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In Fiji

May 12th, 2014

The Picton Castle swings at anchor placidly here in the northern end of Suva Harbour. The ship sailed in from Tonga ten days ago, and so ends an amazing voyage through much of the South Pacific Ocean and putting in at many storied islands. Tales to be told by this crew for years to come. My relief for a few months, Captain John Beebe-Center and Chief Mate Dirk Lorenzen left the ship clean and in excellent order. In the early mornings, mists cover the lower regions of the distant mountains making for a beautiful and serene tableau, the waters of the bay are still with many white, 100 foot long-liner oriental fishing vessels at anchor in rafts of five or ten on moorings nearby as well. Pretty big ships come and go from the main piers from time to time. On the VHF radio we hear occasional chatter in what we believe to be Korean or Chinese. Around about dawn we see the occasional dugout canoe with a lone fisherman quietly paddling.

Our skiff landing takes place at the Royal Suva Yacht Club just at the north side of the city of Suva. This yacht club has transitioned from formidable gated bastion of imperial supremacy of the English ruling class and Empire from colonial days to a delightful, open and entertaining gathering spot for yachties, visiting vessels, and locals of all sorts and ages; very much a fun and active nautical community centre evidently open to one and all. A lovely grassy area by the water with a fine playground for little kids behind a fence. We expect to be doing some serious sailmaking at the yacht club soon.

A walk into town reveals that Suva is still that bustling, loud, crowded Indian/Fijian metropolis full of tropical noises and smells, all of which are welcome. Plenty Bollywood movies are on the cinema’s marquee downtown and well attended, soon we will see one or two. They really are quite fun and entertaining. After our last couple of visits and “Dabangg”, I am a fan now of Bollywood flicks. A couple ones that look pretty good with a some of the most stunningly gorgeous and handsome leading men and women. Just now between long voyages and now headed into shipyard mode we have about six crew aboard. Sails are sent down, bunk areas have been cleaned up and work lists organized. Soon carpenters will be clambering aboard to start replacing some quarterdeck planks and a few other things. The crew have been scraping and painting the yards with the sails off. Soon they will be slushing all the wire stays. New trainees show up by July 1st, we sail July 15th.

Anyway, we are doing pretty well, content enough to be back in the ship after the short work-packed, period ashore, but here we are and all is as it should be. Looking forward to getting on with the ships work for the next month and a half and to report in regularly on events as they transpire…

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