Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Anchoring Grace
By Michael

The runway was between us and that bouncy
contraption off the Plantation Resort on
Malololailai Island. Katherine and my
girls owned this thing after a week, and
spent countless hours in the resort's
pools. This is a family resort, so there
were hundreds of playmates around.
Many years ago, I heard John Otterbacher speak at the Annapolis Sailboat Show. John is the author of Sailing Grace (a riveting memoir about overcoming heart disease to go cruising) and one of the things he said during his slide presentation stuck with me. John mentioned an interesting aspect of his family’s cruising adventures: anchoring off resort properties. What made dropping the hook at these places interesting was the stark contrast between what he and the guests ashore paid per night to enjoy the same stunning view of the sunset.

It’s true. We are privileged to be able to live and travel the way we do and most places (Florida being an exception) haven’t come up with a reason or a means to charge us for being. We literally couldn’t be living and traveling the way we are, where we are, if they did come up with a way to make us pay.

But our good fortune is even magnified. Not only are we free to be wherever we are, but we’re almost always welcomed ashore to enjoy resort amenities alongside paying guests. Ironically, this is even sometimes the case at resorts where shore side access is restricted to guests. Yet, we row ashore in our dink, land in the backyard, and we’re welcomed into the fold of clean-smelling, well-attired shore people. (“Girls, remember to keep a low profile, we’re not paying guests and management was really nice to let us use the pool all day.”) And while the girls swim, we get to chatting with a guest who has barely recovered from arrival jetlag and they’re on a plane headed back home. (“It’s a shame that honeymooning couple we met last week can’t be here this week, now that the rain has stopped.”) These encounters definitely help check perspective in a way that anchoring off a city or in a deserted bay, do not.

Nowhere have we confronted this juxtaposition more than in Fiji—a nation that must have more resorts per capita than any other. And when the girls’ niece, Katherine, flew in for a short stay before school started back home, we focused our time at a few of them near Nadi.


We were treated like family at the Paradise resort on Taveuni Island.
This employee gave us (and the Swiss family aboard Oniva) impromptu
lessons in basket weaving.
And in case said employee reads this, I want to assure him that
this photo was just for laughs, the baskets are actually in use,
hanging from the grab rails in our cabin and keeping our
fruits and veggies fresh and accessible.

Katherine, Tyrii (from Rehua), and Frances loving
the pizza at the Musket Cove resort bar.

Watching the food prep at the Paradise Resort.

Guests at the Robinson Crusoe Island resort enjoying the sunset;
Del Viento is anchored just outside the frame.

Anchored off Namotu Island resort, Katherine and Frances looking on.

Rehua and Del Viento kids at Musket Cove.
(courtesy Audrie Vueghs)

A very touristy, and very fun, show at the Robinson Crusoe resort.

At the Robinson Crusoe resort.

Still at the Robinson Crusoe resort.

You guessed it


  1. I don't know how it took us four months to realize that you don't actually have to stay at a marina to use their facilities. Just last week, we waited out Matthew anchored outside a marina that let us use their dinghy dock, laundry, wifi (broadcasting to the boat!), showers and courtesy car for $10. Magic!!

  2. Absolutely, the resort we anchored off at Tahaa was 1300 Euros per night for a bungalow on stilts. We used their WiFi to find this out!
    Fun to see Tyrii and Aeneas in your pictures, they're in Vanuatu now.
    Ravi was born the day you left us the delicious chocolate bake. It was great as midnight feasts whilst in the hospital since dinner was at 4pm and breakfast 8.30! Yum. I'm sure it helped my milk get going!


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