Another sunny day as we set off for Port Denarau Marina which lies in a river estuary through a complex of mangroves. We pick up the dredged channel a few miles out and follow it through the mud flats into the harbour.
Port entry Dredge from the Port
There are some 16 mooring buoys for visiting yachts with the main pontoons serving the many tour boats and ferries that ply the islands delivering visitors arriving from nearby Nadi airport to the many resorts on them. They come in all shapes and size from little outboard runabouts to large catamarans and square riggers.
It’s very busy and the quayside restaurants and shops are doing good trade. Unfortunately for us there is no room for us so we book a mooring for the morning and head back up the channel to anchor for the night.
Hard Rock Cafe’
Reaching the end of the markers and turning to starboard we come to a sudden halt as the keel strikes mud. There’s no short cut and having freed ourselves we continued out into deeper water and drop the anchor in 10metres, some considerable distance for the port entrance and its fleshpots!
The wind has dropped and the seas are calm, so it’s into the “Jolly boat” and the long run ashore. The place is packed, the restaurants heaving and music everywhere. We opt for one well away from the “Hard Rock Café” whose band is living up to its name.
Today we can move into the marina and pick up a mooring. We have been allocated nr 3 but it won’t be free until 12 noon. In the meantime we amuse ourselves reading and tidying up the boat, until bored we hop in the dinghy and head for shore. On the way we inspect the moorings and take a look at nr3 which is still occupied.
We’ve hired a car for a couple of days as we have to go to Suva to sort out Lars computer, as we’re advised the new hard-drive has arrived.
5 seater bike we did not hire Captain Cook?
On our way back we see the yacht on “our” mooring casting off, so as soon as were aboard its up anchor and away.
Safely moored in the harbour we watch the tide go out and the mud come in. As it falls we realise we’re the only ones not swinging. Checking the depth gauge it reads 2.1, we’re sitting in the mud again! We advised the Port but they’re not too concerned though someone does come out and confirm.
The mud The channel
We’re not worried either except there’s a very mobile Catamaran parked behind us and it could be a close encounter if the wind changes dramatically, which is a possibility as some very black rain clouds are gathering over us.
Rain coming Low low water
As predicted the wind starts to change direction as the heavens open. The tide is now making and suddenly we swing, as it rises above 2.3 our draught and we join the others pointing into it.
That evening we go ashore to eat, a seafood special for me and a steak for Lars, excellent! Finished we wander back through the other restaurants and finish the evening watching rugby at another bar restaurant.
Returning to the dingy Lars leaps aboard while I untie us and enthusiastically follow his example. Here we have a lesson in physics, something to do with Boyle’s law regarding heat and the expansion of gases.
As the night temperature is some 6-7 degrees lower than that of the day the dinghy tends to be a little soft of an evening, where upon having leapt across the to the other pontoon, it sagged, I didn’t, and followed through, straight over the side.
A sobering experience some would say, though how I managed to haul myself back in is still a mystery.
We’re ashore by 8:30 to pick up the car and by 9 were on our way clutching our road map which we soon discover is more about artistic design than reality. Fortunately the night before I had downloaded and Fiji roadmap “app” and the “Tablet” was busy doing a “Tomtom” imitation and tracking our route.
It’s a three hour drive each way and surprising we find the service centre despite no paperwork or address, these had been left on the yacht. Leaving the computer with them, we retire, first to the yacht club then to town for lunch and a little shopping before once more returning to the club to await a call telling us it’s fixed and we can pick it up.
Its four thirty by the time were away again and we don’t get back until after dark which makes the journey a little more interesting though the “App” saved the day.
The rain stops, as we head ashore with a mild case of wet bum syndrome, but were roughy toughy sailors and can take it. Choosing the restaurant where we watched the rugby the previous night we order a pizza between us. It’s been a long day and we need an early night.
As we leave, a loud Australian voice shouts “Oi you, come over ere”. It’s the boys we met and watched rugby with in Suva. “Which one of you fell in last night” Is nothing sacred I respond and explain I was merely checking the water temperature.
Bob the Blog
Having found my chip
Puffer fish Blue Clown fish with odd Anemone