Trying to get out of here--again!
26 June 2012 | Lautoka Harbor
Above is a picture of the Hindu Temple in Nadi.
Yesterday, I we headed for Nadi to look for some fabric to cover the folding seats in our cockpit. West Marine first generation thin foamed folding seats. The fabric after the years that we have had them has got numerous holes in it so it was time to find some fabric and make a sort of slip cover to go over them. Easy to put on and take off when they need cleaning. We looked high and low and just couldn't find what we were looking for. Most of the clothing stores in Nadi sell fabric by the yard and so that you can custom order shirts, dresses, etc.
With that chore out of the way(failed) we headed for the biggest grocery store in town--M & H. There were some things we were looking for that we just couldn't find in Lautoka even though it's a bigger city. Nadi is more of a tourist town and typically has more of a selection of "tourist" oriented foods. We've been eating potato chips made by a company called Spuds out of New Zealand. All the stores in Lautoka were out of them. In Nadi, we found whole racks of them. So ten bags(grab them while you can find them and they aren't that big a bag) we had that off the list. We added more things--soup, powdered drink mixes, salsa(Old El Paso), horseradish sauce and a few more things. We have gotten into the habit of taking cloth bags with us even though the stores do provide plastic bags. With two fully loaded, we headed for the bus stop to get back to Lautoka. At a cost of $2.85 fijian($1.56US) for a 30 mile ride back is a bargain and they dropped us off right beside the entrance to the docks.
Today was Nobeltec Day. I'd scheduled an appointment with the head of Nobeltec(make navigation software)Customer Support to call in and have him take over my computer to find out what the problem is with our running of their program. Has to do with the dongle I wrote about in an earlier post. I called in just after 0800 our time(1300 his) and he went at it. About 90 minutes later, he had the program at least recognizing the dongle(YEAH!!!). When we looked at what charts he had freed, they were a mess. We got the west half of Viti Levu(biggest island in Fiji)but not the East. He looked some more and finally announced "This really sucks!". At that point, he told me he would upgrade me to the latest bunch of charts since these were not set up well for the South Pacific with entire regions missing or miss charted. He added a program or two and set us up for a massive download of the new chart packet(1.6 gigs). Download time--3 hours 50 minutes!! We disconnected with the agreement that we would come back on line tomorrow at the same time and get this resolved once and for all. We haven't used this program since we left Mexico because it was so bad. Now we will see what it can really do.
With the computer doing it's thing, we took off for the gas dock at the commercial docks. Amazingly, they don't sell straight gasoline(petrol). They sell diesel, kerosene and premix of 50 to 1 gasoline. None of which will work in our outboard. So with 5 cans in hand, we grabbed a taxi($3.00 fijian each way) and headed for the closest gas station. They filled the tanks while they sat in the trunk of his car. Back to the dock and back to Zephyr. Now all of our tanks are filled and we're good for another 5 weeks or so. Unlike many sailboats, we don't have a built in generator(run on diesel). We have a Honda EB3000 that sits on our back deck. Works great and can recharge our batteries and give us nice hot water in about 3 hours. Uses just over a gallon(give or take) per day to do so.
We had a quick lunch(file still downloading) and I headed for town to get more things taken care of so we can get out of here. I prepaid our Vodefone(internet provider) for the this month so we don't have to rush back like we did this past week. I bought 2 kilos of Kava. The roots of the plant are given as gifts to village chiefs when we drop anchor off their village as we tour the islands. The chief then grinds the roots up. These ground up roots are then put in a cloth rag or bag and then soaked in water. Once properly soaked, the wet powder is then squeezed inside the bag and is mixed with the water and everyone sits on the floor mats and we all drink it. It's a ceremony called SevuSevu. It's a mild narcotic that deadens the nerves of the mouth and "relaxes" you". It's customary to present a bundle to the chief when you come on shore. Once drunk, you ask permission to visit their village and walk about the island and catch fish(not that we do much fishing).
Zephyr has always been a "boat magnet". Where ever we anchor, other boats try and get as close to us as they can. Now Lautoka's harbor is quite large and yet, we have a boat beside us no more than 50 feet away. He pulled in on Monday while we were off the boat. If we had been here, we would have asked him to move(proper boat etiquette). At about 1700 yesterday, when there was just about no wind, he drifted even closer. I called out to him asking how long he intended to be in the harbor since we were so concerned about him being so close. He said he would be moving Wednesday. We talked about his closeness and he said he would watch and I responded that we would also. He then heads for his cockpit and starts his engine and puts it in reverse and backs away from us. Does he raise his anchor to do so, nope, he just drags his anchor through the mud on the bottom(actually setting his anchor they way it was supposed to be set in the first place. He is apparently one of those that goes into an anchorage and just drops his anchor and a bunch of chain and that's it. No backing down of the boat to set it on the bottom. Well, we didn't care what he did as long as his boat was farther away from us, which it now was--Yeah!. We'll sleep better having him farther away from us.
I'm back on line with Nobeltec, still working to get the program up and running. Wish us luck.