Wednesday, Don and Bill took a rental car across the island to Labasa where Don went to the dentist. We'd heard a great deal about this Dr. Kumar, and he lived up to his reputation, rebuilding Don's broken tooth point for F$40 ($25 US!), including the Novocain shot. The boys spent the night at Palmlea, giving Bill a quick look at north-side life (and the fantasy property), before they drove back Thursday. Meanwhile, I spent my time alone on the computer catching up on my Admiral's Angle columns, printing out 100 photos for Sera and Freddy back in Naviqiri, and doing other computer stuff.
On Friday, the boys finally tackled my Force 10 stove. This stove has been a trial to us since we bought it nine years ago. Never have I been able to have something in the oven and then use any of the top burners. Over the years Force 10 has sent us parts ostensibly to fix this problem, but they've never helped. In Central America, when our oven valve failed, it took two tries to get the right part. Trying to put that part in – without any directions provided – was not one of Don's happier endeavors. Since then, one by one the stove-top burners have been failing, so that upon Bill's arrival I was down to one working burner.
Uncle Bill, bless his heart, had taken on ordering all the needed replacement parts from Vancouver. He had even managed to get a printout of instructions. The parts we thought we needed had, of course, been discontinued, and instead he'd to buy three completely redesigned burner kits…which of course cost a bundle. Don, as you might guess, was sure it would have been better to make a dive site of this stove and to put those dollars toward a new one. Without Bill on hand, those new burners might well have slipped away to the spare parts netherworld. But Bill, naive as he was, was game to tackle it and dragged Don with him. It took ALL DAY, because the stove has to be largely dismantled to get access to the insides, and of course, dismantled, the parts and pieces had to be cleaned. But by golly, by sticking to it, the guys got it all reassembled, and get this…it works! I mean works the way it always should have!!!!! And no stray licks of blue flame around the edges, either. I guess there's a reason they redesigned those burners. And not only does it work – lighting promptly even when the oven is on, but it no longer rattles when we motor. For once, money and effort truly well spent! The chef is a happy camper!
Don't get the idea that Uncle Bill's holiday has been all work and no play. There wasn't a happy hour we missed, and we ate out pretty near every night. Savusavu is full now of boats we have come to know, so life has been quite social.
Saturday morning the boys went ashore for a haircut. This they found at a salon upstairs above the Bula Re restaurant. This turned into quite the cultural experience for Uncle Bill as the hairdresser was Reggi/Regina, a flamboyant Fijian version of what would, in French Polynesia, be called a faka leiti (a fake woman!) She/he did a great job with both guys, although she particularly liked rebraiding Uncle Bill's token pigtail.
We also tackled making a little video movie for Kai in return for the great DVDs he and his Mom sent out to us with Bill. Titled "PopZ and Gz on the Boat in Fiji", it's a little closer to sailing with Mr. Rogers" than "Sailing with Elmo!" Steven Spielberg we aint. At least it will give him some idea of what the boat looks like, both at anchor, and, yes, by golly, underway. We dropped the mooring after lunch, raised the sails and the boys and camera chased after me in the dinghy as a brisk breeze sent T2 flying out to the Point.
Yesterday, we finally got Uncle Bill wet with a little scuba refresher class and some exploratory dives along the reef. There are some amazing coral formations on the bottom here, and we were treated to a turtle as we swam through the cleft in Split Rock.
Today, Monday, is the 13th which means it is Captain Don's Birthday. We've started the day with a glutinous pancake breakfast and who knows what lies ahead. We SHOULD have gotten underway this weekend for Lautoka, Vuda and Musket Cove, where we plan to end Bill's visit. However, we ordered from the states a replacement breaker last week for the windlass, and it hasn't come in yet. And, wouldn't you know, the weather report is for a return of strong winds. Oh, well. Never have schedule.
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