Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Celebrating Diwali in Nadi and Saweni. Now in Vuda

We spent a few days in Momi Bay and enjoyed the comings and goings of boats and ships through the reef passage. A pilot boat often came and anchored near us in Momi waiting to go out and meet a ship. We hit 15 "zero dollar days" in a row, so we thought it was time to start spending again!

We moved about 25 miles up the western side of Viti Levu, watching carefully for the many reefs, and headed to Wailoaloa which is near Nadi. It is a long beach quite close to the airport and has several small resorts, hotels and restaurants that mostly cater to the younger backpacker crowds. You can horseback ride on the beach or go out on one of the many dive boats or surf boats to nearby reefs. We anchored in about 3 meters (10 feet) of water. It is good holding and though we were quite shallow, we were still quite a distance from the beach.

We would make this stop a provisioning one – as it is easy to get a bus to Nadi and many grocery stores. There is also a good butcher on the way to Nadi/Denarau called South Pacific Butchery and we needed some meat for the next few weeks and for the upcoming passage.

We dinghied to shore and ran the dinghy onto the beach (those wheels are quite handy) and were told we could leave it in a spot and it would be safe. We even purchased a few coconuts from a guy in the hopes he would keep an eye on our dinghy. We told him he could leave the drinking coconuts in the dinghy.

We went to catch the bus and as we were waiting for it, a cab offered to take us to town for bus fare. There were four if us standing there and so it was a good deal. He didn't want to drive an empty cab back to Nadi and we lucked out with a quicker ride. We also got his name and number and ended up using him for the trip back with all our groceries and a stop at the butcher.

It was a productive day getting some fresh stuff, some beer, bread, meat pies and our fresh meat at the butcher. It was a wet ride back to Astarte. The wind had switched direction (sea breeze) causing the waves to kick up. We stayed aboard and enjoyed the many fireworks being set off around the area. They were constant and varied.

The next day we decided to make another run to Nadi for pleasure. It was the Hindu holiday of Diwali – a festival of lights. The holiday lasts five days two before, the actual holiday, and two after. Because Nadi has so many Indo-Fijians (many of which are Hindi), it is quite a festive time. Its sort of like their Christmas. There are lots of fireworks, gifts are exchanged, sweets are made by the ton and shared, and everyone dresses in their fanciest and best and newest saris. That was the treat seeing all these beautiful women dressed in bright colored saris with all the jewels and ornamentation. We thought it would be interesting to also go to the Hindu Temple in town that is the largest in the Southern Hemisphere. It is a brightly colored and ornate structure with lots of carvings and paintings

You have to be appropriately dressed to get into the temple. We paid our small entry fee for tourists rather than devotees. A great tour guide took us through the temple and he had not only a great sense of humor, he really was interesting. It was pretty special and many devotees were around making their various offerings at the many alters around the temple. The Diwali Festival is a tribute to their god of wealth and prosperity (thus the new clothes and gift exchange). That alter was getting a lot of action.

After retrieving our shoes after the temple tour, we walked around downtown Nadi watching everyone buying fireworks and gifts. It was like the last shopping day before Christmas. After our fill of the consumerism of Hinduism – we headed back to the bus stop and our trip back. It is just great fun to watch all the people on a busy Saturday morning.

After getting back, we splurged on a fish and chips lunch out and a few beers then headed back to the boat for more fireworks watching.

On Sunday, we thought it would be fun to head to see some old friends we hadn't seen since the Marshall Islands. The "Irish Melody" crew were in Saweni Bay, just north of Vuda Point Marina where we would go on Tuesday. It is a pretty bay and much more protected than where we were off Nadi Some big stuff was potentially threatening on Monday – so we thought we'd see our friends and be in a more protected bay.

We enjoyed our time with Andrea and Anthony after so many years it was great to catch up. We had them over for sundowners and decked our boat out in lights (thanks Sandy) to celebrate Diwali. It was pouring out so we would sneak outside at every rain break and watch the fireworks surrounding the area. A fun and festive night!

Tuesday arrived and it was time to get into Vuda Point for a quick haulout on Thursday (hopefully) and then waiting on a weather window. Check out Vuda Point Marina and our location on, Zoom in and we are right next to the guard house in this round marina. It is challenging to get in as they keep squeezing more and more boats into tiny spots. It provides entertainment (if it's other boats) and stress if it's your boat! It's been fun reconnecting with many friends here. This is the waiting for weather spot (or waiting to put your boat in a pit for cyclone season).

Enjoyed half price pizza night last night with Barbara and Dennis from Land Fall and celebrated Dennis' birthday.
At 11/2/2016 3:31 AM (utc) S/V Astarte was located at 17°40.86'S 177°23.21'E

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