Birmies at Beachcomber Island
We made it safely to Beachcomber, giving the island a wide berth of almost a mile, and coming in cautiously from the south, which we found out afterwards was unnecessary, but we were happy to be careful after our earlier scare.
The inflatable kayak took us ashore where we stumbled up to the bar, trying to get our land legs. We looked around for a bit while Tony had a beer, and then went up to the reception and told them our story. They were happy to sell us drinks and let us anchor offshore, as I'd hoped they'd be.
We sat around waiting for evening, expecting a crowd to develop as it got later, since it was Friday night, and Beachcomber Is. had a reputation as a party spot. Instead, at 5:30, about half the people loaded up on the ferry boat and went home.
Finally, Tony worked up the nerve to start a conversation with a couple at the next table. We had our script all planned out, describing our night run, Tony's solo trip, how we'd met in Suva, etc. We asked them how much it cost to stay here, and when they told us, Tony set the hook. First with a teasing tug: "I'd let you stay on the boat cheaper than that." Then a jiggle: "I'd even take you around and teach you to sail."
The boy's eyes lit up, "I'd like that, really i would."
And we reeled them in. I played them up first, telling them Tony needed any money he could get. Then I played against it, telling Tony they were robbing him. They settled on $60 a day, plus food, which they were happy to buy groceries.
It turned out that they were British. Matty & Vic (Vicky), and from Birmingham. And frequented the same haunts as Tony. Matty was in IT, too (Alan's observation that everyone out here was in computers held up.) So they taked about their old stomping grounds all night. Matty was a student helicopter pilot too, so we had something to talk about, as well, though those of you konw, at parties & clubs, I'm pretty much a stick in the mud.