Posted by: procamnz | August 4, 2008

Vuda to Musket Cove

White Bougainvillea

Vuda Point Marina

Tony arrived back from NZ on Sunday 20 July. Mary had spent the time he was away doing small jobs on the boat, repairs to the varnish work, washing etc. and also frequenting the pool of the resort which is next to the marina. First Landing allows the yachties to use the facilities for $5 per day. It is lovely and refreshing after the windless heat of the marina. We spent the next couple of days after Tony’s return doing odd jobs, swimming, laundry, and internet travel bookings. These bookings took a whole afternoon because the connection is so slow.

On Wednesday 23rd we arose early to be outside the Marina and catch the 7.30 bus to Lautoka and then another bus to Suva, a journey of about 4 ½ hours. Three other couples from the yachts joined us. Fortunately this was a modern, comfortable, air-conditioned vehicle. The bus stopped for 20 minutes at Sigatoka, another small city near an area where a lot of foreigners have built homes. We have experienced many toilets over the years but these were the worst we had ever used. But one needs to go, so no use complaining. There were plenty of touts trying to make friends and take you to their stalls at the market.

Suva



Sir Ratu Sukuna Park

We arrived at Suva in time for lunch and found a very nice restaurant selling Mary’s favourite, Pizza. Next was the job of finding somewhere to stay. We found a block of apartments with rooms to let. They were not bad but air-con. Ha! Ha! Yes there was air-conditioning but of course it did not work. Fortunately our room had a ceiling fan, which did help to move the air about. It was very central and we had a great view of the harbour.

Shoe Shiners in Suva

The city of Suva is a mixture of very modern and very old and dilapidated buildings, but was very interesting. We wandered around the shops and early in the evening. Tony, Mary and Heather and Hugh (from the NZ yacht, Pau Hana) caught a taxi to the Royal Suva Yacht Club. The name appears grand and in its hey day would have been THE place to be seen. It is still a fun place to catch up with cruisers and drinks are reasonably cheap. Alcoholic drinks are generally very expensive in Fiji. There was a Chinese Restaurant adjacent and a group of about 12 of us enjoyed a good meal and good company there. We spent the next day on a walking tour of the city, guided by our Lonely Planet book and that night had dinner with friends at a place which would compare favourably with restaurants in NZ.

Dinner in Suva

It was call Bad Dog and the pictures on the windows were exactly the same as our Red Dog restaurants. Wouldn’t get away with that in NZ!

Catholic Cathedral Suva

We caught the bus back to Lautoka the next morning. This was an old rattle trap affair, no air-con and the passengers were packed in like sardines. It seemed a very long trip with a few turn-offs through small villages. We were very pleased to get back to the comfort of our own home.

Naomi and Alastair’s visit

The next day, Saturday, we took a bus in to the big Saturday market in Lautoka for a stock up of fruit, veg and beer before Naomi and Al came. We were concerned they would not be able to fly due to the severe storms battering NZ but luckily they were on a direct flight from Wellington and the storm had not reached there yet. We were thrilled to see the taxi arrive with our special guests. We chatted long into the night. We did have one minor disaster. While Naomi was struggling to climb on to the boat, her glasses slipped off her face and disappeared in to the water. Next morning, good old Dad put on his snorkeling gear and dived into the disgusting brew under the boat and actually found them. She was a very lucky and happy woman. Although it is referred to as a marina, there are no floating pontoons.

Musket Cove (yachtie heaven)

On Sunday morning, between rain squalls (perhaps brought up from NZ by you-know-who), we scrubbed the two weeks worth of bird poop and dirt from the cane fields off the boat and filled the water tanks before packing up and leaving the marina. We headed out to a 4-7 knot breeze and had to motor about ten miles to Musket Cove, where we entered that idyllic place and knew that our real holiday had begun. Work on the boat and Tony’s business still had to get done but interspersed with rest and relaxation.


Cycling Through the Coconut Plantation

We spent seven nights at Musket Cove. As lifetime members of the Yacht Club we had full use of all the facilities at the resort. There is a glorious swimming pool where we spent a lot of time. We hired bikes twice and cycled around the island taking in all the sights and getting some much needed exercise, before collapsing into the pool again. We also went for several walks, especially where it was too hard to cycle up the hills, and did some good snorkeling off the reef.

Island Cruising Association

The Island Cruising Association regatta fleet left on Saturday morning for Vanuatu and so there were several days of fun and games and dinners planned for the members. As members of ICA, although not going on the regatta to Vanuatu, we were invited to partake in these events. They arranged a 9-hole Ambrose golf tournament, which Al and Tony entered with another cruising couple. The course was par 34 and they achieved 40.

Alastair playing a perfect shot

We had dinner one night at the Island Bar with the group. Here, people bring and cook their own meat and you buy a salad, baked potato and garlic bread for $7. It was really good too! The BBQs are available every night and drinks are about $4 each.

The Island Bar

On Thursday night we all went up to the restaurant and had pig-on-a-spit roast (Naomi had fish and made a very good choice). We had a lot of fun and after dinner the Fijian’s put on a song and dance show.

Robinson Crusoe Island

Mary on Fiji Time

We had a prediction of calm weather for a few days and so early on Sunday morning we dropped the mooring and headed out of the sheltered waters of the harbour, through Navula Passage and out to sea. We motor-sailed, eight miles East to a break in the reef which was the entrance needed to visit Robinson Crusoe Island Resort, aka Likuri Island.. We called the resort up on the radio and a long boat came out to guide us through the reef to where we needed to anchor. At low tide we have one metre under our keel, such a change from the deep anchorages that we are used to here in Fiji. It is sheltered by the island from the prevailing South Westerlies. This is a back to nature, back-packers resort, not at all like Musket Cove, but a fun place to be, especially for Naomi and Al.

Bure Accommodation at Robinson Crusoe

One of the directors, Kaz met us and showed us the ropes. It is $1 for lifetime membership of the boat to the club and all meals are $10 per head. Naturally we had lunch and after the lunch the local Fijians put on a show, with dancing, knife-throwing and fire-dancing. It was very impressive. However, we found out later that instead of using Kerosene for the fire, they were using two stroke premix petrol. No wonder it worked so well but how dangerous. That night Naomi and Al went back to the island for songs over a bonfire. They had a lot of fun and quite a few drinks before coming back for a well earned sleep.

This morning we went on the resort snorkelling tour (free) in a boat outside the reef. We were quite disappointed though because the water was too deep to see very much other than about six sharks down deep. Nonetheless we could not complain about the price. We have had much better snorkelling in other places.

Tomorrow we are hoping for a good breeze and we will head back to the Nadi-Lautoka area. Naomi and Al fly out on Saturday and we want to take them to Lautoka and Nadi to see the towns before then.

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