Critters & maggots from the flour
Dick and Irene Craig
Sat 26 Jun 2010 21:12
Fiji. We didn't want to arrive at 3pm and then be charged overtime by the
local officials to have to come aboard to deal with the initial formalities
of entering the country. The next morning they were due to check Voyageur at
9am and then come over to us but as it turned out, they didn't arrive until
around 3pm, making negative noises regarding the amount of alcohol we had on
board which exceeded the duty free allowance for people who had flown into
the country. We had to complete more forms, duplicating the information
already emailed to them from Tonga, when we provided 2 days notice of our
arrival in Fiji, or face a fine.
Although the customs official ashore said that the delay had been due to the
correct information not filtrating down from an office on the floor above,
we believe that it could possibly have been caused because a cruise ship
arrived that morning and the officials couldn't be in two places at once.
Next morning we had to go to one office to collect the health certificate
and then another to pay for it.. After that we had to go to a third office
to collect the cruising permit and then to the customs office, completing
more forms but fortunately, didn't have to pay duty on the excess liquor. I
think a complete rain forest must have been stacked in the green folders
filling most of the office space available, thus causing a fire hazard.
We traveled between government offices by taxi which were not expensive,
passing the palace where many workmen were busy in the grounds and involved
in replacing the fence. We watched from the offices from whence we obtained
the cruising permit, as two guards marched down the driveway from the palace
to the gates, in readiness to replace the guards who were currently on duty.
They looked amazing in their tunic tops, mid calf length, white skirts, with
beveled edges at least 3 inches in depth.
We visited the fruit and vegetable market which was huge and covered two
floors. The upper floor had lots of twigs and bits of stem for making the
local kava, a gift which has to be given to the chief when visiting a
village, or if stopping in a bay adjacent to a village. Kava is an extremely
intoxicating drink although apparently is not alcoholic. There were great
vats of spices and we bought a kilo of masala curry powder as well as
onions, garlic and potatoes. On the ground floor, for as far as the eye
could see, stretched stalls covered with a huge selection of fruit and
vegetables. We bought some limes and some pineapples but will return to
stock up before we leave here, having adequate fruit on board at present.
We wandered around the supermarket, the most bountiful we have seen since
leaving Ecuador. Dick bought some wine and I bought some oats and gingersnap
biscuits. I hadn't seen oats since leaving Ecuador, nor seen gingersnaps
since Tahiti. We will return tomorrow and buy sufficient flour and milk to
hopefully last us until we reach Mackay, Australia.
It felt like Christmas, to be surrounded by so much produce.
We took a taxi back to the marina, passing the prison, located next to and
just opposite the gates to the Royal Suva Yacht club. The "Royal" is due to
a charter from King George V1. Amusingly, on the first page of the visitors
book were 3 signatures, the associated address of which were Suva prison.
Were these written by prisoners or guards?
The chart plotter in the salon stopped working so the radar facility on the
flybridge also ceased functioning. We depend very heavily on the radar and
this to us is a major catastrophe.
We are 12 hours ahead of GMT so we didn't receive a response to the email
that Dick sent to Raymarine in the UK, until the next day. However, the
information provided which is not in the handbook, enabled Dick to solve the
dilemma. What an enormous relief. Unfortunately, all the previously held
data within the chart plotter was lost, but that is just a time consuming
task to reconstruct and most of the information is now historic.
We met a badged official just outside some government offices and he was so
thrilled to be talking to us, showing us where the military coupe started in
1987. There have been at least 2 more since then, the latest in 2006. He
gave us a carved mask and some daggers but then asked for something for
himself so we gave him $10 but he then wanted $35. We didn't even want the
trinkets. This was so similar to the activities of many local people in
Egypt, except we were not expecting it here. Beware Fijians bearing gifts..
We spoke to a lot of local people who were generally very pleased with the
new military government that is investing money in schools and hospitals.
The cost of living was inexpensive for us but not so for them but with the
worldwide economic situation, very few people anywhere are finding it a
We bought some digital scales in a department store in town. I have been
managing on some mechanical scales since my others packed up just before
reaching Panama. When the boat goes up and down, so does the weight of the
items I am trying to measure. Every batch of cakes or loaf of bread differs,
depending on how much the boat is moving when I weigh the ingredients.
We bought some pillow slips to replace those which have become quite
stained since we embarked on this trip. I would have also replaced the
pillows but have deferred that until we are in Australia when we will have a
car in which to transport them back to the dock. Ten pillows are a bit bulky
to carry, even when using a taxi from store to dockside.
We have lost yet another anchor buoy, chopped off in our absence ashore
while we were stocking up with meat and milk for the journey to Australia.
We left Suva Thursday afternoon and did a night sail to Momi bay, located in
a more touristy area where the sun shines most of the time, unlike Suva
where it rains every day and/or night.
When I came on watch at 6am, it seemed odd to see the shore lights having
not done any coastal sailing for such a long time. Later as the sun came up
and the sky turned pink, the sea, for around ten minutes looked as if it was
made of blood.
While on passage to Momi bay and for the rest of the day, I sieved all of
the flour on board, repacked it and gave each package a further 1 minute
dose of microwave on high. I have taken a photograph of the residue from
sieving one of the 1 kilo bags of flour. Horrendous!
Around 4pm, as the tide changed, the motion on the boat became very
uncomfortable for about an hour. Next morning we motored to Denarau marina
where we will spend a couple of nights and visit Nadi town.