Trip Reports

Malolo Lailai (12-Aug-2001-20-30):
8:30 PM local time Sunday, August 12th. (0830 August 12th UTC) 17 46 S 177 11 E. Temp. 78, Humidity 62%, cloud cover 0%. At anchor at the Musket Cove Yacht Club, Malolo Lailai, Fiji.

Warm greetings from the crew of Maverick.

On the fourth of August we weighed anchor in Suva just after noon for an overnight sail to the west side of Viti Levu, the southernmost of the two largest Fijian islands. After clearing the reef at Suva we had about a 100-mile sail to enter the pass through the reef on the western side, and as usual we tried to plan it so that we would not leave or enter either pass in the dark. A front passed during the night and we had plenty of rain and lightning, but the wind never went above twenty and the seas were moderate, so we counted it an easy passage. There was plenty of navigation to do through the night and several major wind shifts, so the watches never got boring. They don't, as a rule, in Fiji.

We worked our way through the reefs surrounding Malolo Lailai Sunday morning and anchored in sixty feet mile from the famous Musket Cove Yacht Club at 11:45. The Captain and Mr. Shrode became life members of the yacht club and for this privilege the Captain paid $1 Fijian while the crew had to pony up $5. We now have full use of the facilities at the Musket Cove Resort, which include showers, swimming pool, laundry room, lounge chairs on the beach, and access to the stores, bar, and restaurant. Got a burgee, hat, and shirt, too, though these were extra. The island of Malolo Lailai has no native villages and is occupied by several large resorts. If you were to fly to the South Pacific for a getaway, most likely this kind of resort would comprise the majority of your holiday experience. The only Fijians one sees, for the most part, are employees. Once again the crew has sacrificed personal preference and safety, this time to subject themselves unrelentingly to the total resort experience, strictly for the purposes of providing you, the paying customer, with the most up to date, reliable data available. It's not something we're proud of, but it comes with the territory in our line of work.

The Musket Cove Yacht Club sponsors a race every year from here to Port Vila, Vanuatu in September. The tone of the race can be inferred from a few of the rules. For one, the boat that crosses the finish line first is automatically disqualified, unless its skipper can provide credible proof of blatant cheating. Penalties (and possible disqualification if the infractions are serious enough) may be incurred by yachts whose crew wear Sperry topsiders or hoist light air sails. Fortunately, the crew of Maverick will be well on its way by the time the race starts, for this is just the kind of foolishness we, as the reader well knows, disdain.

From the day we got here, we have had the most perfect weather we have seen in the nearly five months since we began our voyage. Sunny days and mild breezes have affected the crew like heroin, giving them a feeling of euphoria without their having to do a thing to merit it. The listlessness they experienced back in Bora Bora was at least interrupted by squalls, rain, and fairly strong winds at the anchorages, but here there is nothing to challenge even the most rudimentary consciousness. Malolo Lailai sure rolls off the tongue, though, doesn't it?

As has been noted before, nothing could be more annoying, nay, infuriating to read about than the happy times of others, so we will leave the specifics to the reader's quite impressive imagination, and ring off until time provides us with more serviceable material for stories of the high adventures of the crew of Maverick.

PS to Nancy and Robert: What happened to your boat?

Next report more-or-less from this location: Fijiphila

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