Tuesday, June 30, 2009

July 1st – Canada Day Eh!

A day in the life of a cruiser!
Actually let's start the evening before.  Sitting in the cockpit at dusk, fortunately we do not have a problem with bugs here.  The sun has gone down and we are enjoying a glass of a blended dry French red wine!  Buying wine here is always a gamble.  Most of it comes from New Zealand or Australia.  Anything else costs an arm and a leg.  This particular blend of French is quite drinkable, though our standards may have changed somewhat from the days of storing hundreds of bottles in the cellar, all individually chosen and brewed to perfection by our own personal winemaker at Grapes to Glass Winery in Victoria!  But those days are long gone and now we get by on what we can find and what we can afford.  As we gaze off into the SW, lightning flashes illuminate the horizon, forecasting the thunderstorms we have been led to expect.  But today we had enough sun to keep the batteries up so treated ourselves to a movie.  We are adding to our collection from the street vendors selling pirated movies for $1 or $2 and that is Fijian $ so really only costing half that!  Tonight's treat, 'Nim's Island', a delightfully light family story with a bit of the S Pacific thrown in!
Morning brought overcast skies but the rain seems to have paused momentarily so I remove the shattered piece of glass from the dodger to take in as a pattern.  A small blue cloud can be heard overhead but fortunately is hidden by the large gray clouds filling the sky.  Cutting a broken piece of glass out of its caulking in the heat and 99% humidity proves to be a challenge but perseverance will out and what's left of it is bundled between two pieces of plywood for transport to the glass cutting place.  Yogurt and bananas for breakfast and just as we drop the dinghy into the water, the heavens open up and a deluge sets in!  So we abandon all hope of going to town and pick up our books again.  But within the hour, the rain lightens up so we make a dash for it and with our new umbrella over us, manage to make it to the dock in a light sprinkling and decide to take a taxi for all of $4f to the glass place.  We leave it and walk downtown, stopping at an internet café to check the email as the wifi onboard was not working this morning.  We have also found an Acer laptop dealer in town and they claim they can get a new motherboard to replace the one we lost in the knockdown last fall.  So we are communicating with them to see if it is possible.  Its only about a 20 minute walk downtown so we dodge the rain, hiding under our umbrella and shuffle down among the hustle and bustle of the city core!
We find the narrow stairway going up to the small room that is Rainbow Jewelers where Linda left a pearl from Polynesia a few days ago to be mounted on a pendant.  Work like that is very inexpensive in Fiji.  The quality is a bit crude but I guess we can look back on it someday and remember how it came about!
By this time we are getting hungry and though we usually find a curry place full of locals, today we want something lighter and find some fish and chips in a mall.  A few items from the supermarket for dinner, a couple of bottles of wine and we walk back to find the glass cut and ready.  The heavens open once again and we hide under overhangs of building to hail a cab which takes us back to the dilapidated fisheries dock and our dinghy.
Shuffling carefully down the slippery ramp and around the holes and piles of rubble, we load our treasures in the dinghy and climb aboard under a light rain. We cast off and much to my surprise the pull cord on the outboard does not return and the engine did not start.  As we drift away from the dock and the rain begins in earnest, the little blue cloud can once again be heard to hover over me!  But I pull the cover off the top of the outboard and jump back as the tail of a coral snake greets me thrashing from within the top of the engine!  Seems one of the little guys has crawled up inside and when I pulled the cord, I must have wrapped it around the spring.  Now what?  I can't see the snake as he is now buried inside the pulley the starter cord wraps around to crank the engine.  Hmmmm!  So I poke the end of the umbrella along the edge trying to rewind it manually.  Remember these little coral snakes, though not aggressive, are one of the most venomous snakes in the world and this guy is probably not happy at the moment!  For more info check out 
I managed to rewind the cord, the tail of the snake disappearing in the process and give it a yank, hoping to release the snake and the engine but to no avail.  Once more, I rewound it manually and gave it a yank!  This time Linda, who likes snakes about as much as Indiana Jones does, lets out a shriek that has me jumping up and down in the dinghy in the rain, thinking the thing has gotten loose and is about to attack me!  Then I notice about 4 inches of snake, the tail end, lying in the bottom of the dinghy.  I guess cranking the cord ripped it up inside and it must be wound around the pulley.  At this point the rain is starting in earnest and the wind is picking up so we row our way out to Toketie and unload our precious cargo, leaving the poor Laticauda colubrina, or what's left of it, to fend for itself inside the outboard.
We are soaked to the skin but having replaced the hot water heater only days before, hot showers were in order.
This followed by a bottle of bubbly they threw in when we bought the wine and much laughing about how the day went.  So warm and dry and home again with a new piece of glass that might get put in tomorrow, weather permitting.
A stiff rum and coke, some wine with a fresh pasta dinner and cruiser's midnight sneaks up on us at the usual 9PM!  
As we drift off, exhausted, dreaming of snakes, we wonder what tomorrow might bring!

No comments: