Our first week in Fiji

Saturday morning after a really good sleep we headed into town in the drizzling rain. We got cash, fruit and veg from the market, some fresh bread from the bakers and a SIM card for our internet hotspot. The town was bustling and busy but very friendly with BULA (hello) being called out to us by everybody. Back at the boat we caught up on the hundreds of emails we had missed and after dinner on board we went to our marina’s bar for a nightcap.

Sunday morning it was still raining. We were up early and went to church to say thank you for our safe arrival. We are not particularly religious but this was something we both felt we wanted to do. So we wandered up the hill and found a multi-faith, multi-racial chapel and joined the 8am service. It was in Hindu and English (as we had stumbled across the Indian service) and we were very much welcomed and included. It was a very intensive couple of hours with lots of clapping, swaying, singing, praying combined with loud and passionate speakers. What an experience!

Back at the marina I got all the laundry delivered to the on-site lady who does a ‘wash, dry and fold’ service for a very reasonable £4 a bag. So we got our duvet laundered to be put away for the next time we are in colder climes…plus all the damp sailing gear and passage sheets. Was nice to get it all off the boat. We did some cleaning and filled up with water (and, again, we needed to buy new connectors). In the afternoon we went to Curly Carswell’s seminar about sailing in Fiji and cultural requirements when anchoring near villages. Got pages and pages of waypoints and some chartlets – all information is helpful as charts here are woefully out of date and Fiji is ringed by reefs. Afterwards we went out to eat with Chris, Sarah and Phil at a nearby Chinese, which was OK but nothing special. Afterwards we returned to our marina bar for a pontoonie (in the rain) enjoying live music from a local band.

Monday morning and I made myself scarce by heading to the shops on a mission for a few things. I then sat in the marina bar blogging whilst Richard dealt with the diesel mechanic as I would be trapped either in the cockpit or our cabin once the companionway steps were removed and tools were scattered in the saloon. A few engine issues were resolved and identified, but more to do. In the evening we went out for an Indian with Chris, great food but an unlicensed property, so we made do with pontoonies after in the marina. Eating out here in Fiji is cheaper than cooking for ourselves – the Indian Thali plate was only just over £3 each! In the evening the mosquitos and no-see-ums come around and they have decided to leave Richard alone and feast on me….

Tuesday and I took off again – armed with another list – and also had coffee with a neighbour whilst Richard got on with a few things. Unfortunately our mechanic (having the only tow truck on the island) had been called to an emergency so wasn’t coming today after all. We carried on with boat jobs and resolved the network issue with the instruments (which was, as expected, just a plug that had come loose) and I collected the laundry. We did some more general tidying / cleaning (all the rugs and foulies this time) before having a quiet night on board.

Wednesday and I went to the customs office to get our inter-island cruising permit made official. So we are good to go once we have an engine and if it ever stops raining LOL.

Later on our mechanic returned and, finally, the engine was fixed. Lots of little problems – impeller not working properly, water pump being sluggish, thermostat failing and cruddy heat exchanger – and they all came together at once. Having swapped everything out plus a complete service we now have a working engine with good water flow throughout. Yay! We celebrated over sundowners in the bar with our marina neighbours Julie and JP.

This morning Thursday and it is still raining and we continue to go through the boat job list that we generated on our passage. Early afternoon we headed into town for more cash and to organise a 4WD truck for tomorrow to go exploring and have fingers crossed that it will stop raining by then. We also purchased sulas (Fijian skirts, think plain sarongs) and Fijian shirts in order to be respectful when we do sevusevu (kava drinking ceremony) at the local villages…..

Bye for now