Bula from Fiji. We arrived in Musket Cove on Wednesday where we joined up with the rest of the fleet. Although we saw quite a few people while we stayed at Port Denarau Marina on the island of Viti Levu, this is the first time we have all been together in a very long time. It has been great to reconnect with everyone!
Port Denarau Marina was a great place to stay. It was a very nice marina with beautiful docks, lots of facilities, great dining and shopping. What fun! We had the sails taken to a sail maker for some minor repairs and to get a thorough inspection. We also had the rigging inspected and our rigger, Bruce, found a shroud (one of the metal wires which holds up the mast) with a crack in it. Bruce also went up the mast to inspect the rigging everything there. We were happy to have the shroud replaced instead of having it break while we were at sea! We also had a couple of coats of Cetol (varnish) put on the teak toe rail. The hot weather has really caused the teak to wear very quickly.
We were able to do a little shopping while in Denarau at the nearby town of Nadi (pronounced Nandi). The prices were much better than what we have seen in French Polynesia for many things. Mark and I also decided to buy traditional Fijian outfits to wear at one of the nice events at Musket Cove with the rest of the fleet. I spread a rumor among the men that everyone was buying the traditional sulu to wear. I even took several men to the store to help them purchase them. There is no easy was to say this but a sulu is a skirt for men. We have seen them in the last three places we have been - American Samoa, Tonga and Fiji. Ted (s/v Glamorous Galah) took me to a very nice tailor and I was fitted for a chambra which is the traditional dress for a Fijian woman. Here is a picture of Mark and me in our outfits. The men who wore the sulus earned a lot of points from the rest of the fleet, mostly for their bravery.
Sadly, we did bid farewell to Magali and David (s/v Ensemble) who are returning to Australia. Their boat is being sailed there by hired crew with the hope that the boat can get the repairs it needs. We went to a fantastic dinner with them right before they left. We will miss them very much. Another two boats are leaving the rally in Fiji while three other boats have joined us here. Approximately six other boats will be leaving us between now and Australia. Several people will be staying for another year in this area or making a detour to New Zealand. If only we could!!!
While in Musket Cove we did have a great afternoon of sports. We formed teams, played volleyball, tug of war and a rather interesting game of bucket brigade. Our team tied for first place for the tug of war and won the bucket brigade. I skipped the tug of war which left almost everyone quite sore the next day.
We are quite sad to say good bye to Fiji. We spent quite a bit of time working on the boat and not enough time enjoying Fiji. We would love to find a way to come back to Tonga and Fiji and do some more exploring. They are magical places. We have a three day sail to Vanuatu starting tomorrow morning. We will then depart from Vanuatu for Australia on July 17, 2012.
By the way, we received the amazing photographs that Shadow Van Houten (s/v Zoe) took of us in Mariner's Cave in Tonga. Look under the Tonga photo gallery for the additions.