Everyday is market day
Every Day is Market Day
In Friendly Savusavu
However Saturday is the best and everyone and their dog is there. Buses rumble in to the station next door, pickup trucks offload goods and lots of the deep freezes are open, the owners selling their latest catch. Bula is the word of welcome and we used it countless times to smiling faces.
The market bus station area is really the hub of the town and around it are numerous shops including a pawn shop, food kiosks, some with tables and chairs, a DVD store, mens’ hairdresser and the Vodafone kiosk, which in itself holds many roles. We used it to buy a local sim card for our NZ modem to get internet on board, also a sim card for Rob’s phone for local calls, essential to arrange our trips and we bought a bus card and loaded it with enough Fiji dollars (around $3fj to the £) to take us at 7.30am one morning to Labasa on the north side of the island for a look see.
There is always a queue outside the Vodafone kiosk and it’s nice to chat with the people while waiting.
Our shopping trolley bulging with fresh local goodies we then bought a couple of colourful sulis to wrap around our waists like a long skirt when we visit the outlying villages in the Lau Group for the Sevusevu ceremony.
Rob bought some lovely Fiji made shirts for £10 each and we found the supermarkets which included a NZ New World equivalent to our Waitrose and located some of the restaurants that had been recommended at some stage.
After that successful first sortie into town we enjoyed a drink with Andreas and Birgit in the Club Bar before they joined us onboard for supper.
It was so windy (31 knots on the mooring) on the Sunday our washing dried in no time. Despite warnings that Vodafone are having enormous problems with a major upgrade they are installing Fiji wide I was able to send photofiles on blogs as you can see and emails to friends which was just great.
Our only commitment that day was a seminar on sailing in Fijian waters with Curly Carswell who has been doing it for 44 years. We went because he would know a thing or two. There were about twelve of us and after the first hour of warnings, must dos and must not dos and some pretty startling statistics we were about ready to stay put for the season, safe on our mooring.
Three or four yachts are lost each year and a charter company named Moorings, whose mooring we used in Tonga, has pulled out of their enterprise in the Yasawa Group on the north side of the main island because the cost of repairs to their vessels, all skippered by qualified Yachtmasters, exceeded their profits. Might not be going there then.
Then, fortunately, Curly went on to tell us in detail where it would be best to go, using islands for protection against the strong SE Tradewinds. Curly used strips of grey ducktape to fix his ancient and well thumbed charts to the wall and illustrate his routes. We had all taken our charts too so we could mark them if we wished. Starting eastwards, then possibly south into the remote Lau group, then west to the far side of Viti Levu. But first we want to thoroughly explore this island, Vanua Levu before we ‘go cruising’.
As part of our fee Curly provided us with a series of up to date chartlets with his own waypoints on them so we can set up the chartplotter before we leave the safety of our current location. He also wants us to email or phone him to get more waypoint lists for specific areas. He really wants to look after us and ensure we enjoy our cruising.
Curly has a chandlery and makes his own lures and he also does a radio net every morning at 8.00am so we cannot complain about lack of local information.
Monday was a fun day. We went ashore to pay the various offices our dues for staying in Fiji and get some shopping. As we came out of the Health Department above the police station there before us in the yard below was a motley group of cuffed male offenders, including, I suspect, the skipper of the Waipawa although I didn’t feel inclined to ask one of the nice young police officers. They all seemed a little pre-occupied. I’d dearly like to know why he was watching us in Minerva.
Feeling in need of some liquid sustenance we went to the Club bar for a beer and met a Paul Newman lookalike named Peter from Washington D C. He prefers to be called Pedro now as when he is at home and not wandering the oceans by himself in his lovely clipper bow ketch, Jade, he resides in La Paz Mexico where he has a shipwright business.
We had a lively discussion about the history of the world, politics, Trump, Reaganomics and numerous other things before returning, somewhat Jaded (!) for a late lunch on board.