Day 98, Year 2: Back to the Mainland
Date: Tuesday, July 31, 2007
Weather: Mostly Cloudy Day; Some Sprinkles
Latitude: S 17 degrees 45.560 minutes
Longitude: E 177 degrees 22.835 minutes
Location: Denarau, Viti Levu, Fiji

Once again the weather rules. When weather was downloaded this morning, we saw that today and tomorrow were going to be days of light wind, and then Thursday and Friday are supposed to be days with 15-20 knots from the east. This meant it was best to head back east to the mainland today or tomorrow and get ready to leave for Vanuatu as soon as possible. So the decision was made to go snorkeling and then leave Mana to go back to Denarau today. Provisioning will happen tomorrow, and then on to
Lautoka on Thursday to check-out of Fiji. This is much faster than I had anticipated, but as I have said before, I know it is time to move on. I just love it here in Fiji and am having a hard time convincing myself that there are other places in the world that might be just as beautiful. I had hoped to have time to try once again to send photos to our website and to talk via Skype to our children. I still hope to be able to talk to them on our Thursday morning, their Wednesday afternoon, but
I’ll just have to try again with photos in Vanuatu. I did send a CD full of pictures to our son Justin a couple of weeks ago and I’m hoping he will be able to post the photos of our first weeks in Fiji soon. The others will just have to wait. I just wish so much that I could share with you the beauty here in a more timely fashion.

Snorkeling on the outside of the reef off Mana this morning was wonderful. Paul and Marie had dived this site a few days ago, so they knew just where to take us. We snorkeled out along the edge of reef and then came back snorkeling on top of the coral. I saw a couple of fish I had never seen before and loved snorkeling along the coral wall where there were larger fish on the edge. Mark is loving the underwater camera I gave to him for his birthday. Underwater photography is tricky, but he is
capturing a good number of the different fish we see out here. The fish move quickly, so getting a great photo takes a lot of patience. We must have been out for way over an hour this morning before we headed back to the dinghies. Marie and Paul had dropped an anchor and we were tied to them. Unfortunately, the anchor line got twisted around a piece of dead coral and there was just no way to get it up. Ranger’s dinghy anchor will rest forever on the coral ledge off Mana and they will look for
a new anchor tomorrow. Even with that problem, it was a great snorkel and it might be our last in Fiji.

We arrived back in Denarau around 3 PM. We anchored outside as we did when we brought Steve here a few days ago. That means that you dinghy in about a mile or so to the marina area. We went in as soon as we got here and checked in with the marina office about bringing both Windbird and Ranger in tomorrow to get fuel and water. We made the arrangements and Mark and Paul walked over to check out the dock where we will bring the boats for refueling. Mark saw Mike on Good News, the big catamaran
that we met in the Blue Lagoon, and he went by to say hello. We then walked over to the new shopping center and checked out the “Yees” food store. Yees has those hard to find items in the South Pacific. It is very similar to a Costco. We left the shopping center, but before going back out to our boats, we dinghied over to visit with White Swan and Maggie Drum. They are both anchored inside the marina area. Actually, they weren’t there, but as we started to leave, we saw a dinghy headed our
way with four people. It was Bob and Dianna, and Joe and Cindy. We rafted up our dinghies and talked about our shopping plans and our plans for leaving here. They are also getting ready to leave for Vanuatu in the next few days, so we will probably be making the passage at the same time.

We invited Paul and Marie to stop by Windbird so that we could make our plans for tomorrow. It will be a pink and blue day. The “pinks” will take one dinghy in early in the morning and start the food shopping–ordering meat from the local butcher to be packaged and frozen and picked up on Thursday morning, going to Namaka to the big MH (Morris Headstom) grocery store for paper products, canned food, flour, noodles, etc.). The “blues” will work together to take one boat into the marina to refuel
and then anchor inside. They will then come back out and take the other boat in. Sometime around noon, the “pinks” will return with the first food from the grocery store, and then head back out again to go to the fresh food market. Once we return with the second round of food, we will get ready to go out to dinner and to a fire-walking show at one of the local resorts. It will be a full day, but we will be ready to leave for Vanuatu and that is the goal. We’ll also check weather on the internet
tomorrow which will help us with longer term planning. The weather we get via Ham radio gives us a day by day report, but it really helps to get the longer-range reports. Once we see those reports, we can make some decisions about when exactly to leave Fiji. We will check-out on Thursday with full intentions of leaving, but if the weather doesn’t cooperate, we will hang out in the out-islands until the right time to leave.

080731 Day 98 Mamanuca Group, Fiji–Mana Underwater
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