Back to Buca Bay for dentist
Tuesday 30th June 2015
Distance run: 5 nmiles
On Monday afternoon we lifted the anchor and bade Kioa Island goodbye, and headed back to Buca Bay. The return trip was necessary because Steve had broken a tooth while we were in Viani Bay, and needed to have it looked at and probably treated. Although it wasn’t giving him any pain, there was no guarantee it would stay that way, so we had emailed Curly for a recommendation for a dentist. This turned out to be Dr. Kishor Kumar, unfortunately located in Labasa. Steve gave the surgery a ring, and they couldn’t fit him in until today at 2:30 p.m. (You couldn’t make this up – it’s the old joke – tooth hurty!)
Then we investigated how he could get there, and there is a bus from Buca Bay to Savusavu and then another, as we well know, from there to Labasa. Looking at the timings, though, this would mean an overnight stay in Labasa, as well as a total of 10 hours on a bus. Our Soggy Paws Compendium for Fiji had a note about a taxi driver who had reliably ferried some visitors to yachts in Buca Bay, so we gave him a ring. Yes, he was available for the round trip, back the same day, and the charge would be FJ$350, around £105. We decided this was much the best way to go, and booked him.
On Tuesday morning Bear arrived at the boat in Baby Beez around 0930 to take Steve ashore at the jetty where we hoped to meet Bhupen the taxi driver at 1000. When they arrived he was already there waiting, and off they went. Steve was very pleased – the car was smart, well-maintained and clean and Bhupen was a very pleasant, friendly and courteous young man who drove carefully. He even gave him a bottle of cold water – a thoughtful touch. The trip all the way to Labasa took just two and a half hours (the same time as taken by the bus for half the journey) and they arrived in time to visit the market and have a bite to eat before Steve’s appointment.
Dr. Kishor’s surgery was clean and modern, and he turned out to be an excellent dentist. There was no need to remove the existing filling from the broken tooth, so he just drilled out the broken bit and put in a composite filling. No anaesthetic needed. He explained everything he was doing and why that was all that was needed. He was impressed with the condition of Steve’s teeth and his oral hygiene, but then when you see the poor condition of the locals’ teeth here, that would not be difficult one feels. The charge was FJ$45, less than £15.
Back in the taxi, they made a stop in Savusavu to buy some fresh bread and use the ATM, and Steve was back at the jetty by 1745, still in daylight, and smiling. He had enjoyed his day out and was relieved to have the tooth sorted so easily. The overall cost, even taking into account the taxi fare (for a 200-mile-ish round trip) was still less than we would have paid our dentist in the UK. So smiles all round!
Bhupen with his taxi after dropping Steve back at Buca Bay.
Back at the boat I had spent the morning catching up with the washing, which is always fun when a fresh breeze catches the sheets as you try to peg them on the line on the foredeck. I ended up as wet as the hand-wrung sheets, but at least they were clean. The added windage as they flapped around in the gusts made S-F strain at her anchor, but never enough to stir it from the very sticky mud here in the bay. And typically, the gusts died down soon after I had finished pegging them out, and they dried to a comfy softness in the gentle breeze they left behind.
Late morning the radio started blipping, and there was Bear inviting me to brunch of boiled eggs on Beez, an invitation too tempting to decline. So much of the rest of the day was spent chilling out with Bear and Pepe, chatting and occasionally making a half-hearted effort to get back to S-F and get on with the joblist.
Tomorrow we will leave Buca Bay again and head for Katherine Bay on the south coast of Rabi Island, about 13 nmiles away, along the west coast of Kioa and through a gap in the reef.