September 5

Today is Thursday and we are leaving on Saturday. We are actually very calm compared to how we usually are 2 days before departing on a long passage. I say long, though it is only 600 miles, about 4 days, not really long at all. We have barely sailed since we arrived in Fiji in early May after a 10 day passage from New Zealand. We may motor up to Waya island (in the Yasawa group, Fiji's Westernmost group of islands) and anchor for a night. This gives us time to relax before a passage and get some time getting accustomed to the rolling of the boat. Here at the marina we do not roll, it is like a pond, flat and calm always. At least anchored out you get some roll. A nice roly anchorage would be great as it would also give us a chance to find all the clanging and banging bottles, cans and other junk and silence them before we get to sea.

Yesterday we were very productive. Kate continues to clean like a whirlwind and has whipped through several loads of laundry. Jonah helped me change the engine oil yesterday, he was quite shocked at the mess. We used an entire roll of paper towels to sop up the (inevitably) spilled oil in the engine pan. In the afternoon I cooked chicken soup with motzaballs, just because. We brought back the matzo meal from the US and I was dying to try some (its been years). You can't get that stuff in New Zealand, or in Fiji of course. Jonah had his first and loved them, though he claimed to be too full for a second ball and was saving room for desert.

This morning we have been busy as beavers first unpacking the port side lazarette then stowing the 5 gallons (actually 4 liter pails) of bottom paint we bought here which we will apply in New Zealand next February when we do our annual haul out for maintenance. We also washed, dried and disassembled Jonah's bike and stowed it in its waterproof bag. It was a bit smaller since we discarded the training wheels last month. Then we stowed everything back in the locker including the paint and the bike. I am always amazed when we do one of these packing jobs on the cockpit lockers how much gear they hold. Some time I would like to get a scale and weigh each item as it goes in to see how much we really have. I would not be surprised if it was of a ton.

This afternoon we are going to Lautoka to the market (produce) to stock up on vegetables. We already have a good start on onions, garlic and ginger and will lay in more eggplant, green peppers, string beans, tomatoes, scallions (which last surprisingly long when refrigerated) and some potatoes. They also have some lovely island mini-spinich, but it will not last long so we would have to eat it within days.

Tomorrow we will visit the Immigration department to get our passports stamped, then on to Customs to get a clearance to depart. We may also stop again at the market to pick up some last minute items, then we are ready to rock. There is a low (weak tropical depression) somewhere nearby (10S 170E) moving SW, but it was moving SE two days ago, so we will want to make sure it is well clear before we depart. Right now my sense is it will not be a problem, but as always, we make the final decision on departure an hour before schedule based on some tea leaf readings and an old mood ring, so we always have room to wiggle out and postpone.