We were supposed to do that today, but we were just having too much fun here in the Bay of Islands. Gavin drew a map for us of the bay and explained that all of the land around the bay is owned by Tony Philp. Tony also owns the Copra Shed Marina in Savusavu, the Vuda Point Marina on the west coast of Viti Levu, and most other marine businesses in Fiji. His father owned the coconut plantation in Bavatu Bay and Tony has kept it in true colonial style. So tomorrow we will arrive at the Royal Exploring Isles Yacht Club (just a name and a jetty) and go back in time about a hundred years to the ways things used to be here.

070627 Day 64 Vanua Balavu, Fiji–Meeting Chaotic Harmony