Friday, January 1, 2016

Vuda Point Marina, Fiji   2015

We thought we would only be gone for a few months in order for Jim to get some more reconstruction surgery done but it was a full year before we returned to our Kelaerin in Fiji.    In the meantime Jim went through 3 more surgeries, our daughter moved out of the house in Tucson and we decided to sell it in order to free ourselves up for what we think is the final phase of cruising for us.

Leaving a boat behind for a year is generally not a good thing.   When you get back you have to fix just about everything.   Our refrigeration went out while in the Solomons, we replaced the compressor in Fiji and it worked, but when we returned a year later we discovered we had a leak in the system which turned out to be in the evaporator plate.   Our hull paint job had faded out and we got an excellent quote this time from a new outfit operating in Vuda Point Marina called Yuve.   In just a few weeks we had Kelaerin spiffed up quite a lot.   Here's a picture of Jim taking a picture reflected off the new paint job.

One of the things we noticed when we hauled in September of 2014 was that all, and I mean ALL of our rudder bolts were sheared off at the head.    We're pretty sure the stainless bolts we purchased (we could not get bronze) in Subic Bay were of inferior Chinese stainless and that we inadvertantly knocked off the heads when we were scraping the bottom of marine growth that had accumulated in Palau while we were back in the states for a year.   Issue has since been resolved with bronze bolts installed this year.  

Because of all the work we had to do, we spent the 7 weeks we were in Fiji this year all in the marina either on the hardstand or in the water so we didn't get to cruise around Fiji.   But life in the Marina was not so bad.    There was a lot of friendly get togethers, especially at the Sunset Bar on the point.  Friends, Walt and Jane of Callisto were still there.   On Wednesday afternoons the chef gave cooking lessons and taste tests of local food.    There's a million ways to prepare taro and taro leaves and nearly all recipes involve coconut creme.

One of the restaurant's events was Octoberfest and our favorite waiters and waitresses dressed up in costume.  

The staff was always friendly.   Here's Maria and Nikki who couldn't have been more helpful.

We hired a day worker, Masi, who did most of the prepping of the exterior wood for me so I could varnish.

Mary used to work at the marina store but she moved out on her own with a little stand by the bus stop selling sandwiches, cold pressed juices and a few fresh veggies.

THe only downside of being in the marina were the crowded conditions along the wall.   The platforms that extended out to the boats were fixed so they didn't adjust with the tide.    You could be looking at a pretty good climb to get off your boat or an abseil to get back on again.   You can see in this picture the ladder we used is at a challenging angle, and it got worse as the tide went out.

We decided to go to New Zealand after all and on October 26, left Vuda and Fiji for the nearly 10 day crossing to Opua, New Zealand.

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