Sunday, November 25, 2018

The Fiji Islands, Part II (December 2017)

Pearls galore
We spent the month of December attached to our mooring ball (#14), out and away from the marina dock and safely tucked between land and a large reef.  Even when the wind blew fairly strongly, the waters remained calm, with little more that 6-inch ripples tickling our hull.

Now that the engine was out of the boat, and the dismantling completed, it was time to take a road trip to the other side of the island and the city of Lambasa (third largest in Fiji) to look for engine parts to rebuild the lower end.  Turns out that number four piston was totally frozen and required a hydraulic press to free it.

Heading North out of town

Downtown Labasa...VERY crowded, mostly
Indian population

Free-range cow

A "watering hole" on the side of the road.  
Having stopped at some 20 auto parts stores, we came up with zip.  I was assured the search for piston rings, head gasket, and those type of things would continue.

Meanwhile, it was time for the kids to arrive for Christmas vacation!  Steven and Liz arrived at the Savusavu airport from Nandi airport on the big island (Viti Levu).

Debarking the aircraft

Reunion with Dad (the beard-less one)

Copra Shed marina and restaurants

If in need
Steve and milkshake(?)
Just kidding....
Hot springs in Savusavu

Anniversary at Kero Sun Resort, Savusavu

Lobby at Kero Sun Resort

Kero Sun Resort floating rooms

View from the room at Kero Sun Resort
Spent Christmas day at a local village.  Actually, the village was over an hour and a half away by pickup truck. The village name is NASASAIVUA, in the province of KUBULAU BUA.  We were invited to spend the day, which ended up being one of the highlights of our time in Fiji...
The village from the road

Rock overhang just inland from the beach

Snorkeling is a national pastime

The kids thought Liz was kool!

Making preparations to take this Panga back to Savusavu,
instead of the truck....after an hour, we ran out of fuel, floated
up on the beach, hitch-hiked to gas station....
"Island Time" converts back at Kero Sun

Aboard Shakedown

Christmas dinner at Surf and Turf
Chilling aboard Shakedown

Guess we like the lifestyle

The town market

More market

Market view from main street

The visit seemed, as always, too fast.  But we had fun, they got to see some new stuff, and we got to see them.  What a great year to finish up 2017!

A final look at downtown before the kids headed back to
the U.S.

Saturday, May 5, 2018

The Fiji Islands, Part I (Nov 21-30, 2017)

Finally, after some 6,000 miles of sailing without an engine, we woke up tied safely to the dock at the Savusavu Marina, Vanua Levu Island, Fiji.  We got settled in, got through the customs/immigration/biosecurity check-in process,  and decided to go exploring on foot just to get an idea of where we were, and what we can expect....we walked out to the road and turned left....
After passing a modern gas station, we came
our first village and were cheerfully greeted
by about everybody that was up and about.

The village school

The road through the village

This must have been laundry day, as many
of the homes had laundry out on the line.  (We
later find out that the few times the sun is out
the laundry goes out)

The local cemetary

A major means of transportation throughout
the island

Entering the hospital area

Quite a hike up this hill.  Good thing the hospital
was actually up there in case we needed it.

Nancy still coming up

Hospital entrance

Heading back through village...their version
of setting out trash for the garbage collectors

New home under construction

The gas station
Back to the marina.  Not quite what was
advertised on the web...

The local machine shop

The administration building and Veterinarian's

The marina office

The haul out facility (catamarans only)

Access to the dock

Another view of haul out and "yard"
Then it was time to do a little exploring by dinghy to get a better picture of our surroundings and how we get our "car"(dinghy) into town.

The dock and yard from the water side

Abandoned "whaler" partly on the shore

Heading down the "creek" with Nawi Island
to the right and boats moored in front of
town to the left

A somewhat derelict boat tied off to mangroves

Getting closer to town 

A dock to tie up to near the beginning of town

The Surf and Turf restaurant

The restaurant owner's dock, which we found
out was there specifically for cruisers convenience

Walking along an "exercise" path towards town

Nawi Island

The exercise path and equipment along it

Still on the path

Billboard marketing

Taxi Stand at center of town

Store fronts,  Virtually all businesses are owned
and/or operated by Indians (from India)

The main road through town; a section of
the highway that connects to other towns
on this island.

Bus "depot" and local cellular provider,

More storefronts

Bus depot adjacent to taxi stand

Surf and Turn restaurant open for business

We thought we'd try it

The view was nice
The food was superb...definitely coming back!

Heading back to the boat looking over our

Time to get the main engine out of the boat...what a surprise!
The captain pushing Shakedown with our
 dinghy, which is tied fore and aft to boat. 
Helmsman Benny and mechanic
Luka manning the cockpit

Passing the Copra Shed marina on the way
to the Ferry wharf

Fellow cruiser Jamie, adding propulsion
power from the starboard side of Shakedown

Savusavu town behind us now

The "end tie" to the wharf 

Ferry left previous day.  Making ready to haul
the engine out.  Nancy and Shane (machine
shop owner) look on

Luka and Benny securing hoist to engine

Engine out and being loaded on truck to take
it to Shane's shop

Sem (mechanic) ready to go back to shop and
tear down the engine
Time to shove off and head to our mooring

As stated in last post, we are indeed has been only nine days, but we've learned a lot, and are shocked and amazed at how quickly our engine problem has been attacked.  Two and a half months in both Nuku Hiva and American Samoa resulted in zero progress in repairing our main engine.  We expected even less here in the tiny town (pop. 3,300) of Savusavu.  But the engine is out of the boat, with a promise to have it fixed "soon"..

So far, so good.....