Sat 6 Aug 2011 22:18
18.18 S 177.48 E
We entered Suva harbour on tuesday morning, the remainder of our passage uneventful, crossing 180 W longitude the day before, and now in the eastern hemisphere again. Customs, Immigration etc. were arranged for 2pm, which turned into 3pm, and after the team of 5 consumed many biscuits and cold drinks, had a quick tour of the boat and a general chit chat, we were cleared in....no mention of grog whatsoever! Sometimes I think you can research things too thoroughly!
We were welcomed by a Canadian couple we had met in Papeete and after a few drinks at the "Royal Suva Yacht Club" we all went downtown for a very good Indian curry.
The weather has continued to be overcast, rainy, 20-30 knots S to SE and actually cold! I have had to bring out long pants and worn a polar fleece for the last few days and... a blanket at night. The good thing is that inspite of this the boat feels "dry", as the humidity has been low.
Suva harbour is not a pretty sight, and we were very glad to leave yesterday! There are Chinese fishing boats by the dozen (those same fishing boats that used to frequent Hobart as Japanese fishing boats 30 years ago!) anchored, on moorings 6 abeam and belching fuel and oil into the harbour. The plastic bags and general rubbish in the water was quite a shock after the pristine waters we have come from.
The few days we spent in Suva did enable us to meet new people, enjoy more good food ashore, do some provisioning, have the outboard serviced and do a walking tour around the town's remaining colonial buildings, including the President's Palace (ex Government House) and a visit to the Museum which was very interesting. After visiting five government buildings yesterday afternoon, we were finally directed to the right one and were issued with a cruising permit for the islands.
We met up with Pat and Penny ("Pendulum") from Hobart, having been told by Perky that we were all in the same vicinity!
Last night we anchored in Vaga Bay, Beqa Island and are now sailing west along the south coast of Viti Levu, very comfortably at 9 knots in 20 knots from the east, will probably anchor just inside the reef on the SW corner tonight and head to Lautoka tomorrow. We plan to be there for a few days and will firm up plans for heading west.
We have had several conversations with John and Ingrid, hearing about little Emily Clennett and what Lewis thinks of her - she was born on July 27th and we can't wait to meet her.