Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Some things about Fiji

I've been meaning to write for weeks... has it been weeks since I last wrote?... well here are some thoughts and happenings that I've wanted to write about but until now haven't gotten around to doing.

We've been "out" long enough so that things like dental appointments need to happen before we "go home." Lucky for us, we found an awesome DDS in Lautoka. It was the first time since I was a kid that a dentist cleaned my teeth instead of a hygienist. Nice guy, next day appointments, inexpensive ($25 USD for cleaning and consultation, $20 for a filling), thorough and professional and right on the bus route. We really recommend this guy if you're in the area. 

 Dr. Vimal K Murthi, Thank you!

Another recommendation are these guys...

If you're looking for something local and authentic they've got the goods. Tony hooked us up with a beautiful, traditional, Fijian carved bowl and even engraved Britannia's name on it for us. True to Fijian form, we were heartily welcomed back and invited to stay with him anytime we're in Nadi. I mention them not only because of their friendliness, which was ample, but because the souvenirs and art they sell is all locally made. A lot of the shops here import "hand carved" but mass produced items from China and other parts of the world. I was happy to have met the people who made my keepsake. It's great to support local economies but really it's all about the memories man!

So we've been back in town for a while. (Actually we're anchored in Saweni Bay again) Most days we catch the bus into Lautoka for lunch and admin, like provisioning, filling propane tanks and extending our Visas. No day is ever the same (the "schedule" is pretty loose) and we're always being presently surprised. Like when we went back to the immigration office to pick up our passports we ran into Alex from Moondance; a single hander that we'd meet in La Paz, Mexico almost 2 years ago. What a small world... well it is when you're sailing around it! It's amazing how small and well connected the cruising community really is. I love it! 

Krister carrying a massive bag of groceries to the bus stop. 

A few things about  Fiji...
The sugar industry is huge. There are fields of the stuff everywhere, and after they harvest it, the fields are burned. So it's smokey. Lautoka is home to the largest sugar cane mill in the southern hemisphere.  But it seems that it is closed a lot due to mechanical break downs and a lack of parts. We've spoken to many locals, taxi drivers and market ladies... it has something to do with the military coup and lack of international trade. (Funny note: We've heard advertisements while riding the bus to call or write suggestions for the new constitution.) Most people we talk to don't seem to have much to say about the government. What they'd rather talk about is racial bias. Which leads me to...

Sri Siva Subramaniya Swami Temple
There are a lot of Indians in Fiji. And Fijians, as a whole, don't have nice things to say about them. During British colonial rule, Indians were brought here as indentured servants. Now they live here, but are not allowed to own land. They can lease it, but most of the Indian population lives in the cities and own businesses. To sum it up, the Fijians say that the Indo-Fijians are busybodies and the  Indo-Fijians say that the Fijians are lazy. My opinion (as a liberal American) is that  Indo-Fijian food is delicious, their clothes fascinating and ornate, and that they are helpful although more stand offish than Fijians. Can't we all just get along?!

Typical Indo-Fijian clothing store

Even though we felt a bit like smuggled human cargo, Krister and Lauren enjoyed their bouncy ride in the back of an old pick-up truck into Lautoka

On Monday our friends on Dilligaf set sail for Vanuatu.  We'll be following in their wake at the end of the month. But first Krister's mom is coming for a visit, and we're in for a reunion with Tao and Convivia next week when they arrive in Fiji from Tonga. We've known since the beginning of the season that Dilligaf was planning on being back in Seattle for Thanksgiving and that Piko was going back to New Zealand for work, but after all our lazy days together it'll be hard to go our own way.

One last thing. Today was the first time we drug our Rocna anchor. Nothing too serious; we just nicked the reef. It's mysterious though. We've been sitting in the same spot for a week with mostly settled conditions, anchored in 10 feet, mud and rocky coral. Today started like any other, but then the wind piped up from 17 to 25 knots and shifted to the north, opening us up to the full fetch of the Bligh Water. With a scope of 7 to 1 it's hard to imagine us dragging. We sat thru 45+ knots with 3 to 1 in Musket Cove.  But the hobby-horsing must have unset the Rocna-  maybe too much jerking for our snubber to keep it in the ground at such shallow depths in what's less than perfect holding... Anyway, everyone goes on the reef in Fiji at some point. It's just a matter of time. We're officially in the club now- but just barely.


A few more sightings to add to our sign collection:
For all the surfers :)

What is this implying?


  1. Hopefully, that's as close to the reef as you get in your sailing adventures. Say Hi to Tao - I saw they dropped anchor today in Suva. Have fun in your last weeks in Fiji. Can't wait to be there next year!

  2. Your observations about the Fijians and the Indians are proof positive that people will find something to bicker about, even in Paradise. Gene