017o45S / 177o14E It’s easy for cruisers to get trapped for weeks and weeks at the Musket Cove Yacht Club, Fiji. The first steps on the slippery slope is picking up a mooring and opening a charge account. Then you tune your VHF radio to channel 68 and start getting involved in the daily activities. Our six year old daughter quickly made friends with a very nice seven year old girl on another yacht. The nearby family resort has a children’s activity center with games, shirt painting, swimming pool, hermit crab races, island crafts and on and on. Our days were filled with shuttling the two girls between the two boats and to activities on shore. Home schooling was put on hold since the girls had plans from morning to early evening.
While the kids were having fun the parents were enjoying the convenience of charging supplies and the local store, picking up wonderfully fresh bread for the bakery and arranging evening BBQs and the outdoor bar near the end of the dinghy dock. The famous “One Dollar Bar” at Musket Cove had been a cruisers hangout for years. While the name and drink price have changed to “Three Dollar”, the bar is still crowded most evenings. Several BBQ pits are stocked with wood daily. You bring your meat and side dishes, build a fire, grab a table with your friends, pick up plates, silverware and condiments at the bar, order a couple of beers during dinner and return all the dirty dishes when your done. Everything is free except for the $3 drinks ($1.50 US) so it’s a very cheap, enjoyable way to spend the evening meeting other cruisers and exchanging information.
After two weeks at Musket Cove we headed over to the west coast of Viti Levu and the delightful little town of Latoka – the Sugar Capital of Fiji. Again a resort offers free access to it’s beach as a dinghy landing and the local bus service provided cheap rides to the market. Here we’re stocking up on fresh vegetables, meat and filling up on diesel for an extended visit to the remote Yasawas. The only downside to this area is the murky water and the ash settling on deck from the burning of the sugar cane fields after the harvest. Three days here will be enough!
I’ve managed to do all of two dives here in Fiji. Everywhere we’ve visited the water has been murky or the coral dead. The outer reef at Astrolabe might have been beautiful but the winds blew 25 knots all the time we were in the area and dinghy rides were restricted the our island anchorage. Other boats have said the water in the Yasawas is clear and the diving nice. Perhaps I can get in a quick 98 dives over the next few weeks? How’s the 100 dive challenge going?