Fri 31 Jul 2015 22:34
Arrived safely in Suva about 2pm yesterday. 1,138 nautical miles.
You know the way of it: either there's not enough wind or there's too much! When we reached those lovely trade winds they were a little fresh - 20-25 knots, so we flew for the last 36 hours, with a pocket handkerchief of a jib, staysail and reefed mizzen. It was rather bouncy with plenty of spray on the deck but great to be making better progress.
It was overcast as we approached Fiji, grey silhouettes showing against the sky, layer upon layer of jagged forest clad ridges. It's a good familiar feeling to be coming in to another new exciting place: a name on a map will slowly fill out and be replaced by memories of people, places, tastes and scenery.
The Customs, Health, Immigration and Biosecurity came out to check us in, along with the water taxi driver, all super friendly men with large appetites for cake and the lovely sweet mandarins from Ian and Carolyn's garden. They were dressed formally, in long skirts (sulus) and official shirts - which were typical Pacific shirts, bright colours and covered in flower patterns, but with a little logo sewn on showing their official capacity. They taught us our first few words of Fijian, told us which islands were their family islands, asked us about our home country and about our journey: all very welcoming.
There were loads of forms to fill of course and they asked what fresh fruit, veg and meat we had, but they didn't search the boat and as long as we didn't take any food ashore, just consumed it on board, they were happy. We didn't have any Fiji dollars (we went to three banks in Whangarei, and they phoned around other banks, but there was only $20 Fiji dollars (£6.50) in the whole of Whangarei) but they weren't bothered and just asked us to go pay at the customs house on Monday.
So, a good night's sleep was had by all, we've breakfasted and let you lot know we're here safe, the dinghy's launched and ready in the water - we're off to explore!
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