July 12, 2012

Suva, Beqa Island and on to Musket Cove

We spent the day motoring in calm seas when we left Gua Island (Great diving day!) and arrived in Suva Harbor mid afternoon. It was nice not having to go through the clearing in process since Fiji just adopted new regulations that only require you to report position weekly instead of the old system that required clearing in and out in each region.

Suva Harbor is a dirty place with at least seven old boats that are sunk and abandoned scattered around the bay. The outer reef had a new wreck on it this season, a 75 foot fishing boat that just about made it home last season. The town wraps around the bay and is the largest city in Fiji. The Suva Royal Yacht Club is located in the far right corner and we anchored in between two sunken ships for the first night one of which did a nice job blocking the waves during the storm that blew in that night with 35 knot winds.
The yacht club has seen better days but did have a endless supply of ice cold beer and soon to be open restaurant was just a week away from a total renovation. We asked where a good place to eat in town was and it generated snickers and rolling eyes by most we asked. Apparently good food is hard to find in this part of the world and our search proved so after a few days. One place that at least had a nice atmosphere was the Novotel Hotel just a short cab ride away.

We had a few things to get accomplished in Suva one was to get Daria a visa for New Caledonia at the French Embassy. We called up and we given an appointment first thing in the morning and Isabelle did a wonderful job helping us process the $12 application. Te next step would be a waiting game with the French Government….. The second issue was to get a alternator rebuilt on Downtime. While in New Zealand I paid over $250 to have it repaired at Snow Brothers in Whangarie and it lasted 15 minutes! I took it to Fiji Motor Winders and they said it needed a total rewind and could get it done in two days for $400 Fiji dollars (about $220 US) These are the same guys that fixed our water maker motor last year and they do really good work. While in town we decided to go to the cinema and saw Ice age 4 in 3D for just $3 US.
Meanwhile we had a few days before the visa would be ready (wishful thinking) so we went to Beqa Island just 20 miles south of Suva. Beqa has 8 small villages and a few resorts on the 6 mile long island and sits inside a 15 mile across atoll (Sunken volcano crater surrounded by reef). Our timing these last few weeks has been a few days off with the weather. When we wanted to sail the wind would not blow and the days we wanted to dive it rained and blew….quite frustrating.

One day we took SD for a tour around the area and visited the Royal Davui Resort. Unlike the Royal Yacht Club this place was amazing and we were greeted at the dock by Darryl the manager and he welcomed us to take a look around his island. A staff member gave us the full tour of this island paradise where you can stay in one of 15 secluded bungalows (in Fiji bungalow is called bure) that all have amazing views. This is a beautiful place to get away from it all and later we returned for a wonderful dinner with Darryl and Julie who met us at the restaurant.

The day we wanted to do the famous shark dive it rained and the day we sailed back to Suva the wind did not blow….so the bad timing continues.

We motored back to Suva in anticipation of picking up the visa and the alternator on Monday. No big surprise the visa was delayed but the alternator was done and like clockwork the propane cooking gas ran out the morning we arrived so at least we were close to a place to fill the tanks!

And we found some Heineken from Holland in Victoria wine... Life is good! And met our friend Bob on Braveheart, he treated us to dinner at one night…Thanks Bob!

Who knew how long the visa would take at this point so we made a second attempt to do the shark dive and made a reservation for Saturday and motored our way(no wind) down the coast to Pacific Harbor.

While we were there we had lunch at the Pearl Resort and took a river-tour and a few pictures.

The next morning Daria took a bus ride up to Sigitoka and visit the Kula Eco Park (zoo) and  the Outrigger Resort I spent a quiet day reading a great book.

We were there three windless mornings waiting for Saturday to come around and finally woke up Saturday morning to grey skies, rain and 25 knots wind! Will the bad timing ever end?

We cancelled the dive again and decided to put all that wind to work for us and set sail for Robinson Crusue Island 25 miles away. We finally had it all together and even caught a nice Walloo on our way there. We anchored next to the island and had from row seats for the night of dancing and singing on the island.

The wind continued the next morning so we sailed on to Musket Cove to meet our friends and do a few days of kite surfing.

Musket Cove is on a private island off the west coast of the south island of Fiji and is a favorite spot for cruisers and kite surfers to hang out. The resort provides a bar and afternoon Bar-B Q for the everyone to enjoy.

Sadly our first morning at Musket Cove there is NOT ENOUGH WIND TO KITE!! Will the bad timing ever end????

Waiting patiently for a breeze…..Pete and Daria