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Friday, June 19, 2009

June 1-3; The Sandoval's Visit (part 1)

Debra and Sandy arrived at Musket Cove June 1st, on the first flight in from Nadi, which perfectly synchronized with their arrival in Fiji. Fortunately for them they had a direct flight from Los Angeles and after clearing Fijian Customs they walked straight to the Pacific Sun (Fiji's local puddle jumper) desk for immediate departure to Malolo Lailai. We were waiting on the runway for them at the little airstrip just adjacent to the resort. It can't get much more convenient than that!
As is always asked of our visitors, they brought supplies from the homeland; items we were not able to procure in New Zealand or (definitely not) here. Some were necessities - 110 outlets, leather to repair sail clews, prescription meds; other things were wants - 3 paperback books we had ordered on Amazon and some galley goods such as cornmeal, Cajun seasoning, graham crackers, steel-cut oats, which were to be brought only on a space available basis. They were good sports about it. When we saw how small their bags were we felt badly that our products seemed to take most of the space in Sandy's bag, although he assured us otherwise. And the big bonus was that Sandy brought us movies - at least 20 of them!
We spent their first two days hanging out around Musket Cove Resort, which incidentally isn't a bad place at all to repair from a long journey. I was happy for my girl time with Debra. We visited the gift shop, walked the beach, lunched at nearby Lomani, a top-end resort on the southern end of Malolo Lailai & then went up to the top of the island to take in the incredible 360 views, bearing witness to the bountiful beauty of Fiji's waters and her isles. We introduced them to our friends from Baraka, Morning Light & (former) Elusive. We fixed them New Zealand rack of lamb their first night on board, and called it a good day indeed. Next day was windy, overcast and waves a bit too choppy to go snorkeling on the reef, so we leisurely ventured into shore for another day at the resort. Debra and I laid by the pool, read, talked, walked up the hill with Jan & Dave (Baraka) to another gift shop/gallery where she bought some very cool things, oohed and aahed at the view from that little crest, and then returned to the bar where the boys were continuing their male bonding exercises over libations. A small crowd of our cruiser friends gathered and after visiting with them for a while we all adjourned to the Island Bar for Pizza. Later that evening we joined Christine & Jaime (Morning Light) and their boat guests Erik & Gisela for a very nice dinner at the hotel's main restaurant.

Wednesday, we departed Musket Cove, sailing up toward the Yasawas. At first it was a bit choppy but good sailing. We took them past Monuriki, the island where Tom Hanks had filmed "Castaway", but decided not to stop because of the large swell that was developing. Eventually it got real uncomfortable, but for Sandy it seemed just a walk in the park while Debra continued to smile through her discomfort (she was a real trooper!). Along the way Debra spotted a group of dolphins that came alongside to play and frolic in our bow wake, leaping high into the air and putting on a big show for us. Sandy and Frank made their way up to the front of the boat to get a better look while at our nautical visitors. Then Sandy, camera in hand, laid belly to the toe-rail and began hooping and hollering at them, waving his arms down at them as though in some alien form of communication. He swore they were having a personal experience, and they must have been because our friends swan along with us for several miles. It was fun to see him having such a great time up there and to see the big smile on both his and Debra's faces. We never tire of sailing with the dolphins. Although we had wanted to make it all the way to Waya, the southern most island in the Yasawa group, we were all getting tired of the big waves, so we ducked into the bay at Navadra for the night. We really wanted to go to shore to walk among what remains of the area from "Survivor" (TV show), but could not get to shore because of the shallow coral heads. So we stayed aboard and rested for the night.

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