11/06/2011, Vuda Pt. Marina, Fiji
I did a little of everything today. I started putting on the covers over the teak railings on the boat while it was cool this morning and I worked on that until I was dripping then we kept getting too close to the boat next to us on the starboard side and bouncing off with fenders between us. A little too close, so I worked and work with the lines and got us more centered in the little pie shaped space we are in currently. I thought everything was fine, I was satisfied.
Inside I went to have breakfast and surf the web for a bit, then I did a bit of stitching on my Prairie Schooler Rest & Be Thankful pieces. I read and finished a Janet Evanovich book then I had a wonderful dinner with Star and Paul of Starstruck. Lots of great conversation and delicious food. Thank you so much you two.
The one thing that did happen today that was unexpected was when I was going to get off the boat to go to Starstruck was that I climbed over the cap rail to make the long stretch to the landing and it was a foot or so farther than I could reach, so I had to totally retie the boat ! That made me really late to dinner. Star thought I'd had a heart attack or some similar malady. I was really late.... I guess I should have checked that out earlier. Hmmmm.
Anyway, it was a lazy day in paradise. Talked to Bill on Skype. Everything is perking along. So far only one company used the US Post office and the package got sent to our forwarding service. Hopefully, Monday it will show up there so we can get it sent to Colorado before Bill leaves next Saturday, Denver time.
Oh, I will be sure to say hello to Mohammed when I see him next.
11/04/2011, Vuda Pt. Marina, Fiji
It sounds so strange to talk out loud in the boat when you are by yourself. The cats just stare at me, not much conversation there. Oh well....
Bill is crazy busy in Denver getting items on his list and getting the car to work again, it needed a new battery and some gasoline. The roof is still leaking over the entry to the house inside, so I guess the roofers didn't fix it last year when we were there, so they are suppose to arrive today and hopefully fix it this time. I guess only time will tell.
In Fiji, the people on the boat next to us are working on their boat, or should I say they are having someone work on their boat. They are sanding the railings, getting ready to varnish them. That is something we are going to have to tackle when Bill gets back, not varnish, but sanding.
Life is definitely on Island time here, it is so hot during the day, I just stay put inside and do little projects waiting for the sun to go down.
11/02/2011, Vuda Pt. Marina, Fiji
Just a quick post to let everyone know that Bill safely arrived in Denver after flying about 20 some odd hours. His Fiji flight was delayed by 2 hours so he was at the airport for 6 hours waiting, I can't imagine how boring that would be. Ugh. His flight was about an hour late getting into LAX, so there was no time to waste getting to another terminal and checking into his flight into Denver.
A boat neighbor, Paul from Starstruck, helped me get the Vodafone internet to work, it took 2 1/2 hours but now seems to be working well, it just keeps telling me that my volume limit has been exceeded, not sure how, I'll have to ask Paul when I see him today sometime. He said he would bring his wife, Star over today, so we could talk and he could work on the computer some more and not be sidetracked. Hmmmm...did I talk too much???
The marina didn't have a movie last night, not sure why, they said Friday. Oh well, I wasn't in the mood to be blood sucked by mosquitoes anyway.
I think I'll start on the dodger repair today. That is a nice inside job.
11/01/2011, Vuda Pt. Marina, Fiji
Well, all the planning and the preparation and hours of internet searches and orders have happened and Bill is in a taxi as we speak on his way to Nadi International Airport. He will be leaving Fiji tonight around 10:30 p.m. on a Qantas flight to LAX then on into Denver. He has a doctor's appt. tomorrow a.m., hope he doesn't sleep through and miss it.
I think I have the easy job of staying in Fiji. My jobs are to take off the dodger and restitch it and reinstall then manufacture a mosquito net for the back of the cockpit. Bill and Susan (previous owners) had sides made, but not a back panel. So...we'll see how well I get along with "the nemesis" our sewing machine on board. My shoulders are cramping up just thinking about using it.
The hard part of Bill being gone will be eating alone and not having him around 24/7. I'm so used to him being here all the time, it is hard being unsnapped at the hip without him, just not normal.
The huge news is that we bought an air conditioner from our next door neighbor, Purrfection. They had purchased two units from departing cruisers and we got a good deal for one of those units and I'm really enjoying not dripping and feeling wilted all day because of the heat! 87 degrees and 80% humidity is AWEFUL. One doesn't even have to move to drip. My hair was always wet and perspiration stings when it gets into your eyes. I love our air conditioner. The marina charges a flat fee per day if you plug in for any reason, so it costs the same if you use a fan or use an air conditioner. The added benefit is that the mosquito ratio goes way down too.
10/28/2011, Vuda Point Marina, etc.
Yesterday we took off for Denarau to see a totally unFiji Fiji. We hopped on the bus so we could make the connection for Nadi like we had done the day before. This time we knew(sort of) what we needed to do. When we got to the bus stop to pick up the Nadi bus, we found two Fijian asleep in the shelter. Both from what we could tell drunk our of their gourds. Both laying on the benches snoring away totally oblivious to what was going on around them. One was so drunk that the money he had had in his hand was scattered around the floor of the shelter. This time, there were about 10 of us heading south unlike the previous day when there we just three. One of the "sleeper" kept trying to turn over. Not a good thing to do when you are on a skinny park bench. One of the other travelers kept trying to wake him up so he'd stop rolling off. No success there. They were out of it. A few minutes later, the bus showed up and the two men were on their own.
This time, we didn't bother to stop at McDonalds, we continued on(having gotten some directions from other cruisers) to the exit for Denarau. For it being the new hot spot in the South Pacific, we saw only one small sign telling us to turn. We made a small detour before getting on the bus for the last leg of the short trip. We walked a block to Pacific Meats. A competitor for Fiji Meats. We'd been told to select what we wanted, let them shrink wrap it and freeze it and we could then pick it up upon our return. That's just what we did, picking out some Sirloin steaks as well as a half kilo of "minced beef(also know as hamburger) and something we haven't seen out here---BRATWURST. We got a half kilo of them to try them out on the grill. We're finally getting to use the grill again. I have it hooked up to butane instead of propane and it seems to be hotter. It get so hot that the interior flame shield glows red! Not going anywhere near that with my hands. With the order placed, we grabbed the first bus we saw headed out toward Denarau.
Public transportation is used by everyone out here. Buses are normally crowded but rarely is anyone standing as there are so many buses headed everywhere that if one is full, it's easy to get the next. One thing we have learned about riding around Fiji is the universal "speed bump". That's what they are in the US. Mexico calls them "topes". Here, they are a "road hump". As everywhere else, they crop up in towns and villages all along the road. As with Mexico, there are about three in any village we pass through. No where near as tall as those in Mexico but I'd still slow down if I was going anywhere near them.
We arrived at Denarau about 12:30 at the local "shopping center". It was like being in Cabo San Lucas or the Paradise Village complex in Puerto Vallarta. We could have been at any open air shopping center in south California. Lots of restaurants(including The Hard Rock Cafe)as well as upscale clothing stores and a small chandlery. We were no longer in Fiji that's for sure. Not a cruiser insight but lots of folks from either the US, New Zealand, or Australia. Prices were reasonable at the restaurants as long as you looked at some of the "daily specials". You could spend as much as you wanted if you tried. We settled at "Cardos Steakhouse". While Tracy had the "fish and chips", I opted for "Chicken Curry"(gee what a surprise). Both orders we quite large certainly for the money. Now it bears no comparison with some of the smaller hole in the wall(Don's Chop Suey Palace in Lautoka) as for the $5.50 Fijian, we got a lot of food. Here we were paying for the atmosphere as well as the food. At $15.50 for mine and $11.00 for Tracys, we got a lot of food. Tracy got 6 big pieces of fish along with her chips. I got a huge bowl of Chicken Curry as well as a big scoop of rice and a nice bowl of marinated chopped onion, garlic and carrots. It was a more food than we have seen in any lunch place we have been to. After lunch, we opted for an ice cream cone for desert. It's the first we have had since Tonga but the biggest difference was that it was frozen solid, not a runny mass of cream in a cone like Tonga.
We visited the chandlery and then walked over to the marina office. For it being the newest place(and most expensive) they had a small set of spaces for boats on their docks and few mooring balls. Cost for one night--$15.00. While you are near one of the most up to date shopping centers around, if a storm comes up, and you happen to be on a mooring ball, you have to disconnect and find another place to weather out the storm. There are places up the local rivers where you and tie your boat to the mongrove trees. They want to protect their moorings at all cost. They are not concerned about your boat.
We hopped on the next bus and made our way back to Pacific Meats to pick up our order. They put everything in plastic bags and then inside a box to keep it a bit more insulated. Once we got our order, we hiked the rest of the way to the bus stop and got the next available bus for Vuda Point. We arrived in time for the last leg with the 16:30 bus back to Vuda Marina due anytime at our stop. We waited and waited and no bus. At 1700, we started the hike towards the marina. About 1710, the bus flashed by us with a lead foot driver at the wheel. There was little thought of him stopping for us. On we walked finally reaching the marina at 1730. Once back at Zephyr, we started up the generator to top off the batteries for the night.
On Monday, Wednesday and Friday, the marina has a movie night under the stars(at least when it's not raining). Last night was a film about three men that escape from a Russian prison camp in Siberia(with Colin Farrel) and walk to India for freedom. I can't even tell you the name of the film it was so un-rememberable. Tracy left for Zephyr since she arrived late for the opening and if you missed that, you missed the entire premiss of the film.
Just wait, the story of Saturday is coming.
10/27/2011, Vuda Marina
Today was off to Nadi(pronounced Nandi) to check in with Customs at the airport about taking things out and bringing things into the country. We headed out for the bus about 1030 and finally got aboard at 1100 and headed out for the first leg of our excursion. Being South of here, we had to take two buses to get there. The first took us to the main north/south road where we could meet up with the second bus that would take us where we needed to go. As luck would have it, after we exited the first bus, we were joined in the shelter at the stop by a woman that works for Immigration at the airport and she would show us what bus we needed and where to get off and where to go at the airport. The second bus showed up about 20 minutes after we got off the first and we were in Nadi about 30 minutes later. Our guide showed us exactly where to go. Great people here in Fiji.
I'd been told by the man at Customs in Lautoka to have a letter all written about what I was taking and the serial numbers, etc. I had three copies just incase. The woman at the counter read the letter and stamped them with the Customs stamp. She also advised me as to what to expect when I arrived back in Fiji. The big thing was to have all my receipts for what was in the boxes. I might have to pay duty or I might not. But, from what she said, a Customs agent would have to come with me and physically place by boxes on Zephyr just to make sure they got where they were supposed to go. Not that they were actually going to be used on the boat, but that they got there. No problem with me. I get in at 0530 on a Monday so we will see how it goes.
Once we were done there, we boarded another bus for the rest of the way into Nadi, about 9 kilometers. We looked at stores along the way and finally got off at the one and only McDonalds in the area. It was too good to pass up(sorry, no curry there). We both indulged in Big Macs, the first we have seen since Tahiti. That being said, it really wasn't that great. We thought it would be a little slice of home but it turned out to be a disappointment. Once we got our order, I asked for some salt and pepper. The girl behind the counter looked at me as though she didn't understand what I was asking for. They don't carry salt and pepper at this McDonalds!! That's like not carrying napkins. We've learned our lesson and will probably not be going back there again. There are too many other good restaurants here to waste time on this one.
Once we were done with lunch, we hopped on another bus and headed for downtown Nadi. It's a world removed from Lautoka. This town is all business. People stand outside the stores and will literally jump in front of you to stop you and get you to enter their stores. One good thing is that I found a nice pair of sandals. Not sure I would have had any luck in Colorado in the Winter finding them. I tried them on and then asked the price. He looked at me and said $179 Fijian. That's about $92 US. Sorry, no sandal was worth that. He "checked with the manager" and came down to $150. Nope, how about $130, $120? He just kept coming down. We'd seen other sandals on the shelf at $110 and we were willing to pay that. He ended up at $100(about $56US). We walked out with a nice pair of new sandals. One thing off my list of things to get when I'm back home.
On we pushed stopping at other stores, finally stopping in at two grocery stores before we boarded a bus to Vuda Marina. We arrived at the bus stop we had left from just a few minutes after the bus that would have taken us to the marina had passed. Luckily, there was a man standing beside his truck and he offered us a ride to the marina for $4.00. It had been a long day so there was no doubt as to wether or not we were going to take him up on his offer. Another man had gotten off the bus with us and he offered us a dollar if he could join us for the trip. No problem there. That cut our cost to just $3.00. We passed the bus we missed as we neared the marina getting back just after 1600.
As we walked back to Zephyr, we met up with some friends off Silver Ruffian. These are the people that had suggested we contact Vuda Marina to get a spot in the water here for the season since all the out of the water spaces were booked. We will be checking on their boat during our stay here just to make sure it stays safe and sound should a big blow come up.
And that is the way today went. Tomorrow we will be off on another adventure.
The picture at the top is the view from Zephyr's stern. Not bad!