Posted by: procamnz | September 1, 2008

Denerau

This Blog has taken a very long time to get posted because we have had lousey internet service. But at least it is done now.

Well it is easy to work out when the Windspirit Mob are having fun. That is when the blogs don’t get written very often.
Before returning to Fiji, Mary flew to Wellington for two nights to visit her Dad and June, his wife. They are really struggling now. Dad turns ninety in September and June will be eighty one in November. But they continue to live in their own home, which is great. We worry about them but would hate to see them lose their independence. Dad has had a couple of blackouts this year resulting in falls which left him with a lot of pain and more importantly they have also knocked his confidence. It is always hard to leave them behind and head north again.
We returned to Fiji on Friday 22 August and it was so good to see Abdul, our friendly taxi driver, waiting at the Airport for us. We were really laden with luggage this time. We had brought our pushchair up, so that it could be available to use for the grandchildren when they visit. Also there were the usual boat spares that were bought and of course, wine, eleven bottles between us. Alcohol is incredibly expensive in Fiji. At the supermarket, a bottle of Gin which one can buy in NZ for about $40 was over $110 Fijian. An average bottle of wine which could be bought in the supermarket in NZ for $10-12 is about $25-30 here. Restaurant prices have an additional premium on this as you would expect.
Windspirit was sitting safely at Vuda but was as usual very dirty from dust and ash. We spent the weekend resting and then doing numerous jobs on the boat, including the normal boat scrub. Tony used the new stainless steel drills which he had bought in Auckland to drill holes in the bow fitting for the pin which is going to be made to hold the anchor snug when we are sailing. We had found that the new 33kg (73lb) Rocna anchor moves and bangs when we hit waves, even though it is well tied down. This pin will prevent that happening. It took Tony a lot of thinking, planning and measuring before he did the drilling. But it looks fine now that it is finished.
We had also bought some new rope which Mary spent a lot of time splicing and fitting it to the dinghy. Our old painter had lasted several years but was looking the worse for wear. This time we made up a bridle arrangement so that it is more secure, rather than just one line. When one does a lot of splicing, the job seems easy but when it is done just occasionally, the rope book, with diagrams is extremely useful. The other jobs which were done while at the marina were the replacement of the faulty capacitor for the genset (it works like a charm now) and gluing new foam on the lazerette hatch covers, which were leaking slightly.
Early on Monday morning we left Vuda and motored to Saweni Bay again. Then once were were sure that the anchor had set, we left the dinghy at the beach and walked to the main road where we wanted to catch a bus to Lautoka. Our fresh fruit and veg’s stores were low. We were lucky to be offered a ride by the Postal Delivery Van driver. He dropped us at the main road where we caught the 80 cent bus to Lautoka. We had a successful time at the market and with our bags loaded up, caught a bus which was heading for Nadi. We left the bus at the Saweni Bay turn off but were not so lucky this time and had to walk in the searing heat, the 45 minute walk back to the beach. By the time we got back to the boat we were exhausted but well stocked with food.
We stayed in the comfortable and quiet anchorage at Saweni for several days, the only excitement was when we looked up and noticed that a yacht, which had been in front of us, was now beside us and rapidly drifting towards the reef. We called them on the radio but got no reply and so Tony blasted them with our electric horn. That soon got a response and they let out more anchor chain. The only annoyance for us was that now we had a yacht closer to us than we would have liked. Also they had a noisy wind generator and a very noisy diesel generator and so our quiet anchorage became a loud one. However them’s the breaks.
Tony spent several hours reworking the circuit board for the spare auto helm to make it operate with the new hydraulic control system. After some more testing, it does work now but over-steers and we now do search patterns when that is operating. So back to the drawing board for Tony. It will eventually work, we know, and it is only the spare one. But after our experience of sailing from NZ we want to have spares of spares.
On Thursday we had a great sail from Saweni Bay to Denerau, the port of Nadi. The boat just loved the conditions and so did we. Stephen, Rochelle, Caleb and Ethan were due to arrive from NZ at 4PM but their plane was cancelled and they had to go on standby for the 8PM flight. That is pretty hard, sitting at the airport with two children under two and just waiting. They were lucky to get on the flight and had two very tired children but at least they arrived at 11PM. It took them all a couple of days to catch up on sleep though. They are staying at the Radisson Resort on Denerau.
Wow! What a beautiful place, with several pools, restaurants and right on the beach front. They have a two bedroomed apartment there and are staying until Thursday morning. We have been having a wonderful time with them, playing with the boys, babysitting and swimming in the pools. We are so lucky to be able to spend so much time with our grandchildren but by the time they leave we will look forward to a few quiet days before Rowena and Isabella arrive on Sunday to stay with us for two weeks.

Caleb and Ethan ready for a walk

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