Friday, June 12, 2009

Waiting for Godot!

That is Godot, the fuel pump…with apologies to Samuel Beckett!

Hard to believe we have been in Suva for 2 ½ weeks now. The Eastern side of the islands really is the rainy side, although we did have a few nice sunny days recently. The village of Lami is nearby and it is a short walk in for bread and eggs. The Fisheries dock where we park the dinghy though is falling apart. That does not seem to deter the workboats that are crowded around it. But it is no longer connected to the wharf and two planks with boards nailed across them allow access between the semi-submerged, somewhat afloat section of dock and the concrete wharf. One treads carefully up and down this slope that varies with the tide, trying not to step into the holes that would easily submit your entire leg to the murky waters below. Our neighbors on the only other yacht moored in the bay tell us they have found small black and white banded, highly venomous sea snakes in their dinghy several times now. We have not been so fortunate yet!

Water is available at the wharf. Our hose fittings do not fit so we cannot use the filter. On asking if we could fill some jugs with water to carry back, the workers on the dock directed me to the Fisheries building about 10 minutes down the road and said to talk to Saresh. Well I found him and he was a very busy looking official with piles of paper on his desk. Once he realized we did not want to pull Toketie up to the dock but only wanted to fill some jugs with water, he was quite relieved and directed us to Captain Liga (pronounced Linga) who is responsible for security at the dock. Liability was his major concern!

The bustling downtown city of Suva is only a 20 minute bus ride away and at $1.60Fijian (about .85Cdn) for both of us, it is fast and easy to ride the noisy, diesel fumed, public transport filled with easy going Fijians, East Indians and a pot pourri of Melanesian culture. Riding home last night as the sun was setting, the whole city was alive with people looking forward to a long weekend. We thought NZ drivers were aggressive! Here, they are crazy! But its all done lightly and no one shouts at anyone, the horn honking is carried out with big smiles and a complete lack of competitiveness or at least a general acknowledgement that it doesn't really matter who gets there first. The whole city reminds me a lot of India, the smell of street vendors preparing cheap food for the workers mingled with the faint odor of raw sewage in the humid tropical air.

On board Toketie, we have managed to completely remove, disassemble and strip down three of the portholes, a project we meant to do in NZ but never had enough dry weather to carry out. The metal behind the portholes was worn over time and rust was seeping out the edges. It was a bigger job than anticipated, always is somehow, but they are all re-sealed and re-painted inside, with new rubber gaskets and should hopefully last another 20 years. Only 7 more to go! The sandy beach on the island around the corner beckons. Maybe today we will take the dinghy around and explore it. A local told us it is municipal property with a caretaker living on it and it costs $1F to use the beach.

Thunderstorms forecast for later this evening, then more sun and rain tomorrow. Meanwhile time is drifting away as the rhythms of Fiji blend one day into another. Looking forward to getting out and exploring some of the more remote islands, swimming in crystal clear coral lagoons and meeting the locals!

No comments: