by Christine Kling
Some people might think snow and evergreen trees are a necessity for getting into the Christmas spirit, but I can assure you it doesn’t get much better than Christmas in Fiji.
We are back in the Vuda Point Marina sorting things out after a little shake down trip. We took off a few days ago and went out to anchor off the lovely island in the photo above. We spent a couple of nights out there and got to go snorkeling and started to sort the boat out, but en route, we hadn’t been able to get the autopilot to work. Wayne had earlier told me that he’d felt a lighting bolt strike about 500 feet from the boat just before I arrived. From a similar experience I’d had on another boat, we deduced it might be the fluxgate compass that suffered from the lightning’s EMF and that turned out to be right. Fortunately, Wayne carries a spare, so he switched in the new one and we had the autopilot back for the 25 mile return trip to the marina. We decided to return because we needed to do several things back at the marina, not the least of which was that we’d left all the meat and chicken in the deep freeze of the neighbor’s boat where we were trying to get it frozen rock hard. So we sailed back over here on Christmas Eve. It was a good thing to make that little sail of 25 miles each way so that I could begin to learn how to sail this huge complicated boat with in-boom roller furling, electric winches, enormous diesel engine, etc. (Note to self- you’re REALLY not on Talespinner anymore). When we got back to Vuda Point Marina, we decided to head for the pool for a swim (and they had water aerobics noodles there!!) and that night we went out to dinner at the restaurant at the adjoining resort called First Landing. We had a fabulous gourmet Prix Fixe meal and got to hear this amazing Fijian a capella church choir singing a combination of Fijian and English Christmas carols. The Fijian waiters were darting around wearing Santa hats with flashing Christmas lights, and we had a window table for the sunset. It was a magical night.
Another reason we had decided to stick around for a few days was that there was an area of disturbed weather that was showing some potential to develop into a tropical storm. We had thought it might be somewhat fun to depart on Christmas Day, but we decided we could use another trip to the market for more fresh food, and we’d give that area of weather another day to develop or crumble apart. Thankfully, it did the latter more or less, but it still bears watching. Cyclone season in the South Pacific is much less predictable than the Caribbean.
Christmas morning friends from a beautiful UK-flagged Grand Soliel 54 stopped by and told us that the marina restaurant called The Boatshed on the point would be closed for Christmas, but they had a barbecue, so they were heading over in the afternoon to cook their Christmas dinner. We followed them over around 3:00 and had another fabulous meal. I took a pork roast and cut slices into the meat and inserted fresh ginger, then rubbed the whole thing with cinnamon (no cloves, though- I’m just starting to find my way around this galley). I chopped up apples, potatoes, and onions and threw it all into a tin foil package. Wayne brought chilled champagne and the four adults sat around in this beautiful setting talking while the 5-year-old daughter of the British couple played with Wayne’s dog Ruby. It certainly was a Christmas dinner to remember.
The plan now is to depart in the next hour and work our way up through the Yasawa group. Then we’ll jump off and sail to Rotuma (still in Fiji) stop for a couple of days and then head out for the 2-week trip to Majuro. I have incredible confidence in both this boat and her captain and I’m looking forward to night watches, listening to music, reading books on my Kindle and starting the new Seychelle novel.
We will be celebrating the new year at sea, so I’m sending out my very best wishes to all my friends, family and readers for the very best beginning to 2014!
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