We got through the tropical depression thing that formed near Fiji and saw at the most 28 knots of winds and lots of rain for a few days. Then it cleared and we remained safely moored in the same spot. During the storm, Sonny who manages the moorings told us we were on the "best" mooring as it had the biggest blocks holding it in place. That made us feel even more secure during the windy points.
On Tuesday, we took the bus into Suva and did some shopping at the butchers, fresh market (for fruit and veggie) and grocery. We found the dentist's office and reconfirmed our Wednesday appointments and found a locksmith for a new door lock. The old one wouldn't give up the key! The bus into town was easy and all of $1.10 each way (Fiji $). Can't beat the local bus service.
On Wednesday, we did a return trip to Suva for our dental appointments. First we stopped at the fresh market for another bundle of yagona (kava) for sevusevu. We knew we would need at least one more for stops before we left Fiji. Michael carrying around the kava bundle in his pack got lots of comments from passers by about "sevusevu" and "you drink grog?" Even the dentist comments on it (saying he too likes to drink grog.) We again were really pleased with Dr. Singh at Stewart Street Dental. We both got clean bills of health and x-rays and a good check-up. The x-rays were in our e-mail by the time we returned home!
After the dentist, we were roaming through some shops and someone stopped on us on the street saying, "Barbara." It was Thomas, the village "Toronga ni koro" from Navadamu, one of the places we stopped on the north coast of Vanua Levu. We wouldn't have recognized him in this setting, but he sure remembered us. He was a long way from home. He was with his chief whom we never met, and his brother who lives in Suva. We visited for some time on the street and it was so much fun to run into him. What a small country! He reminded us that his village was our village and we are welcome to come back anytime. They were in Suva to discuss the solar panel plan that the government is offering some small villages in outlying areas.
After our curry lunch (a tradition after the dentist visit in Suva), we headed back to Lami. On Thursday, we did some boat projects and took a walk into Lami for ice cream – only to get caught in a good rain shower.
On Friday, we left Lami Bay and headed about 28 miles to Beqa (pronounced ben-ga)Island just off the southeastern corner of Viti Levu. We had a great sail! Yes, we actually sailed with both sails and made great time. Skunked on fishing again...and we were doing 6 knots much of the time. We made our way through the reef that surrounds Beqa and into Malumu Bay which goes way back in. It is beautiful here amongst the mangroves and very secluded. One friend told us they didn't like Beqa because it was too touristy … they must have been someplace else because this is really lovely and not a tourist attraction in sight. Two other boats in the anchorage when we arrived and it was good to finally spend some time with Ron and Cheryl on "Pilgrim." They have since both left and we have the whole place to ourselves.
The nearby village is small and we went there on Saturday morning to do our sevusevu (after an enjoyable morning of coffee and conversation with the "Pilgrim" folks). It was a quick sevusevu as we only saw the son of the toronga ni koro Everyone else seemed to be in Suva.
The place is very protected (except if we have heavy northerlies), good holding, lots of swinging room, and pretty green hillside landscapes around us. We have a resident turtle who pops up regularly and the evening has a good bat display.
On Sunday (today), we did a good dinghy explore and headed up a nearby river. We got all the way to a culvert over the river and a path. There were loads of bats in some nearby pine trees – they looked like giant pine cones until you saw them open their wings. The bird sounds were really nice though the birds themselves remained hidden. Some cool orchid like plants as well hanging in the trees – we nicknamed them porcupine orchids (the pictures will tell you why).
We will stay here a few more days...there may be some winds the next few days – and then we'll move on. Nice spot though – and worth the stop. Tonights full moon and bats will be fun to see.
At 10/16/2016 5:42 AM (utc) S/V Astarte was located at 18°23.03'S 178°09.12'E
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