11/28/2011, Vuda Point Marina
While out cruising, you don't get much news so you tend to listen and read what you can once you get shore(at least I do). We heard yesterday on the radio that Fiji is out of passports for the rest of the year and won't have any till the first quarter of next year. Now you can still get an "Emergency" passport but you pay through the nose for that(just like the US). But alas, no regular passports are now available. Not sure what they plan on doing about it but it should be interesting to follow the outcome. Can't imagine how you run out of passports.
I found the following article in the Fiji Times newspaper from last Saturday:
COW URINE DRINK WILL BE CREATED
NEW DELHI: A company in India is working in a soft drink made from cow urine.
The Cow Protection Department of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh(RSS)is hoping to create the beverage-which is known as "gau-jal", which means "cow water"-by the end of the year. Despite concerns about the drink, Om Prakash-the head of the department in charge of the beverage-insists it will be tasty.
The RSS have claims cow urine can be used to treat a number of ailments such as cancer and liver disease.
With a great deal of Fiji having originally come from India(where the cow is sacred), I can understand why this story might be of interest to the locals. Unfortunately, it may be a hoax started by another company as an April Fools Joke last year though I have found it listed all over Google as a real product. To each their own I guess but I can't imagine it ever replacing Coke or Pepsi as the drink of choice.
We're just about set to leave Vuda Point for Musket Cove out at Malolo Island for a few days to just get away. I know, get away from what? Being in the same place day after day, seeing the same thing day after day gets old so it's time to explore more of Fiji. We hoped the bus into Lautoka yesterday to get clearance papers to leave the main island of Fiji. We have to check out of Lautoka in order to cruise out to another island even if it is for only one day. If you plan on sailing around the south side of Fiji heading for Suva(the capital) you need the same documents. When you return, you have to go back to Lautoka and check back in all over again. You have never left the country but the "feds" want to know where you are(foreigners)at all time. Military coups will cause that. So we are all checked out and will be taking down the tarps later this afternoon(between rain storms) so we will be all set to go. It's all of 14 miles to the island but it will be fun to get out exploring again even if it's for just 4 or 5 days. By US standards, it like having to get a permit from the US Gevernment to leave Denver and go to Colorado Springs and having to check back in with them upon your return. I don't think that would sit well with the US people. Out here, it's just another hoop to have to jump through.
The picture for todays post is of the burial field for boats in storage for the cyclone season. Each was lifted out of the water and then had it's hull pressure washed and then slowly lowered into a pit having it's hull supported by tires along each side with the base of the keel no longer supporting the rest of the boat. It's the safest way to go through the cyclone season Not much will affect your boat. It sure as heck can't fall over.
Here is the photo of the eye splice I worked on yesterday.
11/25/2011, Vuda Point Marina
As I walk around Fiji, ok mostly Lautoka, I've noticed that the women of Fiji are marching step by step with women around the world, or at least what we have seen of it. They shave their legs like the rest of the world. I did some research on the subject(boredom) and found that the custom of women shaving parts of their bodies was all started my Harpers Bazaar magazine clear back in 1915 when they ran an ad showing a woman in a toga with her arms up over her head--showing shaved under arms. Dresses of the period--just after after the World War were sleeveless hence showing the entire arm. Even the underarm!!!! Shaving of the legs came later as skirts became shorter. There is apparently no real reason for doing all this other than that we are all slaves to fashion(remember Leisure suits?)and will do pretty much what ever the fashion magazine dictate. We all want to fit in.
So there you have it. A little bit of what I have observed as I walk the streets of Lautoka.
One of the things I bought while in Colorado was a new Sony 16 megapixel digital camera so I can take better pictures. I just tried adding one to our post(showing the eye splice) and the website rejected it as too big. Guess I'll just have to pull out the old camera so I can get some pictures up on the sight. Sorry.
11/25/2011, Vuda Point Marina
Our get together yesterday for Thanksgiving was just great. We had two chickens(no turkeys in Fiji) as well as all the trimmings--Cranberry salad, stuffing, sweet potato, a salad sprinkled with pecans and even lots of gravy to top it off. Pecan as well as Pumpkin pie(dug deep into our larder) for dessert. A great feast for the four of us. Add in lots of great conversation and it was the perfect way to celebrate the holiday.
We started the dinner off with drinks in the cockpit with "Pain Killers". A nice blend of Orange, Pineapple juice, Creme of Coconut and Rum. I even bought ice from the little store here to make them nice and cold.
I don't imagine that there is a big problem with alcoholism here in Fiji but if there is, it must all center around beer as hard liquor is outrageously expensive. A one liter bottle of Bacardi rum cost $115.00 Fijian. That's over $61.00 US for a $10.00 bottle in the US. We bought a bottle the other day as we had finally run out of what we bought in the Mexico(even cheaper than the US stuff). Now you can get lots of different wine from all over the world but Australian and New Zealand have the best prices($6.00 to $10.00US) for a good bottle of wine. Beer is still cheaper but will run about $3.50 Fijian in any bar or restaurant. A bottle of coke runs about $3.00 in most restaurants but can be had for about $2.20 Fijian($1.20US). Not really that bad considering where we are. We heard an announcement on the radio that they will be upping the duty on alcohol(as well as other luxury items) the first of the year.
Of course, in Fiji, it poured outside. It's the rainy season(as well as cyclone season) and in the late morning and early afternoon, it started clouding up with it looking quite black farther inland over the mountains. I was sitting on the stern making some eye splices in our new mooring line when it started with a light sprinkle. I ducked under the tarp and bimini to escape the rain and continued the rope work. It slowed for a few minutes and then Mother Nature got a bucket and just poured it over Vuda Point. It rained like I have rarely seen it. I have no clue as to how much it rained but it had to be close to an inch at the minimum since the deluge started about 1400 and it was still raining at 1700. It has sprinkled off and on through the night. There is an 80% probability of rain for the next three days so there is more coming. No wonder it's so green and the roadsides are filled with flowers. At least with the air conditioner, it takes a lot of the humidity out of Zephyr making it more comfortable down below.
One of the things I brought back with me was 200 feet of 3/4" three strand line for new mooring lines to keep Zephyr safely attached to the center mooring buoy as well as shore. After a good bit of searching, I couldn't find anything like it here. I also brought back some rubber snubbers that the line wraps around that add a nice spring to the line as Zephyr moves about in her slip. With a boat of Zephyrs weight(almost 50,000 pounds) you want line that has some spring to it or there is a good chance you could break the lines during one of the cyclones that is coming with it's 150 mph winds. I started putting in eye splices in the line yesterday adding in a steel thimble to make the line more resistant to chafe. I've made eye splices in many pieces of line over the years but this stuff, being 3/4", was tough to open the space between the strands to get the pieces through. It took a while, but at least two of the eye splices are done. I should be able to put in the other two later today during the next flood.
And that's the way our Thanksgiving went. Some work and some play. A normal day out here in paradise.
11/24/2011, VudaPoint Marina, Fiji
Happy Thanksgiving to all out you out there. It's Firday here in Fiji as we are across the date line. That may be the case, but we will still be celebrating it today as the rest of the US is a day behind us.
Late this afternoon, we will be having our first company on board for dinner. Paul and Star off Starstruck will be coming over for the festivities. We're having a couple of chickens delivered from the local meat company pre- cooked so we don't have to heat up our boats getting things ready for the feast. Tracy made Pumpkin Pie and a Pecan Pie for the deserts and will be making more dishes during the day. The nice thing is that the air conditioner that sits in our companionway door is working great pumping nice cold air into our boat and drying out everything from the ever present humidity that rules Fiji. What a God send to have it. Paul and Star bought the second unit that Purrfection(a catamaran next doon) had for sale so we are both enjoying being inside our boats though it does feel a bit claustrophobic at times.
Yesterday, I headed into the engine room looking for the source of the air that keep getting into out fuel lines. I tightened up every hose clamp and shoved one hose farther onto its fitting and then cinched it down with a hose clamp. We started the engine and it ran fine for almost two hours so maybe I found the problem. We'll be checking it again tomorrow and with luck be setting off for Musket Cove(about 25 miles west of here) for a few days to get away. While we enjoy Vuda Point, it will be nice to get away and see other sights. We plan on coming right back to our space and getting settled in again. We like our current "slip" and see no real reason to move to another.
The "dock master" has been turning lots of the boats around in the marina so their sterns face the dock and their bows face out toward the center post. This is the preferred way to have all the boats should a cyclone hit the area. I'll be working on our new mooring lines today getting eye splices onto the ends of the 3/4" line I brought back. It's not available here without special ordering it and I'd hate to think how much that would cost.
So Happy Thanksgiving to everyone one out there wether you celebrate it or not. If not--Happy Friday, or Thursday if you are on the other side of the date line.