07/12/2012, Musket Cove general store and restaurant.
It's truly a case of "now you see them and now you don't". Close to four years ago, we pulled into Namaimo Harbor dropped our anchor and settled in for a few days of sightseeing and (of course) fixing things. After getting settled in, we noticed a dingy going back and forth behind our boat. We started up a conversation with the two people in the dingy-Lene and Henrik off Dana from Denmark. They were checking out the gear(DuoGen) on our stern. Cruisers are curious creatures always inspecting what others have on their boats to see if it might work for them. We're just a guilty as the rest of us out here. I can't pass a boat without seeing what they have on board and asking questions if something peaks my interest.
Lene and Henrik hung around for a while and we had a nice chat. They had sailed all the way from Denmark on a boat they had made themselves(ferro cement). They even went around Cape Horn on the southern tip if South America(one of the "holy grails" of cruisers). They had then crossed to Hawaii and up to Alaska and were heading back down the coast for Mexico.
Well, in the next four years, we have come across each other in California, Mexico as we came down the coast, French Polynesia, Tonga and now in Fiji. Of all the people we have met in our travels, by far, these are our oldest friends. Normally, you might run into the same boat from time to time but not in all the miles the two of us have traveled. They arrived on Tuesday evening and anchored right behind us. With all the wind, they have now moved closer to the marina taking a buoy since they have to bring diesel out to their boat in 5 gallon cans. It will be much easier since it's still blowing in the high teens to low 20's and is forecast to continue for the next few days. We met for drinks last night at the $5.00 Bar at Musket Cove. It was great getting back with them again.
When we parted in Tonga, they had made their way to New Zealand for the cyclone season while we stayed in Fiji. About a month ago, they left New Zealand and made their way up to Fiji to explore this island nation. It was a great evening of swapping stories. Unfortunately, it ended as it started to sprinkle and then rain.
When we had left Zephyr several hours before, it had been very nice and with little sign of any rain. We'd left all the hatches and ports open. We all scrambled for our dingies and headed back to our boats. With us being so far out(no one is our past us) it took a while to get back. Luckily, very little water had made it's way inside. Most had blown right past the hatches. It made for an easy cleanup. We waited for the rain to stop before bringing Puff back on deck. If the winds are really going to hit the 20 knot range, we feel better having her on deck rather than hanging off the side.
Lene and Henrik plan on staying around for a couple more days so we know we will get back together again for more conversation and a friendly drink or two.
It's now Friday the 13th with it blowing nicely making the DuoGen happy on the stern and we may settle in for the day. I'm going to try to make some hamburger buns. You can get them here but they just aren't the same so I've got the time and the materials so I'll let you know how they turn out.
07/10/2012, Musket Cove
Here we sit at Musket Cove surrounded by clouds and overcast skies waiting for some clearing so we can do some scuba diving again. In the meantime, the rebuilt DuoGen is spinning merrily on the stern actually making some electricity for our batteries. Now keep in mind that it's also blowing in the high teens to mid twenties which is a big help in making it spin. It's not quite keeping up with our usage but it's much better than it was before the rebuild.
We pulled in on Sunday and dropped our anchor about as far out away from the other boats as we could. With luck, we shouldn't have any boats coming in and dropping their anchors right beside us as they did last time. Now we do have a BIG catamaran in front of us and the big MV Aquarius(all 97 feet of her) off to our starboard side but neither is close enough to concern us. The anchor alarm is on watch(went off at 0610 for no reason that I could find) keeping us safe. We have our anchor lights on automatic so they come on at sunset and two garden lights(one at the bow and one at the stern) so people coming through the anchorage can see us(those that don't look up). They last just about all night.
Monday, we gathered our laundry and headed in to get it washed. They have two washers(only one works) here and a dryer that is under lock and key(has to be unlocked to be used for some unknown reason). Both give more time in their cycles for what they are intended to do so maybe the clothes come out cleaner since they get washed longer.
Our outboard is performing back to normal after the problem of having water in the gas line. Now that it's gone and it had a chance to rest while we were in Vuda Point, she started up on the first pull of the cord. First time she's done than in a long time. Puff(our dingy) is actually staying dry inside the boat. We'd had her fixed back in February and during our first time out a few weeks ago, she still took on some water. Now she is staying nice and dry. I don't have to take a bilge pump everywhere I go and keep things off the floor so they don't get soaked in salt water. A big improvement.
Yesterday was straighten up day for me. I put things away and read some manuals to try and better understand some of our electronics. Tracy spent some time stitching up holes in three pairs of my shorts. We got these from Kohl's before we left the US and over time(and lots of use) the cloth has gotten much thinner and holes are beginning to sprout all over the front(better than the back) of them. She took needle and tread to them and tried to seal them up. She's fix one and test it only to see the fabric right beside the old hole tear again. She continued on and eventually, all the holes were sewn closed. I'll get a bit more use out of them. I guess the next time we're in Lautoka, I'll be hunting for more shorts. Clothes are cheaper out here but so is the fabric and stitching but at least they will have no holes in them.
Today, it's totally overcast and the wind is continuing. Tracy even put up the side panels on the dodger to keep the wind out of the cockpit as it's downright cool(72 degrees) out there. Of course the wind doesn't help. I've got a couple more manuals to read today so I can better understand what we have on board. Gee, what fun.
We had pancakes for breakfast. A treat for us and we've been having the "typical" Fijian breakfast for quite some time. These are "breakfast crackers". Sort of like a saltine cracker only with more flour so it has more body. Smear on some butter and to with your favorite jam or marmalade and you have a breakfast. Not tremendously healthy but it's the norm out here and quite cheap. A container of the crackers runs about $1.35(about .75 cents US). From that container, we can get a good three to four breakfasts. You can't eat much cheaper than that. Cereal is quite expensive out here and is really a treat if you can find some you like. Tracy found some "Grape Nuts" the other day in a big box for a very good price. Normally they run about $15.00 Fijian($8.00US) for a small box. Breakfast Crackers are the food of choice out here.
Well, that's about it. Off to the manuals.
07/09/2012, Musket Cove
When we pulled into Musket Cove, we dropped our anchor next to MV Aquarius by Horizon Yachts. Nice looking 97 foot boat sitting real pretty at anchor. We Googled them to see if there was any info. Hey, guess what. You can rent it for just $60,000 A WEEK!!!! No, not a month, A WEEK. Take along 7 of your closest friends and have fun. At $60,000 per week, that's only $8571 a day. Spread amongst 8 people, makes it only $1,071 per day. What a bargain!!!
No we're not 97 feet long(46 feet)
No we don't have a Jacuzzi(nice shower stall)
TV-yep, got that
CD player--yep, got that
Dining table that seats 10--nope, just 5(maybe)
15 foot dingy--nope, just 9 feet.
Bose sound system--just two sets of head phones.
Oh well, we may not have all that stuff, but we don't cost that much, at least not for a week any way. But we're in the same place enjoying the same things for a whole lot less. Not bad if I say so myself.
Here's a picture of what is left of the bearings. TRASHED!!
07/07/2012, Back at Musket Cove.
We escaped from Vuda Point Marina about 1100 this morning. We finally finished all the project we felt we needed to get done with easier land access. The DuoGen is back on the stern and spinning nicely in the wind. We finally had good wind allowing us to actually SAIL to Musket Cove for a change. I thinks it's the first time Mother Nature as seen fit to give us wind and from a good direction so we could roll out the Genoa sail. Took about 3.5 hours to do the 15 miles over and that is just fine. NO engine to have to listen to.
As I said, the DuoGen is back on board and all re wired. Tracy scrubbed the decks yesterday getting a couple of blisters in the process. All the laundry(primary reason we went to the marina)got done. Water tanks got refilled. Installed a new 12 volt plug in the anchor locker so we can use our big flashlight if we need to. There had been a plug there but with different connections. The stainless ladder onthe stern got a hole welded closed so water won't go in there. Plus lots of other smaller projects.
Now we're back out at the islands ready to do some diving again and have some fun. the work(hopefully) is over for a while.
The picture at the top is the inside of the DuoGen. Lots of rust(BAD!).
07/02/2012, Vuda Point Marina
It's different out here. It's not the US, that's for sure.
Yesterday, while listening to the radio, I head a "public service announcement"(sort of any how) that everyone was to remember that pedestrians do NOT have the right of way when crossing any of the roads in Fiji. Even if you are in a designated cross walk, the people that are driving the cars decide whether to let you cross the street or not. Now I've come to some of the "designated cross walks" here in Lautoka. They're all nicely striped and are very obviously a cross walk. Some times, as you stand there, the cars may stop, but just as often, they blow right past you. In the US, it's drilled into you that pedestrians have the right of way. Heaven help you if you violate those rules and actually hit someone. Out here, well, good luck with that. Pedestrians beware!!! DRIVERS RULE!!
Back in May, I noticed a sudden slowdown in our internet service here at Vuda Point. I placed a call the Vodefone to see if they could find any reason(bad dongle on my computer, bad service, etc.). I was taken care of and after a few calls(mysteriously got disconnected a couple of times-hum?)I was finally advised that there was a technical issue with the "3G" service that is provided out here, but that they were working on it and would have it corrected soon. A couple of hours later, the service was back up to speed and all was well. Yesterday afternoon, I got an email that Vodefone was in the area and wanted to stop by to see what my problem was. Say what, what problem were they talking about? I hadn't called or emailed anyone at their offices about any problem. Being from the US, we have had it drilled into us to not trust anyone that just up and send you an email that they are coming out to help you. They MUST be up to something bad. I placed a call to the home office and was advised that yes, they did work for Vodefone and were finally getting out here to find out what was wrong. It's only been two months. How's that for service? Try that in the US and heaven help the company that waits two months to respond for a service call. The public would have their head on platter. It just so happened that yesterday, the internet slowed down all over again. To download the NBC evening news was going to take 3 hours instead of the 10 minutes it normally takes. I responded to their email and even called them and the men showed up about 30 minutes later--FIVE of them!!! Two guys sat with me in the grass off the boat(the rest just sort of walked around the area) as with the tidal rise, there was no way for them to come on board. I had to get into the dingy and go meet them. We sat for about 45 minutes trying all kinds of ways to figure out the problem. We did a test to see how fast the service was--slow. I used one of their dongles and it was still slow. It would go up and down in it's speed. They left perplexed, promising to contact the home office in Suva about the situation. Since it took two months for a service call, heaven only knows when I''ll hear back from them. I can't complain as the service sped back up as the afternoon wore on and is now running just fine. Hey, it's Fiji and we're on "Island Time".