Checked in to the marina at Denarau, Fiji
15 September 2021 | 17 46.369'S:177 22.935'E, Denarau, Fiji
17 46.369 S
177 22.935 E
Weather; Sunny, wind n/a, waves n/a
We woke up with full expectations of being cleared of Covid today and being allowed to proceed into the marina and check into Fiji properly, to this end we decided not to start on any big projects today. I spent the entire morning uploading a few photos that I had hanging around and hadn't yet uploaded to the blog site, some of them go back to Nuku Hiva but to be honest I think you would need to have a look at all the albums from after Panama to see if you missed any. The most that were uploaded were of sun sets as this was the only thing that warranted a photo whilst we were travelling apart from the odd photo of the broken chain plate. Sun sets just totally fascinate me but there has not been a single sighting of the elusive green flash in all of our travels to date. We saw the most impressive sun set just off the coast of Fiji but I watched it rather than took photos of it, it was just so mesmerizing I couldn't look away. Anyway whilst I was doing the photo labelling and
up loading Gerry took himself outside to check the rest of the chain plates, as far as he could see. The good news is that they look to be OK but there is a big BUT - he could only see so far down the plate, who knows if they are breaking up further down where it is impossible to see.
So we waited patiently and just as we were about to have our lunch we got a text message from our agent to say that the results were in and we were free of Covid but we shouldn't come into the marina between 1 and 2 pm as we would get charged overtime to be checked in. The message was a bit garbled, not exactly as I have reported it and it took a phone call to sort out when we could enter the marina. The long and short of it was that we had to wait until the health officials came out to the boat and gave us the official piece of paper to show we were clear then we could proceed in. We had time to eat lunch before we heard the roar of the Navy vessel coming alongside with 2 health personnel and 4 Navy guys on board, 4 of them clambered on to the boat and we went through a whole lot more paper work to receive a small slip of paper to say we were free to enter the country, is there a fee for that? Of course there is - Another $300 for the tests and $60 for the clearance slip of paper. anyway once they had gone it was close to 1pm so we didn't want to go into the marina just yet as we have already paid out enough in fees without the added cost of overtime so we hung out until just before 2 pm and then called the marina and made our way in. They were very organised and the dock master was there to catch our lines and tie us up. As soon as we were tied up the customs, immigration and bio security guys were on us like a bad smell. To be fair they were very pleasant , quick and efficient. We declared our flare gun and the immigration guy took a photo complete with flares but we were allowed to keep it - no problem, we filled out the customs and immigration forms (yet more pieces of paper) and our passports were stamped. Then came the biosecurity stuff - we declared that we had honey - it was confiscated, we declared that we had uncooked, frozen minced beef - it was confiscated and that we had canned ham - it was confiscated. There was some talk about our onions and garlic but in the end we were allowed to keep them. We didn't volunteer the fact that we had unopened packs of bacon, prosciutto, pate, cold meats in the freezer or they would all have gone too. Luckily we had eaten the last tomatoes, cucumber and lone orange for lunch or they would have gone too. I appreciate that they are protecting their country but really Canned ham??? What sort of bio security does that cause?? Anyway we had given them enough to satisfy their existence so everyone went away happy. Funnily enough we weren't asked about the alcohol we have on board even though we had been warned by other cruisers that they sting you for import duty if you are over the allowed amount, we aren't sure what the amount is but we had hardly any on board anyway. Finally we were officially in the country and free to go ashore, within the Covid restrictions of mask wearing, Social distancing, no eating inside restaurants and an 8 pm curfew ('cos we all know that Covid only comes out if you eat in a restaurant or are out after 8 pm!).
We had arranged to meet the sail maker who was on the dock at the time so we discussed the work that we needed doing and he will return on Friday to collect our sails, once we have some sort of quote. The nearest mini mart closes at 4 pm and we were in desperate need of some beer, coke and chocolate so we quickly made our way there and loaded up with the bare essentials for the evening, we were going to eat ashore as the closest restaurant has gotten around the eating in ban by offering take-aways which you can eat at their outside tables, where there is a will there is a way!
One of the guys we had met in Nuku Hiva was just down the dock from us and we went to have a single beer with him and to catch up with his news before heading back up the dock for an early dinner, we had to eat by 6.30 pm as the kitchen closed then to accommodate the 8 pm curfew. Our meals were served in take away cartons but were hot and delicious especially as we hadn't had to cook them. We also had wine but it had to be served in take-out coffee cups to get around the "no alcohol to be served" restriction - it's like going back to prohibition days, every-one knows it's happening but as long as glasses aren't visible it's all OK ! We finished our dinner by 7 pm and made our way back to the boat for the night, tomorrow will be a busy day of getting sails off and sorting out the rest of the work that we need to farm out, maybe then we can get some rest in!