Post Covid, Back To The Islands of Fiji

Tuesday 7th June 2022

Bob and crew left for the islands exactly two weeks ago today, and since then I’ve been chasing around in my usual frantic state, working my way (as efficiently as possible) through an enormous list of “To Do” jobs. I don’t do the passages anymore,  I’ll be flying to meet Captain Bob, much the easier option one would think!

I’m due to leave tomorrow at 4:45am, a friend is driving me to the airport to catch the 6am flight to Auckland, or so I thought!  I’d been busy all day trying to complete last minute jobs, and was feeling a mix of excitement and sadness; I was excited to be going back to Fiji for a few months, but I was also sad at the thought of leaving my lovely home for so long.

Since the onset of Covid in March 2020, we’ve been pretty much housebound. This hadn’t been a problem for me, I’m happy as a homebody, especially after spending 13 years sailing, but it hadn’t sat well with Captain Bob, who was suffering great withdraw from not being able to set sail.  We had planned to sail to Fiji ( Bob and crew) last year, after our new decks on Daisy were completed, thank you Graeme and team from OPUA BOAT BUILDERS. Unfortunately there were so many other things that needed to be completed the planned departure date was pushed back again and again, then Fiji had another outbreak of Covid and so our trip was cancelled. It just didn’t make any sense to go.

Anyway, back to my impending trip.  I had just come in from the garden at 4:30 to hear a ping on my phone, a message from the airline, announcing that due to staff shortages my 6am flight had been cancelled. All last minute jobs went out the window as I panicked about how I was going to get to Auckland for my 9:30am flight. I live 4 1/2 hours from Auckland airport, and was going to be gone for 3 1/2 months, if I drove myself where on earth would I leave a car for that long? I called my friend Karen who’s husband David was crewing with Bob; Karen and I had planned to meet at the airport as we were flying out  together, luckily for me, she was staying with her daughter and son-in-law in Auckland. “If you can get here tonight, we will put you up for the night, and Mike (her son-in-law) will drive us to the airport in the morning”  Karen also said I could leave my car there while I was away.

OK so I had a plan, unfortunately I hate driving at night, especially on New Zealand roads that are mostly unlit, but I didn’t have a choice. if I wanted to make the flight. I frantically flew around the house finishing last minute jobs, grabbed my luggage, threw it in the car and just headed out in the dark at 6pm.  The first 3 hours wasn’t too bad as the roads were typically pretty empty, but when I hit Wellsford there were major road works on and off, all the way into Albany where I got diverted off the highway, it was almost 11pm and I was so tired, I didn’t want to turn the GPS on my phone on until I left the highway as my battery was low,  my old van had neither GPS or a charger for the phone.

But enough of all the drama, I eventually found my way back to the highway, and happily my battery lasted just long enough to find Karen’s daughters house at 11:45, where I was met with a smile, a cup of tea and a comfortable bed for the night. Tomorrow I’m off to Fiji…

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