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Date: 24 Jun 2015 05:40:09
Title: Fiji to Australia

17:54:4S 174:54:0E
Wednesday 24th June 2015
Lautoka, Viti Levu, Fiji
We arrived at 1700 on Saturday. Port Control instructed us to anchor 500m off the wharf and come to their office. The wharf was an industrial one , designed for container ships and cruise liners. I eventually found some steps where I could tie up the dinghy and climb ashore. On the first floor of a nearby building I found the Port Control Office, I knocked several times, I could hear the sound of a loud TV. Eventually with impatience I knock really loudly and a friendly official appeared. He apologised for keeping me waiting, he had been watching ‘Redemption’.
Customs and Quarantine
An hour and several phone calls later customs and quarantine walked and bused there. I took the quarantine lady to WD in the dinghy and she sprayed to kill and mosquitoes we may have brought from Tonga. Back on land the customs man took over an hour to complete his forms. David had returned with us and we all four walked in the dark to the local ATM so that we could pay them the overtime owed..they do not work on a weekend if you don’t pay. They showed us a hotel where we could eat and get a beer and said goodbye, warning us not to walk back in  the dark as it wasn’t safe.
Meeting Simon Melizan
The next day we motored around to the Vuda Point Marina, shown on the charts as a drying harbour. It is amazingly well equipped and can do most work on a yacht. Simon arrived early the next morning. We arranged to pay the Customs and Immigration staff to be there at 0600 to clear us out, so we could get an early start. Eventually they turned up at 0900 all blaming each other for the delay. We still had to pay! By the time we left the the sunny calm day had changed and the wind had come at 20 – 30 knots. As we nosed out through the coral reef the wind met us head on, we were heading for the Malolo Passage through the main reef and out to sea. We motor sailed, tacking through the lagoon and progress was slow against the wind and waves. As we reached the passage, a huge swell was rolling through. We furled the now flogging genoa and increased the engine revs as much as I dared and pushed on through. We were making just enough speed to steer, it was touch and go whether we would make it. The waves were crashing over the reef either side of us, We managed to motor to port, windward in the lulls and sail to starboard in the gusts. It took one and a half anxious hours to crawl through towards Cairns, Australia 1800  miles away. We set sail and were soon making 5.5 knots in a big and confused sea. A baptism if fire for Simon! But all worries were soothed away with a slice of the most delicious fruit cake, cooked by Annie, Simon’s Grandmother – many thanks.
Miles travelled in the last 24 hrs: 119 miles

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