A quick plug for Waitui Marina, which is a good alternative to Copra Shed if you are going to check in to Fiji through Savu Savu. They can contact the officials and ferry them out to your boat just like Copra Shed. Kendra, one of the proprietors, upon seeing me tied up to a Copra Shed Marina mooring remarked that my boat wasn't pretty enough to be associated with them.... (Part of the reason why I made the refit schedule in Mexico was that I only got about halfway with painting the cabin top...I will finish it here). She is right and I felt it too, so once checked in, I promptly moved out by the entrance to the creek and am the only boat on anchor. There are three other long term ones on the hook but they are way up the creek where there isn't any more room... Being on the hook saves a whopping ten Fiji dollars a day. The folks at Copra Shed made it appear as if there isn't a general anchorage anymore. I found an all you can eat curry buffet for that same price. Need I say more...
I hate to beat this issue to death but it feels like I just cannot escape how much money there is in the cruising scene. I think a lot of it has to do with the simple fact that most cruisers are older. The average age is in the sixties. If you have worked all your life and put off cruising to retirement, it is understood a lot differently. It makes sense. If I would have continued working the past six years, and was going cruising this year, I probably would opt for a nicer boat than Pelican. That said, I see now that I could have actually left earlier and settled for a smaller boat and in some ways this would have been the wisest choice of all. I remember back in California coming up with the idea of a "disposable cruiser" with a friend of mine. They give plastic boats away for free in California and you can dumpster dive/visit scrap yards for odds and ends. Ebay and Craigslist for used gear and off you go. It takes a certain amount of confidence to go this route and I admit, I didn't have it before taking this cruise but I see it clearly now. Pelican is a solid cruising boat comparatively. It is like with Robin Lee Graham's "Dove" and "Return of Dove." The first Dove was a Cal 24 and then the Return is a Luders 33 which is a lot like Pelican. I remember reading how impressed Robin was with how much more substantial the Luders felt, but note that he didn't switch to this boat until over three quarters of the way around the world.
The face of cruising has changed tremendously in the last thirty years but how much has the ocean changed?
The check in fees for the health inspector has gone up from $17 when I was here last (2007) to $33 last year to $172 this year! I will have spent more money on check in fees than anything else upon leaving Mexico. I have only used 10 gallons of diesel since San Blas, Mexico. Granted, I only dropped the hook in a total of six anchorages so this has been more about passage making than gunkholing.
Namana Creek seen from the Copra Shed mooring.