Day 18, Year 2: Warming Up in Suva
Date: Saturday, May 12, 2007
Weather Today: Sunny and VERY Warm
Location: Suva, Fiji

It is warm here. When all of us were in New Zealand, all we could talk about was heading north to warmer weather. Well, we certainly have warmer weather and it is taking a little time to get used to it. I worked on the back deck this morning doing the laundry, and by the time I got the clothes hung and went back into the cockpit, I was exhaused from the heat. I took a break and then went back out and cleaned the dinghy so I could put UV protectorant on it. Again, when I was finished and got back into the cockpit, it took a while for me to cool down. After lunch, we both read for a bit and then we headed into downtown Suva. Paul and Marie of Ranger and their crew members, Sandy and Chuck were in the Yacht Club. Marie came over to explain to us that Paul’s daughter had emailed that Paul’s father has been hospitalized and is in critical condition. Paul and Marie are on standby until they can find out a little more, but they will probably be flying home early in the week. Chuck and Sandy are staying in a hotel on land, but they came to the Yacht Club to tell Paul and Marie that Chuck has decided to fly home early. He and Sandy were supposed to be here until the end of May, but it appears that our rough passage made Chuck have second thoughts about continuing to cruise. Sandy and her husband who died about a year ago were long distance cruisers and she has decided to stay here. She would love to find a boat that could use her as crew so she could stay out here a little longer. If Paul and Marie have to fly home, she will stay on the boat to watch things for them.

Mark and I then walked into town. The Yacht Club is right across the street from the penitentiary. You can’t see this when you are on the inside of the club gates, but once outside, it is very predominent. The walk to town is along the working waterfront, so that is not such a pretty picture either. Suva is a big city and it suffers from all of the problems big cities have, but we enjoyed walking the main street and strolling through the food market. It is by far the biggest we have seen. It was late on Saturday afternoon, so we didn’t see the market in full swing. We will certainly return earlier in the day and see what it is like then. We found an internet cafe and bought a wireless card that can be used in various hot spots around town. We’ll have to try that out tomorrow. We walked as far as a mid-town park and then headed back to the Yacht Club. We walked to the bus station near the market and decided to hop on a bus for the ride home. Busses are predominant here as there are so many of them. And every one is filled to the hilt with people. At least three people sit in every seat intended for two and the aisles are full as well. We were the first ones off, so everyone in the aisle in front of us had to get off before we could get out. It only costs 40 cents to go anywhere, so it is a good deal if you can handle the crowds. We got back to the club and headed for the showers. We then took a quick trip out to the boat to drop off some things and then it was time or dinner.

Chuck picked the place for dinner tonight. It was the Malt House Brewery & Restaurant. We drank Malt House homebrew and then had dinner. It was certainly nothing to write home about even though it had had a great review in Lonely Planet. The food was certainly okay, but not the most creative dishes in Fiji as stated in the LP guide. Tomorrow morning Paul and Marie and Mark and I are going to go to the Centenary Methodist Church to hear the singing and then I think we are taking the rest of the day off. We’ll just sit in the cockpit and acclimate to the new temperature.

070512 Day 18 Viti Levu, Fiji–Damaged Solar Panel and Stanchion