Yesterday morning we woke to a decent amount of rain, the first in months, so Paw Paw got a slight rinse. Then, last night and for most of the day today, it rained again, so the topsides are looking much cleaner. Having to do anchor watch from 0200 to 0430 this morning as the storm passed through made for a very long day though.
All the rain also meant that Roy had to wait a few hours yesterday for a break in the weather before he could install the new house batteries. Fortunately he managed to get the job completed before the rain set in again and, given that Elaine spent the whole day sewing, again, we both definitely enjoyed our sundowners on the trampoline yesterday evening.
We also spent a fair amount of time yesterday getting through the last minute items required for the signing of escrow this morning on our one condo. Although we were down to the wire on the roofing repairs and we were awake at 0300 to be available in the event of any issues arising during the signing, it all came together and the property closed this afternoon. A big thank you to Lisa for being our Power of Attorney, to Gordon, our realtor, for going "above and beyond" to help us with various matters, to Keenan and Brooke for helping with some of the repairs and to Janell, our title officer, for her help with the Power of Attorney and Addendum documents. One down, one to go, so we get to do this all over again over the coming weeks with the next property.
We eventually got back to sleep at around 0430 for a few hours, following which we headed to Nadi for some fresh produce items and more mosquito netting - Definitely a much larger project than first thought, but Elaine is on the home stretch now. Thank goodness!
Once we were back on Paw Paw, Elaine spent the rest of the day trying to obtain agreement with the property management company on the tenant's expenses for damages to our other property. A monumental undertaking, given how subjective the process is and the amount of hoops we have to jump through. It's ludicrous that a tenant, who completely wrecks a property, could actually get to simply walk away and not be held accountable, if not for a huge battle by the owner to recover costs. It doesn't 't help matters that the entire exercise seems superfluous when we have to incur all the costs, for repairs upfront, less the deposit, and then try to recover the balance from the tenant afterwards. Definitely something wrong with this picture!
Our plan was to stay in Musket Cove until Thursday, allowing Elaine to savour a few more days in her "happy place", as well as allow an impending storm to pass. She, however, woke to the suggestion that we leave today. Clever Captain Roy knew that if he didn't "rip the plaster off", he was in for a struggle to get Elaine to leave Malolo Lailai Island. With that, we weighed anchor and set off for Denarau, where we'll spend our time finishing off the outstanding yacht projects and getting ready to leave for Vanuatu.
Thank you to all the staff at Musket Cove Island Resort and Yacht Club for all the wonderful memories and making us feel so welcome over these past few months. Who knows, maybe one day, we'll be back to live on that lot of land we've had our eye on since first arriving on the beautiful island of Malolo Lailai.
As with everything in life though, "as one door closes, another one opens". Leaving Fiji and working our way to Australia brings us closer to seeing our loved ones again and the photograph we just received of our beautiful twin grandsons is certainly an inspiration to move on.
This afternoon we enjoyed lunch at Cardo's, then, while Elaine finished sorting out our latest photographs for the website Gallery over a cappuccino and a decadent hot chocolate brownie, smothered in hot chocolate sauce and accompanied by fresh cherries, honeycomb and ice-cream, Roy collected our new house batteries.
After we returned to Paw Paw to drop everything off, we headed back to shore in order to enjoy sundowners at the Westin Resort and Spa, but ended up making an unplanned detour to enjoy a drink aboard Two Can with Margaret and Barry, whom we first met on the dock of Port Denarau Marina a few weeks after arriving back in Fiji. It was Margaret who stopped to ask if Elaine was ok having seen her in floods of tears because all the muscles in both her legs had just gone into spasms following an early morning walk. At least on this occasion we could enjoy a laugh together!
Yesterday morning after breakfast, we headed ashore for our exercise walk, which took us to the Plantation Resort, where we enjoyed an ice-cream and bumped into Storm Dancer (Del and Craig). After a chat to them and making arrangements to spend the evening together, we completed our walk back to Musket Cove Resort, following which we enjoyed a coffee and a light lunch at Trader's Café.
Back on Paw Paw for the afternoon, Elaine continued her sewing activities which are eventually nearing completion and Roy spent the afternoon preparing for the installation of our new house batteries, as well as preparing the additional tracks needed in the cockpit for the new mosquito nets. By then it was time to get ready for the evening and dinghy over to Storm Dancer for sundowners and our potluck dinner. We had a very enjoyable evening with them and learnt so much about Australia's cruising grounds, which has definitely heightened our enthusiasm for our stay in Australia.
It never ceases to amaze us just how quickly a friendship establishes with fellow cruisers whom we meet under unexpected circumstances and Del and Craig were no exception. We only met them a few short weeks ago in the most unlikely place in the Yasawa Islands, Soso Bay - A bay that is infrequently visited by yachts due to its southeast exposure with the prevailing southeast winds. However, for a few days, northeast winds circulated, providing the perfect protection and where ourselves, Storm Dancer and Knockando decided to take refuge, with everyone ending up on Paw Paw the first evening and, with that, the initial seeds of friendship were sown.
After breakfast this morning and, albeit a Sunday, it was a day of chores - A pile of laundry that could not longer be postponed just had to be done and, was eventually possible, since the ICA rally had departed and we could at least get access to the washing machines and tumble dryers. In between loading and unloading, Elaine sorted through our latest photographs for the website gallery and Roy got the finances up to date. By then we'd definitely earned a sundowner at the MCYC Island Bar before returning to Paw Paw this evening for a barbecue aboard.
Today was another frustrating day, but not only due to various landlubber matters, but also because we were on "numpty parade" again. This time, however, we endured the rudeness of the kulprits.
For example, with the winds picking up, the yacht to our port side, that was already too close to begin with, dragged towards us. When Elaine went on deck to ascertain the situation, the cruiser wanted to know if there was a problem. After indicating that, given how close the yacht was to Paw Paw, there was indeed a problem, this was simply ignored. Then they dragged again. This time to within a boat length of us and just ignored it, again. That's when Roy went out and asked the cruiser whether or not he was simply planning on staying where he was or going to move. After a lot of grumbling and seeing Elaine taking a few photographs, they moved.
Another cruiser grumbled and past a few sarcastic remarks about the amount of chain we had out, only to drag a short while later after short scoping and had to lift his anchor, which was now precariously close to our chain. Fortunately they didn't trip us in the process.
As if that wasn't enough for one day, we now have a yacht, anchored to our port side, that is so close we swing past his bow with barely a boat length between us. This bright spark decided to anchor on top of us when we had a southerly wind and, now that the wind direction has changed, their anchor chain runs directly under Paw Paw, so they can't move. The day of numpties ended with a yacht that was about to take the same spot that the first yacht had just vacated a few minutes earlier. It's fair to say that Elaine was reaching the end if her tether by this point, but showed them to a better spot instead.
Add to that the myriad of yachts participating in the ICA rally that eventually set off for Vanuatu by mid-afternoon and the mayhem that followed, as yachts at anchor raced each other to the vacant mooring balls, and it was, indeed, another fun day in the anchorage - Not!
In fact, we couldn't help but draw parallels to our experience in North Sound, BVIs the day before New Year's Eve in 2013 when Elaine spent three hours directing and assisting a charter fleet to get safely anchored for the night. Those "credit card sailors" at least had an excuse for their incompetence. What excuse do these seasoned sailors have, other than being inconsiderate to their fellow cruisers!
In between all this merriment, Elaine completed her strengthening exercises and continued her sewing activities, while Roy assisted with the reviewing and signing of all the title company documents, updated all our window devices, completed our route plan to Port Vila, Vanuatu and cooked up a storm in the kitchen for dinner.
We did, of course, get to wave Blue Summit (Kate and Steve) off and wish them and the rest of the ICA fleet fair winds and following seas.
Today did not start on a very good foot. The minute we turned on our wifi connection, we were dealing with the complications of landlubber life. In some cases these proved to be incredulous. For instance, we learnt that the simply activity of a wire transfer for the proceeds of our property sale from the title company is now fraught with fraud, to the extent that we decided it was too risky and then spent time trying to work out what the best option indeed was. At the end of the day, all we wanted was our money to be deposited safely into our bank account. Then we learnt that the cost of the damages inflicted by the tenants of our condominiums will, in fact, be for our account, following which the property management company will work with their collections agency to try and recover the costs, a process that could take years. Fortunately for the first condominium this is an amount just under $1000USD, but for the second one this is expected to be thousands, given the damage.
As hard working, law abiding citizens and contributing members of society we have absolutely no recourse with neither the tenants nor the property management company. There is something very wrong with this picture, where people who have blatant disregard for other people's property, basically get to walk away.
We did, however, try to focus on the more positive aspects of our lives, while enjoying another beautiful day in Fiji. Elaine made pancakes for breakfast, which were enjoyed with freshly chopped pineapple, a blob of plain Greek style yogart and some honey. Delicious!
Then we enjoyed a quick chat to the family in Arizona, followed by a visit this morning from Chris off Trigger, whom we first met in American Samoa and last saw in New Zealand. Elaine also continued her sewing activities, then we headed ashore for a nice long walk, stopping for an ice-cream halfway and then a mid-afternoon coffee once we'd finished. We also got to see the one indigenous Fijian cultural activity we had yet to witness, a "lovo", where various foods are prepared and then cooked in an above ground, open hot rock oven, covered in palm leaves, hessian and soil, then left for a few hours. Unfortunately, on this occasion, we didn't get to sample the results.
On our way back to Paw Paw, we stopped by Blue Summit (Kate and Steve) to pick up their water jerry cans so we could fill them, since their watermaker has stopped working and they leave for Vanuatu tomorrow. Soon thereafter we all enjoyed sundowners together aboard Paw Paw before the inevitable goodbyes. Definitely a feeling of sadness has descended on Paw Paw tonight in having to say goodbye to the last of the WARC Dropouts, since we're not altogether sure we will see them in Vanuatu or New Caledonia before they head back to New Zealand and we head to Australia. A downside of sailing that still takes a little getting used to, even after all these years.
After a very calm, windless night we were up early, but decided to spend the day on board. While Roy lounged around as "deck fluff" for most of the day, Elaine got started on step two of her sewing activities - Making the mosquito net that will enclose Paw Paw's entire cockpit area, in preparation for our stay in Vanuatu. This is something we have been meaning to do since moving onto Paw Paw, but the risk of malaria, albeit low during the dry season, became a great motivator.
Roy did manage to muster up the energy this afternoon to go paddleboarding on the lovely calm waters and Elaine also managed to squeeze in her strengthening exercises as well as enjoy a video call to friends in the UK.
As the day wore on though, and with the start of the ICA Rally to Vanuatu scheduled for Friday, we ended up on "numpty parade". In an already very crowded anchorage, we had the usual fools who thought it was perfectly alright to try and squeeze in and end up on top of the other yachts already anchored. Needless to say there was more than one "numpty" who received the "teapot treatment" from Elaine, resulting in the desired effect of them shuttling off to try their luck with another yacht.
Tonight, however, under a beautiful full moon, reflecting of the glass-like water, with singing from a local choir ashore drifting across the air, a wonderful peacefulness has settled across the anchorage and all seems right with the world or, at least, in our floating village.
We had a very productive day today in more ways than one. We decided to head ashore early for breakfast at Trader's Café and then do our exercise walk. That allowed us to have the rest of the day onboard to get through a number of chores.
While Roy gave the oven and stove top a detail cleaning and then replaced the bungies on the shrouds, Elaine got busy with step one of her sewing activities. She made eight dinghy handle covers as they are getting destroyed by the sun, repaired our one lifering cover that got ripped off the lifelines on our passage from New Zealand and then repaired our waterproof bag for the dinghy as it too has incurred sun damaged.
Then it was time to "play" in the water. While Roy cleaned the saildrives and gave Paw Paw's bottom a quick clean, Elaine reached a number of milestones, all of which she has been unable to do since we left Fiji in October last year. She paddleboarded around Paw Paw twice on her knees, then she managed to stand up on the paddleboard without falling off and, finally, she was able to use the swim ladder without assistance to get back onto Paw Paw. Add the fact that she also reached her 8000 steps per day target and, it's fair to say, she is delighted with her achievements. Life just may be returning to normal on Paw Paw at last!