We had a fine visit at Suva, Fiji. After an excellent sailing passage from Tonga with a great pilot taking us up the channel into Suva, we anchored the Picton Castle at Walu Bay which is the industrial corner of Suva Harbour. From here we were welcomed at the Royal Suva Yacht Club (RSYC) as a base. The RSYC, once a bastion of imperial exclusion, is now a delightful local waterfront community centre welcoming international sailors and local boating events, including sailing classes for Fijian kids. And the staff at the bar and restaurant are a delight. Hats off to Dorothy!
Suva is a bustling, steamy tropical city full of life and colour. Also a very effective place to get things done for ship like ours. Need to get something sorted for your ship? Good to be in Suva. Things to do included filling up our cooking gas bottles, big galley food shop to get us to Bali, marine supplies in abundance as this port serves a large fishing fleet. Folks got to dentists, optometrists and other medical specialties. And the country to explore.
Mr Peter Whippy and son David Whippy are sixth and seventh generation descendants of a Nantucket shipwright, David Whippy, who settled here and made a name for himself. And produced generations of shipwrights down to this day. The Whippys did some fine repairs to our Monomoy long boat in short order and replaced four stantions of the main and foremast fife rails in beautiful Fijian mahogany. Try doing this on short notice somewhere else! We have drydocked here in the past and while hectic, it always has been satisfactory for the ship, hardworking and effective.
Tammy and I got to visit with Muhamed and Zubida Iraq, dear friends from many visits. Muhamed has stall #65 at the Handicraft Market. They hosted us and a few crew at their home for a big Indian feast. I could go on but maybe another time.
Drying sails can be hard at Suva as it rains plenty on the rain catching windward side of the island of Viti Levu. But the gang managed to get the topsides painted anyway. Not much varnish work going on, nope. At anchor in the still harbor we were witness to the coming and goings of many ships; freighters, container ships, tankers, cruise ships and the endless shift about of Asian longliners was a daily show. And a couple longliners up on the reef as a warning too.
Chinese restaurants and Indian restaurants everywhere and all are good. Even the food courts put out an excellent meal.
Crew got a lot of training and practice in small boat handling on the skiff runs between ship and shore. I am pleased to say that all are making good progress building up their small boat skills. Smooth landings at the yacht club leaving no wake on approaches and good landings at the ship too. They are learning not to bash ship or dock…
Between the great shops and the huge outdoor market for produce, provisioning the ship was a breeze for ship’s cook Donald and his helpers.
Much thanks goes to our fine agent and gentleman who helped us so much while in Fiji, Mr. Walter Williams.
And then we sailed for Vanuatu. Our same pilot took us out and soon we were under sail again, bound ever westward in good sailing conditions and southeast breeze on the port quarter.