02 Jul Savusavu, Fiji
We arrived in Savusavu on Friday, June 21 (our days will be getting longer here in the Southern Hemisphere, Happy Solstice)! After we were visited by Health, Immigration and Biosecurity and given clearance, we strolled into town to find an ATM and reconnoiter Savusavu. Our main task of the afternoon was to get Fijian dollars and take our payment to Revenue and Customs. It was a beautiful sunny, humid day, which unfortunately meant that walking around town was hot and uncomfortable, we had arrived in the Tropics!
After our exploration around the busy city of Savusavu, we went back to the Copra Shed Marina “Yacht Club” for cold drinks and an enjoyable dinner with friends from Starlet and Harlequin. Lisa, Jennifer and I set up a date for Saturday morning at 9:00 am to go to the Town “Farmers” market and do some other shopping.
The Town market is just up the street from the marina, about mid-way through town. We wandered through the groups of locals hanging around in the park and bus centre. The market is spread over a fairly large area, stretching from the Bus Centre to Namaka Creek. Closest to the street are seemingly makeshift “booths” with pop-up’s or tarps as roof for shade. The fruits and veggies are spread out on tables and most vendors seem to be selling similar produce. Some have only a few items while others have a wider selection. As we wander through the 50 or so vendors, we buy a few things here and there. As we are wandering around, I retreat to the shade whenever possible, as I am already feeling the effects of the heat and humidity.
We make our way into a more permanent structure, which is constructed of wooden posts with a tin roof, where additional vendors are located. Here we see more of the same produce being sold, but also find a woman selling her jewelry, and a kava vendor.
As our provisions of fresh food on Maia were low, I continued to purchase more produce and am getting fairly overburdened with all my purchases. I look out from the market into the harbor and I notice Maia is close by! I message Dick as we have internet, and he comes by in the dingy and relieves me of all the purchases including a flat of eggs!
The girls & I continue our morning outing. As we are leaving the market, I see a guy selling mandarin oranges. I buy a stack of about 6 and have a snack. The mandarins look green but are very juicy and refreshing on the hot morning. We make our way towards a dance event we were told about from the lovely customs official. When we arrive, we are disappointed as it appears to be an event put on by a chicken and snack company, who are selling junk food and currently no one is dancing. Is it because of the heat of the day?
We decide to do more shopping and make our way through town. After stopping in several stores and buying more things, ($3 liters of Perrier in glass bottles!) we come upon a jewelry store, Jennifer had wanted to stop into. As we enter, we are greeted by a vivacious young girl (4 yrs) who is bouncing off the walls. Her mother, the young shop keeper apologizes as she says her daughter is usually not like this. As I am enjoying a chair, I spy the culprit of the overly enthusiastic young lady, orange soda! (This brings back memories of Trevor’s 5th birthday party, where orange soda was served, and the energy of the party increased at least 10 fold.)
Mark met us at the Jewelry store, and we headed to the Kava store. Not impressed with the quality, we made our way back to the town market. By this time, I was done, over-heated and I looked it. (My face was all red and I had been wiping sweat off of it for several hours.) I called Dick and he dingyed over and picked me up. When I got aboard, I took a cool shower and a nap, and I felt better once I woke up.
On Sunday afternoon we went to a Fiji cruising seminar by Curly. Curly is well known in the cruising community, he is originally from NZed and has been living and cruising around Fiji for many years. He talked about his favorite routes and gave us waypoints for different passages down to the Big Island, Viti Levu. It was informative and were glad to have the resource available if we choose to stay in contact and get future routing information.
While sitting in Maia’s cockpit one afternoon we notice a sailboat puttering nearby. As we look at the transom, we see the boat name, Sweet Dream, then we see the hailing port, PARK CITY, Utah!!! We call on the radio, introduce ourselves. As it turns out Frank Larsen (Lars), lived in our Park Meadows neighborhood, before starting to cruise. (Lars with his crew Laura are also sailing around the world, but at a much quicker pace on the World Arc.) As circumstances had it, they left the harbor that afternoon and we did not get to meet in person.
Monday was a business day, finally meeting with the marina staff, applying for our Cruising permit, getting a local sim card for internet access and more. We were slowly acclimatizing to the heat and humidity. We were hoping to get on our way quickly to start cruising, however it wasn’t until the following Monday that we were on our way. Besides waiting for our cruising permit, some rain and wind arrived, which made us stay put a little longer.
On the Sunday before we left a Cruise Ship arrived in Savusavu. It was fun to see the Marina and Village transform. Outside of the Marina along the sidewalks, 20 or so booths were set up with Crafts and tourist paraphernalia. There was a band playing from 11:00 am into the evening at the Marina. We enjoyed strolling through town and drinking some cold ones at the Marina bar.