Hello big city!

Learnativity at anchor in Fulanga

Learnativity at anchor in Fulanga

by Christine Kling

We are on a free mooring tucked away in a corner of the big bay in Viti Levu where the city of Suva can be found. Our little bay is on the opposite side from the big city, but we are only a short bus ride away and even better, we now have access to the true fast Internet! Wayne and I have both been sitting on the boat this lazy Sunday gorging on the joy of Internet that can actually play videos!!

Since this Internet is such a luxury, I am going to blog with more pictures than words this week — just because I can!

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We sailed overnight from Fulanga to the island of Matuku one week ago, and we had more adventures there and got to know the wonderful villagers. The island was very different from the low bay islands at Fulanga. Not too many boats go to Matuku, and seriously, it is their loss. There were two other boats in the incredibly protected anchorage when we were there and both of them were from Germany.

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The village at Matuku was very prosperous and well kept. The chief wasn’t in residence, so we did our sevusevu with the chief’s spokesperson. He told us he had a fiberglass boat with in need of repair and asked if we had any resin. Wayne told him to stop by the boat later. That afternoon, he stopped by with two of his five daughters in the boat and while dad got his resin and hardener, the girls got a bag of candy and everyone went away happy. The next day when we were passing through the village returning from a hike, a couple waved us over and invited us into their home for coffee and cookies. They were the owners of the one shop in the village (a shack about 6 by 10 feet) and he was the lay leader of the church. In the Lau group of islands, most of the people are Methodists, and the villages and islands often have to share ministers. If the ordained minister isn’t in attendance, a villager is in charge of the service. I asked our new friend what these things were that looked like little canoes, and he told me that they were the church bells. They beat on them with a stick to call people to the church.

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It was another overnight sail from Matuku to Viti Levu and I must admit, as much as I love visiting the remote islands, I was really happy at the prospect of going shopping and getting more food. It had been more than three weeks since we had seen much in the way of fresh produce and I knew Suva’s market was one of the first places on my go to list. The market did not disappoint.

Heaps

When you’ve got to the point where you are hoarding your last quarter of an onion, a place like this can send you into overload. At the market here they sell everything by the “heap.” So each of those heaps of eggplants are $2 Fijian (which is $1 US) or those heaps of fresh ginger are $1 Fijian.

Wayneshops

Wayne came armed with our shopping bags and we filled them up! Papayas, green beans, tomatoes, oranges, lettuce, corn, cucumbers. Then we arrived at the seafood section and there were mussels and clams and fish.

Octopus

Okay, but I drew the line at the octopus. Not that I don’t like it, but I wasn’t really sure how to cook it. And there were so many vendors selling these huge octopi (?) that I am now worried for the species here in Fiji – and please don’t ask me what the green stuff is on the other side of the octopus. I think it was some sort of seaweed. There was lots in the market that I couldn’t identify.

So, the boat is full of veggies, the wine locker has been replenished, and the crew is gorging on Internet, so you’d think we’d be ready to leave in a day or two. But I have received the copy edits for Knight’s Cross, and I’ve been so busy dealing with the 1000+ emails and catching up with news and friends, I’ve barely started to look at the manuscript.

We just might be here in Suva for a while.

Fair winds!

Christine

 

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About Christine Kling

I have spent more than thirty years living on and around boats and cruising the waters of the North and South Pacific, the Atlantic, and the Caribbean. I’ve written articles and stories for many boating publications including Sailing, Cruising World, Motor Boating & Sailing, and The Tiller and the Pen. When I was married, I helped my husband build a 55-foot custom sailing yacht. After launching her, we sailed through the Panama Canal to St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands where we chartered for over two years. While in the islands, I received my 100-ton Auxiliary Sail Captains license. It was that sailing experience that led me to set my first nautical suspense novel, SURFACE TENSION (2002), on the waterfront in Fort Lauderdale. Featuring Florida female tug and salvage captain, Seychelle Sullivan, the first book was followed by CROSS CURRENT (2004) and BITTER END (2005). The fourth book in the series, WRECKERS’ KEY was released in February 2007. At the end of the 2010-11 academic year, I took the motto of this blog to heart. I quit my day job as an English professor at Broward College in Fort Lauderdale (just when they offered me tenure, I said no thanks and took early retirement). I was living the dream of full-time cruising on board my 33-foot Caliber Talespinner on my very tiny pension and whatever I made from my books having parted ways with the big publishing establishment. I self-published two books on my own: a small collection of four short stories entitled SEA BITCH: Four Tales of Nautical Noir and my first stand-alone sailing thriller set in the Caribbean, CIRCLE OF BONES. In 2012 I was offered a publishing deal with Amazon's mystery/thriller imprint Thomas&Mercer and they reissued CIRCLE OF BONES. The sequel to that book, DRAGON'S TRIANGLE came out in June 2014. And as for me, I'm no longer a singlehander on my little boat. I met Wayne Hodgins in 2013 and after a whirlwind Skype courtship, I flew to meet him in Fiji and we sailed a nearly 2000 mile passage to the Marshall Islands for our "first date." We now sail together aboard LEARNATIVITY, a 52-foot motor sailor with our family including Barney, the Yorkshire Terror and Ruby, the Wonder Dog.
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