Monday, August 4, 2014

Catching Up

Waitui "Marina" Geothermal activity is producing the steam that rises out of the beach on the other side of the wharf

In the morning Aseri came out in his dinghy and he was delighted to receive the fish which I had covered with a wet cloth to keep it cool. Later he returned with the Customs officials and Quarantine, the paper work was done and after paying a couple of hundred more dollars in fees and charges I was cleared back in to Fiji. I had been gone six days. The loveliest memory I will have of the trip was that last day, sailing in towards the Somosomo strait with the sun rising behind me, Taveuni to port, and then an entire day with the wind strong and in from a favourable quarter. I remembered I had told myself on the way out, close hauled or motor-sailing and hating it, that I would have my reward on the way back,  and so it proved to be. I saw two dolphin fish - mahi-mahi -  leap from the water, and dozens of tiny flying fish.

I realised I had made it back in time to possibly salvage my mission to Nigeria. I needed to get my Passport to MSF in Sydney so they could obtain the Visa, a process they said could take up to three weeks, which was all the time left till the start of the gap they wanted me to fill. I had a chat to Jolene at the Waitui Marina and she reassured me that  they could care for Sapphire right there, even offering to bring her to the mooring closest to their wharf, so almost on the spur of the moment I decided to go back to Sydney so there would be no delays with the Visa process. Aseri promised to eradicate the ants while I was away, and the next day I flew to Nadi, and on Wednesday I arrived back in Sydney.

MSF took my passport and I had several meetings and briefings with them about the mission to a place called Jahun in northern Nigeria. I had to get a medical check up, make sure my Vaccinations were up to date and that was about it, so I phoned Amber at the Locum Agency and as usual she came up with some work for me - in Gladstone, Queensland, for two weeks starting Monday 14th. I flew there on Sunday and would return on the weekend before my monday departure for Nigeria.

As it turned out, my Visa was obtained and the Passport returned in just one week, and then MSF changed the date of my departure by a week, meaning after Gladstone there was a week to fill. The Locum was quiet and relatively uneventful so I decided to visit my daughters, grandkids and friends back in New Zealand after the Locum. Ordinarily, returning from Fiji I would have made a stopover there, but I skipped it this time in the interests of getting the Visa - but now I had it, I could pop back and see them all. It was a busy trip but it was great to see them all again, and on my return to Sydney took a further trip up north to catch up with Alex and Jeri in the beautiful isolated country inland from Taree.

I returned Saturday, did all my repacking and watched the Super Rugby final on TV, hoping the Crusaders would beat the Waratahs yet again, but it was not to be. A dubious infringement by Richie McCaw in the last few seconds of the game gave the Waratahs an opportunity to kick a difficult penalty and instead of losing by two, to  win by one, and Bernard Foley did it! A great game for sure!

July had been an amazingly busy month!

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