Friday, September 28, 2012

Suva to Nadi/Lautoka and Away!!

We didn't have to be at the airport until 8pm. So we spent the day getting from Suva to the Nadi/Lautoka area, and then exploring the two marinas/haulout facilities there.

We checked out options for getting to the Nadi area the afternoon before. We didn't realize how far it was. Our options were: Taxi ($70 USD), Bus ($6 USD), or Van ($10). We opted for the van as the quickest and cheapest option. We found the van queue the day before, and got one of the drivers to agree to come pick us up at the hotel in the morning. We were surprised to find out that the trip is nearly a 4 hours trip from Suva--we didn't arrive in Nadi until around 12:30pm.

Our Van

The big problem in doing much exploring was having to haul our 49 1/2 lb suitcases around with us. Fortunately, our friend Sikeli in Fulanga has a brother who runs a backpacker hotel called the Bluewater Lodge in the Nadi area. He encouraged us to stop and see his brother on our way out of Fiji. So we called Joseph and Fiona and asked if we could stop in and leave our luggage, go exploring, and then come back and take a shower and have dinner before we had to go to the airport. This worked out well. They picked us up in Nadi and helped us get transportation out to the marinas.

Again, we underestimated the distances (it all looks very close on the map!). We thought we'd be able to take a bus around. But once we realized how far the two marinas were apart, how far they were from Nadi, and how remote both of them were from the normal bus traffic patterns, we opted for a taxi. $45 USD, with a little negotiating, bought us a taxi for a couple of hours to take us up to Vuda Point Marina, wait for us there, then take us to Port Denerau Marina, wait for us there, and bring us back to the Bluewater Lodge. It was the only way to manage it in the time we had. In hindsight, a rental car would have suited better for the whole day, except it was nice being driven as we didn't really know where we were going.

Vuda Point Marina

Vuda is one of the "hurricane holes" in Fiji. The marina is built in a 'hole' with a 90-degree turn, so it is mostly protected from the weather if a cyclone should hit. All the boats are rafted in a circle, and tied to a very strong central mooring.
The Vuda Circle

We don't think it would be a great place to be in the summer--hot, windless, and buggy. There are about 20 boats stored out of the water, with their keels in a pit. Unfortunately, the pits were full of water when we were there, and the mozzies were already pretty bad. It also would be a little dicey if a really big cyclone hit--too many boats in a confined space.

Our Friends on Shahrazad in a Pit

The Vuda Travel Lift

Then we drove down to Port Denarau. We heard it was NOT a good cyclone hole, but had some nice docks and a haulout facility. It reminded us of Fort Lauderdale, driving out to the port. First, there was a guard gate (but they waved us through when they saw two Pelangi's (white people) in the taxi. We drove through a large Florida-style golf course complete with big houses, townhouses, and condos on the golf course. And of course, a big nice marina facility at the end on the water.

The Port Denarau Marina Docks

This picture doesn't do it justice--there were 2 mega-yachts at the end of the docks, and boats were bigger and shinier and more expensive than at Vuda Point. Their haulout facility looked OK, but the big drawback is that they won't let you stay on your boat while hauled out. So in addition to the haulout, labor, and paint expense, we'd have to rent an apartment for a week or two while hauled out.

So, we'll probably choose Vuda Point for our haulout in April.

We got back to the Bluewater Lodge around 5pm, and spend a nice couple of hours relaxing and getting ready for our long long flight home. We had a swim in their pool, and a nice hot shower. They had a pretty nice dinner menu, and we had a couple of beers and ate well too. After dinner, Joseph gave us a ride to the airport, only 10 minutes from their hotel.
The Bluewater Lodge

We boarded our Air Pacific flight around 9:30pm, and off we went to The Land of Stuff.

No comments:

Post a Comment