Monday, March 6, 2017

Savusavu, Fiji 2008

17/05/2008 Savusavu

Today we had a walk around town which did not take long and called into a café for lunch, we met Mirri who works at the café and she told us about a night there where they cook underground like the Kiwi’s do so we may go to that if we are still here.
 (The main street shopping is not large but quite busy)

 (The friendly Cafe that we went to for lunch)
(Mirri asked if we could take a photo of her and email it to her as she does not have a camera)

Our friends Blessed B arrived today, they also got caught in the storm it was still happening the day after we were caught in it. They got onto a mooring owned by Curly who has a internet café Curly’s Cruising Bosuns Locker. He gives talks on sailing around Fiji at $12 per boat and they have a BBQ at the end of the talk. 
(Curly's shop)
The talk Curly gives is titled “Why do yachts sink in Fiji”, it relates to the many reef systems around these islands and Curly supplies charts to assist sailor he also hold another night on how you should treat the Chiefs of the tribes when you visit the different islands.

One major thing that visiting yachts should be aware of is that you have to give a minimum of 48 hours notice to Customs prior to entering Fiji and you have to state all the places you wish to visit. There are heavy penalties if you don’t and could also mean the confiscation of your boat. It can all be done via the internet if you look up the Fiji Government site on visiting yachts the information is there and forms to be filled out. You can then email them to the authorities in plenty of time prior to arrival. You do not anchor anywhere until you have cleared in, Customs has a network with all the islands and chiefs, if you anchor somewhere it is likely you will be spotted.

Fiji is also split up into three regions and if you sail into another region you have to clear in again.

 (Savusavu, lovely place)

18/05/2008 Savusavu

We met an Aussie ex-pat at the Yacht Club Geoff Taylor, he offered to take us all on a bit of a tour although some of us will have to travel in the back of the ute. So away we went.

 (Aundi, Geoff's partner, Geoff and Charles)
 (Bruce, Me and Charles at Geoff's house)
 (Bruce, Geoff's sister, Charles, Geoff, Aundi and Nancy)
 (Nancy and Aundi)
 (View from Geoff's veranda)
 (Me and Nancy)

 (View from a lookout)
 (George the barman at the Yacht Club, lovely bloke)
 (George brings the food out we ordered, with Bruce and Matt)
(Me, Charles, Bruce and Matt with plenty of food)

20/05/2008. Back to weather watch at Savusavu

It was our initial plan to leave today for Lautoka west coast of the southern main island, then we saw the weather report an it was not good. According to weather charts we should have been under massive rain at 0200 hours this morning, we got rain but not very much. I don’t know if it is still coming or went to the south, I will have to check it out when I can get on the net this morning.

We are supposed to have thunderstorms and high winds, not good for sailing, at this stage the plan is now to sail on Thursday the weather should be favourable and we hope there is some wind left to sail and not use engines.

The ‘Blessed B’ crew fly’s out today, they are heading back to Australia for five weeks to deal with business so we will be sailing solo all the way again, which we have done basically from the start. We have a good couple of days in their company.
Bruce owner/skipper is a farmer from Inverell, he buys old boats and fixes them up as a bit of a hobby, Charles crew member, he is a really nice bloke, and he is a bachelor and owns a few businesses. He owned one of the largest helicopter businesses in NSW on the east coast, he does a lot of voluntary work including CMF training kids, and he organises trips away for disadvantaged kids. Then the young bloke in the crew is Matt, he is a Frenchman, very nice young bloke, his plan is to go over to Paris when he gets back to Sydney and pick up his French girlfriend that he met in Tahiti and return to Tahiti, and then get married.
(The crew on Blessed B packing the boat up, Matt, Charles and Bruce)

(I have just taken them ashore to catch their plane, they thought they were leaving later and found out they had to get going by 0745 hours).

(Me taking the crew ashore, Curly is taking them to the airport and will be looking after Blessed B whilst they are away)

Talking to local Fijians here I have not met one that agrees with the political upsets that have occurred here, they believe that the Coups are ruining the country. One gent was telling us he has told his children that are attending university to study hard and go to NZ or Oz to work there is no future for them now in Fiji. That is a sad statement to make when we are all generally proud of our country.

Savusavu is a quiet small town in a perfect setting with the creek that opens up to the bay and then the sea. The population is made up from Fijians, Indian, a few Chinese, and ex-patriots from NZ, Canada, Oz, and USA.

 (Low tide looking in to harbour)
 (Locals watch us on the boat)
 (There are quite a few local yachts here)
(A women going home on a punt with the little child waving at me)

Most of the ex-patriots have escaped the place back home for the easy carefree lifestyle and to make money in business. Wages in these islands are low and therefore you can employ more staff, housemaids, gardeners, or caretakers.

An example is Geoff, he still works, and travels doing geology work, he also is a partner with a friend in the Copra Shed complex and runs his business from there. He converted a garage on his property to granny flat so to speak and has a caretaker and his wife that lives there, he looks after the gardens and lawns and the property when Geoff is away for F$30 per week, the caretaker also looks after two other properties next door to Geoff’s that brings his wage up to F$100 per week.

The way these people survive on such a low wage is they grow their own vegetables and make what they can themselves.

Geoff also donates a lot of his time to the kids, they have a sailing cadet school here, Geoff’s friend teaches the kids how to build there own small sail boat and Geoff teaches them to sail. He goes out every weekend with them and spends nearly all day Saturday with them. I think I mentioned before that Geoff has six children although now divorced, all his children sail and one of his son’s is in the Olympics racing a skiff.

Another local character is our friend now Curly, he owns a yacht here, and has a business called the Bosun’s Locker. His business sells anything from fishing lures, mooring hire, travel and also has internet for sailors use. He is a Kiwi been here about 30 years. He runs seminars, one of which we are attending today. He also runs the local radio net each day at 0830 hours and it starts with, “Good morning Savusavu!!!”
(Curly on his yacht)

There is also a local business that uses a local village group to manufacture LED lights, they only use Japanese LED’s, and they run mail orders. The prices are very reasonable. The business is Bebe Lighting (pronounced Bambi), they have a web site. I purchased a cockpit/anchor light F$59, they are the best quality that I have seen and that includes back home.

 21/05/08 - Getting ready to sail.

Today we have to fuel, water, and shop and clear out with the officials so that we can set sail first light on Thursday. So it is going to be a busy day.

Yesterday we went into town and had a walk around the shops to see what they had. Each shop is like a jumble sale, gear everywhere and some shops will sell groceries, clothing, hardware and goodness knows what else. There are only a couple of shops that are modern and tidy.

I think I told the story about our American friend Charlie when he was in a South American country he learnt that you must ask the right questions. If I didn’t here is how it goes.

Our friend Charlie was telling us about when he visited a South American country how the locals can have a bit of a laugh at our expense because to them we are just another gringo. He took his dinghy over to a dock and asked, “Is this where I bring my yacht to get fuel”; the answer was “yes”, and then he asked “can I bring my yacht over now?” The answer was “yes”. Charlie went and brought his yacht from being anchored to the dock and tied up, no one helped the guys on the dock just sat there watching. Charlie was ready to take fuel but no one was moving so he went over to them and said can I get fuel now? The head guy said “no we do not have any fuel we are waiting for a delivery.”

A few days later Charlie goes over and asks “do you have fuel” the guy said “yes”, Charlie asks “is it alright if I bring the yacht over now?” They guy said “yes”. Charlie brings the yacht over again and still no action, he approaches them again and asks “can I get fuel now?’ The guy said “no, there is a power failure.” Charlie said he learnt that you must ask the right questions to obtain all the information and he did the next time and got his fuel. The guys on the dock probably went into great laughter each time Charlie left the dock.

Yesterday Nancy learnt the same lesson. When we ordered lunch we ordered a drink each, Nancy asked the young lady Mirri if they could make an iced coffee because it was not on the menu, the young lady said yes eager to please. Nancy got her iced coffee it resembled that of iced tea. I could not resist I had to take the photo which after Nancy said you are going to say something on your blog aren’t you. You bet.
(Nancy with her iced coffee, cold black coffee)

Last night we went to one of Curly’s seminars on sailing around Fiji islands, these islands are the most dangerous in the world due to the amount of reefs, some of the waterways between them can be quite treacherous with narrow passages that can cause a venturi effect and spit you out the opposite side. This has put our plans on hold until we meet Curly at 1000 hours today and look at the best way to go. Although I think he did cover it last night, there is only one quick way to Lautoka and that is sail around the bottom of Suva. He said don’t go Bligh Water, the narrow passage is treacherous. This is why we went to the seminar to find out these things.

After we had done our chores getting ready to leave for tomorrow and we had our meeting with Curly to talk about the waters that we were to tackle. This man knows all the waters of Fiji. He also has a very interest yacht, it weighs 40 tonnes, it has solid slate floors, its hull is production built ferro-cement, and it must be a good one as someone said to me once all the bad ones have sunk by now. He is renovating the boat himself. The main cabin is something else see photo. We had lunch with him at the yacht club and then went back there at 1700 hours to say farewell to those we had met then we went to dinner at the Bula-Re Café that has Lovo on Wednesday nights, this is the traditional in the ground cooking similar to the Maori Hungi. It was a great quiet night, early back on board before the sail the next day. 
(Having lunch with Curly at the Yacht Club)

We are hoping to leave early tomorrow morning weather permitted. This means this is the last blog entry until we get to Lautoka in a few days time.
 (Our last night out at the Cafe for the hangi type cooked meal)

(We say goodbye to Mirri)
So cheers till then.

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