Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Prepping Moondance

Hooking our chain to the mooring
Yup, we have been getting ol’ Moondance prepped for the cyclone season, which has been a bit of challenge.
Interlude in the Graveyard

At Vuda Point Marina, you have 3 choices for mooring your boat:  in the water, on the hardstands, or in the pits (aka The Graveyard).

We chose the water option – mainly so we don’t have to redo Moondance’s bottom next year.
Lots of boats in the marina

So, Doug has been busy securing our boat based on the Marina’s and our boat buddies suggestions.

The Marina is a big man-made circular hole (swimming pool), with a an underwater mooring.
Pretty fancy fenders - not!

You remove the anchor and then the Marina guys pull your anchor chain out to the underwater mooring (no idea what it looks like).

If a cyclone is coming, all the anchor chains are pulled tight to secure the boats.
Exploring Latouka

Then, we tied lots of fenders, plus tires (used of course) to the Moondance’s hull. 

The tires are secured by lines that run underneath our hull.  This keeps the tires from blowing up in high winds – guess this was an issue last year during Cyclone Evan.

And the last step, securing chains and line to the steel “deadmen” on the grass behind us.

Whew - a lot of work for something we hope never happens!

Plus, organizing a caretaker.  There is an approved list, so that helps, but is a little strange. 

Beautiful carving
On top of all that, we have been doing some exploring, shopping, and socializing – of course.

Along with Cheryl and Karen (s/v Interlude) we taxi’d over to Namaka for the Fiji Chef’s competition. 

It was very interesting and we learned a lot.  Unfortunately, they wouldn't let us do any tasting – rats!

Below are some pictures.  I don’t know how it tasted, but they sure did a wonderful job on the presentation.

Flying to the USA on Wednesday.  So excited!!!

PS:  We loved Namaka.  It is a small town, but has a great fruit and veggie market and 4 big stores for provisioning.  Unfortunately, the taxi rides are a bit spendy!


Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Big day at the races!

All dressed up!
Well, we didn’t know anything about it, but apparently the Melbourne Cup horse race is a big celebration and social event – plus you get to watch some horse racing!
Good spot to watch the race

The First Landing Resort came by and invited all of the Yachties over for a day of “excitement and fun”, plus Happy Hour and free nibbles.  We couldn’t resist.
Lovely Heather

They were also having a Best Hat contest. You know us, we can’t resist a chance to dress up and win some prizes!

So, we joined up with our neighbors Cheryl and Karen (s/v Interlude) and Heather (s/v Kate) and grabbed a good table and placed our bets.
Cheryl and Karen ready for the race

Not that I know anything about horse racing, but I picked the winner – Fiorente. 

He came out of nowhere to take the lead – pretty exciting!

Big Winner!
My $5 bet won me $35.  Yahoo.  Just wished I would have bet more – of course!

Plus, I think I won the Best Hat contest, which got me a free cocktail – a fresh mango smoothie.  Very tasty.

The First Landing staff also put on a very interesting Fashion show.

It was very entertaining watching these beautiful Men all dressed up (as Ladies) and strutting their stuff.

The Fashion Show - too funny!
They really knew how to work the crowd and had us all laughing.
That's a Hat!

All the Men wore these beautiful handmade woven hats – just stunning and the flowers smelled wonderful. 

I admired one of the hats and they gave it to me.  Doug looked beautiful in it don’t you think?

And another one - beautiful
So, we had a fun-filled day watching the Melbourne Races and will definitely join in again next year.

Next – we all headed over to the Sunset Bar for 1/2 price pizza night. 

Why not?

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Enjoying Vuda Point

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Moondance in her cyclone slip
As always, we have settled right into the cruising life at the Vuda Point Marina!

We are now in our permanent slip where Moondance will spend the cyclone season.
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View of the Sunset Bar - at sunset

The marina staff, plus our new neighbors Karen and Cheryl on s/v Interlude, did an excellent job of getting into this tight spot.

Backing up is not easy in a sailboat.

We have been working (very slowly) prepping Moondance for the cyclone season.
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Enjoying the pool
The rest of the time, we have been exploring and enjoying all of the activities at the marina, plus the pool at the First Landing Resort - what a treat!
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Great Reggae Band

The marina has something going on almost every night.

Friday night they have a great Reggae Band at the Sunset Bar.  Sunday from 2 – 7pm a 5-piece band plays classic rock – wonderful voices.
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Trick or Treat!
Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday are movie nights on the lawn.

And Thursday is Happy Hour from 5:30 – 6:30.  $2 beers and $3 wine – a great value. 
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Mike and Jennifer (s/v Mahili)

There is also a daily Happy Hour at the resort next door 6-7pm. 

$4.50 a beer, so not such a great deal, but they do have the pool…

We have been hanging out with Mike and Jennifer (s/v Mahili) who we met in Apia, Samoa.  Wonderful people!
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Busing to Lautoka

We all hopped the bus and headed to Lautoka. 
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The market - it is a big one!

It is about 45 minutes away by bus, but the closest place for provisioning. 

The bus is cheap – $1.60 each way.  A taxi costs about $16 each way, but they go much faster – sometimes too fast!
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Need a sari?
Lautoka is the 2nd largest city in Fiji and they have a great fruit and veggie market, plus lots of supermarkets, hardware stores, restaurants, etc..

It is a busy place, but we enjoyed wandering around!
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What a view

So, we have definitely enjoyed our first week here in Vuda Point Marina, but Savusavu is still our favorite. 

In Savusavu, we had provisioning and great cheap eats all in walking distance (plus our friends Michael and Cheryl). 

Here in Vuda Point, we have the marina and resort restaurant and stores, but everything else is a trip into Lautoka or Nadi.
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Evergreen sailing for New Zealand...

But, we are surrounded by our cruising buddies and meeting more everyday.  We will be just fine here.

Lots of boats left his week for New Zealand and Australia – even our boat buddies on Evergreen. 

We were very sad to see them go.  Hopefully, we will see them again somewhere…
Red-headed parrot finch

So, all is well aboard Moondance.

We have lots of prep work to get her cyclone ready, but 2 weeks to finish it all up. 

Plus, we are getting lots of great advice from other cruisers who have been through all of this before.  Very helpful.

Things are going so well, we are renting a car and taking a road trip to Suva. 

Our friends, Michael and Cheryl, are ferrying over from Savusavu, so we are going to see them and check out some more of Viti Levu.  Why not?

PS:  The Diwali Festival (Hindu festival of lights) is tonight, so we have lots of fireworks everywhere.  Love fireworks!