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And We Have Arrived

Ni sa yadra (Good Morning) from Fiji!

We arrived in Savusavu at 0630 this morning. We were unable to enter the anchorage until 0800 as we had to wait for the marina to open and provide instructions. It was overcast so we didn’t get the amazing sunny pics we hoped for but we’re sure they will come. Of course it’s even gorgeous here in the rain!

At 0800 we contacted the Copra Shed Marina via the radio. They had us take a mooring and wait for a call from them to pick up the officials. We dropped Sparkle into the water to prepare to pick them up and when the call came around 0930 Dan headed to shore. The first group on the boat was three agents from Health. Unlike the drones who work public jobs in the states, these agents were a lot of fun. We laughed a lot while they were on board and they even let me take pics of them.

Health check completed without issue and Dan was off to take them back to the marina and pick up more officials. Next up, Biosecurity and Customs & Immigration. Three more wonderful Fijian officials boarded us and completed a mountain of paperwork. Again, they all had wonderful personalities and a great sense of humor. All of the officials made this process very easy and painless. It was a nice change from some of the other countries we’ve visited. Thank you to each of you!

All in, the process on board took about an hour and a half. Next we proceeded to phase two. We had to go into town and pay everyone because we didn’t have exact change and they don’t carry change. For any cruisers coming to Fiji, try to have exact change for the officials. It will save you some steps. Either way it was still pretty easy. All fees combined totaled $248.50 Fijian or about $115 USD. Not too bad really. Every place is within walking distance and after four days at sea it’s good to get walking again.

Once the boarding was complete Dan and I headed to town to get some provisions and make the proper payments to the authorities. We also had to work on getting our cruising permit. That required paperwork to be given to the marina who then faxes it to the appropriate authorities to get the permit. Once they receive it back you have to take it back to the Customs & Immigration Office where they will officially sign off on it. As we travel around Fiji we are required to submit movement reports each week saying where we’ve been and where we are going. They can be done via email or radio.

Savusavu is a very busy little place with people milling about everywhere. It was almost sensory overload at first. But, everyone is smiling and it is rare that you pass someone without them giving you a giant smile and saying, “Bula, Bula”! These people could possibly be the friendliest people we’ve met in all our travels. I also have noted that it’s a rather clean place. We saw lots of people working to clean up garbage and you don’t see much of it on the streets.

Once our business was complete we stopped at the Surf & Turf Restaurant for a couple of beers and a light lunch. We’ve been told their food is excellent and it surely did not disappoint. The owners are lovely Indo Fijians and we enjoyed talking with them while we were there. They even offered to allow us to use their dinghy dock whenever we come into town. That’s nice because its at the north end of town saving us a longer walk to get beer and groceries.

Off now to the Copra Shed Marina to check on our cruising permit. Prity, the lovely young gal in the office put a rush on it and she had it waiting for us when we arrived because it’s Friday and we want to take off for other anchorages on Monday morning with our friends, Lutz & Gabi of SV SuAn. Permit in hand we head to Customs where we are again greeted by smiling and very helpful agents. It takes just a few moments to get our clearance and we are headed back to the marina. Of course we’re here so we might as well have a beer.

As we are sitting enjoying our cold beverages we see our dear friend, Ernie of SV Patience. His boat is docked right out in front of the restaurant. We met Ernie in México and have seen him all along our travels. The last place we saw him was in New Zealand. It really is nice how cruisers seem to meet up in ports all over the world. We invited Ernie to come sit and have a beer with us while we caught up on each other’s adventures. When cruisers first get together the main topic of conversation is what has gone wrong since you last saw each other. We talked of our gooseneck issue and he told us of engine troubles and sail problems. I guess we all like to hear the other person’s woes as it makes ours seem okay.

From here it was time to start getting ready for an evening aboard SV SuAn. Lutz & Gabi made a point to come back here to meet us so we can do some cruising together and to celebrate our arrival they invited us to sundowners and dinner. And what a wonderful evening it was for all of us! They cooked us a fabulous dinner of steak, salad, grilled veggies and homemade bread. We shared rum drinks and had an evening full of laughs and great conversation. It sure is good to see our dear friends again. Looking forward to our weeks of traveling together.

So far, we love Fiji and can’t wait to see more. Keep checking back to see what adventures lie ahead for the crew of Dazzler.

Until next time,

Jilly & Dan

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What Was That Noise?

So, it’s my last night watch for a while. We’re just a little over 20 NM from the entrance to Savusavu. I’ve literally been on deck for about fifteen minutes. For crying out loud, my eyes are barely open and I haven’t even had enough time to get a little sugar and caffeine going. All of the sudden I hear a couple of thunk sounds and then something that sort of sounded like gurgling. Of course it’s dark up here so I grab my phone and turn it on for some light. I start looking around the cockpit first. It’s not uncommon to have flying fish land on deck or even in the cockpit so, of course, that’s what I’m expecting to find. The only thing making me think it is something else is that I have yet to get a whiff of that awful stench that says a flying fish has arrived.

I scan the port side and find nothing. Then I hear a fluttering sound off to my right. As I look to the starboard side I see a bird sitting on deck looking a bit disheveled. I think he is as shocked to see me as I to see him. His wings are spread out and he sort of looks like a sailor who had just stumbled out of a bar after a night on shore leave. 

Of course I had to snap a pick. Now the poor thing has flash vision. LOL! He’s just looking at me like “Who the hell are you and why did you just do that to me?” He starts stumbling across the deck and then I hear another couple of thunks. What the hell? I look just forward of my new friend and another bird has hit the deck. He also looks a bit flustered and even more so once I document his visit with a flash. Now they are both looking at me like a couple of drunk sailors as they stagger along the deck. I can’t help wondering if they had too much Kava tonight or if they are just really bad pilots. Either way I’m pretty sure they both hit the sail. If it was the wind generator I’m sure I’d have seen a lot more feathers flying about and they may not have survived.

I hurry below to get a real flashlight and by the time I return they have found their way off of Dazzler. I searched the water around us but they are gone. I guess I can say we have now officially met our first Fijians. They were White-Tailed Tropicbirds. We’ve seen many of them on the sea. They look absolutely beautiful when they are in flight. Of course that’s before they crash into a mainsail on a boat going five knots. I guess you just never know what will happen during your watch. It’s always an adventure.

I’m getting excited for sunrise although I’m exhausted! Can’t wait to see the amazing sights of Savusavu, Fiji.

Until next time,

Jilly & Dan

Feature Photo by: Richard Crossley found at Wikimedia. Click Here for more information.