Category Archives: TC Winston in Savusavu – Category 5!


Leopard with a Telephone Pole in her Side – and Fijian Buzz Cuts

We have received requests for more pics so here are a few from today. This poor cat is high and dry with a big hole in her side. It’s on shore between Waitui Marina and the Copra Shed. We spoke to her owner today and they are going to epoxy plywood to her hull so she can sail to Denarau for repairs. He had 10 liters of resin in his checked bag. 

The other shot is my Fijian haircut today. What a mistake to arrive with hair – it’s like wearing a wool cap you can’t remove. The Mermaid cut it all off and my internal temp immediately dropped five degrees. Thanks babe!

Tomorrow we provision up, bend on our genoa and go for a test sail. I went up the rig today and everything looks great. Ellie continues to impress as always. 

Bruce and Jen sailed in today. We loaded them up with all their stuff they were stowing aboard Ellie while we were away. So much more room now! I’m trying to get Lyss to challenge me to a game of twister in the mid cabin but she’s not going for it…


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Bula from Ground Zero. We’re back in Fiji

Bula Bula from Savusavu! We are aboard Ellie and after four exhausting days of repair and cleanup she is back to normal. There was some minor damage to the stainless bimini frame and of course the bimini canvas that was left up was torn pretty badly. We also had a dorade box lift up and pull some screws but I have already repaired it. The bimini canvas was re-stitched by a local and is already back on and looks great. All her systems are still in working order, fridge is ice cold, pumps all work, head works, fans work, outboards and generator started on first pull, and the engine purrs like a kitten! Our extensive preparations really paid off.

Alyssa did an outstanding job attacking all the mold that was down below. Much to our surprise we cleaned enough the first day to sleep in the vberth that night. She labored away the next two days cleaning and stowing everything. We now have a livable boat again thanks to the Mermaids Herculean efforts.

I spent the last couple days wedged under boats covered in mud and mosquitoes helping pull boats off the shore. I spent one day digging under boulders in the mud strapping lines around rocks to pull them out of the way so we can get a boat free. I also spent time freeing broken shrouds and disconnecting broken masts. It’s been saddening to see the plight of fellow sailors who had their only homes driven ashore in the storm. Most don’t have insurance and will be salvaging what they can to attempt to make their boat seaworthy once again. There is a lot of work ahead.

We are in contact with Sea Mercy and are standing by to take supplies out to the outer islands that were hit hardest. As soon as they get supplies here we will sail them out to those in most need. Bruce and Jen on SKABENGA already delivered supplies to villages on Makogai. They are headed back here this evening.

The death toll continues to rise as officials reach remote islands; the last count was 44. The damage is extensive and over 60,000 people are in evacuation centers after losing their homes and most of their possessions. It will take a while for the Fijians who were affected to rebuild their lives. Amazingly though the happy Fijians have not had their smiles wiped out with their homes and as we walk around town we are greeted with the same huge smiles and “bulas!” from the locals. It’s the resilient spirit and positive attitude that will see these wonderful people through this event.

We’ll write again in a few days. Here are some pics of Ellie and some of the boats still ashore.


Lew & Lyss

February 28, 2016

Savusavu, Fiji

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Ellie is FINE! She Rode Out Category 5 TC Winston and SURVIVED!!!!

We knew she was a tough boat and she proved herself in the 180 mph winds of TC Winston that tore through and devastated Savusavu this past weekend. We just heard from Jim on Hotspur that Hotspur is fine as well and that Ellie has minor damage but is OK and still on her mooring. We fly out tomorrow and will hopefully be back reunited with Ellie on Wednesday morning Fiji time (Tuesday am in the US).

Our hearts go out to all those who lost family, friends, homes, boats, farms and livelihoods in this devastating storm. The pictures of entire villages flattened are horrific. We will do what we can to lend a hand and help out those Fijians who lost everything. We are headed back with medical supplies, food and water sanitation equipment. The Fijians are resilient and will pull through this stronger than before. We will help however we can.

To those cruisers who lost their boats. We are devastated for you and will be there to help salvage what is left and float those who are able.

There is no internet, phones or power in Savusavu but we will try and update everyone in a few days if possible.

Thank you everyone for your support. We encourage you to please donate to the emergency services that are coming to Fiji’s aid in this terrible disaster. We have included the Red Cross and SeaMercy links below. 


Lewis & Alyssa