02/07/2014 – Second impressions of Fiji

Everyone we have met has been smiling, helpful and efficient, rather at variance with the bureaucracy. Never mind, we must move on. Quarantine helpfully e-mailed a copy of the receipt.... The cruising permits arrived by 0900, quicker than we had been led to expect. Kevin, a friend of Jonathan and Donna, was waiting on the dock for them when we came in on Monday evening. He had a hire car so, first thing Tuesday morning, he kindly took Donna, Elizabeth and me shopping. Most men try to avoid grocery shopping with their wives but Kevin was extremely helpful and patient (he was amused by three women's reactions to seeing a very good supermarket for the first time in months!). After the supermarket we went to a good butchery where he was recognised because he used to live and work here. From there we drove through Nandi town and back to the supermarket to buy chilled goods then back to the marina. After a quick lunch it was the skippers' turn to go out. The wretched cruising permits needed to be 'rubber stamped' by customs and immigration in Lautoka so Kevin drove them there. They then went shopping for Vodafone sim cards. We still did not have a 'Pratique' certificate. Wednesday morning John set out to try to source the capacitors we need for the generator and to chase up a copy of the pratique certificate. He eventually succeeded on both fronts. The capacitors were delivered by hand to the boat though we had to pay the taxi fare for sourcing them and the 'Pratique' (quarantine) certificate was e-mailed to us as a PDF file. After a quick lunch in the cafe, we were ready to go half an hour later than planned. The trip to Musket Cove was uneventful. We motored all the way because the wind was coming from our intended destination, we were also up against the clock. We had to get into the anchorage before dusk. We eventually tied up in the marina just before 1730, still just about light. In 1988 we went on a flotilla holiday in the Ionian Sea and had to Med moor, stern to the quay, dropping the anchor on our way back. It worked every time. Fast forward nearly 16 years and we had to do it in Bora Bora for the first time in our own boat though we did have help from Ta'eva who told me when to drop the anchor. Today was the second time. John still hates backing in to a pontoon though this time there was a marina employee to tell me when to drop the anchor. We were also fortunate that we had given someone a lift so we had an extra pair of hands to be ready to pass the stern line while I controlled the anchor. We were safely moored up in time for the rendez-vous drinks! After that we bought tickets for the BBQ. The live music was (and still is) excellent, it might be difficult to sleep tonight as we are probably the closest boat to the bar!

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