If Samoa reminded us of our days in Georgetown, Guyana, then the country around Lautoka doubly reminds us of the year we taught in Covent Garden village on the banks of the Demerara River. Sugar: sugarcane fields, sugar refineries and a very Indian culture and population. ( Indentured workers were brought in from the same part of India to work in the both country`s sugar cane estates.)The smell of molasses is in the air, bits of cane litter the road edge as we walk into town down an avenue of royal palms. We are almost too welcomed by the shop people who are not getting much business since the recent violence associated with a coup has put off the tourist trade. It is too bad that we have so little to buy when they have so much to sell!
Lingam boarding party.
High in the rigging, I can hear the splash of the waves and the deep roar of the wind in the rigging. I can see Shiriri below me splashing swiftly through the waves and the shallow patches of the reefs.
Far across the bay from Lautoka is a little island( Malolo) that we have read about in cruising books and the resort of Musket Cove. It is the departure point for many yachts bound onwards to New Zealand or to Australia via Vanuatu or New Caledonia. Shiriri dodges among the reefs (she says she can do this on her own by now but I still insist on keeping an eye on things from high in the rigging. I like it up there.) After a few peaceful days in Vunda Point we now have twenty knots of wind that creates whitecaps on the windward side of the island and white foam on the reefs. Even in the shelter of the anchorage we struggle to row Edith back and forth to shore in the choppy waves. The grassy uplands and palms all toss and rustle in the wind that is headed still further west on a path we must travel very soon.
We meet Moonlighter here as they prepare for their crossing to New Zealand and we bake a cake for Jim`s birthday BBQ on shore. We visit with a South African yacht called Aragon who we first met in Tahiti and who like us and Francis are New Caledonia bound.
From the Journal:
Sept.21st. The forecast sounded ok this morning. A big high with 20 knots to start. We did n`t like the idea of strong winds and lumpy seas but thought this was as good as we were going to get. We wended our way north along the beaconed channel and then out to the wide channel between inshore and offshore reefs. We angled over toward the breakers and found a gap. Went over a shallow patch and then out past the surf and into a confused sea.
Here we go again. By nightfall Fiji`s blue mountains have disappeared astern.