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Bumping into friends

As it was promising to be a hot day we used the morning to head to Nadi for remaining shopping. Before catching the bus we tried the marina office and the post office for our mail. Neither were there but we dropped off the exact address we’d used at the post office in case that would help.

On the bus to Nadi we bumped into the Ivory Keys. We’d heard that some of the busses go on a really roundabout route and this turned out to be one of them so the journey was 2-3 times longer than normal. It was good to have someone to chat to along the way.

Having bought gifts we went to pick up provisions at the supermarket. There we bumped into Jack and Jan from Anthem. We all had the same intention of stopping off at the butchers on the way back so we decided to share a taxi.

The afternoon turned out really hot and sweaty. Here in the marina there is little breeze so we just vegged out through the hot period.

At 5pm I went ashore to meet Rico. I met Arnold and Coby from Drifter. They reported seeing mail for us at the marina office. Hopefully it is the item we’ve been looking for which should have arrived four weeks ago.

In the end Rico didn’t show. Not unusual for a Fijian. I eventually managed to exchange texts and it turned out he’d forgotten. While waiting I again met Jack and Jen from Anthem. We had a couple of beers together while I continued to wait. In the end we agreed to have dinner together. I fetched Helen and we ended up having a curry at Indigos.

Today our crew member Lissa arrives. The weather is looking crisp and clear so she’ll hopefully have a nice first day here. We don’t intend staying any longer in Denaru so we’ll move off this afternoon.

No surprise but the long term weather forecast is beginning to look a little more complicated. A second high is now forecast to follow the first off of Australia although further south. The general plan is to leave on ESE winds with moderate seas hoping for the wind to turn more to the ESE on the way down so we can curve our way into NZ. This second high may delay that turn and hence our departure from Fiji by a few days. The good news, at present, is that this combination presents a long period of trades so a good start is looking quite likely. But each day brings a new forecast and a new decision to make. We’re back in familiar territory.

Evening Show

In the morning we made a brief trip ashore for Helen’s scheduled bout of dance training.  In true Fijian style, minds were changed and this was postponed until the afternoon.  We hung around chatting to folks until lunchtime when we returned to the boat taking Rie, the Fijian Indian receptionist.  The original plan had been to have her over for dinner the night before as the whole thing had initiated as a result of her expressing a wish to taste some of Helen’s curry.  She couldn’t make it the night before but could do lunch where reheated curry is just about as good as the original.  She definitely enjoyed it stirring in rather a lot of Helen’s home made chilli paste.  She had a lot to talk about.  She spends most of the time on the island and goes home for a couple of days each week.  She’s the only Fijian Indian who stays over which isolates her a little.  I think she needed someone to talk to because that is what she did.

In the afternoon we went back ashore.  Helen spent some time with Latu and a few of the other girls helping to make some of their leafy adornments for the evening before receiving her training for the evening dance.  I videod one of the runs through the dance so Helen could practise on the boat.  And practise she did for well over an hour.

Back ashore Latu helped dress Helen for her dance and I got ready for mine.

Before the show started we were asked to join in with the pre show get together of all the performers. In their changing hut we all stood in a circle and held hands. First a bit of a staff meet with some ticking off – it seems some of the guys in the group had been mucking about. Then came a prayer in Fiji and it finished off with everyone coming close, joining hands in the middle and a big cheer. It felt special that we were included in this.

The show went pretty well.  Helen almost missed joining in the fisherman dance as she was off getting a cup of tea at the start but managed to sneak in.

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Later came Helen’s dance with the girls.

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And right after this came Rapa Nui, the second dance I’d learned.

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The Monkey Feets had returned earlier in the day and the kids also took their usual places enjoying themselves immensely.

Afterwards we chilled for a while over a beer before saying our goodbyes.  The Drifters are off today and so are we.  It’s been a cool 2 weeks here but it’s time to move on. It will be sad to leave this place. It’s strange that although it’s just a resort one gets a little sucked in. The staff treat you as family and after a while we’re all on first name terms (even though I struggle to remember them all). It’s been pretty good. We may even return to wait for our weather window to New Zealand.

(NOTE – I managed to lock into the high speed internet here this morning and all video / pics have been uploaded. Pics from the new boat arrival last Sunday are now also uploaded)

Day Show

We woke in a new world.  The rain clouds had gone, the air was crisp and the sky was blue.  After a week of miserable weather the change to the better has a great affect on the soul.

Around mid morning Helen and I went ashore. Helen was hoping to find one of the female dancers to show her some moves. It took a while and eventually it was decided to spend some time today on a dance they will be doing tonight which is easy to learn. In between all the waiting Helen learned and played a few games of Rummicub with Coby from Drifter who spends most days ashore.

Over the last couple of days we’d got to know a young couple of Brits, Matt and Jo. It was their last full day ashore. They had a dive planned but also decided it would be fun to join in the dance. We spent a little while going through the moves on the beach. In the end, their dive clashed with the show so they missed out.

While the day trippers were having their lunch it was time for me to change for the dance. I was given a sulu and a grass skirt to wear and had some black paint applied. I really had to wonder what I’d put myself in for. I have to confess my main motivation has been to get Helen to dance as the ladies in the troup make an effort to dress the guest dancers up. I knew if I didn’t join in, Helen never would, so here I find myself dressed like a plump native with a bad hair day.

Although I’ve learned two numbers, only one of them was on the lunch time play list. So song number 4 was the fisherman dance and I jumped in to join the guys doing the dance. Before we’d agreed that I would sit in the middle of them so I could get the timing right. In the end they connived to put me on the front row.  Yikes.

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It didn’t go so bad.  I was nervous but tried not to look it.  It was kind of fun to do.

I thought I was done after this number but I was dragged into the next dance as it was a no brainer.  I just had to hang onto a palm frond and walk back and forward while the girls danced.  Getting close to those coconut shells wasn’t so bad. The guy on the other end of the palm frond kept mucking about trying to pull me over. I pulled back of course.

Once all was done and over we made arrangements for dinner aboard Dignity.  We’d invited Arnold and Coby from Drifter, Don from Coromandel and Clint, the dive instructor ashore all over for curry and drinks.  We also invited Jo and Matt for sundowners.  Helen and I went back on the boat for a rest and a clean up for me.  I tried cleaning off the paint in the sea but that didn’t work.  I tried lots of soap in the shower and that just made a mess.  In the end it all just wiped off with a tissue.

At 5:30 I went ashore to pick up Clint, Jo and Matt, took them back to the boat and cranked out the G&Ts.  It was a good evening.  I took Jo and Matt back ashore for their dinner at 7pm.  Clint ended up staying the night in our spare berth.

This morning I took Clint ashore and have visited both Drifter and Coromandel to do some computer assistance.

Rubbish

The weather continues to be pretty iffy with bouts of strong rain interspersed with cloudy skies and the occasional peak of sunshine. It looks to be much the same for the next few days.

On the subject of weather, yesterday morning we saw signs of a ‘big fat high’ predicted to form and leave Australia. This is often the herald of a good sailing window down to New Zealand. This mornings forecast reinforces the picture and, being a day later, gives us an extra days forecast on it and making the forecast more accurate. Had we been sitting here waiting to go we would be watching this one very closely, perhaps to leave in a couple of days. For now, we will watch it, and it’s aftermath, to learn something of the local weather.

We had a few visits in the morning. Petr from Endless popped by to say goodbye as they were off. Arnold from Drifter popped by to return our hard drive and lend us his. Don, Hannah and cat visited from Coramandel for a chat. Don’s a long time cruiser and Hannah is his current visitor/crew. He’s a jack of many trades including chiropractics. We agreed a swap of some of our surplus wine for some bone crunching later in the day.

Later in the day was around 4pm when we headed ashore. Don gave us both a good session on the massage tables here at the resort. The right hand side of my back was stiff. Apparently this was due to tension on the left hand side of my back which was caused by my left leg being shorter than the right which in turn was caused by my preference to step down onto my left leg. Plenty of action was taken on these causes and symptoms. It’s wasn’t overly painful but some strange things were done.

The Ireland v Wales match was on at 6pm but we forgot the summertime switch in NZ which hadn’t happened here. Therefore the match started at 5pm and we missed most of the first half. A few of us congregated around the resort TV to watch the rest of the match.

It turned out that Wayne, one of the resort owners, had Sky TV in his home within the resort. He let us go there to watch the England v France match. What a load of rubbish. England are now out. The second half had it’s excitement but we watched with our usual despair at our home team.

We are anticipating today’s match between South Africa and Australia with much excitement.

Live and Let Die

We began the day digging out all the bottles of wine scattered around the boat. Quite possibly, there are a few that escaped our attention but those will turn into a nice surprise later. The idea is to retain just enough to get us to New Zealand and sell the rest at cost to folks who are short. We can replace the wine in New Zealand and don’t want to have any complications with customs on the way in. However, for folks here who have run low, buying locally is expensive so it helps all. This had all come from a conversation with Arnold from Drifter (the Dutch boat that’s been here for a month) the night before and who’d shown interest in the idea.

Once we’d selected all the wines we wanted to keep/couldn’t part with, we laid out all the rest. I dinghied over to Drifter to pick up Arnold so he could come over and pick which wines he wanted. He snapped up all the reds we had spare.

Later I visited Endless to discuss windlass relays with Petr. They’d had a problem raising their anchor but the problem had now gone away without action. An intermittent problem with raising ones anchor is not a good thing as one never wants to be delayed when raising the anchor, particularly in an emergency. We discussed a few options which I hope was helpful.

While there we decided to all take a trip up the nearby river. With Petr, Ola and Neil from Endless we were soon in our dinghies motoring the 5nm to Natadola Harbour to our south. The trip took us up the river amost to the dock where we’d gone to visit Sigatoka a few days ago. On the last bend there is a turn off to the right where a small creek winds it’s way through the mangroves where it finally widens to a very small lake which ends pretty close to the beach there. As a result of all the recent rain the main river was chocolatey brown. Worse, when we entered the creek we quickly encountered a log jam where a mass of bamboo and some trash had collected and wedged up. There was a nasty smell too which was soon attributed to a dead pig floating in the mass.

Not wanting to be put off our goal I started pushing the log jam with the dinghy hoping to push it further up river where it could break up. We were partially successful in this. The dinghy also created a path halfway through the mass. We were beginning to ride up over the mass so I backed off to rethink. Petr then gave a go in his dinghy. He powered in and rose over the last section. The mass was again pushed forward and as it did so closed in behind them, dead pig and all. There were nearly through though and with use of their oars made it the rest of the way. With the mass now much looser we were able to push our way through too. Helen had to use a bamboo pole to push the floating carcass aside as we didn’t want it touching the dinghy.

Once we were all through we were back to heading up the last stretch of creek. As we gained confidence we powered through almost at full speed occasionally slowing wary of potential submerged hazards. When we could go no further we tied off our dinghies to the mangroves and went ashore. A short way along the dirt track there we found a path to the beach and walked along that towards the resort area. This section of the island boasts a couple of hotels, has a fine beach and great surf.
We stopped for lunch and beer at the less posh hotel before heading a little further to visit the Intercontintal. Neil went for a brief swim while we had a brief walk around the grounds.

Soon it was time to return. Back in our dinghies we raced back up the creek. The log jam was still there and needed a bit of effort to clear but not as bad as before. Better still, the pig had floated off a short way so the stink wasn’t so bad.

Back down the river we decided to explore a side creek. We worked our way along it, at one point having to duck low to get under an old railway bridge. We pushed on slowly as the mangroves closed in over us. Eventually we decided enough was enough and turned around. Knowing there were no submerged obstacles we raced back. It felt like a scene out of Live and Let Die as we sped through the narrow channel through the mangroves.

Here is the track of our trip.


View Likuri Dinghy Ride in a larger map

We ended up on Endless for coffee/tea and biscuits before. We agreed to meet up on Dignity at 6pm for a few games of Fluxx which Petr really likes. Ola and Niel also enjoyed the session – perhaps a few new converts.