Happy New Year everyone! I hope you all had a fantastic break over Christmas as we did. We left our little island, Uoleva, for a few weeks to spend some time with family. It was a very relaxing and amazing time we had. A very much needed break … back into it now! Its already February and we are really looking forward to opening in April. We have had many bookings in the last two months and our first season is looking to be very successful. We cannot wait to share our South Pacific kitesurfing accommodation with you all. Kitesurf Tonga is a reality, no longer our little dream.
Since we have been back on Uoleva we have achieved quite a lot! Basically we have one more fale to build and all the internal decoration, plumbing & solar to finish off.
To decorate the internal walls of the fales we are using coconut wood from the trees that were felled. We have used the coconut wood for the lower wall panels and we are getting the leaves from those trees weaved to decorate the upper half of the walls. Along with the leaves we will use the bamboo we collected last year. This all sounds straight forward enough….
Glen has been cutting all the coconut logs we set aside to dry. He was attached to his chainsaw for eight days straight. We were thinking of using half rounds and decorated the first fale with these but then decided to use the raw planks instead. This takes three times as long to do but we thought it looked amazing so off we went. Glen was constantly making jokes about planking…’had enough planking for a lifetime’…’this gives planking a whole new dimension’ etc etc. He did an outstanding job getting all those planks cut by himself. Boti has started putting the planks up in the fales and we have completed two and a half at this stage. The other planks are drying in the fales and are ready to go.
Glen had mentioned some time back that I would be weaving the leaves for the fales ….ummmm…only about 1600 leaves to weave. So from memory i started to weave being taught about three years ago on a holiday we took here. It did not go so well. The weave was loose…the fronds were closing in on themselves..i was pulling my hair out and yelling at no one in particular. So i stopped weaving…and googled it. I realised i was doing it all wrong and started again. This time it was much easier… however…it was one leaf per hour. So you can imagine if we need 1600 leaves weaved then this would take me 1600 hours or about 66 days. Now apart from the fact we do not have 66 days for me to spend weaving, it was not really time efficient for me to continue on. I have been officially removed from the weaving role and we are now employing a few Tongan weavers ….guess how long they said it will take 3 or 4 of them to weave 1600 leaves?? No really….guess….okay i will tell you….THREE OR FOUR DAYS! Can you believe it?? They start next week so we will see if that time frame is correct but either way i think they will be much quicker than me 🙂
I have been cutting bamboo for three days straight now….I was not allowed to use the skill saw as it just was not safe according to my husband…and Boti. I do agree with them, it is not a user friendly Karen tool. So what does that leave us to cut the bamboo? Keep in mind these pieces are up to 6m in length. A machete and hammer. That was all that i was allowed to have. Placing the machete at the top of the bamboo and using the hammer to drive it down the bamboo to split it. Because the pieces are so long i had to stand on the deck of the common fale and work my way down. The first window i decorated took me five hours. One window…five hours. I knew i would get quicker but it was a little disheartening. Now we have Boti slicing the bamboo in halves and quarters with the skill saw….and I am allowed to use the big daddy drop saw in the man cave to cut them to the right length. Woohoo! Yesterday i cut eighty pieces of bamboo in the afternoon alone. Electric tools are the life saver! It is amazing what you take for granted in life until you live in a remote situation such as ours. It is the small things now that we really appreciate and are happy for. So the bamboo cutting is ongoing….we will need more bamboo so we have asked our friends to collect some for us and then the process will begin again.
We have a new puppy…called Lofa. He is a delightful head strong little beast at seven weeks old. Glen has dreams of this puppy turning into a big DOG. I think Lofa is going to resemble a sausage dog with a couple of inches added in height 🙂 That aside, he is just adorable and always looking to chew something. He has had many a rumble with the cats (who have won) and loves chasing all the chickens at the front of our house. He sleeps in a kennel that Glen made under the house and seems to be fitting in quite nicely. The horses have gone…Gary has gone…New chickens have arrived…some roosters have been eaten. Both cats are present.
There has been no bad storms or cyclones as yet this season. Touch wood. Everything we have is still stored in the fales in case of storms and the windows are still boarded up. This does make it quite hard to decorate the fales but we need to be vigilant for the next two months. The weather is just so hot and sticky. This is the first cyclone season i have experienced and let me say that I was told it didnt get over 30 degrees….I was clearly misinformed on that little fact…It is currently 34 degrees and so humid! oh and it rains daily…and then it gets hotter…and stickier…I am thankful for the rain…not so much the heat 🙂 One good thing we have noticed after last years devastating Cyclone Ian is that all the trees which looked like they were dead have actually started growing back their leaves. Our place is looking amazing!!
The seas have been huge out the front of our place since December…normally no waves…but in cyclone season and storms the waves come…been rather exciting getting things in with the boat. It is hard yakka and most of the time we leave the boat on the mooring and kayak out to it. Although the other day Glen was taking a LPG bottle, some petrol and a bag out on the kayak to the boat and he got thrown out and the kayak tipped over. I didnt hear a thing of course..I was off with Big Daddy drop saw…Boti to the rescue. Jumped in and swam out to glen and helped him right the kayak..and get all the items that were drifting away. Boti hates swimming…but he is really good at it. By the time I knew what was going on i raced back to the house to don my swimmers fins and mask…alas i was too late…all was saved and back to normal.
Oh another side point…we always dreaded westerly winds because we associate them with bad weather…ummm…we started kiting them in December and MY GOODNESS what were we thinking?!!!! They are the bomb! You get to kite the lagoon but you also get these awesome little shore breaks in front of the sand spit…Oh heaven! So now instead of getting annoyed at westerly winds we get rather excited 🙂
Glen has begun to wire all the lights in the fales with the solar and LED modules. I think he misses James right now 🙂 He started with fale 1 and it was okay…except there was a small issue with a continuing loop of electricity or something when he wired everything to a switch. Problem is now solved and lights are working in fale 1. Yesterday Glen says casually in conversation ‘oh i set the wires on fire today and burnt my hand…’ I responded with ‘how did you manage to do that off a battery?’ and Glens response was..’i just did’ LOL Glen is now the solar electrician for the resort amongst all his other roles. He will continue to light up the place (hahahhaa excuse the pun…) over the next few days.
The day after i returned from Sydney it was the weekend and we were determined to do some work on our own house…we talked about finishing the wardrobe, the kitchen, the internal walls…and then got lost in the world of ‘there is so much to do to the house’. So we now have hot water in our shower..Glen had time to forget about our little solar hot water issue whilst we were away over Christmas and he got it to work first go! We had previously tried a few times to get the hot water from the solar set up to actually come out of the shower head…it refused to meet our expectations until last week. The funny thing is…its so hot that we are showering in cold water.
Glen thought it might be time to get rid of the grass that had taken over our place since leaving in December. He spent 10 hours strimming 3/4 acre of grass and we have 3.5 acres to do…Holy Canoodles! Ongoing job that one… Would love a ride on mower 🙂
Okay i am just rambling now…so I will bid you all farewell …Until the next episode of Glen and Karen – Kitesurf Tonga 🙂 Please feel free to contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org to make a booking.
Oh…one more ramble… I want to say a huge big Thankyou to our house sitters whilst we were away. Thank you John, Dave n Amy. Dave n Amy i also wish to give you guys big hugs and kisses – firstly for the fantastic Christmas present you gave us which now enables us to make yoghurt and soft cheese. Secondly i am so happy that you guys are getting married in April…sad that we cannot make it but our thoughts are with you. We love you guys and cant wait to see the pics xx