Actually, he’s been here for ten days. Dimitri, Dominic’s younger brother, arrived on August 18 after traveling some 54 hours between Weaverville, California and Suva, Fiji (his connecting flight out of SFO was delayed, resulting in a 24 hour stay at the airport). He made it to the Royal Suva Yacht Club around noon on Thursday, spent two rainy days with us in Suva schlepping groceries and purchasing a speargun, and has been enjoying the island life ever since.
We left Suva on Saturday, August 20, motoring south toward Kadavu under a thick tapestry of clouds, spotting a cluster of whales off our starboard bow before entering the pass into the island. Kadavu is a kidney bean shaped island 30 miles south of Viti Levu and is a mecca for fishing and snorkeling as it is surrounded by the famously bountiful Great Astrolabe Reef. We spent the last week exploring Ono, an island just northeast of Kadavu. We swam with manta rays and dove the Alacrity Rocks on the western edge of the fringing reef.
Ono also had excellent fishing in our anchorage. Dominic and Dimitri dove in the water with their spearguns our first afternoon there, and Dimitri speared a small grouper straight through the gills—a killer shot for his first time out! Then he deserted Dominic, swimming straight back to Helios in an effort to protect his catch from the patrolling white tip reef shark.
These exciting events were followed my a more ridiculous comedy of errors in which Dimitri and I hopped in the dinghy to get Dominic, couldn’t get the engine started, started drifting, started paddling back to the boat, and then were waylaid by an unintelligible local in a longboat who wanted to raft up, chat and drift with us, before motoring to Helios to leave Dimitri and I to paddle back to the boat.
In addition to fishing and becoming increasingly fluent with the outboard engine, Dimitri integrates seamlessly into the Helios routine. He’s fluent on anchor management, keeping saltwater off the brightwork, lounging, playing chess, paddle boarding in 15 knots of wind, bread making, and nap taking. Aside from a lack of TV, internet, and video gaming, I’d say he’s a pretty happy clam.
On Friday, we cruised down to the southern edge of Kadavu, where we’re anchored now. Our buddies aboard Il Sogno have been bumping around with us, as well as a Dutch boat, The Bounty, who we shared a few anchorages with last season. We’ve spent the last two days diving the Naigoro Pass, hiking to the summit of the island through fields of wild orchids, and scouting the shining red parrots Kadavu is famous for.
More photos to come when bandwidth allows, and get excited, because few things are cuter than Dolci brothers on boats.