Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Hoarding is good!

Conrad the fish at 'Grand Canyon' in Namena.
It goes down a long way (further than we could see).
Matt would like me to write about how we now have proof that his pack-rat tendencies are a good thing. I am not convinced, but will dutifully pass this public service announcement on to you.

Unicorn fish and tons of other fish at the Grand Canyon.
While we were moored in Savusavu, we met a local guy named Semi. He cleans and polishes boats in the area. One day he motored up to our boat and asked whether we had any boat polish that he could borrow to finish a job he had started on another boat. Matt dug up a rusted gallon container of rubbing compound that had been on the boat when we bought it.  He wasn't even sure it was still any good. Semi used a small amount to finish his job--it was still effective. The gallon of compound was worth about $150 U.S. but would have cost more in Fiji.  Semi really wanted the gallon but didn't have any cash. So we worked out a deal where he would polish the stainless steel on the boat and clean and wax our hulls. This would reportedly take two days and he would earn about $10 Fijian an hour (the going rate is about $4-5 Fijian an hour).

This was the start of a long and frustrating saga where Semi would make excuses for why he couldn't do the work that day, started late, needed to borrow the dinghy, or needed cash for lunch, or needed cash for his kids to eat, or needed cash for a bus ride. He wasn't overly pushy about asking for the extra money, but it was still draining to have to keep saying 'No' all the time.  As if we hadn't learned our lesson, when the main portion of the work was finally done, we worked out another deal with him to trade our old kayak for cleaning and polishing the inside hulls and transom. Surprisingly, after all was said and done, we had shiny stainless steel and a polished hull. All it cost us was the rubbing compound, an old leaky kayak that we were going to give away, some lunches, and a bit of dinghy gas. Objectively it was a good deal for us, but subjectively it was a big pain the butt (not to mention that Matt now has some justification for hanging on to every little scrap that he thinks might be useful).

After Savusavu, we spent several days in Namena, which had the best snorkeling we have experienced in Fiji (and possibly anywhere in the last three years). Even our  jaded sons were impressed. We also had a great Halloween with our friends on Amelie IV. Meg did a Frankenstein Jell-O project with the kids and we trick-or-treated with each other for way too much candy.
Demi-gods (Percy Jackson) who love candy

In the "What broke now?" section of our program, the top car of our main sail track split, rendering our already torn mainsail completely useless. We spent the last three days motorsailing with only our jib to Lautoka, just up the coast from the sail loft. We hope it will take about a week to get the sail repaired (once we take down the sail we'll replace the broken car) and then we'll wait for a weather window to New Zealand. It sounds like planning the trip to New Zealand is an exercise in minimizing unpleasantness (e.g. significant motoring, uncomfortable points of sail, bad weather). The "women and children" of two of our sets of boat friends have chosen to fly to New Zealand while the men (with crew) sail. Maybe I should be worried (that's a joke, grandparents).


  1. A joke....really??? Maybe you should fly.
    And one for the good guys, Matt's parents who taught him so well that you never know when you might just need that.......


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