29 June 2015 | Suva Fiji
Suva Fiji 7th July 2015 I have decided at last to start up my blog again. I am not sure if there is anyone out there to read it however it is a good way for me to record our wanderings as I am hopeless with a daily log.
Tuatara and crew are in Suva preparing to leave tomorrow. We seem to have been here ages. Alan, Nigel and Geoff had a quick 7 day passage from Opua, my passage was a little quicker, a comfortable 3hrs on Air NZ. Christine flew up with me, so after a few murky days in Suva we sailed down to Kandavu, hoping to show Nigel and Christine a sunnier Fiji. I think we had 2 days of sun at most in the next 6 days. It wasn't the tropical holiday we all had hoped for. Our guests flew out of Kandavu to Nadi after an apparently thrilling hour long ride in a long boat along the coast to the airport.
We had planned to sail from Kandavu to the southern Lau island of Fulanga but wind and a burst pipe conspired against us. A high pressure hose on the watermaker burst so knowing we need to be self sufficient in the Lau we headed back to Suva to source repairs. The SE winds were well established so although no good for Fulanga we had a fabulous sail back to Suva.
First thing Monday the hose was repaired, a large pile of washing left with the laundry lady and we waited for a couple of hours for the outboard repair man to arrive, which he eventually did 24 hours later. While waiting for the man not to turn up we went across the road to get some bread from the shop attached to the corrections (prison) centre. No bread but a great little restaurant with delicious food cooked by Louie and 2 other prisoners. We soon realised this was a popular place for not only the corrections staff to eat but also the yachties, price and deliciousness meeting our needs. While waiting for lunch Alan was able to get a haircut from the trainee/remand prisoner barber ...all I will say is he got what he paid for!
Tuesday morning came still no outboard man so off to get the gas bottle filled, another delicious lunch across the road, this time sharing a table with the top brass . I had fresh water mussels with coconut milk. Eventually the man arrived, established that yes we needed a new prop on the outboard and in Fiji the Yamaha model is different so no, he couldn't help us. Thank goodness for the Internet and Google within an hour we had contacted Ian and Kevs outboard spares in Auckland, the 1 prop they had left for our motor was soon on its way to Suva arriving in Suva Saturday morning. Great service. The Yamaha dealer here could have done the same thing for us and added a handling cost and we would have been none the wiser, but it just seemed too hard for them.
The rest of the week was spent working on Tuatara, fixing the watermaker and visiting the splendid Suva market to stock up on fruit and veges ready for a Sunday departure and of course more meals across the road. We also kept an eye on tropical cyclone Raquel over the Solomans , we didn't want to be caught in the poor holding mud of Suva harbour if strong winds were to head our way. Alan was pleased the prop held us up because it meant he definitely would be able to watch the Super 15 final on TV. So Saturday was organised pick up the prop from DHL and watch the rugby then off the next morning.
Well in between DHL and the kick off at the Cake tin Alan decided to clean the solar panels which are quite close to the new sharp blades of the wind generator. As I was in the process of turning off the wind gen I heard an almighty yell and dashed out side to see blood pouring out of the top of his hand. He had been too impatient and too close to the blades. We wrapped his hand in a towel and flagged down a passing dinghy....our motor was on deck having the prop fixed!! One of the fathers at the birthday party ashore at the Yacht club suggested we go to the Private hospital and flagged down a taxi. As Alan adjusted the towel the taxi driver glimpsed the blood and put his foot down. Luckily the cuts weren't as bad as it first seemed, the doctor had a look as he muttered about being very lucky. The nurse glued and dressed the cuts, Alan winced as it stung and soon we were on our way to the chemist for antibiotics. A good service relatively, pain free on the wallet but not on the sliced hand. So instead of heading for the pass out of Suva on Sunday it was back up the hill to Suva Private to get the hand dressed. The nurse was happy for us to dress it now as long as the cuts look healthy so tomorrow we leave Suva for the northern Lau Islands with a few stops along the way.
It has been 24 years since we had been in Suva, we have seen a more modern Suva with shopping malls, everyone holding a cell phone, a huge increase in taxis and cafes with flat whites and long blacks. Although the flat whites come with lovely frothy hibiscus flower decorations the long blacks are very long and even I can't finish them. Someone needs to import some nice small long black cups from NZ. Still, better than no coffee at all. The Suva market is still the same, full of produce during the week and then Friday and Saturday the place overflows with people, pineapples and purple octopus, as well as huge piles of cassava and taro, green bananas, fat plantain, shiny aubergines, fresh water mussels ....anything one might need for the weekend family lovo. The other thing that is the same is the grey drizzly weather interspersed with the odd sunny day or hour, hopefully those peeks of blue we can see in the east will still be there as we head east.