Fouth of July
04 July 2013 | Latoka
Today I found myself at Musket Cove, Fiji on the Fourth of July. Fiji is wonderful. The locals are humble, polite and greet you with a warm “BULA!” (hello.) We’ve been making our way around what most Fijians call the mainland, or Viti Levu. While I still regret not having been able to cruise the Lau Group, the east coast of Viti Levu was pretty cool and as we made our way on to the southern islands of Mbenga, we found more of the remote island village existence we like. Rushed by airline tickets, we pushed on to Musket Cove. Having viewed the Google Earth images of Musket Cove, I expected to meet the fleet as it were because the Google map showed many white dots anchored in the protected bay. The next day I departed for Honolulu to meet my daughter, Piper, and escort her back to Fiji. I had left Laurence and Danny to fend for themselves amid the several resorts and languish in the pool and happy hour specials. After four days, Piper and I were back, but Musket Cove had changed. Danny seemed to have gained a bit of a celebrity status among the bar waitresses. But there was something else. Since arriving in Fiji nearly a month ago, we’d been dodging a couple of yacht rallies: one, an ICC rally that originated in New Zealand, and the other, an Oyster Yacht rally. It seems the Oyster rally had arrived at Musket Cove in my absence and over the next 48 hours I watched as non-Oyster yachts were literally kicked off the dock to make room for the arriving Oysters. While they elbowed their way into the marina and raised their banners, I happened to noticed that 13 of the 15 boats flew the British ensign. I have never been interested in cliques. In college, I avoided the Greek scene like the plague and have always abhorred the schmaltz and schmooze of it all. But as we came ashore several times to do laundry, get water, buy fuel, etc., I noticed as each Oyster yacht arrived, the level of pompous arrogance at the marina grew…exponentially. Last night, while strolling up the ramp for a quick fresh water rinse after our swim, we were nearly pushed over by a particularly pompous British ass. When I looked back at him I noticed the back of his shirt read “Boss.” Something in me clicked as I realized these were the people whom epitomize the worst in yachting; the arrogant few who push their way around marinas and former British colonies, acting like they own everything. Piper and I made our way to the resort pool to find it cordoned off and reserved for the rally banquet; each table set atop black table cloths, etc. We walked around the palm fronds and both took a dip in the pool. Use of the pool was granted by our $1 Musket Cove Yacht Club membership and I like my rights. It was then that I decided what we would do. I’d simply had enough of these people. We were leaving in the morning, but not before making a point. It would be the Fourth of July; the celebration of Independence Day...Independence from Britain. Now I don’t normally consider myself particularly patriotic. And there have been many times when I wished perhaps I was not born in America. But here, now, after 13 months gone from America, I’m beginning to get annoyed with the pervasive presence of the union jack in the South Pacific. Colonialism was/is so rampant that most of those counties I’ve visited each sport in the top left corner of their flag, the union jack; Cook Islands, Fiji, Niue, New Zealand and Australia…even the original Hawaiian flag is marred by it.
Time to capture the flag. Not the union jack, but maybe the next best thing. As Danny and I waited patiently while the Oyster crews shuffled off to their banquet we handily absconded with one large pompous looking Oyster flag... a symbol in my opinion of what I despise in yachting. While I have certainly heard that American’s have an air of arrogance, that seems no comparison to that of Oyster rally Brits. Hats-off to those countries with the balls to say no to the Union Jack. Samoa, Tonga, Kiribati, Papua New Guinea, Soloman’s and Vanuatu…your flags are your own and I salute you for being independent. There is simply no way an American would ever agree to a union jack in corner of our flag. France was the first ally to America, helping and supporting us to gain our independence from Britain. This morning, with the American flag flying proud off our stern and the Alaska flag flying high above, we paraded around the anchorage. On the flag halyard flew the Fiji and French flags. The upside-down Oyster flag flopped in the breeze. Bruce Springsteen blared on the stereo with “Born in the USA.” Tom Petty would be next on the playlist. Perhaps I am realizing that I am more fiercely American than I thought. Happy Fourth of July on this day…Independence Day in the Unites States of America.