Haul Out in Fiji

Haul Out in Fiji

With a year on the bottom paint and growth like an aquaculture farm I decided to opt for new bottom paint. Australia has very strict invasive species laws and they demand fresh bottom paint and a clean bottom to enter the country. So with that I found the boat yard at Vadu Point just south of the shipping port of Lautoka.

Vadu Point is a small circular marina, med style moorings with a boat yard on the perimeter. I had e mailed them with my needs and received quick response. On a preliminary visit I met Peter the painter and he gave me an estimate. The labor is very cheap—about $10 usd an hour but the paint is very expensive due to duty and shipping. All and all the price was very good.

I arrived back at Vadu Point on the weekend, the crew meet you in a skiff and guide you to the mooring then assist in the tie up of the two bow lines to the mooring balls. The stern ties to a cement wall which has wooden landings protruding by each boat. The access is hard at low tide but easy at high tide.

The marina is adjacent to a small albeit plush resort and the marina tenants are allowed access to the amenities; restaurant, spa and large swimming pool. We take full advantage of this offer.

Monday morning is haul out day, it is also the departure day for Lucka, which I will talk about in another posting. This marina supplies “cyclone holes” which are used to semi bury yachts for long term cyclone season storage. This is a safe way to store a boat and this location seems to be protected so it is a popular lay over.

The crew guides us into the travel lift, now I have attended hundreds of haul outs in my day, and have seen just about everything that can be done—both right and wrong. But I have never seen the foreman actually get into the water with a dive mask to guide to straps into place.

Each boat yard has “the guy” who knows what he is doing and is the non official boss—the old guy who looks are deceiving and keeps things running smooth—that would be Geirge. George’s position is clear even though I do not understand a word being said. He clearly is “the guy”. They lift the boat perfectly and do a detailed job of pressure washing the clam bed off the boat, then block it. As soon as the blocks are set Peter’s crew jumps on the boat doing again very detailed prep work. By day’s end the boat is masked and the bottom prepped.

As I do not have European power or a transformer I have to live off the batteries so time on the hard is limited. They tell me I will be in the water in two days—but I have been around boat yards too long to but total stock in the prediction. Low and behold, two days later I am being launched! Bottom paint, zincs and away I go.

While in the marina I am befriended by a cab driver, Abdul. He takes great care in carting me around and doing two airport runs for crew changes. We become great friends, his service was extraordinary. He enlightens me on the conflicts between the Indians and Fijians. Apparently the Indians, even though born in Fiji have limited access to land ownership. They all seem to meld well but the laws do cause conflict.

The last thing I do at the marina is fuel up. Fuel is about one dollar a liter, not as good as Tonga but the best I will see for awhile so I fill up. This will take me to Australia easily.

My new crew arrives, Debbie a long time friend lost for 15 years but reunited by Facebook and her 11 year old son, Jesse. So with new crew, the boat spanking clean and fueled up we head to the play grounds of Fiji.