We arrived in the dark at 5:30 AM, to a happily floating and well cared for Destiny. We hauled our bags across the dirt parking lot, over the soot covered walkways and down the dock, carefully wiping off all the grunge as we lifted them into the cockpit. We were systematically stowing everything as the sun slowly began its morning wake up yawn and stretch, casting beautiful mango, strawberry and lemon colored streaks across the sky from the horizon. It was going to be a beautiful day. We stopped unpacking long enough to enjoy the sunrise over a pot of coffee and then got back to work. Before long we were on the phone to marine vendors, trying to wrap up our business with them so that we could get a move on. All the while friends stopped by to welcome us back to Fiji. It felt good to be home. Keith and Christine from s/v Achates also stopped by for a quick "hello" on their way to deliver their Aussie friend Gwyn to the airport, giving us a chance to finally thank them in person for bringing our new generator pump up with them when they sailed from NZ. The docks began bristling back to life and we joined right in the gathering momentum as life at the port came to full swing. As is usually the case, some of our work got done while we were gone, but others figured since we would be away for a while they had plenty of time to get to Destiny's needs, meaning they had not got to Destiny's needs yet. So instead of leaving as planned on Friday, we stayed at the marina until Tuesday.
We had a good time at Denarau. We shopped and dined with Keith and Christine a couple of times, took some nice long walks over to the various resorts. We got the invite from Sereana to visit SuRi, whose name is derived from the first two letters of the owner's first names. They are Americans from Seattle who had the boat refitted in NZ just recently. It looked a lot nicer and much larger than it had when we saw it in December. It is quite impressive and has not only a very large crew who see to all the comforts of home, but a huge garage full of big boy toys complete with a helicopter, a hovercraft, a beautiful classic wood boat similar to an original Chris Craft, and many other very nice touches. We felt so small being just a few slips down in the same marina. Destiny seemed dwarfed by the many large yachts around her, reminding us that there is some big money out on the water and lots of it comes to Fiji.
On Tuesday, the 24th, we finally got away to Musket Cove intending to kick back for a few days before departing for Vanuatu. Frank had wanted to get going by Friday; I was hoping we could wait until Monday because I just did not want to leave Fiji. I love it here, and for some reason she and her people have nestled into a very special corner of my heart. Musket Cove was quiet and felt a little empty in spite of the fact that several boats remained in the anchorage. Everyone we know, except for Achates had either departed for Vanuatu weeks ago or was cruising elsewhere.
We fell back into our routine of long hikes in the early mornings (with Keith and Christine), followed by a trip to the bakery, then back on board to take care of whatever chores we had on our to-do list for that day. Then after lunch we would either read books by the pool or have a swim, before meeting our friends up at the island bar and have dinner. A couple of times we deviated from routine to play a game of "Qwirkle", otherwise we just took it easy and watched the weather for our "departure window". We had just about decided to leave on Friday when we received a message from Ian and Julia on Moasi, asking us to please wait for them. They were trying to get to Musket Cove in time to sail the passage to Vanuatu along with us. We agreed. They arrived on Sat. and because they'd never been to this resort we stayed until Tuesday to give them a chance to have some fun with us all. I was thrilled to have them as a buddy boat for the passage and doubly thrilled to get to spend a little more time with Keith and Christine at Musket Cove.
Tuesday, we got to have our final hike with our friends and then sailed over to Lautoka in the late afternoon. On Wed, we went into town to handle final provisioning and to clear Customs and Immigration, and then snuck around the corner to Saweni Bay to spend the night (illegally). Thursday morning, we weighed anchor at 6:30 AM and headed west. Destination: Tanna, Vanuatu.
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