Having achieved our A+ in exploring Viani Bay and its nearby island of Tevanui, we consulted the weather to see where we were to go next. Consulting the weather is like consulting an oracle: we waive our magic wands over a crystal ball until it swirls with clouds or sun, rain or wind. Today, the weather is unequivocal. We are going back to Savusavu. Another low is forming just below Fiji, and while it doesn’t look like it will form into a cyclone, it will bring strong winds from many directions and a lot of rain. So, we have about 12 hours to make it to a bay protected from all sides, and the closest one available: Savusavu.
The next morning, we set our alarm for five a.m., again. I grumble and growl about being awake before the sun, and Sonrisa mutters under her breath about going back to “Hotel Savusavu”. Around six a.m., Grin is up on deck, everything below is tidy and we are pushing out to sea. Viani Bay surprises us with a sendoff of flowers sailing away from shore using their spiky, pink tipped Mohawks as sails.
We have a boisterous sail back to Savusavu, with Sonrisa carrying us at 7 knots for most the way. As we make the turn into the mouth of the bay, the waves are growing impressively tall. We are glad to find a good hidey-hole just in time. As we pull onto our mooring ball, our friends at Waitui Marina wave hello from shore. We head in for a new anchorage beer, and upon stepping one foot on the dock we are informed tomorrow night is Karaoke Night. Will we be there?
That evening, the rain starts. Not to waste too much time, Andrew develops a plan for a project. Installing our bow shade cover, he monitors the flow of raindrops, burns a hole in the fabric, installs an extra through-hull we have lying around (through-hull = a plastic valve typically used to control water in and out of Sonrisa’s hull), and connects a hose. Finally, we have a water catching device. He gathers the first few gallons into a plastic tank that we use for shower water (allowing the shade and hose to be rinsed clean. Then, he inserts the hose into Sonrisa’s water tank portal. Andrew carries his giant bag of water around like it is the carcass of a trophy game animal. Mind you, we have a water maker so this is all recreational water collection. Nonetheless, it rains off and on all day, and Andrew fills up both of Sonrisa’s giant water tanks, 160 gallons total. No shower rationing this week!
It’s not too long before evening falls, the colorful lighting is plugged in at the marina patio, and you can see Adrian and Christine from S/V Rainbow’s Shadow toting two full sized speakers, microphones, and books of CDs across the bay in their dinghy. Sailors straggle in - some aware that it is Karaoke Night, others being caught up in Karaoke Night’s net as they try to pass by.
“Adrian!” I yell over the extraordinary high volume of the speakers for the size of the tiny patio. “Tell me the story of the day Christine installed full sized karaoke gear on your sailboat!” Adrian laughs. You see, he and Christine met in Borneo, and in Borneo, karaoke isn't just a once a week endeavor, it is a way of life. The way Adrian sees it, if you love a woman from Borneo, you have no choice but to install a full karaoke system on the sailboat.
“When she first came on the boat, she took one listen to the speakers and said ‘we will have to upgrade.’” We look over at Christine, toting the mike and belting whatever song happened to be next. “You realize she rigs this gear up inside the boat and sings until her voice gives out, right?”
I laugh. Christine is awesome.
Our new friend, Miri on S/V Hotspur, is equally awesome. Combine Bob Dylan with Patsy Cline and Dolly Parton and you get Miri. She is a master at ad libbing hilarious words - or even non-words - when she either doesn’t know or doesn’t want to follow the words on the screen. Her high pitched, Texas/Oklahoma/Georgia accent (I’m not really sure - they are from Colorado) is so persuasive she can get even the most difficult of patrons to take hold of the microphone and sing something ridiculous. She cornered recent arrivals from New Zealand as they were trying to go to shore to get some Indian food and before you know it, the two gentlemen are singing a duet of Y.M.C.A.
The thing about karaoke is - some of these song lyrics are really strange. You think you know a song, you remember singing the chorus with your mom on a drive into town one day, but as you grab the mike and take up residence at the front of the room, you realize with asinking feeling that you are singing a song about a street walker. Y.M.C.A is like that. The lyrics are really odd, and repetitive, and they go on for like 7 minutes. What choice do you have but to carry on and really deliver attitude during the chorus?
I have never seen Andrew actually karaoke before. There is legend of the time that he got drunk on his 21st birthday and someone convinced him to karaoke “When I think about you, I touch myself.” Honestly, that song is obviously going to be a strange kareoke choice. The strangeness is built into the title. After that, he swore off kareoke completely. I believe his boss convinced him to kareoke on a work trip of some kind, but again, I wasn’t there, so I haven’t seen it. Somehow, (Andrew blames a can of Woodstock for pushing him over his drink limit) Miri convinced him to sing Summer Love from Grease with her, Endless Love by Billy Joel (to which I was added as duet buddy), and then he even took up the mike to sing Desparado on his own. That was something to see. We have no video footage of Desparado because by this point, Jolene had packed it in and went home for the evening.
Everyone was hoping for a repeat performance of Eye of the Tiger from me, as it went so well a week ago, but I know better than to try to catch lightening in a bottle twice. Neils isn’t here, and I contribute my prior success to his backup dancing. So, I am looking for something else to sing. My usual karaoke song is Sin Wagon by Dixie Chicks. It has all the components of a good Karaoke song. Fast and upbeat, well tuned for my vocal range, and a musical interlude that will allow for creative presentation (i.e. full blown boot kicks). Unfortunately, that is not a choice in Christine’s repertoire. So, I try a few songs on for size. "New York, New York" is my first choice for the evening. Slow enough to get me warmed up, and jazzy enough to include some footwork. I really muck up “Rock Around the Clock,” but it gives me the opportunity to do the Charleston. I hit my stride with Shania Twain “That Don’t Impress Me Much.” It must be Miri’s country influence.
A group of Fijians gather at the picnic table to the left, donning hoodies and beanie caps. It’s 79 degrees Farenheight tonight— winter weather! They join the fun every now and then and mostly giggle at the sailors trying to sing. I am talking with Elizabeth when Miri plops down next to me (extra microphone still in hand.)
“I just gave Andrew a titty-twister!” She tells me, beyond proud of herself.
“Oh dear.” I say in response. I am absolutely certain that this went over like a lead balloon. “Really?”
“Yeah!” She says, “and he told me to tell you ‘Cantaloupe.’” She impersonates the gravity with which he delivered the word ‘cantaloupe,’ drawing out the word and looking at me from beneath her eyebrows.
“Mmm, yes, that makes sense.” I say, as ‘Cantaloupe’ is code word for “I have had enough. Time to go home.”
By 11:00 p.m., my ears are burning off from the volume of the speakers and Miri is still going strong. Adrian starts wrapping up the second microphone and one of two speakers while Miri is “finishing one last song.” While this is probably a slight exaggeration, my final memory of this night involves Adrian toting a speaker down the dock toward the dinghy with Miri stringing behind him singing a Dolly Parton number.
It was a good night. Great to be back in Savusavu.