02/07/2014 – Order, counter order, disorder!

Sunday was a challenging day in many respects. We motorsailed all day, trying to maintain 5.5 knots, and finally switched off the engine at 1650. The wind didn't last! It taunted us, switched direction causing us to drop the main after dark, and finally gave up at 2305. At this point we were playing catch up, both Chez Nous and Caduceus were ahead but we could just make out their lights. During the morning Chez Nous called us to say the fish were biting, they'd landed a Yellowfin Tuna and a Bluefin Tuna. Shortly after that, while I was in the shower, John shouted that he had a fish on the line. It fought, John fought back, I reeled in the slack as John pulled the line in. Halfway to the transom the fish got away. During the afternoon Chez Nous called up to say they just caught 2 Mahi Mahi, some boats have more luck than others! Monday morning, at dawn, the three boats approached the pass at the western end of Viti Levu. Caduceus led the way, Chez Nous were a little behind and we followed, just after sunrise and blinded by the sun dead ahead! The electronic charts proved to be accurate and we all headed for Vuda Point. The port captain in Lautoka told Caduceus to go to Vuda Point and pick up the quarantine buoy, the same message was given to Chez Nous. About an hour later the port captain called up Caduceus and said all three yachts should proceed directly to Lautoka as we would be unable to clear in at Vuda Point. The anchorage in Lautoka had good holding and lots of space. Jonathan ferried John ashore and met up with Martin and the Quarantine Officer. They then all went back to Caduceus to fill in forms. The officer sprayed the interior of Caduceus then came aboard Starblazer and finally sprayed Chez Nous. The three skippers and the Quarantine Officer all returned ashore. The next hurdle was customs and immigration, dealt with by the same official and finalised by about 1310. The last office to visit was biosecurity, at lunch fom 1300-1400. By about 1500 we were cleared to leave Lautoka for Vuda Point. The next problem, or rather one we were made aware of earlier in the day by Folie a Deux, concerned the cruising permit. To leave the Lautoka port area, which includes Vuda Point, we need a cruising permit which can take a day or two to be issued then needs to be endorsed by Customs and Immigration in Lautoka. We are running out of time. The very helpful lady in the Vuda Marina office e-mailed the form to Caduceus, Martin printed a copy for each boat, the skippers filled them in then Martin scanned them and e-mailed them to Vuda because the office closes at 1530. Elizabeth followed up with a phone call to confirm they had been received, printed then faxed to the appropriate office. Success. All three boats then headed back towards Vuda, Caduceus went straight in because they had booked a berth earlier. We had opted to anchor off but there was no clear anchorage area that appeared shallow enough and far enough off the reef shelf. Eventually John called up the marina, more in hope than expectation, and got a reply. We were told that both Chez Nous and Starblazer could tie to the buoy in the middle of the circular basin for the night. We have arrived in Fiji, we still have bureaucratic hoops to jump through, we might get to the Musket Cove rendez-vous in time. Who knows? One last little problem is that the Quarantine Officer failed to give John the Pratique form though we do have the receipt for the $100 US which he paid. Joyce

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