I saw a McDonalds restaurant this morning. I walked right by it on my way into Nadi.. That pretty much sums up where I am. (How many McDonalds are there in the South Pacific?)
I know I judge a good portion of the yachtie world pretty harshly for being retired well to do tourists but when I see real tourists I feel like I might have to back track a bit and eat my words. There are real tourists on the west side of the main island in Fiji. Hordes of them. There are also loads of yachts as there are a lot of anchorages and many islands. One island in particular has a reputation for being yachtie paradise. Musket Cove was skipped the last time I was here. Maybe I will change my attitude and brave a visit this season.
Non sailors, upon hearing I have single handed nearly fifty thousand miles in the last six years, are impressed and want to know about the challenges. Did you ever have bad weather or storms? What they should be asking about is the panic that sets in when you get invited to the cruiser's potluck and all you have on the boat is texturized vegetable protein and unsprouted mung beans. It is less than three hours of motoring to Musket Cove (there is no wind on this side of the island) but it might be the most challenging passage yet. I think I would have to change my image to survive it. No admitting I am a single handler - they are all sleaze cases that you find cruising places like Madagascar or Thailand. I would have to finally get around to setting up the brand new outboard sitting on the stern pulpit. I haven't even put oil in the case. Only guys that went to wooden boat building school in places like Port Townsend are allowed to row and their dinghies don't look beat up like mine. I don't have a beard anyway so I can't do the Master Mariner wood thing... If I make fun of polo shirts with boat names and pleated shorts with a belt, I have to keep in mind what they are seeing when they look at me. The wild hair and seven dollar knock off surfer shorts at my age means "life long marijuana user." This is no paranoid projection. It has been plenty of times when the square looking cruiser suddenly comes over all friendly and does his best at being a "dude just like me". It turns out they are always looking to score some pot. I don't even drink alcohol so no help there...
Aside from the terror of contemplating a visit to Musket Cove, I have been mulling over how to finish this trip. Fiji puts me within striking range of the first of the true places I wanted to visit on this second pass. Pitcairn and the Australs were just the appetizers. The problem is that I cannot hit enough of them and make it out before the close of this season. The reality is that to do it thoroughly, it would take another whole season, which means nearly another year out here. I don't know if I have the stamina for that and I certainly cannot afford it. Get a job then! Yes, this has been considered with the Marshalls being part of the U.S. and I am sure I could get something there. One cruiser who has been there said eight to ten dollars an hour which may sound like nothing to some readers of this blog but that buys a whole lot of texturized vegetable protein. On a side not, my fishing skills have gotten a lot better. I could just visit one spot and call it quits and get down to Australia by October and give the boat away for cheap there. What to do... Maybe my community of fellow yachties in Musket Cove will give me some great insights. You never know, right?