Thursday, March 3, 2016


February 21, 2016.    Cyclone Winston was, at Category 5, the worst storm ever South of the Equator since records have been kept with wind gusts as strong as 325km/h and waves up to 12m high.

It started out as a tropical depression to the East of Vanuatu and moved South between those islands and Fiji.   It built to a category 1 storm, but then backed off and meandered Northeast as a tropical storm, passing between Fiji and Tonga.   Somewhere South of Samoa, it revved up to a category 2 and made an abrupt reversal in course heading straight for the Fiji islands.   Building even further it slammed into Taveuni (Fiji's 3rd largest island) as a category 5.  The little town of Vuna, on the Southern tip of Taveuni was devestated.   Out of 160 homes, only 20 were left standing!   Winston ripped along the South shores of Vanua Levu, Fiji's second largest island, while its arms chewed up the main island of Viti Levu, then along the Bligh Water Strait (where that famous sailor and 17 others were chased by Fijian warriors back in 1789).

Path of Winston

After destroying village after village across the entire country, it finally slowed  and turned Southward again, bent Westward around New Caledonia and finally dwindled back down to a tropical depression again off the coast of Queensland, Australia.

Follow this link to see over 100 pictures from around the country showing some of the damage:

Tens of thousands of people are homeless.   Many children cannot attend school as their schools are either damaged, destroyed, or being used as shelters.

If you can, please make a donation to the Fiji Red Cross Society.   While help is coming in - a French transport aircraft landed emergency supplies at Matei Airport for the hardest hit areas of Taveuni and Australia has sent its largest ship (the HMAS Canberra) loaded with three helicopters, emergency supplies and over 800 personnel - the Red Cross is local and knows where the greatest needs are.

Taveuni Estates, where we have property, was not spared damage .   The Marina was completely destroyed, the clubhouse severely damaged, crops and other foliage stripped away,  and the water system main tank (one million liters) crushed.   The good news is, there was little damage to the village in which the workers live, Taveuni Dive Resort boats were not in water so are back in action, and the dive resort itself was undamaged.   The water system is presently being repaired and food is being sent to the workers and families in the estates.

Taveuni Estates post Winston

Thanks for any help you may send Fiji.

Until next, sweet sailing.

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