Saweni Bay - hello and goodbye to "Offshore"

Lynn & Mike ..around the world
Mike Drinkrow & Lynn v/d Hoven
Wed 28 Aug 2013 00:06
17:38.36S 177:23.69E   Saweni Bay - hello and goodbye to  "Offshore"
Yesterday we anchored off Lautoka town - and what a mess that proved to be! Not only have there been quite a few fires in the area, but the local sugar mill was also spewing out black soot.  Our beautifully polished boat got covered in fine black dirt. RATS!
Lautoka is the biggest town on the west side and we had an interesting walk around - enjoying a muffin and cappuccino and for the first time in months - even got to read an international newspaper. We are starting to feel quite civilized.  We also stopped here to submit our Visa applications for Australia. Quite a lot of paperwork to gather and complete, but the processing agency was very efficient and we should receive the visas in a few weeks. Interestingly the Australian Govt no longer sticks visa papers in your passport - they awarded electronically and on arrival the immigration officials have it in their computers. Pretty smart!
We are considering taking our boat to Australia at the end of the year, rather than New Zealand.  The trek south can be very treacherous and our safest option would be to wait until November. If we go to Queensland it is a bit further, but there are a few stops on the way and the likelihood of running into a gale is much much smaller than the NZ route. We can also go in October, which suits us better.  However Australia has a LOT of rules and at the moment the issue we are trying to resolve is the requirement of A$10 million in 3rd party liability insurance in the state of Queensland.  Quite mind-boggling and being refused by many international yacht insurers, including our own.    Luckily we have that good internet access, so I am doing a lot of research.
Last night we caught up with our dear friend Will on Offshore - who is heading back to Australia today. He has two crew on board, who we had over for dinner last night. It was lovely to see him again and he has given us a lot of tips for the routes ahead.
Today we are heading to Muscat Cove - the best known and most popular anchorage in all of Fiji.
Just passed Malamala cay with an old wreck on it - beautiful day out here!