ende

2024
13
Mar

One of our articles in each AllAtSea Caribbean issue this year!

Even though we only spent a brief time in the Caribbean, we’re still writing for the popular AllAtSea magazine there! January’s issue featured “Never bored aboard” about hobbies while cruising, there was a reminder to “Protect Parrotfish” in the February issue and now I’ve just downloaded the March issue and found our “Ode to the hydrovane” about our tireless helmsman Wayne Vaney :-)
You can either pick up the AllAtSea magazine for free at most chandleries in the Caribbean or you can download the magazine for FREE!
I’ll keep writing as fast as I can to make sure there’ll be Pitufa articles in the following issues as well ;-)

2024
08
Mar

Ashamed to be human

Watching reefs bleach and die makes me ashamed to be human. All those fishies looking up at me, the little clown fish trying to seek shelter in his bleached and dying anemone, the chromis in the algae-overgrown skeleton of a staghorn coral–they don’t know why the reefs are dying. But I know.
Because of overfishing, erosion, pollution and of course global warming. All caused by one species: us (and don’t go and blame farting cows now, because they are bred by humans). Each fish or worm or whatever lowly creature plays their part in the eco-system, except for us humans. We think we are above those rules, so we have the right to destroy the oceans, the whole planet, just because we always want more. More comfort, more profit, more luxuries, more food for more people.
If only people could step back and reflect what they actually need and take less instead of more, more, more.

Sorry to be so negative, but despite the fact that we cherish each corner with healthy coral, try to console ourselves that a half-dead coral colony is actually half-alive, hold on to the hope that some species of coral seem to adapt and anxiously watch the weather for a cold-spell to give them a breather I’m afraid we are just bullshitting ourselves. The reefs are dying so fast, it’s heartbreaking. And yes, nature can adapt, but not when the changes come so fast and on such an extreme level.

2024
28
Feb

20% discount on Pitufinos this week!

If you’re visiting the Austrian boat show in Tulln this week, come to the Pitufino stand to see the demonstration of its many features! We won’t be there, but our colleague in Austria. We give a 20% boatshow discount, but we have extended the offer to the online shop www.currently-marine.com, so everyone who buys this weeks gets the discount :-)

2024
26
Feb

Back to see more of the Astrolabe Reef!

After a very busy week in Suva we are back in clear water!s The lagoon that is partially sheltered by the Astrolabe Reef contains the main island of Kadavu, but also a few smaller islands to the north. Here’s Pitufa anchored off the Alacrity Rocks with the west coast of Ono in the background :-)

2024
10
Feb

Still alive

Exactly one year ago we had to swim for our lives in the ripping current of the southern pass of Matuku after our accident with a local boat. We somehow made it through the surf, somehow managed to hold on to the sunken boat for an hour while waiting for rescue. Poor Maikeli didn’t and today we think of him and his widow and daughter…
The last year was the toughest of my life and I’m still struggling with the injuries I suffered then, but we made it, we’re grateful to still be here. We’re still sailing towards the horizon.

2024
01
Feb

Repairs and maintenance

A cruising boat wants constant love and attention–our Pitufa’s no exception. One of the zippers on the sprayhood ripped out yesterday, so we went through our spare material, couldn’t find a new zipper, but at least a sturdy one we had cut out of an old backpack and got out our sewing machine. The problem was as usually not doing the seam, but getting the rolled up material somehow to fit into the machine… Hardly a month goes by without Miss Pfaff helping us out with a major of minor problem–so glad we got our sturdy sewing machine with us!

2024
31
Jan

Pics of the Great Astrolabe Reef!

We’re having a great time snorkeling the passes of Kadavu’s beautiful barrier reef in glorious, calm summer weather :-)

The Great Astrolabe Reef is great indeed!!

The coral inside the lagoon of Kadavu and its northern islands is mediocre, so we didn't have high expectations for the famous barrier reef that stretches out about 60 nm from the northern tip of the lagoon, along the east side and down the southern side of Kadavu. But it's mindboggling: a great variety of healthy coral and tons and tons of fishies!! We used the calm summer weather to anchor on the outer reef and enjoy the passes.

(40 photos)


2024
31
Jan

Contradicting forecasts

For now we’ve only had beautiful summer weather, but we’re still checking forecasts twice a day and compare different forecast models whenever we have internet (otherwise we just have SSB and only get the GFS model). The extreme contradiction between the GFS and the ECMWF model is almost comic. We used to say that the GFS overreacts and the ECMWF is more often correct, but recently they’ve been off as well. For now they have alternated in predicting heavy weather–which has been canceled each time as it got closer: so far we’ve seen no more than 25 knots this summer, usually it’s calm or just a hint of a breeze…
Here’s an example for the difference in forecasts for next week–let’s hope it’ll be nothing in the end, but we’re never far away from our cyclone holes (the short distances between Fiji’s islands are an advantage here).

2024
27
Jan

Photos of Yabu bird island

Here are some pictures of the lovely little island Yabu that is home to a few thousand red-footed boobies and frigate birds!

Yabu bird island

Just north of Ono lies a tiny islet that is traditionally "tabu" (meaning taboo: locals told us that nobody is allowed ashore to protect the seabird colonies) and on top of that an officially recognised wildlife sanctuary! We anchored close to the island to observe the birds, but did not go ashore.

(20 photos)


2024
21
Jan

A new photo gallery!

Here are some impressions of pretty Ono, just 45 nm south of Suva, but away from it all :-)

Christmas in Ono

We love the pretty, little islands on the northern tip of the Kadavu archipelago! We made friends in the friendly village of Nabouwalu on Ono and spent Christmas there.

(29 photos)

2024
19
Jan

Bird Island!!

We have only found a handful of islands with seabird colonies in Fiji, so when we heard that little Yabu here in the island cluster just north of Kadavu is a bird sanctuary we were thrilled and wanted to check it out. Locals told us nobody’s allowed ashore (they only go there to pick up the natural fertilizer the birds produce, very clever!) and there’s a sign as well for visitors warning them not to introduce pests and not to disturb the birds.
The little island is very exposed, but with the light winds we managed to anchor off the southern side on a big, sandy spot and enjoyed the scenery: lots of Pisonia trees, some ironwood, some pandanus, great to see such a mixed, endemic vegetation and saw some frigate birds circling. But where were the boobies that are supposed to live here??
GONE FISHING! In the evening a few thousand red-footed boobies returned and we watched the spectacle of them arriving in little groups and formations, some high in the sky, others with their wings nearly brushing the sea, trying to avoid the circling frigate birds that are always ready to descend with a shrill cat-like sound to free an innocent boobie of the hard-earned fish he’s carrying. The branches ashore quickly filled up with birds, everyone trying to find a sleeping branch for the night, squabbling, roaring and squawking until they all had settled down for the night :-)

2024
18
Jan

Fever, summerweather, surface temperatures: hot, hot, hot!

2024 didn’t kick off great for us: we had to go to Suva because I had a cracked filling and the super-thorough Fijian dentist discovered quite a few more issues for both of us (Christian did a check-up as well and had to go back for another appointment)–looks like our nice French dentist in Tahiti was a bit slack (blow a noisy raspberry while shrugging your shoulders expressively and you’ve got the correct French gesture).

As soon as the most pressing building sites were finished we left Suva and did a daysail back to Ono to enjoy the upcoming calm summer weather–unfortunately with some bug as stowaway: a day later Christian got a fever, bad headache, all-over-ache (not great to have 39 degrees fever in a 35 degree cabin…). I didn’t stand a chance, no social distancing on a 41 ft monohull, so I prepared some meals ahead, baked bread (bug preparation resembles passage preparations) and got ill the next day.

Now, after a week of quarantine off an uninhabited island, we’re back on track, still a bit weak, but ready to enjoy the summer weather. We moved to an anchorage with a pretty reef yesterday and have been spending hours in the water. Near the shore the surface temperatures are higher than 30 degrees now and the table coral’s bleached to pastel colours and some even white, but they all look a few years old, so they must have survived such extreme temperatures before. We hope they’ll cope yet another time!

2024
16
Jan

Article in All At Sea Caribbean about hobbies aboard

Worried that you might get bored cruising? Just bring your hobbies along!

Birgit Hackl, Christian Feldbauer: Never bored aboard!, All At Sea Caribbean, January 2024, p. 44–48. Download the whole magazine for free.

Our friend Sue doing the cover art for my chilren’s book aboard SY Spruce :-)

2024
08
Jan

Healthcare in Fiji (Suva)

Before we sailed to Fiji we did some online searches and expected only basic facilities (expats basically warned about hospitals). After one and a half years here and plenty of visits to specialists and hospitals we think that the hospitals are quite well equipped, the doctors are mostly competent, friendly and moreover it doesn’t take a long waiting time to get (very affordable) appointments with specialists here in Suva.
Yes, the big public hospital (Colonial War Memorial hospital) is crowded and smelly and apparently has long waiting lists, but the same specialists who work there do after-hours at the modern, clean private hospitals. Oceania hospital has most equipment (CT Scanner, ophtamologist cabinet, etc.), Pacific Specialist Healthcare has different specialists (e.g. a dermatologist and they have just opened a new hospital in Nadi with modern equipment, but specialists only occasionally fly there from Suva) and there are a few more private facilities we have not dealt with.

The same goes for dentists: at public facilities (e.g. hospital in Savusavu) they only seem to pull teeth, but the dentist cabinets here in Suva have very modern equipment and well trained dentists!
So there’s really no need to fly out for treatments or delay due dental check-ups :-)

PS: I’m writing this blog entry while waiting for my turn for a second appointment with the dentist I saw last week, while Christian’s getting a filling, so wish me luck ;-)

2023
31
Dec

Pearls pearls pearls!

10 years ago we arrived in the Gambier Islands (French Polynesia), where the shiniest black pearls are grown. Soon after I started playing with those pretty ball bearings and I’m still making creative jewellery aboard SY Pitufa :-)

Pearl jewellery made on Pitufa

I've been making creative pearl designs for almost 10 years now. High quality black pearls in combination with leather, fabric and stainless steel. Each design is unique!

(18 photos)


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