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Chance Meetings

My day was dominated by the stiffness and pain in my calves from my barefoot run the previous day. After any period of rest, getting up and walking around makes me feel like a cripple. As I type this morning it feels just as bad. Once moving around for a while things would improve and I did plenty of stretching to make sure I didn’t tear anything.

In the morning I had to go ashore to buy more airtime on my cell phone so I could contact customs and clear the package we had their. This was quickly arranged. Customs here are required to see the item onto the boat so I was told that they’d come down sometime in the afternoon. I then tried to find the letter containing our replacement credit cards. It was neither at the marina office nor the post office, 4 weeks after we should have received it. Fortunately there’s been no abuse of the card but it looks like we’ll have to arrange replacement replacements to be sent down to NZ.

Later in the morning I filled the dinghy tank and our empty spare can with premix and while there I arranged to fuel Dignity. We used the dinghy to reserve our mooring while we brought Dignity to the fuel dock. We loaded up with fuel and filled three cans of diesel to complete our reserves. On that front we’re now ready for the trip down to NZ.

The day was a hot one so when we were not busy fueling we mainly rested. Around 3:30pm the courier called. It turned out he was accompanied by two customs agents who were keen to come to the boat to see our small package delivered. We’re used to this. It was boat show time so we took them around and offered them refreshments which were politely declined.

Helen and I had discussed going for a short walk so all five of us piled into the dinghy to go ashore. I had to pay the courier but didn’t have the right change. Helen realized we’d left the hatches open so while she returned to the boat I visited the store to buy a drink and obtain the needed change.

I met Helen back at the dinghy dock. It turned out she’d left her flip flops on the boat steps so a third trip was required.

Our original intention was to go for just a short walk. We walked to the gate that guards the entrance to Denaru Island. There was a side road there we had not previously noticed or indeed travelled on so we walked up there. We passed a locked gate and eventually reached the beach well beyond the hotels. We walked towards the hotels knowing we could complete the circuit of the island once we hit the road.

As we approached the hotels we caught snatches of some familiar sounds – the dance music from Robinson Crusoe Island. We soon found Rita (she’s the one in the photo with me in my last set and a real sweetie) dancing alone with a couple of the guys, Bolo and Ess, nearby waiting their turn. It turns out they do this every Monday to drum up business. As we are now on friendly terms we were greeted with Fijian handshakes and hugs (where appropriate). It really was a pleasant surprise.

There was a special event going on for the ‘owners’ or something like that. Anyway we ended up being given tickets entitling us to a free drink each. We also ran into Blake from Monkey feet who was along to help out and Rico, the dance group leader, who is actually on a two week vacation but happened to be there to watch his dancers. We were soon chatting with Rico and the upshot is is he’s visiting the boat this evening. We’ll treat him to dinner. He’s from Rotuma, part of Fiji but way north and has a different language. It’s recently become a port of entry and we’re considering visiting there next year. It would be good to get some insight from him.

We eventually made it back to the port/marina after our several mile ‘short’ walk around the island. We picked up a pizza and took back to the boat to eat while we watched a couple of shows on TV.

The 5-7 day weather forecast is looking very encouraging. If things turn out as they are being forecast we could be off somewhere in the middle of next week in high teens winds and 2 meter seas. Doesn’t get much better. But of course, this is still the long term forecast but it provides hope.

We’ve decided to get out of Denaru soon after our crew arrives tomorrow, probably heading over to Mana or Musket Cove for a couple of days. We’ve further decided that we’ll pop into Robinson Crusoe for a day or two after clearing out of Lautoka. We may clear out as early as Friday but it may end being next week. It all depends on the weather.

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)

Sigatoka and the Evening Show

The adult trip to Sigatoka took up the morning. Helen, Janine and Brian took the launch up river while I followed in the dinghy. It was a lot further than we thought to reach the jetty so it’s good we didn’t try to find it with all four of in the dinghy. Awaiting us was our taxi driver who took us into Sigatoka where we shopped for souvenirs and a few tins Helen needed.

During this time Ben had another couple of dives and finished the theory for his training passing his exam. Congrats to him. Holly was firmly established on the island and remained there for the rest of the day.

Helen and I stayed aboard for the afternoon while Brian and Janine went ashore. Later they picked us up and we went ashore to have a meal and watch the evening show along with Passages. The deal for cruisers is fantastic. For Fiji$15 we get a decent meal and watch a nearly 2 hour show much the same as the daytime show only longer and more spectacular in the dark. The boys from Monkey Feet were all involved in the show having been here nearly 6 weeks. A Dutch couple who have been here for a month have watched almost every evening show and are yet to be tired of it.