Fijian Welcome


Envionmental inspection comes on board at 1130. We spent the morning cleaning the b’jesus out of the interior. Little bits of mold in many places. Debris in too many odd spots. So it was a good thing the customs process started so late.

Environmental guy, Wilson, was very nice and our foodstuffs passed his scrutiny. He nuked the boat interior with anti mosquito stuff. As I was speaking to Wilson in the cockpit, I noted one of the flying ants on the floor. Hmmm bummer. Without drawing attention I crushed him with my toe. Don’t want to be having a flying ant discussion with an environmental inspector. Then to shore. A crew of Fijians came to the dock to sing us a welcome. We are only one boat! Over the top welcome. Then on to customs. A woman behind the counter there asks if we have any fresh fruit or eggs. We do I tell her. Wison gave these things a pass, but I don’t mention that. She is not pleased with her coworkers! “Now I have to board your boat!” Off she stomps and the eggs and bananas do not pass. We also lose canned meat of all things. My beloved Spam goes. Canned chicken goes.

After I make it through customs I check in to the marina and apply for a Cruising Permit. We should have that in hand by tomorrow.

Thoughts on customs. The process here is circuitous and not always logical as in most countries. But the attitude of the staff is universally friendly and helpful. So I’d have to say best customs experience since leaving Mexico.

Next is Propane. The fuel depot is about a block away. I carry the fuel tanks over and discover they have butane primarily but propane too in tanks that are not set up for filling mine. I explain that propane is for my outboard motor and that butane does not work. They tell me they can do it. Just come by tomorrow am to pick up.


I am at the gas depot at 8 am and there was a problem. Tanks not filled. But come back at noon. Ok. Back at noon. Before i can tell him why I’m here the gate attendant says “oh, well. You’re the propane guy.” And the clock ticks on my 15 minutes of “propane guy” fame. And the tanks are ready. I was beginning to doubt! Deliver the propane tanks back to SpilltheWine. Collect boat papers. Taxi to the customs office at the wharf in Lautoka. My Cruising Permit is properly authorized and stamped. Stamps are very important in the world of customs. Stickers sometimes too.

While I have been fooling around with gas and customs Nancy, Willow and Kat go to town to round up food. Also mission critical! We get it all together and fund that our plans to depart today are void. Too late to sail. Too soon dark. Ok, one more night in Vuda Marina.

Which is an odd marina. It is round. The boats tie bow or stern to the stone perimeter wall. Then you tie to an anchor towards the center of the basin. And the boats are quite close to one another. There are no finger piers. Makes getting on and off the boats rather exciting. Leap of death off the bow is what it amounts to. In any case the staff is awesome but apart from them I’d rather not spend too much time here.


We get ready to go. I pay the bill at the marina office. Then off we go. Me, Nancy, Willow, Kat and Huub. We start out with main and jib at 10 kts. Later we stow the jib and fly the asymmetric spinnaker. Things go great until the wind takes a lunch break. And we motor for a bit. Gotta get shelter before dark. Too many reefs here for night sailing.

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