anchored in lautoka

tony zwig
Mon 1 Oct 2007 20:00





Anchored in lautoka


It is now Tuesday mor at 6:30am. Yesterday at noon we anchored in the harbor of Lautoka.  We had one of those ideal sails from the reef entrance to here, because we still had the strong winds, but the protection of the reef gave us perfectly flat water .  It was exhilarating and releasing for me; especially of the tension of finding and negotiating the reef entrance.  Seeing Marta on the Suva reef affected us all;  Thom mentioned that upon seeing it there, it reminded him that all this was no joke.  Anyway, it was a sunny terrific ride and everyone became a little more animated, now knowing the open water portion of this leg was over.

We then hit Fiji bureaucracy.  Even though we had checked into Fiji, and out of Suva, we had to check in again in Lautoka, with the same 6 forms in triplicate, using 2 sided sheets and carbon paper.  This town is largely Indian and Ken made a big impression with the officials with his knowledge of speaking Hindi.  In fact it is quite amusing to see the surprise on the faces, when this whitest of white guys, starts making casual comments in Hindi.  I think it is just comments like, Nice Day; I really don’t know, it may be, that guy over there (me) is a real bore and the quicker you do this, the less time I have to spend with him.  Ken’s facility with Hindi warmed up many hearts and got us rides and info.  He couldn’t get us our cruising permit inside 24 hours.  We want to go to visit one of the western islands,  the idylls of picture and legend and Tom Hanks’ Fedex movie but you need a special cruising permit only available from another government office nowhere near the harbor, in  town.  We went there, found the office, and the right person, only to be told that the secretary was gone for the day and the flash card with all the forms was in her purse and they couldn’t issue anything until she came back, the next day (today).  So, here I am, up at 6am, preparing to go back to the office, for opening at 8am, while the others are sleeping.  It is a dinghy ride and a cab ride.  When I sailed on other boats and I watched as other captains gathered all the passports and visited customs, immigration, et al, I thought; how interesting; interacting with local customs and idiosyncracies and I had a romantic notion of the ancient traveler crossing continental divides and making first contacts with new worlds and new peoples.  Now having done this in the extreme; it is dull and boring and I am tired of it.

Oh, another thing about our illustrious crew; last night while sailing, both Ken and Dick seemed to go through a twilight zone.  First, when Ken woke me up for my watch at 2am, he mentioned he gave me an extra half hour sleep and it was 2:30am.  As I got up I looked at my watch, I  saw it was  really 1:30am.  Upon discussion about this with Ken, it seems he (who does not wear a watch) was still using a clock set on Tonga time.  Then, at the real 2:30am, Dick came bounding up on deck.  I said it was nice of him to join me for my shift but not necessary.  He said he had arrived for his 4am shift  Anyway, the twilight zone passed quickly and everything was ok.

Off to see the government again, so we can visit Malolo island about 12 miles away for 2 days and then we will return to Vuda Point Marina.