A change of plans in Suva
08 November 2017 | Suva, Fiji
As the Southern Hemisphere spring moves inexorably toward summer, Eric, SCOOTS, and I have left the stunningly beautiful anchorages that we'd enjoyed for the past five months, in the Mamanuca and Yasawa Islands of Fiji's western region, and the islands of Beqa and Kadavu to the south, and are now anchored in Suva Harbour, as industrial and unattractive as our previous anchorages were beautiful.
But we didn't come here looking for scenery; we came here to prepare SCOOTS and ourselves for our upcoming passage south to New Zealand, a purpose for which Suva, Fiji's largest city, is ideal. Here, we found grocery stores for provisioning (peanut butter! bacon! fresh bread!); chandleries and industrial supply stores for procuring parts; diesel and propane to top up our tanks; restaurants to satisfy our desire to have someone else do the cooking and washing up; customs and immigration offices for clearing us out of Fiji when the time comes. And cheap, ubiquitous taxis to whisk us to places that are beyond walking distance, or if we just get tired of walking in the rain.
It rains a lot in Suva, so much that it's prompted Eric to proclaim that Suva has three kinds of weather: light rain, torrential rain, and about to rain. One day it rained so much that the water of the harbor turned brown from the runoff of the rivers that drain into it; all sorts of flotsam floated by: logs and shrubs and trash, and even a large toad, swimming resolutely. During that downpour, we collected more than a hundred gallons of rainwater in less than two hours! This was particularly handy because the harbor water is too dirty to run through our reverse osmosis system.
When we arrived in Suva a week ago, we had every intention of leaving Fiji on November 8, when our visas expired, and sailing to New Zealand. I'd been watching the weather forecasts closely for a few weeks, and the weather was shaping up nicely for our expected departure date. I say “was” because as of a few days ago, a nasty low pressure system (storm) is now predicted to form in the ocean between Fiji and New Zealand this week, with another predicted to follow next week. In-between, the winds are strong and from the south, the direction we'd be going. Oh well.
When you live your life according to the whims of the weather, as we do, patience and adaptability are important virtues. So instead of clearing out of Fiji, we visited the Fiji Immigration office and filed the papers to extend our visas. That takes the pressure off a bit: now we can wait for a good weather window without being illegal aliens.