Fiji: Fun in Denarau and back to Vuda Point Marina, Viti Levu

Friday afternoon we headed to the NZ business event and caught up with Paul from Bay of Islands Marina. We enjoyed a few hours in the Rhum Bar chatting before we headed upstairs to the formal reception with free drinks and nibbles that Paul had kindly invited us along to. We also caught up with Nigel and Amanda from the Sail Pacific Circuit Rally and a fun time was had by all. We even saw the Deputy Prime Minister of New Zealand who said a few words.

Leaving the party behind we headed to Lulus for a pontoonie and enjoyed the live music before calling it a night.

Saturday morning it was pouring with rain….and it rained…and it rained cats and dogs all day and night. We bailed out dink and put him back on the arch so that he wouldn’t fill up again. It was so miserable we just had a quiet damp day and evening on board.

Sunday morning and it was still overcast although did clear up later. At 5pm we went ashore for happy hour and then got a taxi at 7pm to the venue to see a show called Fiji Untold which was billed as a “Broadway-style dance performance showcasing traditional Fijian concepts and stories in a modern and innovative way”. Well, the taxi driver had never heard of it. So we had to give him the telephone number so that they could give him directions. We turned off the main road at a sign and then headed inland along a dirt track – this can’t be right surely?!? Anyway, the taxi driver wasn’t convinced either so he phoned again and they talked him in.

We arrived into a muddy field with a circus-like big top tent. We were given our own VIP badges, complimentary soft drinks and a big tub of popcorn. We then were escorted inside to take our seats. Hang on a minute…where is everybody?!?

There was no-one there at all, perhaps we had got the time wrong? So we checked and were told that we were the only VIPs so could sit wherever we liked this evening. Seriously wondered whether we have been sold a pup we were relieved when another single tourist turned up LOL. Then a few people filtered in behind us but they were clearly friends and family of the performers. So just three paying customers then for a whole show!

The lights went down and the dancing started. We had a brochure explaining the story of Lagi the Chief’s daughter. Well, we could’t read anything else because of the darkness so we just sat back and watched. The high energy dancing and singing was amazing but we really didn’t understand what was going on as there was no commentary whatsoever and it was quite dark (almost evil) in places.

That said, we still enjoyed the experience, and it was nice for the three of us to meet the dancers afterwards.

We got our taxi driver to come and pick us up (in the rain again sigh….) and made it back to the marina just as there was another deluge. No point getting even wetter so we took advantage of the BYGOF late night extra happy hour at the Hard Rock Cafe and sat it out and read the show programme properly. Brief synoposis is that the Chief’s daughter, at her coming of age, was ready for her first dance in a ceremony to mark the continuation of the bloodline and the survival of a community through dance. But Lagi refused to be constrained by traditional barriers and the elders could not allow this adventurous spirit so she was banished to the bamboo forest. This then takes her through a journey of daring self-discovery into the mystical underworld where there is an Octopus God, Giant Women and a shape shifting Iguana Spirit who is adorned with the lost dance sticks of Lagis village which are eventually returned to her as the rightful royal owner and she is able to return to the village as a heroine. Phew! Would have made much more sense if we had known all that in advance LOL.

Eventually the rain stopped and we headed back to Morphie quickly before the heavens opened again.

Monday we headed into Nadi the nearby town and visited the Sri Sivasubramainya Swami Temple. We were given floor-length wraps to wear as shorts as not allowed and dropped our shoes off so headed barefooted into the temple to have a look around. Very pretty and serene place but not helped by the huge lorries sounding their horns for such a long time at a ear-splitting volume that we actually wondered if it was a town-wide alarm or something!

Moving on we headed into the centre of town and found a place to get some photographs printed and a post office so that we could send them to Chief Joe as we had promised. Job done we then had a look around before deciding to come back to the marina. It was still overcast and cloudy and really humid so we got hot and bothered pretty quickly and Nadi is really really busy with lots of traffic and more caged shops so didn’t feel the need to linger.

Back in the marina we did some shopping in the small grocery store and then had a couple of cold ones in the Rhum Bar. Whilst there we saw the beautiful sailing superyacht (Maltese flagged) head out of the marina. We had watched the crew meet the guests and walk them down the dock – couldn’t believe that it was just a bunch of teenagers – guess someone has a very rich Mum and Dad!!! Later on, back on board, we enjoyed watching the rainbow lighting up the superyachts on the dock, we are definitely in the cheap seats LOL. As the sun went down the mountains lit up beneath the clouds which was absolutely stunning.

Tuesday we thought it was our last full day in Denarau so we dropped off our rubbish, got our petrol cans filled and I went to the office to pay for our mooring ball. Well, they had it down that we were leaving on Thursday not Wednesday and didn’t charge us at all for the first night on the dock as they had mucked us around. Result! We returned to Morphie and had a lazy afternoon. In the evening we went out for dinner at the excellent steak restaurant Cardos and enjoyed the live music having first been entertained by the Hard Rock Cafe staff doing their version of YMCA during happy hour.

Wednesday morning we took it easy. We had been constantly watching the weather searching for a window to leave Fiji bound for Vanuatu. And the weather gods are not looking down on us too kindly at all. So we are probably here in Fiji for about another week based on the latest download. We were not able to extend our stay in Denarau as the place is rammed and everything is fully booked so we had to decide what to do. In the recent cloudy and rainy conditions we have had to use our standby generator to keep the batteries topped up as the solar panels are not keeping pace with our consumption. So we decided, in the end, to return to Vuda Point Marina so that we can plug into shore power. Later in the afternoon we went ashore for our final Happy Hour in the Hard Rock Café and enjoyed some snacks before returning to Morphie.

This morning (Thursday) we got ourselves ready and Richard did his engine checks. Then, with all things flexible crossed, we called Vuda to see if they had space for us. This is a first-come first-served marina so not a certainty, especially as it is high season here. Thankfully they could accommodate us so we got our fenders and lines ready for our arrival. At around 10 am we slipped away from the mooring ball as a boat came in behind us clearly anxious to pick it up. Bit naughty really as, officially, we didn’t have to depart until 12 noon. Never mind…. We left the superyachts behind and headed out through the pass. Our stay in the tourist hub of Denarau had been a lot of fun.

By 12 noon we were safely in Vuda tied up, secured, and plugged in after a feisty few miles in strengthening winds. The guy on the boat next to us looked familiar and it turns out we knew him from Guatemala. What a small world. This is the view from Morphie’s stern this afternoon.

Bye for now