Fiji is inexpensive, interesting, physically blessed and my new home.
The 4 day sail from Tonga to Fiji was hardly a sail at all. We only had the wind in the canvas for about 15 hours. That means the sea was flat & calm but we burnt $300 worth of diesel. That hurt a bit but I prefer it to some of the teeth grinding passages we’ve had lately. At this point, the passage making is all behind us for about 6 months. Nothing but day hops now! The only traveling I’ll be doing is island skipping and riding that big 747 to Australia (Adam M – We gonna party!)
Suzi and I are going to get this boat to the marina, belt her down for bad weather and fly to Oz. We’ll camp around in a rented van for a couple weeks and then I’ll have my hand surgery. She’ll fly back to England and I’ll return to Barraveigh. I’ll recuperate, work on the boat, island hop, drink too much, and enjoy my bro and mom when they come to visit and then in April we’ll leave Fiji for Vanuatu, the Solomons, Papua New Guinea and Micronesia. ’08 should be as exotic as ’07.
Fiji is a wonderfully strange place. The people are made up of 2 ethnic groups: ½ are Fijian and ½ are Indian. The Indian’s came as cheap labor 3 generations ago and now run the place. Every time they win an election there’s a coup. I think they’ve had about 30 of them now. Each one is bloodless and as civil as it gets. Everyone is extremely kind and friendly. We’ve been here for 2 weeks and never lock anything. None of the cruisers have had any thefts. “BulaBula!” is how you greet someone so you hear it all day. Try it. It’s fun to say. Here’s the thing that I wasn’t expecting: The Fijians aren’t Polynesians. They’re Melanesians. They’re black. I’m talking afros and African features. After so many Polynesian islands it’s strange to have such a drastic change in the physical appearance of the inhabitants. From Tonga to Fiji the races just abruptly altered. I’d love for one of you amateur anthropologists out there to explain this to me (Just me. Plz don’t hit reply all).
If you like curries and roti then Fiji should be on your list. I’ve been digging (“tucking” for my English audience) into bowls of delicious spicy foods every day. A beer in a bar costs US $1.50, and that’s in the yacht club which is the most expensive in town. This place is ½ the cost of Tonga and 1/3 the price of French Polynesia. I’m living like a king.
I lied earlier. We have a 24 hour trip to make to Suva from Savusavu. We left a couple hours ago. Then one more overnighter to the marina, but that is definitely the end of the black night sailing.