Fiji Pt 2
Mark & Sue Owen
Thu 1 Aug 2019 00:35
Before moving on from Fiji I thought folks would like to see a little more of the western side of the archipelago, in particular the Yasawas. I only ventured up as far north as Drawaqa Island in the hope of seeing the manta rays feeding, and was not disappointed, although the snorkelling in the passage was equally as rewarding with an incredible array of marine life. By far the best sights of Fiji have been underwater and it is a real shame that I cannot adequately capture the colour, elegance and surreal beauty of the world beneath the surface.
During my time in Fiji I was delighted to welcome Nigel & Janie on board, who during their extended long haul holiday decided they would sample life afloat for a few days, what a brave pair. As expected a very enjoyable and social time was had, although I must confess to mislaying Macushla on one occasion!
The sunrise hike, perfect for the morning after the night before!
All the Island resorts are served by a twice daily ferry and sea plane service, and there was a constant changeover of guests and luggage with the new arrivals and departures. The ferry would just drift in the fairway nearby as the various resort pangas would encircle the mother ship to receive their next load of precious cargo. Some of the arrivals were uncomfortably close.
It was a truly beautiful spot that I returned to for a second visit and spent many hours in the water and walking in the surrounding hills, this really was nature at it’s best.
But it was time to return to the the mainland to reprovision and prepare for the next passage west, so a slow meander back down the Islands took us back to Vadu marina.
Our new neighbours in the marina were acting as a halfway house for the the local animal rescue centre, so we often had inquisitive visitors exploring the boat. Needed to be sure we didn’t sailaway with one of these stowed away below.
Vadu marina is well served by the local bus service, and the ride into Lautoka is an experience not to be missed. Just when you think the bus is full, another 30 school children jump on board, it is a great way to interact with the locals and much more entertaining than the sanitised personal taxis. The market is the centre of town life and is just a blur of activity and produce, it was fantastic to have so much choice, a real vegetarian heaven. However, sometimes the produce was not easy to identify without the help of the stallholders as everything citrus is green, that’s grapefruit, oranges, lemons, limes and mandarins, so it is often necessary to select by smell, and as gnarly as somethings might appear they were all delicious once tasted. The standard scale of measurement is a small “pile” and individual items are unattractively priced, so you do end up with a mountain of fruit and veg sometimes, but it soon gets used.
Before departing Fiji my crew decided to leave Macushla and head back home. Although it was sad to see her go, she was becoming increasingly unhappy on board so it was probably for the best. I have since learnt from skippers that take on casual crew that six weeks is that standard threshold before everyone has had enough of each other, so will bear this in mind next time. So I set off for Vanuatu singlehanded, a fast and bumpy 5 day passage, and a whole new Country to explore.