Fiji: final days in Vuda Marina

Thursday evening we headed to the marina bar for sundowners and enjoyed the spectacular sunset.

Friday we did a few boat jobs and generally just got ourselves organised to go back to sea. We got our clearance documentation for Fiji from the office and started the task of filling in all three forms (by hand, in duplicate without carbon or course) in preparation for our departure. We also started completing the numerous Vanuatu arrival and cruising permit documents.

In the late afternoon we went to the bar for sundowners and enjoyed watching the boat movements in and out of the narrow entrance to the marina as well as listening to the live music before heading back to Morphie.

When we got back to Morphie we couldn’t climb on the bow as the tide was too high and the width of the boats stopped us from pulling the boat forward towards the small dock. So we ended up climbing on our neighbour’s boat and crossing over instead. This was quite tough for me to achieve so we definitely need to take notice of the top or bottom of the tide when we leave the boat!

Saturday morning we were in the cockpit having breakfast when we heard Sea Bear on the radio. Luckily a few boats had already left so there was room and, by lunchtime, he was safely secured. Later on we met up with Chris for a few beers and enjoyed catching up. He had taken a completely different route around Fiji to us so it was nice to exchange experiences. Look how he is dwarfed by his neighbours!

Sunday and we had a lazy start before heading to the garden early afternoon and met Chris – so we sat out in the sun enjoying the live music and some late lunch. Was a really fun afternoon. We then had a quiet evening onboard.

On Monday we took the day off. Richard had twisted his knee climbing on and off Morphie the day before and my hip was also playing up so we just lazed around reading, resting up and stayed on board all day.

Tuesday we did some more jobs like filling up the water tanks and doing some hand washing. In the evening we met Chris for pizza night to find that the staff had been decimated by a Fijian flu bug and the service suffered as a result. We were later getting back than expected (thankfully we were still able to climb back on) as it took a while to get our bill. But was fun anyway.

Wednesday morning our large neighbour left so we pulled across to their position next to Chris and closer to the little stubby dock that sticks out. And, at last, it was easier to get on and off the boat. Very happy we settled in only to be asked to move again as they needed a big space for a catamaran. We agreed to move but only after we had taken the opportunity to get the outboard firmly on the rail in preparation for our departure for Vanuatu. We then moved and ended up next to a scruffy boat which is occupied by a single older woman and her baby rescue kittens. By now we had been busy for hours and hadn’t even had a cup of tea. So we headed to the cafe for breakfast.

Returning to Morphie (grateful that we could get on and off at will now) we had a wander around and visited the boat yard behind us. They dig ‘graves’ for boats here for cyclone storage so we had a look at this set up. Not sure we’d fancy it! What amazed us, though, was how many of them were still sporting canvas and sails. If you have left your boat for cyclone season in a grave, surely you would have removed all this stuff? Interesting though that this marina had been hit by a Cat 5 Cyclone Winston and the majority of the boats had come through unscathed (we assume they tie them all down to the ground as well).

We also looked at the marina’s expansion plans which will destroy the reef outside as well as reclaiming some land so that superyachts can visit but can’t see this happening in our lifetime!

Anyway, back to Morphie we spotted some great looking birds almost parakeet like but really small only about the size of a sparrow.

When we got back on board we found the kittens had been visiting us. They are pretty cute but they kept trying to go down below so we closed the hatches and we kept returning them to their own boat. But this game carried on and on and they obviously enjoyed it as every time we picked them up they purred with delight! Here are some pictures of them looking cute, requesting permission to stay, and asking for a share of our chicken salad dinner LOL.

During the day JP and Julie turned up on Eleuthera so we caught up with them and arranged to meet for sundowners later. We were also joined by Chris. Was a fun evening.

This morning, Thursday, and finally the weather models had aligned so a Friday departure is on the cards. So we got up early, informed the office we want to check out with customs in the morning and then headed into Lautoka for a final provisioning run. We came back and I’m now sitting outside the cafe blogging while Richard is doing engine checks, general cleaning and stowing our stuff ready for going back to sea. Here’s the last picture of Morphie in Fiji squeezed into her marina space

The passage to Port Vila, Efate, Vanuatu will take us about 4 1/2 days based on a 5 knot average and, with some light winds forecast for the first 24 hours, we may well be slower. So we’ll be offline for a while but will blog during the passage to keep you posted on our progress – and don’t forget to follow our tracker on the ‘Where are we now’ page.

Bye for now