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Please excuse the formatting cos it all went to shit when I got to the web cafe!!!!  

We’ll its been a while since I last wrote, Waldo has been off to Vuda Point (pronounced vunda) to restock and pick up Leanne and Steve while also having a look around Nadi and Lautoka… I don’t think anything anyone could have said would have prpared me for Nadi (pronounced Nandi)…. Dirty streets filled with little shops filled with Indian Fijians selling anything that you may want…. And the total was, pair of Jandals, Machete and a couple of Sulu’s (the Fijian Man skirt). There was also lunch at a Curry house where our lovely hostess asked us what we would like to drink and of course the reply was a couple of Fiji’s ‘finest’ bitters, after a slightly puzzled look she departed and then promptly left the building ?!?!?!? much time went by until she reappeared with two brown bags and asked us in hushed tones if it would be alright to leave them in the bags and hide them behind the centerpiece when not imbibing…… just another example of Fijian hospitality overcome such triv! ial issues like the LAW!!! No license huh?

Well Vuda Point marina was a spectacle as well getting in and out was about as easy as a clown climbing stairs but after a little bit of messing around a a lot of help fending from our very helpful but concerned neighbours things were sorted and it was off to the Yachtclub for drinks and dinner. Fish and chips being $5.50 and the beers $2 at happy hour and a whopping $2.50 any other time!!! Needless to say dinner was had there in the evenings in between the day tripping .

Waldo also had his first nightclubbing experience …. Island style….. we went to Ed’s first off and stayed till close all the good music and a few of the oldies then it was on to the Mocambo in the resort of the same name hell of a small club but very enlightening to the european eye….. just watch out for the pro’s we left on of the party in the clutches of one of these predetry people….he eh he oh yeah and us …the group that went to the club consisted of most of the young people stuck in the marina and a couple of oldies (one of which was accosted) dad unfortunately, or fortunately declined the invitation to hit the town and that was that.…. long night, not much sleep but a fun time anyway.

Then it was up to pick L & S up from the airport back to the boat and then on to Musket Cove again for a couple of days to try and regain some sealegs …. The resort is well set up for taking in boaties as well with al the usual amenities as well as the $3 dollar bar, that have BBQ’s on two sides to come and cook – communally.

Couple of days sunning yourself and then it was off north. Well what a hell of a trip that was up over Malolo and then onward through the southern Yasawa’s only to hit 35 – 40 knot winds and shitty seas… The decision was made to go on which proved to be perhaps not the correct one but after a few crappy hours, a peak into two possible but not particularily welcoming anchorages, and a couple of sea sick travelers that had not found their sealegs we were in sight of the southern end of Waya at Nalombi Bay but that is where the party started,

First I catch a snippet of a mayday call over the VHF but hear nothing more so thought I was hearing things, then John (mate) who was on another boat calls up Rampart personally and tells us that the boat in distress is right behind us….. shit well we found out they had no motor, and their sail systems were being uncooperative… dad having the bigger boat with the all inportant big motor the decision was quickly made to setup to tow this couple in…. 1st problem – the conditions aren’t particularily condusive to passing a tow line , a short 1metre swell and the afforementioned wind wasn’t helping. 2nd Problem – the woman on the radio onboard Delight (the boat in trouble) was German and Stressed and couldn’t quite keep up with Kiwi conversational english (nor could we with our German…hold on what german..) now the time is dragging on (3rd Problem) and for all intensive purposes we should have been quietly at anchor a couple of hours ago… but the bridle for towing was rigge! d and let stream behind us as rampart circled Delight until the Skipper had picked up the tow and fastened it to their yacht (this only took about 3 or 4 times) luckily the tow was attached by nightfall and then it was the short trip in that had to be negotiated. 4th Problem… NIGHT TIME in an area where reefs were about as common as tight white pants in cheap bars, we had narrowly missed one in the earlier fiasco, Delight was not so fortunate but again luck was on their side as they hit only the sand portion of the reef. But coming into an anchorage with nothing to see except the chart plotter on the GPS the radar and a few lights proved a little taxing, but as you can tell we made it and sorted out the 5th Problem… dropping off a tow in between boats where the wind ranged from 5 knots to gusts of 35 was a slight headache but with a bit a brute strength and ignorance, Dad would probably say skill and timing, but he wasn’t the one pulling the bloody rope…. All was well ! Delight was anchored and could rest and we also did the same coming to station at about 8pm with a few beers and a dinner of 2 minute noodles.. ahh good ol’ Ramen… so that ended a very long day that started in sun carried on most of the day in shitty conditions and ended in excitement and exhaustion.

SO then on to the next few days, the very next day dawned as bad as the previous one but at least the anchorage was secure if not a little rocky, we went into the village and perormed sevu sevu, or presenting a gift of Kava to the chief as a sign of good faith and an opportunity to ask permission to snorkel, dive etc… and that was done but other than that an uneventful day… The next day dawned and it was to our delight that it proved much nicer even if the wind was still with us it had shifted around to be a little more comfortable and allow us passage up to Likuliku bay where the Octopus Resort is and one of the most magnificent beaches I have seen. The sun was out although a little breezy, we enjoyed lunch and dinner at the Resort and also so very good snorkelling right out in front of the resort. Lots of coral and small fish and easy snorkelling. The night ended with a few beers then a dingy ride back to an eagerly anticipated good CALM nights sleep.

The next morning it was off up to Naviti and an opprtunity to swim with the Manta rays, these rays have been reported to be up to 5 metres wide and glide through a small passage to feed on the high tide. This day we were not to have any luck and we returned to Rampart without seeing a single Manta but all keen to return early the next day when the tides were more favourable and our chances of seeing a Ray much higher. The night was spent off Soso bay where the village welcomed us and accepted the sevusevu. A quick trip around the village revealed a community that was particularily wealthy (in fijian terms) and seemed to be through much of their own work and entrepreneurship. All the houses had power, some had TV and there were more concrete buildings in this one village than I had seen in any of the otheres combined. They asked us if we would like to buy any produce which we didn’t need and then went on to offer a selesction of Handicrafts and shells to purchase. ! Dad being one of the softest touches on the face of the planet bought a few things and some amazing shells, like nothing you would ever see on the beaches… The kids were crowding around just trying to get in any of the photos that dad tends to take copious amounts of. But it was back to the boat to prepare for the Mantas the next day.

WE arrived at the spot at about 9 am and took off in the dingy to catch a glimpse, after some mooching around and a little bit of help from one of the locals one was spotted we jumped in to see one o fthese glorious creatures sitting in the current colecting its intake of sustinance. About 1.5 metres across it sat there stationary simply going about its business, when another glided its way through and dissapeared into the murk. WE all paddled around looking out for more as the current pulled us away only to jump back in the dingy motor back up to the head of the passage and do it all again. On one of these trips I kicked into the current to stay next to a manta and it seemed as though we were just as curious as each other. I conciously kept in his (or her) field of vision as not to appear a threat and at one stage while I was on the surface the manta slowly made it’s way over to me and slide up to the surface where if I had extende my arm even slightly it would have be! en able to touch it’s extrordinary wings.

Well we left the mantas after catching a glimpse of four of them the largest probably 2.5 metres across, and jumped back on the boat to the south side of Waya where we once again sit in a rolly anchorage but this time it’s dry and nice and warm. Another sunset in the Pacific, but with the realisation that in a few days time I’ll be back in NZ for a couple of weeks to freeze my ass off but hopefully catch up with a few of you and hopefully get in a bit of skiing.

Tomorrow its back to Vuda point to bid farewell to Leanne and Steven at least for a few days and then there’s a mass cleanup in order and several jobs to take care of before we head to the NZ for a little bit of family life and all that stuff

Hope this installment of the continuing saga of Waldo’s travels finds you all well and adjusted (you know who I’m talking to) so take care and don’t do anything I would do.. he he he

Waldo aka Aaron

PS – don’t forget to reply to the email if you so wish as it means mum doesn’t have to forward anything on.

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