Final to Fiji
Last Day at Sea and Arriving in Savusavu
17:30 Sunset over Koro Island
18:00 the sky softened
A flurry of activity after yesterdays blog was sent. I cut the skippers hair and beard and if I’m honest, one or two waves made for some ‘equalling up’ – oops. Steady with the bare blade there Mrs. Keep very still. Okaaaay. Final result is passable and it does grow quickly............. Thank goodness for that, I don’t feel the need to look though. Next was showers and begin the tidy up ready to welcome officials on the morrow. Then I was successful on the backgammon board and finished both front pieces of my cardy. I began the border panel, first measurement an inch too long, take off an inch, re-measure still an inch too long, take off another inch and voila.........an inch too short. Mmmm. I’ll stay so quiet you won’t know I’m here. In fact I’ll put another couple of diesel cans in the tank. You do that then.......
Last but one turn before Ngau Island.
Selene was so bright she had her own flare.
Bear had a peaceful start to his day.
I had a smashing two till six and had just shifted down in scale - always exciting, as the skipper came on duty.
Love the name North Save a Tack Passage.
Just before I went to bed a rare look at the fading moon, just after this she drops like a stone.
Bear took his final sunrise of this journey at a quarter past six. Funny to think the moonset above was soft blues and greys out to our left and the sunrise, all reds and oranges out to the right.
Bear enjoyed the still of the morning, nary a ripple affected my deep sleep as the coastline of Southern Vanua Levu took shape. Oh did I mention I was soundo. The captain appeared an hour early with the promise of lovely scenery I ought not to miss. Obliging my Lord and Master I fumbled through cleaning my teeth and washing. Out I went into the blue morning. To say the vista changed not a jot in the hour I should have been catching Zzzz’s.................
To our right the Jean Michel Cousteau Resort.
Behind us Beez leaves a faint track.
We swept right and there we could see the town dock of Savusavu.
Colour me happy – coconut trees. I remember clearly waking up as we approached – oh did I just type ‘waking up’ or was that a skipper calling me two hours early........ when we were nearing the Gambiers and my wish for scantily clad Pacific Island men and ladies in grass skirts. The shock of all those Christmas trees and the need for a thick jumper have haunted me. This morning I was thrilled, heat, blues, ........ and coconut trees.
The skipper getting ready to drop the main sail
Passing the Captain Cook Cruiser, the ferry that leaves twice a week for an overnighter to Savu Island.
Looking back out the way we had just come along Nakama Creek.
Nice to see away down the Creek, our first ‘One Careful Owner’
We radioed ahead to the Copra Shed. A polite lady welcomed us to Savusavu and did a few pre-dock formalities. We had expected her to give us a buoy number and arrange for ‘the officials’ to be brought to us. Things have changed in the last few days and a tiny Quarantine jetty has been put into action. We would dock at ten thirty and we were promised ‘check-in’ within an hour of being helped by Pio with lines.
The tiny yellow ‘Q’ flag was all we had as a guide and I was aware that a heavy pulse in forward gear would have the Beez anchor take out the back of the lady parked at right angles. Later we would be told that a sixty foot catamaran had to abort trying to tether to the twenty five foot long jetty. Within the hour the first two officials arrived – Health. AS I was pouring them a glass of lemonade each another pair of feet came into view, Quarantine, followed by his colleague Sam – wearing the traditional sulu, a wrap-around skirt that covers the knees, a no-no here is to bare ones knees. I noted a useful side pocket and money pocket to the front. First on our to-do list is to track one of these items of clothes for Bear. Sam and his friend shared their glass of lemonade. I looked out into the cockpit and saw Bears feet and ten more, the original two glasses were being passed from lips to lips in a perfectly natural way. Aaaahhh the land of kava, another experience on the to-do list. Beez was given a clean bill of health, I had to fill in forms to say my dairy, veg and freezer contained nothing other than products from New Zealand, I had to show my captains mayonnaise to check the label as OK and after a quick rifle in the fridge and freezer that was that. I
showed the chaps Beds to see what Fijian was for Bear and was disappointed to be told they didn’t have a word for such a creature other than Bear. Big Bear will then be known here as Levu Bear.
Bula we know as Hello and Vinaka is Thank You. However Goodbye - Moce mada. (Mo-they manda) is going to take a bit of practise as is Fakiaksia hanisit – thank you for your kindness. Whilst we will take a keen interest in this Rotuman language, we may not get past a few words. I think we can forget trying la’ma ne’ne’ae – goodbye and go and be well but we will use Alalum – Blessings.
Bear meanwhile was dealing with a myriad of forms and eventually he handed over three hundred Fijian dollars or ninety four pounds and fifty six pence, to the various authorities and he was left with just two ladies. These were the lovely, patient – not the last time we would think those words today, Immigration Officers. One played some local music as Bear and I filled in a form each. Result, a Stamp in our Passport for four months. We could take down our yellow flag, put our rubbish in the bin and sign in with the marina. Our first steps ashore were easy after our calm entry and the floor was strangely still. Marvellous.
Our hostess gave us a massive smile and signed us in to her massive ledger. We handed over our clearance paper that she promptly faxed for our Cruising Permit, due around Tuesday we were told. We handed over a ten dollar deposit to use the facilities and were handed a complimentary membership of the Yacht Club and then for our tour. Our guide told us there were no buoys available just now, but if we didn’t mind going on a finger berth one would come up in a day or two. A buoy for week is twenty eight pounds and thirty seven pence or the berth is thirty seven pounds and eighty two pence. Well, we feel somewhat celebratory and may splash out and stay on the dock. Electricity is a pound a day and if Bear wants to totally bath the girl it’s another one pound fifty....otherwise water is free.
The main building houses a bar and restaurant, a tour shop – complete with hire cars starting at ninety pounds for three days, outboard and repair unit, grockle shop and ceramic gift outlet. We noticed three course lunch ‘on the posh side’ of the Club was six pounds. Outside, a grassy area to sit, the shower block with attached laundry - where it is done by a lady and handed back, neatly folded, for four pounds a big [levu] bag. Bargain. I walked across the grass to the bins and colour me happy for the second time today, a big hole in the middle of the beautifully manicured lawn – a crab hole...... Our welcome to Fiji was complete.
Ten Thirty Position: 14:46.97 South and 179:19.97 East
Noon to Ten Thirty: 120 nautical miles
Total Miles Done: 1243 nautical miles
Miles Left to Go: Zero, wow.
ALL IN ALL YEEEHAAAAAAA
TOTALLY CALM AND BEAUTIFUL