We pulled into the marina of the smallest, busiest port in all of Fiji. This is where tourists who have just landed at Nadi International Airport pour out of the buses and taxis to board the water shuttles that will take them to their island vacation in paradise at one of Fiji's thousands of incredibly beautiful resorts. It is also where the shuttles return those sunburned yet very well vacationed tourists, laden with Fiji's finest "handicrafts", Bula Shirts, dresses and packets of dried Kava to the depot where they will be whisked off to the airport for their flight back to civilization and the stresses of every day living. Since our visit to Fiji last year, Port Denarau has grown ten-fold. The waterfront is now completely built out with restaurants, tour operators' headquarters, souvenir shops, clothing stores, ice cream shops, grocery stores, jewelry stores, and so on. It is a bustling hub for those who want to eat good food, shop until they drop and even hit the pharmacy on the way in or out. We loved the energy of Port Denarau.
Here also are yachts of every description and size; 20 ft all the way up to 200 ft in length. They are anchored in the bay, Med Moored stern-to at the older dock and berthed at the newest pier. Destiny will be left on the new dock where she will (hopefully) safely spend the next 30 or so days. She is flanked by two HUGE motor yachts. We feel very small, yet quite pleased with this arrangement. We are flying home to the US on the 22nd. When we arrive in Los Angeles, we will each board another flight to separate destinations for a couple of weeks: I to Houston to see my daughter's new house, visit with my parents, friends and to hopefully see my sis and her family in the Dallas area; Frank will fly to Virginia to visit his mom, sis and my brother and all of their offspring. He will then jet to Colombia, Missouri to attend the wedding celebration of his very dear friend, Lee Baumann. We could not both do it all; therefore we had to make choices to maximize the visit home. Besides, this will be good for us both to have a little space from one another after living within a 50-foot floating condo.
After getting hooked up and secured in our berth, we made reservations with the canvas maker to book in some repairs, order "clears" for the cockpit, and paid a visit to Baobab Marine to see about getting some pumps and an alternator reconditioned. Then we went over to the Hard Rock Café to meet Jock and Leanne Tucker ("Just In Time"), and their daughter Kelly who is here for a nice long visit. After a welcome beer at the HRC, we grabbed a quick pizza to fortify us for shopping because the girls had plans! Apparently the boys did as well, and that was to move from bar to bar in an effort to absorb the full flavor of Denarau's hospitality. We suspect it was to avoid being observed by us as we moved from store to store, because we implored them not to just sit and drink all day. Just like kids worrying over getting their hands caught in the cookie jar, they practiced stealthy maneuvers. We girls loaded our bags with dresses, swimsuits ("togs" in Kiwi), t-shirts and gifts. Then we located the men at Lulu's Bar and Café where we rested for a bit before adjourning to clean up and meet back at the Hard Rock Cafe for dinner.
The Tuckers left the next day to take Kelly away for her Fiji vacation and we bid them farewell before getting into a cab for Nadi town where we had some business to take care of before leaving the country. We will not likely see Jock and Leanne and most of our cruising friends again until Vanuatu in mid-Sept. The remainder of our time in Denarau was utilized preparing for our trip home and getting everything settled aboard Destiny before leaving her for 4 weeks.
The 22nd arrived all too quickly, and before we knew it we were boarding our Air Pacific flight for LAX. It is a nice 11-hour overnighter, and crossing the International Dateline we will gain a day, putting us into LA at 1:30 in the afternoon on July 22nd.