Hey Groovers! Fanifo Lofa has its first fale built! Yes that is right, we are moving right ahead with our dream here at Kitesurf Tonga. When we are finished our resort you will have a fantastic South Pacific Kitesurfing destination.

I think the first part of the last four weeks was spent doing the plumbing for our house.  We have a toilet and a working shower! YE HAH! The toilet went together very well using our plan for composting…we lined the drum with coconut husk and dug the trenches and laid all the piping.  And it worked! First go! We have been using our toilet now for four weeks and i must say this whole composting idea is working! There is no smell which is great 🙂 The vent is working well and it all seems to be flowing nicely.  I know…your thinking we are a little bit cuckoo with all this talk on toilets but this was our first attempt at our toilets so it was very important that we get it right.  Although showering using the camp solar shower was definitely an experience we are very glad to be showering in our own shower.  The tiling looks great and the water runs at quite a good pressure.  This is very reassuring because we  further from the well than all the other fales so this means that we will have good pressure for our guests! We haven’t had a warm shower yet or got the bathroom sink going because we had a bit of a delay with plumbing parts.  They sent us the wrong ones…twice lol so the parts have gone back again and hopefully next time they are the right ones.  Sheesh…Its quite difficult to get things here without those sorts of things happening.  But hey….small fish really!

We also added a new hardwood floor for our kitchen.  It looks beautiful…however when i was varnishing it…it was not dry to touch after three hours like the instructions advised us it would be…oh noooo…..ten hours later found me cooking on top of the fridge because i couldnt stand on the floor.  James was very amused 🙂 Oh and then Lily decided to lay on the new floor in the night…i woke to find cat hairs stuck in the varnish 🙂 They are now a permenant feature.

We have been very busy here with our new building project – the common fale/meeting house or eating house.  This is where the action happens in the kitchen and everyone gets fed beautiful food after a day of kitesurfing. The piles were in awhile ago so there was no need to map out where we were going to put the new fale as it was already decided.   We started with the bearers and the joists and then we were off and running.  We had Glen & Boti working on the decking, and the walls whilst James House was assisting with all the cyclone ties.  Along came Dave for his second visit to lend a hand when it was time for the roof. Dave and Glen spent most of their time together up on the roof whilst i bought them snacks to keep their energy up.

It hasn’t been all work and no play as the wind has been pretty good in the last few weeks. Dave, Glen and I had a few lovely kitesurfing sessions in the lagoon.  On one particular day we ventured right out behind the reef to the big rolling swell and it was just spectacular.  The wind was solid and so we felt we could take a little risk and go beyond the waves.  What a kitesurfing session!!! I will never forget it.  Beautiful wind and great company! We love it when Dave comes to visit 🙂 He is such an amazing support for us and we really appreciate the hard work, time and effort he spends assisting us create our dream.  We look forward to his next visit 🙂 Hopefully next time no engines to take apart and put back together 🙂

When Dave left back to sunny NZ (not..hehehehe) it was time for the shingles to go on the roof…Glen’s favourite job.  I tried to help on a couple of days but i think i was actually slowing him down.  Firstly i spent a couple of hours terrified i was going to fall …and then another few hours slowly passing the tools to glen…I think i laid about 4 shingles myself hahahaha.  I left Glen to it and headed back to my vegetable garden.  The shingles took about a week in the end and they look incredible.  We then started using the coconut wood from the trees we had felled for decoration on the outside of the fale.  We used every scrap of wood we chopped down.  The meeting fale looks fantastic…when you approach our land from the sea you can see this beautiful wooden creation that blends into the background.  Just what we were aiming for.  Job well done everyone!

I have made alot of progress on the vegetable garden in the last month.  The coconut logs surrounding the beds have been collected from around the land with the help of glen and the quad bike and trailer.  I have dug them all in and then proceeded to collect top soil from a nearby location and used the wheel barrow and shovel…My hands are a wreck hahahahahaha.  I think the two weeks that it took me to clear the patches, create seven large areas and lay the logs were the most tiring days i have had here.  I really wanted to get it done as being self sufficient is really important especially after the cyclone and lack of local vege produce.  It was hard yakka to do on my own but hey I did it! And i have watermelon, cucumber, beans, chilli’s, garlic, spring onion, pumpkin, carrots, lettuce, lemon trees and banana trees in there.  They do not like water from the well unfortunately – i killed about 20 cucumber seedlings in the process of that little experiment.  So back to rain water….which has not been very plentiful of late so they are getting a little water each day and i am hoping they will flourish anyway.  Vege’s here like the shade as it is just too hot so i am planting fruit trees in and amongst the garden beds so they get some shade.  There are a few coconut trees in there but some more shade will be most appreciated by the vegetables i am sure.  The fence we built when John was here will not stand up against the cows…or keep the pigs out or the roosters so a new fence will have to be built it seems.  Big project, big space….hmmm  I have also started some herbs in little pots so we will see how that goes.  The tomato bush…yes its a bush…is producing about 20 tomatoes ready to pick each day…forget tinned tomatoes we have fresh ones! I cant believe this tomato bush was already here….what a treat! i am not sure how long the bush will live for though…who knows!!!!!!!!!!

Oh and as a little side note…i now have a baby chicken called Minny Me.  She joined us one day as she followed Boti from the bush…she did have two siblings but they both died. She thinks i am her mother…kinda cute…I feed her about six times a day…yes i know i should cut back but she loves rice!! hahahahhaa…She is out all day and hides under bushes and trees and then at night i lock her in the kite shed in a little box as i am sure the wild cats…or the bats…or the dogs would get her if i left her out. So i need to build her a little house to put up in the trees so she can sleep at nighttime…okay a lockable little house…hmmm soon soon….There is a mother hen wandering around with about seven smaller little chicks…I have started feeding them a bit too.  Minny sometimes goes out wandering with them during the day…she is learning off them but still loves to call me to feed her.  I can hear her above the generator CHEEP CHEEP FEED ME MUMMY..

Glen, Boti and I have been out for a few mornings to check out the whales…they are everywhere at the moment and so close to shore! Must be about 300m offshore which is just great for us.  Last weekend Glen and I swam with a baby humpback and it was just magical.  It was so close to us and even a baby must weigh about 2 tonne.  I think it was about 6-9 weeks old as the mother was around but not too close.  What an experience…and i am sure many more to come.

We are onto the next fale which will be our first accommodation fale.  We have positioned it in the same location where we lived for the first four and a half months on our little island. It is where we had the tent and is a beautiful location.  Glen and Boti managed to dig by hand the 24 holes 1m deep x 300mm around in ONE morning!! I am not kidding…i was thinking this was going to take days.  We had a hole borer when we were building our house but after the common fale it broke down….so we were dreading doing the pile holes for the next fales.  But I am not sure what the fuss was about! They started at 8am and were done by 11am! Can you believe it?!!! Next came the leveling and then the cement…this was completed in one day.  Now i just want to add in here that when Glen and i mapped out our house and did the piles it took us near on three WEEKS!!! I know there were twice as many but ummm…..I guess the more you do this the easier and more efficient the process becomes.  It is true! We have used all our glass bottles in the cement instead of aggregate.  Good use of the bottles here! So now we are cyclone tying, decking and getting on with the walls.  A few days passed and we began the roof!!!!.  Holy cow…we are moving right along now!

We had a lovely group out to visit us for about a week.  They were fantastic company and decided to lend a hand! Digging out roots…helping build the walls…SUP’ing and kitesurfing in between.  What an amazing bunch of people, we loved having them!!! Thank you Pete, Alice, Alex, Brody, Marco and Al xx

Next time we write our blog Fale 1 should be up – what an adventure we are having.  No day is the same…challenges hit us left and right daily but its worth it! We love our new home and cant wait to share it with you all!

Warm winds,

Karen & Glen

Fanifo Lofa, Kitesurf Tonga.