June 8

We are currently in Vunda Point Marina awaiting further repairs on our transmission and shaft. The trip here from Yanutha was stressful but fast. It is on the other side of Fiji and we did it in two day hops. We hired a fisherman to tow us out of the reefs of Yanutha and follow us to a harbor 40 miles away. We had good wind and hoisted all our sails even the rarely used mizzen. It would have been a pretty picture. We caught a beautiful mahi-mahi on the way. Small but fabulous colors - they generate amazing colors in the stress of death. It is odd that one can be stunned by the beauty of a thing dying. It fought hard and splattered blood everywhere .

We got to Natadola harbor and it was like a scene from Hawaii Five-0 with enormous breakers at the reef. We could hardly see the entrance and approached with anxiety. We were screaming along at 8 knots and we knew we had to sail in as the water was too rough for the fishing skiff to tie up and tow us again. Luckily the entrance popped up wide and at a beam angle to the wind. After we entered the reef, the water got flat and we almost sailed to our anchorage. We hesitated a bit and had the skiff tie up to tow us. He did tried a tow instead of a side tie and he couldn't budge us with his 30 HP engine. Instead we tied him alongside as we had done at Yanutha and he easily towed us upwind the last 100yds to the anchorage we wanted. It was around 3pm and he asked to spend the night on our boat. We had to say yes as the poor guy had no where else to go and it was too late and too rough to go back to Yanutha. We were emotionally and physically drained from the intense day of high performance sailing and the stress of not having an engine if something came up (like a reef!).

We realized as we lay in a dazed stupor on our bed that it was our wedding anniversary - 8 years. Yikes! We are having fun generally although I could have done without the whole boat breaking down thing. I do not consider it to have been my best anniversary even though I am glad we are stuck with each other, it has been a wonderful 8 years.

The next day at Natadola , it was blowing 20+ knots - with a frisky ocean kicking up white caps. With the fishing skiff side tied we proceeded to the entrance. We were barely moving at first but as we ran around raising sails we picked up speed. The fishing skiff started slamming into the side and we cut it loose and waved goodbye. We had another record sailing day, sailing at 8+ knots to Vunda point. At one point we have to turn and enter through a major reef to the inside Fiji waters. I was very nervous as I was not sure if the wind would die and leave us in a tricky situation. Of course the wind picked up even more and we pondered putting a reef in the main.

We contacted via cell phone an old friend we knew at Vunda Point and asked him to coordinate some boats to help us into the marina. The marina only had one dingy with a 8hp on it. He rustled up a three dinghy's, including his own, one with a 18 HP and two with 8 HP. Our computer charts were off by a quarter mile and I tersely informed the Captain that there was no entrance at the place we were speeding too. The entrance was to our port and we made our way there easily. The boats came out and while we were tying them up suddenly we were at the entrance with reef everywhere and in the process of missing the entrance. Jordan quickly maneuvered and with the three dinghy's pushing and pulling, our genoa helping out and our bow thrusters, we made the turn into the marina entrance without hitting the reef. We rolled the genoa in and proceeded into the entrance slowly - Jordan lost his ability to steer as we slowed and we slid past a cement wall barely into a small round marina with boats tied bow and stern in all around this circle of water. We caught the mooring ball in the middle with my squeaking and screaming as the dinghy's fought to bring us to the right place and slow us down. Twenty-five tons has a lot of momentum.

We were stunned and totally out of it. We ran around the marina doing things like reserving the lift to pull the boat and filling out forms at the marina office. We collapsed at the end of the day. "Boreal" came in the late afternoon - Jonah was thrilled to see his friends again.

We are waiting for the transmission to be evaluated - it was pulled from the boat. We managed to do this even though we were in the water so we didn't have to leave the boat and stay at the hotel (which is next door to the marina). The mechanic seems to think the shaft is bent - we are probably pulling the boat out on Tuesday and will remove the shaft to inspect it, although Jordan does not think it is bent but that they just screwed up when they re-installed it in Suva two weeks ago after the first time it was repaired! Boats are so much fun.

We are all struggling with a local flu which when combined with the stress of the boat breakage has got us all feeling a bit blue and knocked out. The Marina residents have access to the hotel next door and there is a lovely pool and beach. One can be in worse places (like Suva!) - at least we can swim and there are kids around for Jonah. It is pretty and the weather is sunny. We are sad that our planned exploration of Fiji will be essentially shortened to a tour of the Yasawas.

It will take a couple of weeks but we are going to make sure it gets fixed correctly and that the problem has been fully identified and resolved. I do not want to be stuck again without a working motor.