Today is Monday the 27th here in Fiji. It is a national holiday today. I
think it is Mohammed's birthday or something, though why this is
celebrated in Fiji mystifies me, there being very few Muslims living in
the country. What I read was that about 50% of the population is Indian
(as opposed to Melanesian/Fijian) and of those about 15-20% are Muslim, so
that is about 7-10% of the population which probably is no more then
80,000 people. Thus I am guessing there are about 5,000-10,000 Muslims in
Fiji. Anyone with more precise data, please inform me!
Yesterday was a pretty tame day. We had Dim Sum at a local Chinese place.
It was mediocre to poor. We were lucky in New Zealand to have an excellent
Dim Sum place in Tauranga near the marina and were spoiled by it.
Certainly up to the level of quality in the US (say New York, Boston or
San Fran for example). Yes, it is one of our goals to sample Chinese food
everywhere in the world we travel. Besides Dim Sum, there is one excellent
Chinese restaurant in Suva. Called The Great Wok of China it is perhaps
the nicest restaurant of any kind in Suva - well decorated, very clean,
excellent service, etc. Most restaurants are run down and you do not want
to see the kitchen type of places. The Great Wok has a Sichuanese chef and
specializes in that cuisine. We have been twice so far and each time
ordered completely different things and everything was outrageous!
Especially the whole Sichuan fish which was "to die for". Yes, I
am obsessed with Chinese food. Nuff said on that subject.
Since today (Monday) is this big holiday, we must wait one more day for
our transmission. On Saturday I spoke with the mechanics at their shop and
they assure me they will be here early Tuesday to re-install it and align
the shaft. All the parts have arrived (from NZ) and so I am optimistic we
will be able to leave Suva on Wednesday.
Our latest plan (which is like plan #5 since we left NZ only 3 weeks ago)
is to head for Kandavu and the Great Astrolabe Reef. Our last plan was to
head NE to Taveuni and islands in that area, but due to time spent in Suva
on repairs we have less time then originally planned. Also, our inverter
died and we shipped it back to the manufacturer (in Canada) and a new one
is being shipped to us at Musket Cove in the Mamanuthas. It should be
there in about 2 weeks so we want to get there sometime soon so we can get
The inverter is not an essential piece of equipment, but it is highly
useful to us, especially since our newly rebuilt generator has once again
failed. I don't know if I have mentioned it before, but we had the engine
rebuilt again in NZ and ran it at the dock for about 60 hours with no
trouble. Two days out of NZ it stopped putting out power, though the
engine runs smoothly as before. I have not even bothered to try to
determine the problem, I have reached my limit in dealing with that beast.
The result is we have no AC power. Normally either the genset or the
inverter can produce AC power to run things like the washing machine, the
microwave oven and the rice steamer. And the food processor (yes, a luxury
as are the other AC appliances) which means no bread is being baked - my
love for fresh bread is great but not great enough to kneed dough by hand!
Our computer is powered by a separate, dedicated inverter which produces
about 600watts of AC, enough for the computer but nothing else. Also, we
are back to using the main engine to charge batteries. No big deal, that
is how we have always operated since our genset has never worked for more
then a few weeks at a time since it was installed 2 years ago.
The upshot of all this is we have no use of the AC powered items till we
install the new inverter, thus our desire to get to Musket Cove sooner
rather then later. After Musket Cove we will head North to the Yasawa
group and spend a few weeks visiting those islands (which are supposed to
have the best beaches in all of Fiji, if not the best diving). Kandavu and
Astrolabe, on the other hand, are noted for the crystal clear water and