A Visit from Julie and Brooke

by Val

Well, long time no blog! It’s been a very unusual cruising season for us, in that we found ourselves entertaining a parade of family and friends here in Fiji. It’s nearly impossible to curate photos and compose a blog entry while guests are aboard; much too busy having fun.

Now that we’ve been left to our own devices, we’ll be making up for lost time and logging numerous posts about our activities and our new boat.

I had to make an unscheduled three week visit to the States in July, but as you heard from Stan, he was able to entertain Kari and Bret in fine style. They are not experienced boaters, but enlisting their help during the week or so spent hopping among the Yasawa islands turned out to enhance their experience rather than detract. It doesn’t hurt that all the routine activities like anchoring, deploying and retrieving tenders and water toys, etc. are so easily accomplished on Buffalo Nickel.

I got back to the boat just in time to welcome my very dearest friend from veterinary school, Julie, and her 14 year old daughter Brooke. From their home in Boston, they took several days in Auckland before flying to Fiji. Without jet lag to factor in, we whisked them straight away to beautiful Navadra Island for the first night.


The small island is undeveloped, and we had its pristine beach to ourselves for walking and shelling. Back aboard, we noticed goats grazing on patches of hillside brush. We were also surprised to see 20-30 raven-sized bats emerge from the canopy and fly around in broad daylight above the beach.


I went all Nosferatu, wanted Stan to run back ashore with me to check those goats, make sure they weren’t growing fangs or something. Turns out they are Polynesian flying foxes, a type of fruit bat. So, sigh of relief, the goats are safe from exsanguination for the moment.

The four of us spent a couple of nights at anchor, exploring, snorkeling Fiji’s amazing coral reefs…


… along with catching up on some girl time and enjoying sunsets and dinners aboard Buffalo Nickel…

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Then we took them to Paradise Cove Resort where Julie had booked a week for the two of them. Owned by the same folks as Octopus and Blue Lagoon resorts also in the Yasawas, Paradise Cove is far more upscale. It only opened three weeks prior so Julie was able to secure a great deal, then relax her crossed fingers when the resort opened on schedule.





We anchored right off the resort, then took our smaller dinghy ashore most nights to have dinner with them.


Julie and Brooke got the best of both worlds. We took them out for several excursions. I believe the highlight for Brooke, aka Leadfoot, was driving Plug Nickel around.



One of our outings was a visit to a nearby Fijian village.




What do piglets have to do with anything, you ask? Nothing. But hey, they’re piglets. We do not pass up the opportunity to look at adorable piglets and say ‘Awwww’ in this family. Not ever.

Then back at the resort, Julie and Brooke could enjoy all the resort-y fun activities like a Fijian cooking seminar using the local walu fish (known elsewhere as escolar) and coconut milk.


We played actively all day, then in the evenings Julie and I hit the kava pretty hard.



Julie and I live far apart. And I, for one, do a fairly crappy job of staying in touch with people. But then when we do get together, it’s like not a day has gone by since we’ve seen each other. That’s true friendship.


One thought on “A Visit from Julie and Brooke

  1. Judy and I enjoyed Fiji as well and went on a Blue lagoon small boat cruise into the Yasawas for about ten days.
    The reefs were magnificent and the Fijian coral music was beautiful.
    My problem is I was invited into the kava circle with a bunch of big black fellows and I had too good of a time. I’ve never had a hangover that lasted as long as that one did.
    We are enjoying your blogs.
    I leave on the 19th to help Paul and Sandy Swanson bring their 40′ trawler from Puget Sound back to Ventura.
    Jim Graves

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