Camelot V - Update 8
Nov 2/99

Sailing Samoa to Tonga and Fiji

Muriel arrived back on schedule and after a couple of days for her to rest and get climatized we weighed anchor and motored out of the harbor. With sunny skies and a 10 knot breeze it was nice to be out of Pago Pago. Not that Pago Pago was all that bad. But, I've been here far to long. On leaving the bay we met our friends on Royal Salute on their way in and talked briefly on the radio. Would have been nice to have seen them but, that's cruising.
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Winds on the light side for a while out of Pago Pago but buy Midnight we were on the foredeck reducing sail and getting things all under control again. Then back to an easy 12 Knots on the port quarter, dropping slightly on toward Tonga.
Tonga - 'Ah' What a lovely place! The many protected islands and anchorage's make us all think of The Gulf Islands, (But A few more palm trees here). This place is a cruisers dream. The people have not yet been spoiled by tourism . The prices are not bad and most of all the people we meet are honest and genuine. Some of the locals come around to the boats selling carvings, weaved baskets and fruit. But on a very low scale sales and I find them far more as a friendly visit than as a high pressure sales trip.
We were especially fortunate in that friends we had met along the way had decided to get remarried here. So we were invited to a typical Tongan wedding. They had it all arranged buy local people and "what a treat to go"` All dressed in Tongan fashion and kava, Well, kava ain't my favorite, but the rest was good, with traditional Tongan meal after. Roast pig, breadfruit, taro root, raw fish in coconut milk and much more.
Boats are arriving every day now by about 5 or 6 a day. Boats from all over. Canada, USA, all parts of Europe and even the odd one from Africa and South America. And now many more from New Zealand and Australia as they can get this far on a one or two month holiday.
Muriel flew home from here. An unplanned trip but to see a dear and ill sister in law.
So after a few days wait for a weather window I left for Fiji alone on Sept 9. Out past the islands at 07:30 I raised sail with winds 10 knots from the south east. But the next morning when the wind died the engine would not start so I had a few hours wait for wind, then, ah wind! Right on the nose! But in a few hours it started to pick up and swing around from the south the south east and finally east. So with fair winds of 25 to 30 knots I made good time toward Fiji. Arriving just after day break on the 13th. With double reefed main and jib I sailed into Fiji harbor. Tom and Dave from the boats Robin and Syncronisity met me in the pass with their skiffs and helped me into the anchorage. And my first passage as a solo sailor is over.
I got checked through all the official channels and caught a bit of sleep before getting a call from Tom saying they and some friends were going to the Royal Suva Yacht Club for dinner and inviting me to join them. We had a very pleasant evening with the people from Robin, Tin Can, Syncronisity, and Les Rodasan.
Next morning my first priority was to find a mechanic to work on my engine. After checking around and two or three places recommending the same person I called and he agreed to have a look at it. The next morning Tom (Robin) and Louis (Tin Can) helped me into the dock at the yacht club and before noon the engine was gone away for repair. It was almost three weeks before it was back in it's spot doing it's thing again. But with ordering parts from New Zealand and all the little extra hold ups I felt that was pretty good especially when it started and ran better than it ever had. Also Suva except for a lot of rain is a very nice place to have to wait.
After getting the engine repaired I left for the western side of the island where there is much less rain and more sun. I motored all the way over to Vuda Point Marina to check the engine and checked in . Muriel was scheduled to arrive the next day so I met her at the Nadi airport About 15 miles from the marina.
Vuda Point Marina Fiji
A lot of friends we have met along the way are here, most are continuing on to New Zealand or Australia but we are pleased to find out that some will be staying the hurricane season here the same as us. The town of Lautoka is about 10 mile to the north and Nadi about 15 to the south east. We have been in to Lautoka a few times, it has a good market for fruits and veggies and some good grocery stores as well as shopping for most anything we will need.
We will be here for 5 or 6 months so are planning on some local sailing and some bus trips inland and around the island.

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