January 29th, 2014
The rains finally started this week, long awaited by those of us who have been in Fiji for the tropical summer before. We have had very settled weather so far this season with light rains on the occasional evening and a few fantastic electrical storms but no nearly as much heavy rainfall as this time last year. And I remember this with great detail as we were in the middle of trying to paint the boat and were severely hampered by the wet. So I thought I would take this “snow day” (what this Canuck still calls the days trapped inside on the sofa by rain) to catch up you up on the goings on around here.
We had a threat of cyclone Ian coming our way a few weeks ago but after it stalled to the east of us for several days it picked up momentum and hit Tonga with a vengeance. It is sad to think of the damage it unleashed in the Ha’apai islands which are low lying and remote. The few people that live there are mostly subsistence farmers and fisherman living lives that are not easy during the good times. Our thoughts are with them, especially since we spent so much time there earlier this year.
Steve is still working, but through the magic of modern technology we are able to chat almost every day briefly so although it is still very apparently that he is not here at least it is a little less lonely when I hear his voice.
I have been keeping myself busy, tackling the ongoing project that is the renovations of the head. Still not finished and as of yesterday when I was sanding to start painting the walls has been extended further by the discovery of yet another shitty fibreglass patch job and some wall rotting away nicely behind it. Since it started raining yesterday and is predicted to continue for a few days as a tropical low sits over us the work has been halted until the weather clears and all the smelly sealants and dust making sanding can resume with ports and hatches widely opened. I also managed to finally get the cover made for our dinghy and a few other small sewing projects done and have contractors working on some small repairs and warranty touch ups to the paint. Yes, as my Mother always says if you want something to stay looking new, then don’t use it. Alas, we put a few scratches on her in Tonga, thankfully nothing that can’t be polished or patched.
I have also been trying to get away from the marina life as I find it a little stifling to me watched and monitored and talked about constantly, as always happens in a small community. So having met and been introduced to some expats living here, there is sometimes more than one reason to head to the bar at the end of a hot, sweaty work day, I have been able to take a day of Indian cooking lessons from a local lady and spend a very enjoyable evening celebrating the life of Robert Burns with a bunch of others with like-minded ancestors from Scotland. A big shout out to my Mother for making sure that I always have a little Nova Scotian tartan with me wherever I may roam and so I was able to proudly wear a sash over my dress and represent New Scotland for the evening. We had the pleasure of having the British High Commissioner at the head table and enjoyed haggis, bagpipes, Scottish dancing and a wee dram of Scotch…or three.
I have been plunking away on the writing front and have another article appearing in the upcoming February issue of Blue Water Sailing Magazine about our time here in Fiji last year. If anyone finds it one a news stand I would love to hear how it looks! Unfortunately they do not publish the magazine in full online but you can check it out at www.bwsailing.com and see my name mentioned in the ‘Current issue” section.
I will be updating the site with photos as the day progresses and power permits. For now I think some dhal soup and fresh bread is called for. Besides catching up on emails and curling up on the sofa with a book days like these inspire me to spend time in the galley, something that without Steve here I have been pretty slack about. Unless you count the jars and jars of mango chutney and pineapple/passion fruit jam which I have been churning out.
I hope you enjoy your day, don’t forget Friday is Chinese New Year. 2014 is the Year of the Horse, my birth year, so it is meant to be an auspicious year for me. I am looking forward to seeing what’s in store as our current plans are pretty vague and as Steve always says are written in sand at low tide!
Love to hear what is going on in your part of the world,