I have created this blog with the hopes that you, my friend, will follow me as I sail around the world (figuratively or literally, not sure yet) with my parents on their Contest 48. Whereas I hope to keep you updated with exciting adventures of exotic ports and epic waves, keep in mind that cruising - that is, traveling by boat in a leisurely fashion - tends to be filled with days of intense boredom, punctuated by moments of sheer terror. Please keep this in mind as you read these entries, for this platform will be just as much an attempt for me to maintain my sanity (and connection to the California-based world), as entertainment and reassurance for you. And so, follow me as I sail the world.

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Sunday, January 8, 2012

Mega Yachts and Surfing Spots

Bula bula!

Today the sky is bright blue and the humid heat is nearly oppressive. Fortunately there is a cool breeze blowing form the northwest that makes sitting in the shade quite pleasant. Ron's guest arrived this morning and we (the crew of Slow Dance) greeted her with our white "Slow Dance" polo shirts on. Quite cute, really. We are still working on a few last minute issues before we head out to the islands, which should be in a few days. I can't wait to get out there.

Actually, I did get out! As you know we have become good friends with the crew of Noble House, particularly with the first mate, Rob, who also surfs. Two nights ago we were talking about surfing Tavarua and he was telling me about all the breaks and local information. I told him it is a dream of mine to surf the reefs out there, and he said, "Ok, lets go tomorrow. We'll take the Sportfisher."

SCORE! I could hardly sleep I was so excited. I was hoping that it wouldn't be a problem if I snuck away for a day - it was Sunday after all - but Diane (the guest) was coming today so I didn't know if I could swing it. Sean is totally easy going and had no problem with me going on a surf mission. Ron and Victoria both agreed that I could go, but first BJ and I unloaded 8 cases of wine and beer onto the boat. Gotta stock up.

Before we headed out to Tavarua, Rob gave me a tour of Noble House. It is something like a 53 meter mega yacht, complete with Sportfisher tender, cruising tender, jet skis, a gym, movie theater, a baby grand piano and so on. It didn't really feel like a boat, and walking around I could see the insane amount of work it requires to keep this boat in the pristine condition it is.

We were hoping to head out to Tavarua or Namotu to get some surf, but Rob had stowed his surfboards under the jet skis and they were impossible to access. The wakeboard was inaccessible as well so we decided on a booze cruise - loaded up the Sportfisher with drinks and headed out.

Fiji consists of two major islands surrounded by fringe reef and hundreds of little islands (motus). Cloudbreak, the most famous wave in Fiji, is on a reef just off Tavarua island. The island is about 10 miles out of Port Denarau (where we are in the marina), and it took us about a half hour cruising at 20 knots to make it out there.

It was pretty exciting coming up on a wave that I have seen in so many surf flicks and mags. Unfortunately the waves were not good, the swell was funky and small, but it was super cool to be out there and I could easily see the potential of the waves. Actually, it is kind of good that the waves were crap because I would have flipped out if I couldn't surf it because I didn't have my board.

We put a few lines in the water and trolled through the passes for a bit, Rob pointing out all the waves and take off spots, the judges tower at Cloudbreak and telling crazy stories about the pro surfers and their shenanigans. I expected the water to be crystal clear and blue, but it was not. Apparently the water in Fiji is not super clear because the land is so fertile and it rains so much, the run-off makes the water murky.

What the water lacks in clarity it makes up for with warmth. In fact it is too warm. After cruising through the reefs we headed to Musket cove, where we tied up to the dock and hit the bar. After a few cocktails I went for a swim and a snorkel (my first!) which was awesome, in spite of the fact that the water wasn't clear, the reef was dead and the fish were few and far between. No worries, we will get to more pristine places soon enough.

We headed back to Port Denarau in the early evening. Rob told me all sorts of stories about exotic places - including the Lau group of Eastern Fiji, where we are going to go. He is going to come over and chart out all the places we should hit -- particularly the places with good surf. You can see why I like him.

When I got back to the boat it was nicely cleaned and tidied up, so I did a quick vacuum and promptly fell asleep before I was awakened to go up to the bar for drinks and dinner. I know, its a rough life.

There have been a few new developments, however. It appears that we are no longer going to sail to Australia. Another of the Noble House crew talked Ron out of it by telling him how prohibitively expensive it is. So I think the plan has changed back to just cruising Fiji and then coming back to the marina here. But who the hell knows. I'm just going with the flow. And the flow is good.


  1. Man I hate it when I accidentally put my jet skis on top of my surf boards. It happens all the time on our boat.

  2. ncludes a full case of house bubbly and either one resort course dive for non-certified divers or a one-tank dive for certified divers.