18 September 2010 | Musket Cove, Fiji
I am writing this from the Musket Cove Resort, poolside.
The night we entered was the final night of regatta week, with a local roast pig dinner, island dancers, and music. The feast provided a nice reception. Sailing along the north coast of Viti Lev gaining beach access was not that easy. We brought our yagoni (kava) to offer to the chiefs, but at the end of a day of sailing, tracking down local officials to ask for beach access was more than we were up for. Thirty to forty years ago, when cruising was starting and there were fewer boats you could trade for many things, such as fruit and vegetables. Cruisers used to write about entering bays and canoes coming out to meet them. Now, with hundreds of boats coming through the main tracks each year those days are gone. For the more adventurous who go farther off the beaten, and well charted, tracks, trading may still exist. With three kids in tow,that is not us on this trip. Besides the added effort and challenge, we are less likely to encounter kids in such remote anchorages, and socialization of our kids helps keep mom and dad sane.
We have also found on the trip that often where we get the best beach and snorkeling access is when we anchor off a resort. These are not massive complexes like the Grand Wailea on Maui, but often small, family run establishments with a few fales or rooms, a pool, and a small dining area. More like Faulty Towers, sometimes complete with some entertaining staff behavior. (I am sure we cruisers reciprocate with our own antics.) I think there may be some selection bias involved as well: villages with nice beaches welcoming yachts and foreign visitors open resorts, while villages reluctant for contact, perhaps wishing to preserve their culture, do not.
Musket Cove is a little larger, reminding me a bit of Kauai in the 80s. Here they welcome the cruiser to use the large pools with rocks for the kids to climb on, and there are quite a few kids for ours to play with. There is a nice mix of boat kids and children on holiday from Australia and New Zealand. There is also laundry, a grocery, snack bars, and a couple of restaurants. We have Internet access for planning our next leg, communicating with Yacht brokers, and researching Australia. Yesterday I went diving. Today Sophie took a discover scuba class in the morning and will do a 12 meter reef dive with me in the afternoon. (One drawback of our smaller boat is that I have no room for tanks or dive gear.) Life is pretty easy here and we are having fun.
This may not be "real" cruising, but our goal was to spend time with the kids, each other, and have fun. When we are in anchorages without other kids around, we end up on duty 24x7. Today, our kids are in the pool playing with new friends while I write my blog, and Christine reads her book. I have no guilt... another cruising boat has been here for two months!