Our first morning I went to shore at 8:00 AM, purchased my token, walked over to the laundry room to find that I was already third in line for the machine. Women were circling like hungry wolves letting me know who was next and how the system works. I held myself from sarcastically telling them that this is not my first rodeo, and to back off with the territorial attitude. In spite of my irritation, which in my peri-menopausal state is not always easy to control, I smiled sweetly and said, "No problem, I'll just leave my bag in queue and return in 45 minutes." I returned to our boat, had coffee and breakfast with Frank, loaded my second laundry bag and returned to shore. I got there just in time to note that the load in front of mine was on the spin cycle and that some women had moved their bags in front of my bag. No problem - I was the only one in there, so as soon as the machine quit spinning I took the other person's things out, set them on top of the dryer and started my load. I placed my other bag at the end of the line behind the others and left for about 20 minutes. When I returned, my 1st load was spinning, several women were hovering and glowering as I noted that, once again, my second bag had been moved farther back. As I was removing my laundry from the washing machine a woman edged her way over as close to me as possible with a bag, poised up and ready to dump into the tub as soon as I moved away toward the dryer. Good Lord! This is what we are becoming! I really, really regret not paying the exorbitant fee that the IPY dealer wanted to charge us to install a washer/dryer back in San Diego. Now we have to wait until we get to a country that can procure for us and install a 110 V machine. New Zealand could not. Alas, I did not get my second load done and in spite of arriving at the laundry room at 7:15 the next day didn't get it in until around noon. Of the 7 days we spent here I managed to wash and dry only 3 loads of laundry. What a way to spend time in paradise!
We did get a chance to have some fun though. We were reunited with friends from Bold Spirit, Mokisha, Airwego, Charisma, Ahu, Mama Cocha and Mind the Gap. We had a couple pot luck dinners at The (island) Bar. I succumbed to a flu bug that was going around and spent a few days feverish, infirm and medicated. We were awaiting a good sailing window to head over to Vuda Pt. Marina, where we planned to make a road trip to Suva with TDM (and Baraka if they made it back from the Yasawas in time).
A couple of days before we left Musket Cove, Charisma, Mind the Gap and Airwego departed for Vanuatu. The day before we left, Mokisha headed out for some island hopping and we were saddened because we had really just gotten to know Tom and Colleen. (They along with Bold Spirit and a few others are staying in Fiji for the entire year). On the 14th, along with The Dorothy Marie, and with heavy hearts we bid a sad farewell to Kathi and Jeff and Kathi's daughter, Bailey, aboard Bold Spirit. Several of our friends took off in various directions as well; some we would run into down the way in Australia or Indonesia, others we may not see again after we part here in Fiji. Now I know how Frank felt growing up and moving around so much. You learn to cherish the good people you meet along the way and try not to take anything for granted because you just do not know where life will lead you all next.
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