Monday, June 28, 2010

Andre's book!

Our good friend Andre that we met under very unusual circumstances in Mexico a few years ago has just had a book published.  His views are very direct, always entertaining and contain layers of meaning. 

You can find it online or through and it's called "Oceanborne Madness??? A self-alleged Aliens views about Humanity"

The weak in spirit need not apply!

Thursday, June 24, 2010


Toketie afloat once more!  The crew are very happy!!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Toketie painted!

Most of the hardware has been bolted back on....still lots to hook up and stow....very pleased with the new paint job!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Monday, June 14, 2010

Back in the marina!

Well, I have moved out of Abdul's house....I'm sure the cockroaches(those that survived) will appreciate having the place to themselves!  I am still not on board Toketie at night as I have sanded the floors and am varnishing them, between putting the portholes and deck hardware back on.  Our friends Russ and Sue on Antipodean are off travelling for a week and I am boat sitting for them while they are away. 

Friday, June 11, 2010

Deck painting finished!

Big day yesterday!  Rolled on the anti they pulled the tape off.  I sanded the floor inside all day!  Only eight days till the admiral arrives....have to get this old bucket shipshape!!
Pictures to follow......on a side note, one Fijian, a security guard at the marina, is renting a few doors down from me.....he invited me over for kava but I have not been able to make it yet!

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Moce! Moce!

pronounced 'mote' means goodnight or goodbye in are the boys heading home after a long day making Toketie look pretty again!


I was sitting on the picnic table outside the marina café this morning, hiding from the sun, and watching the activity on Toketie across the way.  Mohammed, Abdul's brother, and currently my neighbour, also a taxi driver, was sitting beside me.  Naturally the conversation turned to religion and after agreeing that most religions were basically the same in terms of having one God, Mohammed said God makes one path and man makes many!  By this he meant the distinctions between Moslem and Christian or any other variation on the theme.  So I asked him if he had been on the Hajj ( or حج‎ in Arabic) which is the annual pilgrimage to Mecca, Saudi Arabia. It is currently the largest annual pilgrimage in the world, and is the fifth pillar of Islam, a religious duty that must be carried out at least once in their lifetime by every able-bodied Muslim who can afford to do so. The Hajj is a demonstration of the solidarity of the Muslim people, and their submission to God (Allah in the Arabic language).  The Hajj is associated with the life of Islamic prophet Muhammad from the 7th century, but the ritual of pilgrimage to Mecca is considered by Muslims to stretch back thousands of years to the time of Ibrahim (Abraham).  Well Mohammed had not as he could not afford it but he did have in-laws who have been several times.  Abraham sounded familiar from a previous incarnation of mine and I wondered how it was that people could stray so far from their roots.  But Mohammed had a fare to attend to and I wandered back to watch them spray several coats of paint on Toketie's decks, marvelling at what an interesting life it is at times!

Monday, June 07, 2010

Hindu Temple

...the community seems to include Hindus as well as Muslims...though I have yet to meet one of them.  Their Temple sits along the road to Abdul's house and I did see someone sweeping the dooway this morning.....the stupa in the background has a painting of Hanuman, the monkey king on it......if I recall my E religion classes.....

Sunday, June 06, 2010

Sugarcane train!

If I'm still around when they start cutting the cane and hauling it to the mill in Lautoka, I will get a shot of the cars loaded with stalks of sugarcane.  This is the work crew heading back to town!

Saturday, June 05, 2010

Abdul's house

....mentioned to Abdul in passing today that I had a couple of cockroaches scurrying around last night....without missing a heartbeat, he said "well, keel them".....and I responded "I did"!!

Sugarcane train track!

....miles from nowhere....

Thursday, June 03, 2010

8:08 Special

So I rode the train into work today!  No seriously!  You might well wonder how that is possible. 

Running parallel to the road to Abdul's house is a small gauge railway track.  It is used by the miniature locomotives that haul the miniature flatbed cars loaded with sugarcane stalks to the mill in Lautoka.  Probably close to par with tourism on the west side of Viti Levu, the sugar refinery is often a bane to cruisers who anchor in front of it to check into Fiji.  The fine black soot from the chimney makes for very messy decks.  

But this morning as I stumbled bleary eyed and coffee less out the front door of Abdul's house at 8:05, running behind my usual scheduled 7AM departure, I found what looked like a caboose with open benches on both sides and the engineer controlling it by a large lever in the center, working its way slowly down the track.  Eyeing an opportunity too good to be missed and thinking how much sooner I could get that long black coffee to go, I waved and gave them the Bula Bula greeting common in Fiji.  I was soon aboard and clickety clacking my way down the track with only one stop and a quick reverse of the engines….to pick up some coconuts that had fallen by the wayside!  These four friendly fellows were a maintenance crew and were examining the track in readiness for the sugar cane harvest that would start later this month and run through to September.  Jumping off at the marina entrance with a friendly wave, I scored my coffee and made my way around to find the crew getting set up for another day on Toketie's decks.  The day went well, lots of sanding and filling and I slipped away in the afternoon for a dip in the pool at the resort, having to buy a cold Fiji Bitter to justify my transgression.


these little fellows love the paper lanterns.....they attract lots of bugs....

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Ode to Cat Stevens!

.....or ongoing adventures in Abdul's house


If the reference is too obscure, look it up!  No, I have not converted to Islam….yet!  But if these peaceful people are any indication, I can understand why someone might consider it!  Being more of a Hindu, however, in spirit at least, I am finally feeling part of the community.  This morning started at 7, long after the roosters had announced it, and after my daily ritual ablutions, I locked the door and started the trek down the road from Abdul's house.  In no time, a car pulled over and picked me up.  Turned out to be Fayez, Abdul's son.  Abdul 2's son that is, the one who is away in New Zealand at the moment.  Very friendly young man who only drove taxi on the weekends.  Today he was on his way into Nadi to his job selling cars at the dealership.  The Abdul family are definitely movers if not shakers!

A long day at the marina with many ups and downs, not only on the ladder.  The welding job on the bowsprit had been going sideways yesterday so a call to the boss had him show up this morning to see how things were progressing.  A few steps backwards, removing some of the work, and forward again to what we hope is a proper solution.  Interlude on Camdeboo with a screwdriver to check their anodes….seems we will be going ahead with some refitting there as well.

And the Toketie decks were buzzing with bodies but not much seemed to be changing!  Turns out they have been waiting two days for a couple of bags of silica sand to complete the sandblasting (all those spots I found that they overlooked the first round).  A phone call to the boss again, who is in Suva for the week, but still accessible and not satisfied with that, I made my way up to their workshop and found the foreman who was filling in.  More phone calls and the missing sand is on a truck and presto the truck goes whizzing by!  So we hitched up the compressor, grabbed the spare gas can and back to Toketie, waiting patiently in the sweltering humidity of an overcast sky, threatening rain any moment.  But the gods were kind and they blasted away while the welder welded away and they all had to work till dark to get the primer on the sandblasted parts.  So lots got done, we dodged the rain bullet again and all I had to do was make my way back to Abdul's house! 

Recalling how pleasant a walk I described only days ago, I set out again!  The security guard said a bus was due about now but having learnt what 'about now' means in Fiji, I did not wait for it.  Half way down the road, with the bugs chasing me and the darkness all around, a car came up and pulled over….this time it was Ali, Abdul's nephew.  Another very pleasant young man and also in the taxi driving business…but apparently for someone renting Abdul's house, all local taxi rides are gratis!  He pulled over near his house to talk to his friend along the road, a burst of East Indian dialect and the only phrase I caught was 'Temple of Gold'….movie night for the guys….a Bollywood special!

Back in my bungalow, the clink of ice cubes and it's a hot shower and Bounty Rum night before diving into 'Lord Jim' that I traded a spy novel for in the general store.