Thursday, November 16, 2017

Fast Lane to Nadi Town
By Michael
MUSKET COVE


Loading the dinghy on the dock in Denarau
for the trip home.
We've been pretty stationary in one of Fiji's main cruising boat hubs: Musket Cove. It's not a remote remote Fijian village, it's not the bustling and interesting Suva, it's just a tourist resort that opens its doors to cruising sailors. No apologies, it's a lovely setting, we'll protected, and we've had the pleasure of  hanging with one of the best cohorts of cruising families we've seen in a while.

But for all it offers, Malololailai Island is not a good place to provision. The veggies here aren't bad, but we left our last good place to provision with too few staples aboard, and knowing that we're leaving Fiji at the end of this month, we've been careful not to over-buy. The result is we've needed to get back to Nadi Town (via Denarau) a few times to get what we need. Fortunately, Windy found a mode of transport much cheaper and more appealing than the only (high-priced) ferry that brings the tourists and their luggage back and forth.

About a month ago, Windy went exploring by dinghy with Susan of Wiz. They found a couple of villages on the island and met Sia. At some point, the cruising women learned that Sia's husband makes the trip to Denarau every Saturday (market day in Fiji and much of the world), for a shopping run. His panga makes what would be a 3-hour trip in Del Viento into a 30-minute E-ticket ride (does anyone even use that expression any more?).

So a few times now, Windy's made the passage. The panga arrives at 7:00am, they're in Denarau by 7:30, the village usually has a driver waiting at the dock to take shoppers into Nadi Town. In town, Windy fills her cart and then lets the cashier know she's with Sia, her stuff gets boxed and put aside, and she's free to go to another store. When shopping day is done, a driver collects all the people and provisions, takes everything back to the panga, everyone loads up, and makes the passage home.

--MR



3 comments:

  1. Michael, it sounds like you, Windy, Eleanor and Francis will be off soon. Always good to read your posts and catch up with your adventurous family! Quick question that you may have some information about: How do the pangas in Fiji compare to those in Mexico. I was under the impression that Mac Shroyer was instrumental in not only building, but also designing, what is now the ubiquitous open fishing boats of Mexico. I came across a recent article in 'Boating' that recounted this history (https://www.boatingmag.com/boats/history-panga). What has me curious is so many of the open fishing boats of the tropical Pacific region seem to so closely resemble those of Mexico. From your experience, is this impression correct? If so are you aware of the history linking these designs to Mexico or visa, versa? Just one of those nagging tidbits of trivia that caught my curiosity. Good sailing and happy belated birthdays all around!

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