Suva is the biggest city in Fiji and i was expecting to meet 'just another city'
but it turned out to be pretty good. The taxis have meters and dont cheat much
and there they were in a lot better shape than the places on the west coast.
There were bars that were cool (and safe) and lots of cheap good food. I did not
get to do everything i wanted to do with the boat but i did the most important
things. I put in a little propane stove since i am out of fuel on the other one
and i finally mounted a bracket for my outboard so the next time my engine fails
i can at least move a little with my 5Hp. mercury outboard.
The big sport here is Rugby so I went to see the flying Fijians take on the
junior all blacks from Nz. I was really hoping for a Fijian victory because it
was Saturday night and it would ruin the nightlife if they lost. As it turned
out I was not in luck because the Fijians got trashed 58 to 8. The upside was
that I got to meet some of the all blacks in the bar and that was fun. All in
all Suva has a bad reputation but I liked it, the weather sucked and the
honorable yacht club has turned into a boys club for the motor boat members
there but still...
East to west coast passage.
I was not really looking forward to sailing along the coast by myself because I
would have to anchor every night or keep on sailing close to the coast by myself
at night. I chose to do one stop at a surf resort just 20 miles outside Suva and
then sail through the night to arrive at the reef entrance to the east coast in
the morning. This turned out to be a good plan and even though it was a long,
tiring night I made it and the timing was great. The engine worked this time but
that did not stop me from almost putting the boat on the reef again.
Picture this in your head: I am coming into an anchorage and while
looking for reefs I see friends waving in a dingy, I think I hear them say,
helloo, helloo and waving, I Wave back and shout hello back. They keep on waving
and it kind of looks like they are pointing not waving?.... After a little bit I
realize that they are shouting 'over there, over there' and that the waving is
them pointing to the reef entrance. As I turn 90 degrees towards where they are
pointing I see the reef rushing by on my port side. To make a long story short
they saved me from losing the boat, there would have been no way I could have
stopped the boat in time. Not having a lookout is a big problem here with crazy
reefs all over.
I don't want to judge or form stupid opinions on locals, they are really just
doing their thing and the culture is different so I should really shut up but
from time to time I meet the real stupid people. Around Fiji there is a lot of
yacht and many of them do illegal charter and some of them are not discreet
enough to keep it hidden. I am aware of this and when I come to a new place like
mana island I always make a point of eating in the restaurant the first night
and make it clear that I am not there to take the clients from them. Well in
mana island I met Cat and Sam and we went out for a day sail on Stefan's boat
(see boats I have met) and later on I agreed to take them to the next island
free of charge. They had a ticket with the locals that they had paid for so I
would not be in anyone's lunch here. When I was picking them up the manager from
the hostel came charging out screaming that he was going to call the police and
that I was doing illegal charter!, I could not get a word in and he was just
being a jerk. Trying to reason was impossible because after the screaming he
went straight back to the hotel to call around. To minimize the damage I took
the flag down and set off as soon as possible. Later on when the girls were
paying for food with a credit card on the next island the girl in the reception
recognized the name on the card and asked if we came from mana?, we had to lye
to avoid another scene but I still cant believe the bastard actually called
around to warn people of this boat with adults. Firstly the girls had paid the
speedboat anyway so they were not losing business and most important one can not
tell grown ups what to do and certainly not tell me who I can go sailing with. I
DON'T LIKE STUPID PEOPLE.
Engine problems ?:
When going to drop the girls of at Pirate Cove next to the airport the engine
worked like a charm all the way but this time the accelerator got stuck. When
trying to slow down to anchor at 4 meters the accelerator would not decrease and
every time I tried to slow the boat down the engine revved up more and more. I
ended up laughing and stopping the engine with the kill switch and drifted into
where I wanted to be. The girls wanted to know why I was so happy about the hole
thing and I explained the engine normally stops so being stuck in forward on
full throttle was a step in the right direction for me. :-)
Take a good look at the picture on the right where cat is taking a drag of a
cigarette with her toes. The amazing thing is not the fact that she does not
smoke but that she can actually do that. I think everyone right now should lay
down on the floor and see how far you can bent your leg!!!, I can not believe
how far I am from being so flexible and I think you too will be amazed of what
she is doing if you have tried to do it yourself. On the latest video there is
another picture of her padding the back of her head with her foot.
Cat you are nuts and I love it.
Nadi where I am now I hooked up with my friend Steve on Manta (see other boats)
that I met in Tonga. Together we invited some locals to his boat for a bbq.
Doing things like this is always rewarding because we get a real glimpse into
what is going on in the place. We went to their house which was a two room
little thing where 5 people were sleeping on the same floor and a clothing
cabinets was non exciting. I tried to be as nice as possible and learning as
much as I could about their lives but it is kind of hard because the language
barrier is normally very big with the people you really want to get to know. The
guys were big as houses by the way.
We met them in the bar on Friday night and since the 'house' guys were the
bouncers in this place we decided to befriend them right away, not that it is
really scary to go out here but we were basically the only white people in that
joint and all the windows and the bar was barred up with steel fencing. I did
ask one of them why he did not have fighting scars in his face and he pointed to
his right hand and said the scars were all on that fist, hehe...
Ok that's all folk.
Hopefully I will have my new crew in the next letter, that should be fun, keep
Kjell O. Stave