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Our first trip to Fiji involved quite a bit of waiting in New Zealand for a weather window.

Once we made it out to the warm water, the trip was great. We cleared in at Suva which was dreary and rainy as predicted. While we were waiting on our crew to catch flights home we stopped by the US Consulate to renew Esther's US Tourist Visa. The Consular was a great guy and explained that Esther no longer qualified for a Tourist Visa because she was traveling with me and he no longer had "reason to believe she would return to Panama". He hinted that Latin women make wonderful wives and that if we chose to "clarify our relationship in the eyes of the law" the proper Fijian government office was only 2 blocks away.

What woman can refuse such a romantic proposal? I never asked, Esther never said a word. We walked silently to the Marriage office and signed up. The lady said there is a mandatory 3-day wait but since it wasn't quitting time yet, she would count that day. She also said she could marry us in 2 days if we arrived before they opened for business (and she would count that day also). So without so much as a bended knee Esther and I were married at 7:45 in the morning. My hair wasn't even dry! Our witnesses were a your Brazilian couple who told their parents they were going on a "sailing vacation".

All is well that ends well. We got married in 2001 and have never regretted it.

We declared our trip to Fiji our "Honeymoon" and set out to discover the islands. Esther fell in love with Musket Cove and we spent far too much time there but it was fun. We rigged the cross beams of Shimoda as outriggers and took off every 3 days on fishing trips. Most nights would find us at the $3-Bar barbeque eating whatever Esther had caught. I would sail the boat while Esther would reel in the fish. Married life was off to a good start.

Fiji Honeymoon
Fiji Honeymoon
Wedding Day

Our Honeymoon at Musket Cove

The Happy Couple!

Fernanda & Christian from Brazil
The witnesses for our wedding

Esther's career counseling service...

Fernanda & Caroline with Esther & Mark

Esther & Mark at Musket Cove acting like Yachties

SV Cherokee
Wedding Picture
Beqa village dinner

TC, Paul & John on Cherokee with 21 surfboards. They sailed & surfed from the Marshall Islands to New Zealand to Hawaii.

Esther & Mark on their Wedding Day
The ceremony was at 7:45am and cost $11

Dinner at a vilage on Beqa

Musket Cove organizes a Rally near the end of each season. Sponsors arrive from New Zealand and cruisers from all over Fiji. Many of the boats leave in a flotilla for Vanuatu while others head south to New Zealand to avoid cyclone season. We participated in 2 rallies and Shimoda took second place in the Round Malolo Race.

Musket Cove Pirate Rally
Musket Cove Pirate Rally
Musket Cove Pirate Rally

Esther learning the hard way what a
Wet T-Shirt contest is

Race Day at Musket Cove

Esther & Caroline sailing to Castaway's

Float Plane
Clothes swapping
Nandi Market

Float planes approached the anchorage at mast-top levels!

Jesus & Tess swap clothes at a party

Esther at the Nandi Market buying coconut crabs

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