Here in Musket Cove
24 July 2009 | Malolo Lailai, Fiji
We are currently sitting pretty on a mooring ball in Musket Cove, on the island of Malolo Lailai. After leaving Yadua Island a few weeks ago we made our way west to the Yassawa Group and dropped our anchor in the "Blue Lagoon", an anchorage named for the two movies that were filmed in the vicinity. It was there that we celebrated Sophie's 8th birthday. There really weren't any other "kid boats" around, other than Jaryd on Tin Soldier but no matter- we celebrated anyway, gamely joined by the crews from Don Pedro , Mischief and Tin Soldier. Later that evening we enjoyed a traditional Fijian feast onshore, complete with music and joke telling.
While in the Blue Lagoon we received the very sad news that John's mother's health was failing so we upped our anchor and made for the main island of Viti Levu as quickly as we could so he could fly back to Oregon. We figured the best place for the girls and I to hang out and await his return would be Musket Cove. However the one (and only) drawback of Musket is the lack of potable water and our watermaker was acting up so access to water- and to an airport- made us head for the Vuda Point Marina, just outside of Lautoka.
Vuda Point is an interesting marina: you enter through a narrow dredged pass into a big circle, all the boats are med-moored (most bow in) to the cement wall that encircles the marina. Outside the "circle" there are numerous holes in the ground, many of which have boats sitting in them (gotta watch for those "land sharks"). It's a cheap and effective way of putting a boat "on the hard" without the hard stands. It's supposedly better in a hurricane, too. (Vuda is one of Fiji's "hurricane holes".)
The nice thing about Vuda for us was that we had several friends there when we arrived including Blue Plains Drifter, Wind Dancer and Airstream so John felt comfortable leaving the girls and I on the boat- knowing there were helping hands nearby should we need them.
The problem we had with Vuda is that it gets very "buggy" there. I learned the first night that I needed to get our screens up on our hatches and light mosquito coils everyday before dusk if I didn't want the girls and I to be the first- second- and third-courses of the mosquitoes' nightly feasts. The other problem is that it was always difficult- and sometime nearly impossible- to get on an off the boat. Given that we were tied bow in (and the "dock" was only about 4 feet long) to disembark we had to pull the bow lines to bring the boat's bow close enough to the dock so we could scramble over the bow pulpit and jump to the dock. Depending on the tide, sometimes we had to drop down to the dock, other time we had to climb up to the dock. When the wind was blowing us away from the dock it made it especially hard to pull the boat close enough.
As Marilyn on Tin Soldier said, "This place definitely has a shelf life!" I couldn't agree more, and neither could Tiffany and Jim on Blue Plains Drifter so we made a plan to complete some boat projects and then move the two boats to Musket and wait there for John to come back.
While in Vuda I discovered that not only were the girls' passports expiring in February, but that they could easily be renewed by visiting the US Embassy in Suva, which was about a three and a half hour drive from Vuda. Road Trip! As I made plans to rent a car and take the girls to Suva, Tiffany decided that she wasn't comfortable with us traveling alone, so she decided to come with us ("Four years of kick-boxing, baby!"). Jim's passport also needed renewing so she was going to take his paperwork and kill that bird with our stone so it was a win-win.
The drive was mostly uneventful, occasionally we had to dodge a suicidal cow or horse who thought it would be fun to fake me out and make like he was going to lunge into the road in front of me. Oh yeah, and then there was that whole "getting-pulled-over-for-speeding-by-Fijian-cops" thing. But other than that totally uneventful. (Did you know you absolutely CAN NOT take pictures of the US Embassy? We're not sure about the British one.)
So having completed the passport paperwork and the various boat projects we decided it was time to get out of Vuda. Tiffany came aboard Meridian with me and Jim followed in Blue Plains Drifter. A few hours later we were tied up to a mooring ball in beautiful Musket Cove. Ahhhhh.
Some cruisers call this place The Vortex and I can see why. Not only is it a beautiful and secure location, the Musket Cove Yacht Club and the Musket Cove Resort make it so appealing you start to wonder why you'd want to bother with navigating reefs just to find another anchorage that may or may not be as nice as this:. A gorgeous beach. Restaurants. A pool. Free hot showers. Laundry facilities. Small grocery for essentials. AND you can charge it all simply by giving your yacht name!! (Sounds dangerous doesn't it?)
As wonderful as Musket is we still want to explore more of what Fiji has to offer. .John is now back with us- having flown in a few days ago (yay!) and we are making preparations to head north to finish exploring the Yassawa Islands...