June 21-June 30, 2015
Curly’s seminar ran 4 hours covering Fiji’s culture, weather, navigation and interesting history. He provided some waypoints for leaving Savusavu, heading east or west. For a small fee, he offered to provide additional support anytime we are cruising in Fiji. We bought 3 of his famous lures which he says are “guaranteed”. All we need to do it is put them in the water! We will see!
Princess Del Mar, another Canadian boat, arrived and was quickly adopted by the Canucks. A-Train had met the boat before. The skipper, a solo-sailor named Werner, is a Swiss-German Canadian. He is an interesting guy, living his dream of sailing around the world on his 35 foot 40 year old sailboat. He had been an organic farmer in the Enderby, BC. He was planning to sail around to meet up with his children in Europe at some point. One afternoon, he showed us how to bake bread. Monty, Gwen, Joanne, Serge and I packed into his cockpit while he massaged the dough and explained how it should feel like a breast. We all laughed, something more memorable for the men! He even dropped by our boats later so we could have a slice of his dense European style bread. It was tastier and healthier than any store bought! Nice to have that recipe!
We went ashore and had dinner on the veranda at the little restaurant at Waitui Marina. Most of us had fish and chips ($5 Fijian) and washed it down with a Fiji Gold beer. We enjoyed some good conversation, languishing with the view of the many boats moored in the bay.
A large cruise ship, the Sun Princess, arrived in town and Serge decided it was a good day to leave and sail up to the Cousteau Resort. We agreed and it was time to empty our heads and make water anyway. We anchored for the night and did some paddling and snorkeling. A nice change from being in the harbour.
On the 24th, Joanne announced it was Serge’s birthday and invited A-Train, Princess Del Mar and us to join them for pizza at the Copra Shed’s café, a welcome change of setting and menu.
Joanne and I took the opportunity to participate in a curry cooking class on a catamaran. It was organized by the visiting Island Cruising Association, a group of cruisers from New Zealand. Our chef, an Indian woman who also cleans boats, took us to the spice area in the market and told us what ingredients we needed. She also discussed vegetable options and how to buy them. It was interesting to learn about some common Fijian vegetables that we don’t see in North America. Then we gathered in the supermarket to buy a frozen chicken. She took it to the back and had the butcher to cut it into bite size pieces. It was easy to cook the chicken curry in a half hour when cut up, even frozen. That is a useful tip when you are near a supermarket.
We all sat around the cockpit table and sampled the four dishes she had prepared. It was very tasty and inspired me, with Monty’s help, to cook our own Indian chicken and vegetable curry dishes that evening. We went a little heavy on the hot peppers and coughed when they were frying. It was hard to breathe! The dishes were hotter than the lunch version that I had sampled in class!
Monty and I went for another bike ride to the northwest of town.
We saw some of the typical Fijian village life.
The Island Cruising Association arranged a bus trip to Labasa (pronounced Lambasa). Monty and I thought it would be good to go along, rather than taking the public bus as earlier planned. We met some cruisers from New Zealand and the US.
Labasa is a big town, with a large Indian population. It has some supermarkets and with a extensive municipal market. Each pile was about $1 Fijian
They even have a fresh fish section. We only saw frozen fish in the Savusavu market and there is no fish in the supermarkets.
On the way back, the bus took us to a resort called Palmlea Farm Lodge. The Oklahoma native and his wife have a few bures for guests and a nice restaurant with a view north to the Great Sea Reef and beyond. They have an organic garden and raise a large breed of goat that they sell to farmers wanting to start their own herd.
A sample of the lunches that were served at Palmlea:
We decided it was time to take our scuba diving certification. We met with Colin, the instructor and owner of KoroSun Dives. We went the questions in Chapter 1 and 2 of the PADI book with him one afternoon. We were supposed to start with a pool dive, but instead were invited to go out on the boat at the Cousteau Resort and do a Discover Diving day with him and his other guests. I went down for one dive, but had some problems clearing my ears, so I stayed on the boat while Monty went for a second dive. I likely had some sinus congestion from a cold I had had 10 days prior. It was a good day all the same and we saw many fish and coral and got acquainted with the gear and basic procedures. Monty had been on a dive once in Maui many years ago, but it was a first for me! I was glad I had taken the safety at sea course, so I was familiar with taking a giant step off the boat!
On June 30th, we invited our Canadian friends over for a pot luck. Werner brought a fresh Indian appetizer with a spicy dip, Gwen and Russ brought some tasty dip and crackers and rice, we made Thai chicken curry and Joanne and Serge brought two bowls of hot buttery popcorn and a delicious freshly baked cake. It was a fun evening in the cockpit.
Coming next, Canada Day and more from Savusavu!