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New Crew Arrived

In the morning Helen and went ashore for fresh food and bread and to pick up mail. Our credit cards had finally arrived. Having taken Helen back to the boat I returned and made my way to the airport to pick up Lissa. I had to wait a while, as did she, as a result of the previous plane load taking extra time to clear in. Once met we made our way to Immigration to officially put Lissa onto the boat and into my responsibility. That’ll save us one set of paperwork and possible complication on the day we clear out.

We took the busses back to Denaru. In both cases we ended up in mini vans blaring loud music that ply the bus routes offering rides for the same fares – somewhat reminiscent of those we frequently used in the Caribbean.

We arrived in time for lunch and soon after we got out of Denaru. We had a mixed sail / motor sail over to Denaru with the wind starting in the north west and ending in the south. Once the boat was settled on a mooring we cracked open a beer to relax.

I took Lissa ashore so we could announce our arrival and to create our tab. I let Lissa have a little wonder while I headed back to the bar to see if there was anyone I knew there. In fact, I ran into Jock and Lianne from Just In Time along with a number of other Kiwis. We were soon chatting about a bunch of things. People are very much beginning to congregate prior to leaving for NZ later this month or early next.

Back on the boat we decided to BBQ aboard rather than ashore. After dinner Lissa was looking tired from her long day so we all retired quite early.

The weather forecast are continuing to point to an ideal departure on Sunday. Our intention was to be ready to depart at the earliest on Monday with a hope we’d be around for a little longer. There is a temptation to hang around and wait for the next weather window but this one looks too good to miss. I really, really, don’t want to leave Fiji but it looks like we must.

So it looks like we’ll have to make the best of today. We cannot clear out on Sunday so we’ll either have to leave on Monday or be a bit naughty and clear out on Friday and hide somewhere until Sunday. That decision will be based on tomorrow morning’s forecast.

Last Day in Savusavu

My morning trip to the DVD store went well. I took Helen’s notebook PC with out vodafone stick and went through their catalog of movies. I checked each movie I half liked the look of on IMDB and if the score was somewhere above 5.5 I asked the assistant to find and play the DVD. Some were rejected due to being in a foreign language and one was English but had a different movie’s subtitles on it. No good. However, I ended up with 48 movies, mostly from 2010 and 2011 to watch.

After lunch we went ashore for our 1 hour massages. I went first allowing me to use the time when Helen was having her fun to clear out with customs which were closed during the first session. I felt pretty good after mine having fallen asleep for the last few minutes.

With customs all sorted out I showered then waited for Helen supping a nice cold beer.

Later in the evening we went ashore for our last curry here. It wasn’t spectacular but it was cheap. We returned to the bar where we joined the Ivory Keys, Just in Times for a while. Petr and Alex from Endless passed through and we agreed to meet them later at the Back Deck restaurant where they had live music. When we turned up the music was the ubiquitous guitar/ukelele trio they have here in Fiji. We had dessert and beers sharing the table with the couple from Infinity 3 as well as Endless.

We ended up on Endless chatting about our various plans. One result of this is we’ve changed our plans for today. We’re only going as far as the Jean-Michel Cousteu resort and will pick up Petr and Alex on the way. We’ll spend the day snorkeling the area, perhaps with the hookah too and finish off with a BBQ. Petr enticed us with a rack of lamb ribs which were impossible to resist.

All working fine

I went ahead with the charger replacement without support from the vanished tech and all went well. The starboard charger is easier to remove and replace than the port so the work progressed smoothly and the tests afterwards went well. So now we’re back up running on full power. The main difference will be that while we are motoring with the genset on, there will be more surplus DC power for charging the drive batteries. It makes a lot of difference to how we balance the system.

With that done I made a trip to refill our empty propane tank and I tightened the nuts beneath our helm seat. Then I had the time and facility to sort out and publish this year’s tracks. That was the days projects all done.

In the afternoon we went shopping/provisioning. I found some pink squiddies to replace my favourite lure. I usually have more than one type out at a time but the pinkies seem to do well. While out I visited one of the several DVD store here that sell bootleg DVDs. I wanted to pick one up to try it out. I was able to verify in the store that the movie was in English without subtitles. Back on the boat it played. I looked it up on IMDB and it scored 2.7. That is about as low as it goes. It must be a dreadful movie. However, this gives me an idea to take the laptop ashore and return to the store and see what they have and look the up online before buying.

Sunset was particularly stunning. After two and a half years I can still spend 30 or 40 minutes just watching a sunset. Each one is different and some just blow you away. After this show, we went ashore for a cheap but filling Chinese meal. Three large plates of food for Fiji$20. Unbelievable.

On the way back we bumped into the Ivory Keys and Just in Times at the bar and stopped for a beer and a chat.

Today will be our last full day here in Savusavu. I’m going to visit the DVD stores and see what, if anything, I can get that is half decent. This afternoon we have our massages booked which we’re looking forward to. While Helen’s having hers I’ll clear out and register our trip to Suva with Customs. The rough plan is to stop off at Namena, Makogai and Wakaya getting to Suva around about the 28th of the month.

Return to Savusavu

It turned out we’d anchored between Jarana and Sidewinder, both friends of ours. We’d chatted to Jarana the previous evening and ended up with a long VHF chat with Sidewinder in the morning. It would have been nicer to meet face to face but we all had our dinghies up and were planning to leave. Based on our mutual plans, we should meet up along the way.

By mid-morning we were off for the short motor into Savusavu. On the way in we were pleased to see Endless anchored outside the creek and hoped to see Petr while we are here. We also saw Dave aboard Marquesa and waved/shouted that we should meet up later in the day. We’d radioed ahead and were taken to a free mooring ball and soon we were tied on.

We wasted no time and soon had the dinghy dropped and we were in the water. We tied off the dinghy at the Coprashed Marina dock and headed off to customs where we cleared in and collected our charger. We’d been worried that there may be fees but we were pleasantly surprised to find that all they wanted to do was ensure we put it on the boat. The guy that came with us was very polite and offered to help at all opportunities.

Once the charger was on the boat we returned to town to get some cash and a bite to eat. We’d planned on a small lunch but ended up ordering a cheap rice/curry which ended up being a whole meal. Two meals including two cold cans of soda all for $17 local (US$10). Can’t be beat.

On the way back I picked up some fish hooks and leader line as after recent losses I’m now out of these.

Back on the boat I set about the charger. I opened and inspected the replacement charger. One end was bent, presumable from transit, but nothing internally was appeared affected. I switched this with the intact plate from the charger we swapped out last year which we kept.

I then opened up and inspected the existing problem charger and noted all wiring. I went back to the replacement and prepped it to make installation easier. I noted all this and sent the information off to the tech for review before I proceed.

In the afternoon Petr from Endless swung by and we invited him and his crew, Alex, aboard. A couple of beers were had to oil the conversation.

At 5:30 we were back ashore. In the yacht club bar we bumped into the crowd from Ivory Keys and Just in Time (met in the Lau) and sat down with them. It turned out they’d over ordered their pizza and invited us to tuck in. That was dinner solved. As we chatted, the folks from Endless and Marequsa showed up. We never left the bar bar to return to our boats for the night.

Unfortunately I’ve had no overnight response from the tech regarding my email. The swap out is straightforward so I’ve decided to proceed regardless. We did receive more specific information regarding the sex change next February. It’s good that that is progressing.

During the day I did upload some more pictures from Welangilala and Alfred Bay. They can be viewed on those blog entries.

Finally, we’ve been enjoying the recently introduced 3G data service here which makes using the internet much more pleasant than before. This should mean that I’ll be publishing our recent tracks soon. Something I’ve got behind on.

The Bay to Ourselves

By the time we had woken, Just in Time and Ivory Keys had already left the area as planned. I’d borrowed a USB stick from Sagittarius the night before and so after breakfast I kayaked over to drop it off. I stayed for a coffee and a chat so by the time I was paddling back to Dignity they were also off. Without leaving the kayak, Helen joined me to explore the nearby area and to get some exercise. After our paddle we decided to try out another anchorage.

For the rest of the day we had the entire Bay of Islands to ourselves which was nice. I spent a little time fishing in the afternoon and bagged a small grouper which ended up in the freezer. In the evening we had barbecued steaks.

We have no firm plans yet for today. Much will be dependent on the weather. We know another system is bearing down on us and we do know that once it’s passed we’ll start working our way back west. We need to be at the west end of Viti Levu by the end of July to meet up with our friends and have more or less worked out our route to get there. Our charger, as far as we know, has still not reached Savusavu so we have time to get there. From Savusavu we expect to take the inside reef track north of Viti Levu stopping off at Makongai along the way. Prior to reaching Savusavu we have a few places we want to take in but it will all depend on the weather.