July 16 - 19
Griffyn actually turned seven on passage (July 14th) between Tonga and Fiji. Because the anticipation was killing him and making it difficult for us to live with him, we let him open one small present (WW II plastic army guys) a couple days before his birthday. Our salon became a battle field for the next three days. And because we realized when we left Tonga that his birthday would occur during a rough passage we let him open another present (a squishy light up ball Tamsyn had found in Tonga) on passage knowing we would not actually celebrate until we were in Fiji - until we had rested enough in a new country to organize a party (of newly made friends).
Matt (who Griffyn net in Tonga), had arrived in Fiji a couple days before us and was invited to Griffyn's party, to be held at 3pm Friday (July 19th) on the island beach across from our boat. We also invited Kennedy (S/V Far Star), who had already left Savusavu once but returned a day later with engine trouble, Sylvie and David (S/V Puddy Tat) who had just arrived from New Zealand, and two British couples we had just met. Kennedy not only met our boat and helped us to a mooring ball in the dark, he also helped the British boats moor as well. Knowing Kennedy was our friend, they invited us over for drinks. While Tamsyn and Griffyn howled over Abbott and Costello in "Africa Screams", we all became friends with Mount Gay Rum and Coca-Cola. Their large cat had a full-sized propane powered refrigerator - wow. As with all large catamarans, it felt more like a floating house than most mono hulls ever could. The two British couples were best friends and were sailing around the world together. We really enjoyed getting to know them and hope to visit them one day at their homes in the U.K.
We generally eat out within the first 24 hours of arriving in a new country, simply because we are so exhausted from the passage. 'Decked Out Cafe', was recommended as a yachties hang out with good food at typical Fijian prices (a beef hamburger is $3.85 US). The food was good and we met the owners Jeanine and Colin (who also run Koro-Sun Dive) and their son Bligh, a 9 year old boy who hit if off with both Tamsyn and Griffyn.
Bligh was invited to Griffyn's party. Lastly we invited Gavin, a 4 year old boy who spends his days alongside his parents at the office of Waitui Marina and Bebe Electronics. Bebe Electronics manufactures LED lights - highly desirable in boats for their low amperage. We later retrofitted our Aqua Signal tri-color and anchor light with LED lights from Bebe Electronics. Now those two lights use only .3 amps when lit as opposed to 6 amps. A great power savings for us which means we can leave our anchor and tri-color lights lit after sun down during passages, something we have not been able to do. Kendra and Michael, the owners of Bebe Electronics, (S/V Shangri La) sailed into Savusavu 12 years ago and decided they'd found their paradise. Labor here is very cheap compared to American. I spoke with a local who worked in construction, his wage was $3 Fiji dollars / hour (roughly $1.50 US.)
The Wednesday before Griffyn's party,Tamsyn began making paper masks. She made a tiger, a rabbit, an owl and a cat and many paper boats with rubber band chin straps. On Friday Owen took the dinghy to the beach to plan out the treasure hunt while I began making cakes. Griffyn wanted a mountain cake so I took out all the pans. Starting with a 9 x 13 as a base, I made a spice cake. Then I topped that with two smaller round layers of chocolate cake (and some white frosting) and poured a mixed berry compote over all. It looked like a volcano. It is quite difficult to transport a mountain cake in a dinghy - so I put it together on the beach with the help of all the adults there.
Griffyn & Bligh.
The wind was kicking the sand around so it was a little sandy but no one seemed to mind. We decorated the trees with balloons and laid out the presents. Thank you Hinka and Lois for the foam water blasters (one of which was for Tamsyn). Thank you Wendy and Joe for the medieval soldiers, thanks Matt for the wallet and $10, thanks Bligh for the light saber, movies and candy money, thanks Kennedy for the cool sun glasses, thanks Sylvie and David for the dart board and coloring book, thanks Tamsyn for the little ketch carved from bone. Mom and Dad gave him a miniature New Zealand garbage truck (he's wanted a garbage truck since he first saw Toy Story 3 back in Washington. I finally found a small enough one in New Zealand.) We also gave him a small motor boat with it's own boat trailer and station wagon to pull it. Over all it was a very nice batch of toys and didn't increase the ratio of toys to non-toys on the boat too much.
After the cake and presents, Owen, Matt and the kids went on a treasure hunt around the island following clues written on a parchment from 1728. The clues were riddles which lead them across the island to a leaning coconut palm. Reluctantly Griffyn shared the booty (candy) with all. Then they played with the water blasters and floated around with balloons strapped to their middles until dusk.
Matt out on a limb. If you were 7 would he be one of your best friends too?