21 - Lockdown in Paradise Fiji - Sailing Filizi
Sailing in Fiji in one of the most beautiful island countries of the South Pacific Ocean in the year 2020 during the pandemic of Covid 19 This sounds like a dream This dream came true for a bunch of lucky sailors us included But let's start our story from the beginning It is the 5th year of our circumnavigation that started from Greece After spending a few months back home we fly back to Fiji to our boat Filizi It's march 9, 2020 We leave Athens in a hurry afraid of a lockdown A disease called Covid 19 caused by a novel coronavirus is spreading fast around the globe Fiji is Covid-free and the authorities are doing their best to keep it this way Our boat Filizi is in Vuda marina inside a "cyclone pit": a hole in the ground It is the middle of the cyclone season The place is quiet Just 10 days later and the news drops like a bomb The Prime Minister announces the first Covid 19 case in Fiji Measures are strict and immediate Our area goes to lockdown a nationwide curfew is imposed The country's borders close Day by day the pandemic spreads bringing fear and despair in the whole world Our family our friends everyone locked down in their homes and trying to live through this disaster We are shocked and so so sad Something is coming... It's the beginning of April and a storm forms in the South Pacific Soon it intensifies to a destructive category 5 cyclone named Harold It is heading towards Fiji We prepare Filizi and we go to the nearby hotel First Landing for the night, fearing for the worst It is a long and difficult night but not a direct hit The damages in our area are relatively small Bula! Relieved, we enjoy the beautiful hotel A sweet, sad and somewhat creepy feeling: a whole resort for a handful of guests The borders of the country are closed all tourists have left hotels are closed and empty A few more Covid cases appear New restrictions are imposed Cruising is not permitted in Fiji waters anymore so all international boats must stay in port Borders close in most Pacific island countries and as a result the sailing community experiences unprecedented situations Foreign sailboats are not allowed to make landfall and must stay in the open sea even in dangerous weather Fiji becomes a bright exception giving special permit to two single -handed sailors who take shelter in Vuda marina after their very long ocean voyages So we meet TC Wong from Singapore and Yves from Reunion In Vuda marina all of us international sailors work on our boats work out with yoga and tai chi and take lessons of fijian language All is organised among friends for free "respectful of that next person it's the same as goodbye which is "moce" Time goes by It's been three weeks since the last Covid case Isolated in our exotic micro world we can socialise without fear We are deeply thankful to be Fiji Hi doggy! No!! June comes cyclone season has ended long ago but sailboats are still not permitted to sail Apart from that we are free to move around and get the chance to meet local people How much is this? Two dollars?! Yamaha in Denarau and the patient is here yeah the patient is very sick very sick diabetes Let's hope it will survive So Dr Lemeki has to do something How are you feeling, captain? I am almost super happy Invited by Elias in Velovelo for the 100-day remembrance of a relative we have the rare chance to participate in a family gathering This is Lily We have a fan here in Fiji Yes Lily is on of our fans Girls, you have the best plate here On june 25th all captains are asked to bring their boat papers and come to the marina office Then Jashinta makes the great announcement We are free to go sailing!!! The happiest moment in months We are going sailing! The time has come! So ni sa bula = how do you do sega na lega = no worries Sota tale: see you later Moce (mothe): Bye bye We sail towards the Mamanuca islands As the wind fills our sails we remember the lovely song from Siroon and Nune young crew of sailboat Aghavni We are going sailing baby Oh Feel the wind in your face See the waves going past you Brace as fast as you can We are going sailing baby oh oh Push your limits to the max Forget your safety and it's fun Don't be no land lubbers And then we sail south Our next stop is Malolo island Think of the Lord's creation He was the one who made this ocean Forget society and be free Oh Feel the wind in your face See the waves going past you race as fast as you can We are going sailing baby oh oh Feel the wind in your face Malolo Lailai island is home of the famous and yacht-friendly Musket Cove resort which opened again for the celebration of Bastille Day no flash We say goodbye to our friends and sail to Mana an island with a very tricky reef passage Reef and reef.Aman! Look here! Look how low is the tide Help! Look at the rock! A group of village boys take us up the hill We sing and talk together The boys are polite, bright and have big dreams Bula to their families! Bon voyage! so our long-awaited voyage begins we sail south east to Astrolabe reef to Vurolevu island hoping to see the manta rays and now it's chapter 1We don't change but can take different courses in our lives Sleepless nights riding the waves the stars light down our way in the deep blue ocean vastness minuscule we'll be again I don't really want to leave... It would be nice to stay more but there is a good weather window that will help us to sail east so we can't miss it The southerlies of the next three days is an interval from the prevailing southeast winds of the season They will allow us to sail the 170 nautical miles to Fulaga one of the most remote and beautiful islands of Fiji It was chapter 45 And now it's chapter 1 We don't change but can take different courses in our lives Sleepless nights riding the waves the stars will show the way In the deep blue ocean vastness miniscule we'll feel again And ocean winds wild or kind Endless miles Seems unwise Sail away into the blue and we'll make the passage with the ocean winds Captain? Weather conditions like in Aegean Sea Make your wildest dream come true the most precious dream of all Find a boatmate that you love and sail around the world Boy! A lifetime is such a short time I know it for a fact Time has come we have to go Be strong, be fearless and be wise 'cause Ocean winds... We arrive before sunrise and wait a few hours until the sun is up high in the sky The island is surrounded by coral reefs so entering the lagoon is impossible without good light Also the current can be strong making the passage more dangerous Our friend Erwin comes to greet us and show us the safe route We anchor and leave straight away to go for sevusevu in Monocake the village of the island chief On the way we get lost inside the gorgeous labyrinth created by tiny mushroom-shaped limestone islands in emerald shallow waters We find our way with google maps offline of course There's no internet in the Lau islands Let's go! Look! Pawpaw! There are no hotels in Lau Sailors are the only foreigners the locals meet Our friends and us five boats all together we are the first and only visitors in Fulaga since many months Bula! Bogi! Hello! Bula Bogi! So this is the "turaga ni Koro" (village spokesman) And your name is? Soki Vinaka! (thank you) Simoni, the island chief is worried about Covid but he trusts us He appoints one of the families to be our host during our stay as the custom is the people are very friendly and welcoming being in this village feels like traveling back in time Fulaga has three small villages but only one school the kids from the faraway village walk a long way every day Magical island! Where does the chief mate go? I'm going up to get you some coconuts Sunday is the most important day for the Lau islanders We all attend mass at the village methodist church After church all boat crews go for lunch with their host families Our host family cook traditional food fish in coconut milk and cassava People here live from fishing and farming It has been more than a month since the last commercial ship came to Fulaga and many important staples sugar, rice, flour are running out We offer them as much as we could carry This is the mast Yes. We call it in Fijian "vana"
Luce and Maika and Greg and Karen and this is the beautiful bag that Luce made On our way back to Filizi Yorgos saves one of the local boats My hero!! Next morning - very early we go with Humberto to pick up the fishing nets Humberto is a Dutch sailor who comes to Fulaga since 2004 He's practically a local Look! That's it! All right! Job done! The one and only telephone line of the island has been out of order for the last few months Simoni the chief needs to make urgent calls and we offer Filizi's iridium satellite phone Well my family, me I will be the chief of Fulaga You see Simon wearing a Holly Mountain (Mount Athos) cross Captain Rene captain Humberto & captain Yorgos That's better. Now we are fair! Cheese pie!! What did you say? That's what I call Greek salad! That's right! Fantastic! I expect to catch fish today Big red mullet! Beautiful red mullet The sea in Fulaga is full of life We eat fresh fish every day Our friend TC saw a big one under his boat threw in the hook and caught this huge treveli Oh! It's so beautiful!! I can't hold it!! Capers! Sprouted on the rock! Bula! Thank you! This is the globe for Fulaga district school We are so happy! ...and then we crossed through Panama Here in Panama the people made an opening between the two continents between South America and North America They made the opening, the Canal of Panama Amen Now it's the time to say goodbye Now it's the time to say goodbye, say goodbye This is my home Katerina We go to the kitchen and have a lunch? Yes! Mini is one of the best wood carvers on the island Lau islands are a geographical and cultural crossroad between the melanesian Fiji and polynesian Tonga It's very evident here in Fulanga from the village's circular houses Oh Viti (Oh Fiji) The arrival of the provisioning boat after so long brings joy to the whole island Olive oil olive oil Jiko and Ba and Soki The calm weather is perfect to sail east so all five boats, as a convoy we set sail to explore the nearby Ogea island Humberto who knows the waters really well leads the way through the passage and the very shallow lagoon We anchor in Matana bay and because the tide is very low we walk a path to reach the village People here must be super cool The nine of us appear in the village without notice first visitors on the island after a year Epeli, smoking calmly his long suki cigarette says that they have never ever seen five boats here at the same time Five boats, five kava packages, the village is happy We assist in the kava drinking preparation grinding the kava root It's Sunday morning and the tide is rising we take the dinghy and go to the village to attend Sunday mass Great way to walk to church Reki and Sera invite us for lunch Sera is an excellent cook the food is delicious Humberto is taking us on a little trip The best yacht is your friend's yacht ..we must reach Filizi The tide gets lower by the hour we go back to Filizi through a fjord-like maze of small islets A real adventure Next day we go back to the village we've been more than 20 days without internet and now we must urgently connect We heard that there is wi-fi at the school Asilika is the head teacher of the Matuatabu Primary School The kids of Ogea are lovely playful, very polite and we all have a great time with them My name is Sera My name is Lin My name is Leilala My name is Sinu My name is Faith Bye! See you later! What is this ? Pandanus leaves Sera's aunties cut the pandanus leaves to use them for weaving floor mats so this way you choose (the coconut) aha meanwhile men came back from spare-gun fishing at the outer reef Wow! Groupers! Come on in the picture everybody Yes, premix (fuel for outboard engines) That's the way we get the fuel Sulu! The famous Sulu We love spending time with the village kids and we try to teach them things We visit them at school almost every day Hello! Nice to see you again. Good morning Good morning Karina! Interesting! I love this lesson It's weekend and you can swim, you can watch a movie but remember take out your book and READ! Io! (yes) Sulu as president of the women's club of Ogea organizes a surprise for us: a traditional Meke dance On this beautiful evening our friends Reki, Sera and little Pasemaca come to Filizi for dinner Reki told us about the whale mothers and calves that they saw in the lagoon Next morning we go to look for them One by one we go and swim close to the whales My heart beats fast They are magnificent! Every year whales swim thousands of miles from Antarctica to the tropics to give birth in the safety of the lagoons They stay for a few months until their baby calves grow and are able to make the long passage back south Sunday again Our 8 unforgettable days in Ogea island passed as fast as a breath Tomorrow we will sail away but we still have today to enjoy What a strange creature! All these are crabs? Yes, they are crabs. We're going to miss you very much but we hope to come back soon Breadfruit leaves we mix the flour coconut and sugar Bia (name of north anchorage) And here? The anchorage here? Matana All right And how do you call this food? Ika vaka lolo Ika vaka lolo Ika is fish, right? vaka lolo is "in coconut milk" When the full moon rises it's a high tide? It's getting high tide As it moves...
As it goes up, the tide goes low OK! So when it is in the middle? It's low tide As it goes down it's getting high again Simple! Together with Sulu Sulu the queen! The queen of the village with the great hospitality We want to thank you Sulu Vinaka vakalevu! You're welcome You were worried, right? Yes! There were just 20 cm under our keel We'd love to stay longer with these beautiful people but there are so many Lau islands to see and not much time Soon we must be in the mainland to renew our visas We weigh the anchor and motor slowly towards the barrier reef passage The sea is boiling over the rocks it's an overwhelming sight According to Navionics we are sailing over the rocks Our next destination is Namuka island about 30 nautical miles away and we sail fast with 20 knots east -south east wind We anchor in a very safe anchorage northwest of the island The gorgeous crystal clear water reminds us both of the Aegean sea Google maps show the village in the middle of the island about 4 kilometers away We must go for sevusevu Of course there's no one around to ask for directions We should put a mark on the path... Namuka by night... How long have we we been walking? We get lost in the forest In the end we manage to find the path After two hours we arrive to the village It's late We go straight to the chief's house The chief of Chief and turaga ni Koro (village spokesman) OK! And his name is Cama (pronounced Thama) which in Greece means miracle And his granddaughter is called Miracle This is a miracle! The chief gives us the visitor book to sign We are the first yacht after a year This pandemic affects every tiny corner of our planet Do you have food for the village? After the cyclone (TC Harold) Yeah. There are two shops. Two! Let's see this little shop We buy a few provisions from the little shops and some fruit and vegetables from the villagers and they offer us a ride back to Filizi Yupee!! The name of the anchorage where we are? Walata They worry about us bringing Covid Captain Fantastic! Next day the island nurse comes wearing a mask as they think we came from abroad We show them our Cruising Permit "Sega na lega" : no worries And the captain answered all the questions They are concerned about us having the Covid Everybody is concerned After five days we set sails for Daliconi village in Vanua Balavu island to see our dear friends from last year Isireli and Elenor We finally meet again Who is this guy? We show them our movie Fiji part 1 they are both a big part of it We always have a great time together O cei na yacamu? (what is your name?) Mereualesi. Na yacaqu Mereualesi Na yacaqu Katerina (my name is Katerina) Katerina! Like me? Yes Na yacaqu Sivo Milk with the divine voice Zacharias and their family invite us in their home and share a delicious Sunday meal with us Kakana (food) and Titilia and Inoke Right! And Mateo Joji (George in Fijian) Kakana (Karina's Greek nick name meaning food in Fijian) Very Fijian outfit.
Like twins! Yes We leave Daliconi village and sail to awesome Qilaqila (pronounced Ngilangila) a gem of Fiji and one of the most beautiful and safe anchorages we have ever been Fantastic! Amazing! Moce (byebye) Filizi! Qilaqila is not very far from Daliconi so Zakarias and his brother Ledua come every few days bringing us fresh fish from their catch and fruit & veggies from their garden Sota tale mataka, e? Yes. See you tomorrow Thank you! Vinaka vakalevu! Have a nice day guys! Thank you very much! Vinaka na ika Thank you for the fish Vinaka na dal (thank you for the lentils) Look at this! Fresh produce. So nice! Guys you are perfect We are saved! Delicious lentil soup Moce (mothe: goodbye) Filizi! We say goodbye to our friends and set sails for Walagilala On the way we meet boats we have never seen before Boats coming from Hawaii, Tahiti, New Zealand, Australia Fiji has opened up its borders to international cruising yachts the brilliant "Blue Lanes" Initiative that counts the ocean passage time as part of the quarantine days Over 90 yachts and super yachts have come so far A big help for Fiji's tourism We wish other countries do the same someday This is our second visit to this remote and gorgeous atoll after a year A real sanctuary for sea birds and wildlife Full moon tonight so the tide is very high and the anchorage becomes uncomfortable We sail all night under the moonlight Next destination is Savusavu port in Vanua Levu island where we must do the paperwork for our visas Good luck to us both! Sereana The trees of Savusavu! Cooking in Savusavu the natural way Boiling hot springs! In Savusavu we meet against Sofronia and we invite her and her family to Filizi 6 am we depart and sail south heading to a special place Makogai island From 1911 until 1960 Makogai used to house lepers from all the British colonies of the Pacific Now it houses the Fijian turtle and giant clam farm It is a marine park Karina Katerina Katerina or Karina Katerina!! It is a breeding place, a fish farm Luce tells us about the island farm of grouper fish kawagawa turtles and clams So the guys will show you where the giant clam is like they are becoming extinct so the government want to like for us to as they're giving birth and everything So we are keeping it Ok! You are most welcome Welcome to Makogai island Vinaka vakalevu, thank you! The kids seem very happy to show us around And at last after all these years in the Pacific we see an absolutely huge giant clam And look at this this is the baby clam Wow amazing! what is this? A whale bone So huge! Usa and Jerry take us to the tombs of the Sisters of the Society of Mary the missionaries who took care of the sick from vukavuka: The lepers Mother Mary Agnes Every new day we see more of Makogai hospitality We spend time with Luse and her wonderful kids Rosemary and Pita On Sunday the crew of Hullaballoo and Filizi we are invited for lunch by the villagers The food is slow cooked inside a "lovo" a traditional earth oven Look at this! crab, land crab and this is the taro leaf we mix it with coconut cream inside and we call it this in Fiji we call it in Fiji palusami This is the breadfruit leaves Wow what a crab! captain George, captain Yorgos, captain Joji is cutting the bread Our friend Rosemary Wow We've never seen a feast like that! Ever! The food is delicious No one stops him from climbing and the whole experience is extraordinary After lunch Jerry a five-year-old boy offers to bring us papayas we are watching him speechless Come on! Almost. Almost! Another one! Another one! Vinaka!! The kids want to see our "yota" our yachts so off we go! Hullaballoo sailed from New Zealand They brought donations from sailing families for the children of Fiji clothes, shoes, books and more And they do have ice cream! Ice cream!! Are you saying something? Ice cream! Rosi. Rosemary
Rosi Serma Jerry Miri Pita Usa Salome Isireli Sewa Usake Wais Thank you Filizi! Bula!! Yeah I can go swimming Karina Next day we take the path to the school at the other side of the island It's a one hour long walk and not an easy one The children have to do it every day There are no roads and no cars on this island and going by boat is a luxury There's not enough money for fuel Bula! South America we went to South America Pacific Ocean So first stop was Galapagos Imagine on a sailing boat... Big fault!! The older kids take care of the younger ones There's a beautiful strong bond between them like brothers and sisters with love and respect for one another So this is the movement you put it on top and you turn it like this And the kids We love Makogai! And Filizi... Bye! Bye Filizi! Bye George! Bye bye guys! Bye Katerina! Saying good-bye to our Makogai friends is not easy They gathered beautiful seashells for us so never to forget them Strong easterly wind fills our sails and we sail fast towards our next destination Levuca port in Ovalau island levuca was founded by european settlers in 1820 when the modern state the kingdom of fiji was created in 1871 la vuca became the first capital of the nation in 1882 the capital was moved to suba a walk around the town with a distinct architecture reveals its important colonial pasta after spending a few days in different beautiful and secluded anchorages in nova lau we sail to suva about 55 nautical miles south south west the huge barrier reef of suva is at the same time a great protection and a great danger to navigation it's saturday and it's the best day to be in the market people from all around come here to sell their produces is one of the largest urban capitals of the south pacific and it has all the characteristics of a big city luxury hotels shopping malls heavy traffic still the people are friendly and warm the young fijians we meet in suva speak english as another time we even meet a cuban who speaks greek could you recommend a nice restaurant here next destination is bengal island just a few miles away from suva but a whole different world as the kobet 19 safety procedure dictates we are allowed to enter the village after we show our cruising permit to the duranga nicoro then he takes us to the chief for 7. of this beautiful village what is the name of the village okay and we're very happy to be here thank you beautiful beautiful baby and we are the first yacht i think yeah chief's grandson 15 year old suli is appointed to take us around the island he shows us different plans that uses medicine fiji medicine and the huge termite nest you see the tree was destroyed inside here we are the only visitors in the whole island despite the pandemic the people invite us in their homes and share their food with us so this is a good knot learn the bow line so well you're doing it now yeah yeah yeah a few days passing this very hospitable and very rainy island it's time to move on the fiji regatta in musket cove begins soon and we don't want to miss it me is is the site is overwhelming we count 80 yards in musket gorgeous anchorage that has been almost deserted when the borders closed this year the regatta week begins on a very special date today october 10 2020 is fiji day and the nation celebrates 50 years of independence do what was held in 1970 on the 10th of october at 10 a.m
when prince charles handed over the independence documents to our then prime minister raj tamara oh okay everybody most popular event here it's fun it's a hobby cat race it looks like this one there are no rules there's no rules in the hobie cat challenge everything's go go for bro is foreign oh first yes oh good luck we joined the round malolo classic race as crew of tanga the benetto 47 we are the second monohull to cross the finish line captain john and group were all celebrated a new cyclone season begins but we can't go anywhere as long as the borders of the surrounding countries stay closed our circumnavigation with feliz is halted in fiji so we remain here lock down in paradise