Missed the bus!
Tuesday 18th August 2015
Today was the last full day of our land trip before setting off back to the boat. It was originally planned as a shopping day, to make use of the supermarkets and market to re-provision for our trip to the Yasawa islands, and to wander the shops looking for various items that we had not been able to get elsewhere. However, this seemed rather a waste of a good day, and there would be time to do that tomorrow if we caught the later ferry. So...what to do instead...
Bear and Pepe fancied a drive north up the coast to visit the tomb of famous cannibal Udre Udre and to take a look at the town of Rakiraki, a round trip of some 130 miles. We preferred a more laid back day and so opted out of this and decided instead to take a bus trip to Vuda Point for a leisurely lunch and wander around at the marina.
So we set off for the bus station which we knew from experience would be near the market. We had no problem finding it, and were in the process of looking for the right stand when a very helpful chap asked us where we wanted to go. When we told him, he led us around a corner to Bay 14, clearly signed for Vuda Point. He told us we needed the Classic Bus, which was useful to know because there seemed to be quite a few different bus companies, and they all seem to run on particular routes. We thanked him and settled ourselves on the bench to wait for the bus to arrive.
After half an hour or so, we saw a Classic bus appear around the corner of the building, but instead of coming our way, it turned out of the station and off down the road. Oh well, we said, Classic must have another route as well as Vuda. We waited a bit more. People came and went – we had a pleasant conversation with a chap who was seeing his wife off to Suva for a week, leaving him to look after their two boys for the school holiday. He worked on the Fiji Princess, the cruise ship that visits the Blue Lagoon every week. We said we would wave to him when we get there. Then his wife’s bus arrived and off he went – along with everyone else who had been waiting on our bench. We realised we were now the only people still waiting for a bus, and began to suspect we might be in the wrong place...
There was a chap with a clipboard just along from us, so Steve went to ask him about our bus. Sure enough, the Classic bus stop was around the corner, from where we had seen it emerge earlier, and the next one was not until lunchtime. So we gave up on the bus and went to find a taxi. Twenty minutes later we arrived at Vuda, having enjoyed an hour of people-watching at Lautoka Bus station.
We waited in Bay 14 for the Vuda Point bus. All the different company colours make the buses a colourful sight.
The purple is my favourite company colour. Wheelbarrows are widely used in Fiji for all forms of carrying.
The bus for Suva arrived and the bench emptied rapidly. Anything with wheels will do for carrying luggage.
We went for a wander around the marina to see what this “cyclone hole” was like. Boats on the hard are stored with their keels down a hole rather than on cradles, and boats in the water are moored in a circular basin. If a cyclone threatens a boom is pulled across the narrow entrance to stop surge, and the boats are all tethered to the buoy in the middle to try to minimise movement by the strong winds. Apparently it is quite effective, with only minor damage to boats in the water.
These boats have their keels down in a pit to keep them stable. Boats in the water are moored around a circular basin.
Getting on and off the moored boats looked a little tricky, especially at low water, as there are only short bits of wooden dock fixed at ground level. This is clearly to minimise damage to boats in bad weather, and liveaboards are usually fairly adept at climbing on and off their boats, so it’s a compromise. There is a narrow channel cut into the reef leading into the marina, and the water inside was flat calm. It certainly seemed a safe haven, with all the usual facilities, plus the added bonus of being able to pay a fee of $60 to get the officials from town for checking in or out. The downside? It is almost always full.
A bit of climbing involved in getting onto the boats! The fuel dock is also a fixed dock. The tide is just falling to low here.
The narrow channel into the marina showing the reef at low tide. The water inside is flat calm. The Customs dock is to the left.
We stopped for lunch at the cafe, and then wandered around the other side of the basin to the Sunset Bar near the entrance, so named because it looks out to sea to the West, with a clear view of the horizon and the daily setting of the sun. Too early for sunset, we enjoyed the beautiful blue of the sea and sky instead. If Bear and Pepe arrived back in the car in time, we thought, we might return later. It was half-price pizza night, and we might get to see the sunset after all.
Looking across Nadi Bay from the Sunset Bar. The Sunset Bar. A yacht is entering marina through the channel.
The Bar is decorated with flags from around the world. Friendly, smiling staff.
Traditional plaited rope lashing. The roof beams held together with decorative rope lashing.
We checked the bus timetable at the office and discovered we had, yet again, just missed the bus, and so took a taxi back to the hotel, where we changed into our swimming togs and went for a dip in the pool. It was a nice relaxing way to finish off our whirlwind land tour.
A cooling dip in the pool.
Relaxing with a book.
Later, we returned to the Sunset Bar with Bear and Pepe for a ‘final night’ dinner. We didn’t quite make it in time for the sunset, but the pizza and wine were good!