Welcome to the Maunie of Ardwall blog

This is the blog of Maunie of Ardwall charting our adventures as we sail around the world. We're sailing up and down the east coast of Australia after a summer back in Britain.

Tuesday, 9 September 2014

A culture shock

As we suspected, Port Denarau has proved to be a culture shock, and not a good one. Denerau was one a swampy island but is now home to dozens of hotels, hundreds of expensive holiday homes with boat docks at the back door, a marina and a shopping mall selling tourist-oriented tat (including poor copies of the kinds of carvings we saw in Faluga at about four times the price).

The view from our mooring
..and at night. Unfortunately the noise of two competing cover bands travels across water all too well.
The place is full of pale, newly-arrived English and Australian tourists who, looking slightly bewildered, sign up for expensive boat trips to nearby islands after a burger meal in the Hard Rock Cafe or one of its dozen or so alternatives.

Who could resist a ride? Us!

Sadly, after meeting so many genuinely friendly Fijians on our travels, it's sad to find the people here operating in a 'have a nice day' autopilot mode and it's really hard to engage with them, even when we use some Fijian phrases and make eye contact. It's a clear illustration of what happens when mass-tourism arrives and the locals are reduced to low-paid waiters and shop keepers. Ugh! We can't wait to get out of here.

We have been kept busy, though. There are a few boat chandlers here so we managed to find a replacement VHF radio as our Icom IC-411, which failed last year and was repaired in New Zealand, had started to have off days again when it would broadcast messages but not receive them. We've also ordered a new masthead block for the spinnaker halyard as the old one has collapsed due to old age and the old enemy, UV degradation. Getting parts to fit a normal-sized boat is a bit of a challenge, as the main marina pontoon is home to some very large and polished super yachts.

And the prize for the shiniest anchor goes to...

Big boats and helicopters

Maunie (far left) in 'paupers' corner', a set of 14 moorings. Notice the gathering clouds - the forecast looks damp for the next few days

This morning we took the locals' bus ($1 each, we were the only tourists aboard as most don't leave the island resorts) to a reasonably well-stocked supermarket in Nadi and an excellent butchers so we're ready to head out into the less populated islands once more.

Our time here only goes to reinforce what a special place was Fulaga - our friends on Bravo have just posted an update on their blog with a well-told story of the scary beast in the cave - you can read it here


  1. Hi Dianne and Graham. We've been really enjoying your recent posts - as we ramp down our travels and prepare to join the 'real world' of jobs again we must admit we're just a tiny bit jealous! Sailing the dugout canoe with Meli in particular. What an amazing experience. Hope you are both well. All the best Adam and Anna.

    1. Hi Adam & Anna
      Thanks for your kind comments and good luck with the process of returning to the real (or surreal?) world!
      Best wishes from us both, G&D x

  2. Adam's got a job lined up in London starting on Oct 27th so we're going to head into Belgium, Holland and a Germany in our van for 5 weeks before hand. Do you know of anyone in London requiring boat sitters over the winter? Can't believe the cost of rent! Anna and Adam