Say “Happy Birthday” to Leo!


Leo turned 9 years old this morning, anchored off of the island of Nanuya-Sewa in Fiji’s Blue Lagoon. Birthdays come early on this side of the International Dateline. He’ll spend the day exploring caves, swimming, fishing, and watching a Fijian fire dance celebration. If you can’t join us today but want to participate in our celebration of this amazing, smart, great-haired boy whom we all love so much, then please leave your birthday wishes for him in the comments section of this blog.


Boat Porn


Fiji Regatta Week begins today, and this is a quick post targeting people like Alex Weinert, Will Curry, my brother David and all of my SYC friends who are into cruising boats and their designs. It’s a little photo essay of some of the boats moored around Musket Cove this morning.


For starters, we love Sophie. I have to say she is looking pretty good this morning in anticipation of the arrival of our friends Troy and Maureen from Seattle. But a few days ago this Lagoon 560 dropped an anchor right next to us, and for the first time in 5 years I had a bad case of boat envy-lust. This 560 is huge and beautiful.560

There actually is quite an interesting collection of boats moored right next to us. There is a Wharram catamaran right there. This is a 51, and my brother David built a 20 foot version when he was in high school.


For those of you who are into the life work of Steve Dashew, there is a Deerfoot on one side of us…


.. and a Sundeer on the other.


There is a Dashew Offshore powerboat we’ve seen a few times in the South Pacific this season, but they are not in Malolo Lalai today.

If your taste leans more towards solid fiberglass 70’s strong-as-a-shithouse production boats, there is a nice looking Morgan Out Island from San Francisco right behind us.


At the other end of the spectrum is a new boat on the dock built by a Dutch guy named Cookie. It’s the future of boating and incorporates the latest designs from racing boats. It’s 39 feet long, made of Kevlar and weighs only 8,000 pounds, and half of that weight is in the bulb. Cookie is a bachelor.


If I was going to buy a new production monohull to go cruising, I’d probably get a Beneteau. They are built by the same company that builds Lagoons, they look nice and preserve their value. Here is a nice (new) 58 that is in at the dock. It’s a beast.


But I like cats. There are two nice Chris White designs in town, a 45 from Seattle named Lightspeed on the dock …


… and a Canadian 55 names Segue out on a mooring.


There are over 20 cats here right now, including some lightweight go-fast boats …


… and some go-slow cats.


There is one cat named Elcie that we’ve been running into since Moorea. She is owned by a family from Oxford, MD and was built in New Zealand. I was pretty excited when I first saw her because I remembered that I had read about her in Blue Water Sailing magazine. She’s a 60 foot aluminum ketch.


Wherever we’ve been over the last few months, we’ve seen Amels. This one is sailed by a guy from London named Jamie.


There are also some bigger monohulls that look like they need full time crew.




In every harbor, there also always seems to be one Nordhavn.


But one of the things we’ve learned is that it really doesn’t matter what you sail or drive in order to get here, the important thing is to just get here. Most of the boats out cruising are like this guy from Switzerland.


Because once you get out here, you can start living the dream, which includes doing things like going to opening night regatta barbecues where you meet new friends and then dance with them like you’re at your cousin Caroline’s wedding.


Have I mentioned lately how lucky we are to be out here?

Mahi-mahi attack!

Given all the fishing we’ve been doing lately, it may surprise some of you to learn that Leo had never reeled in a big fish on Sophie, until now. We left Suva harbor without fueling up, intending to sail to the Kadavu island group, about 50 miles to the south.

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Out in the open water, however, we discovered the wind was on our nose instead of the predicted easterlies, so we turned west towards Beqa (pronounced “mbenga”) and surfed downwind on a reach in light air. A couple hours later Jamie yelled “Fish! Fish! Fish!” so I turned the boat upwind to slow down. Jamie grabbed the pole and moved over to the port steps while the fish ran a bit.  “It looks like a small mahi-mahi. Hey Leo, do you want to land this one?”

Oh yeah!

Leo grabbed the pole, braced himself on the deck and started to reel in.

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Game on!

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In the water, the mahi-mahi is a brilliant blue. It’s remarkable how quickly this fades to yellow after it’s caught.

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This girl put up a good fight! Leo said it was hard and felt like the reel was stuck most of the time, even though the fish was getting closer. He asked me to title this post mahi-mahi attack.

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Leo held steady while Jamie stood by with the net.

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Success! One in the net.

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It turns out this wasn’t such a small fish after all.

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Over 10 pounds, Leo had trouble holding her up with one hand. I love his smile.

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To celebrate we ate spice-rubbed mahi-mahi over watercress and cucumber salad with pickled ginger vinaigrette for lunch and made ceviche with the rest. Congratulations Leo on your first mahi-mahi take down!