Jone's 21st Birthday Blessing

 Superted V

Blog & Photos - June 2013

1 - 2 June - still in Nasasobu - spent a pleasant couple of hours with one of the local families - a young couple Charlie, Naomi and baby. Discovered that they had a hole in one of their aluminium dinghies so the following day Matt, Michael and Mike set to work fixing it for them.

2 - 7 June - Took the inner reef passage through to Viani Bay which lies across the Somosomo straits from the island of Taveuni. There are several families scattered around the bay with one school - the children are collected every day in a long boat supplied by a local resort and the fuel paid for by the government. One of the locals, Jack, is very well known amongst cruisers - he offers to take cruisers snorkelling or diving out on the reef. The reef around Taveuni with the fast running current of the Somosomo straits provides perfect conditons for soft corals. We took Jack up on his offer and went out to the reef to snorkel. We were rewarded with clear water and very pretty corals. Did a dive with Taveuni Ocean Sports on the 'White wall' - a pretty wall full of very colourful white, pink and purple soft coral. Went with Jack across the Somosomo straits to Taveuni to stock up at the supermarket and take a trip to the waterfalls.

8 - 17 June - On the small island of Rambi. Very friendly people originally from Ocean island in Kiribati- their story is quite a sad one - see flotsam - but they are such warm, generous, smiling people. There are 4 villages on the island - each has a generator which runs for 2 hours a day to supply the village but there are many small homes scattered in more remote parts who have no power at all. Our first village was at Katherine's bay - we were joined on a walk by 'Cowboy' so nick-named apparently because he had brought the first horse to the island! He went out of his way to accompany us on our walk then joined us for a beer on board. We moved on to a couple of other bays and enjoyed fabulous snorkelling. In one village we walked to we came across a large open hall with a circle of women and children - thinking they were weaving, we asked permission to go inside - and found they were playing bingo! They use their own cardboard cards and shells to mark the cards! In Elizabeth Bay we took a walk to the main village where we again met very friendly locals and after being taken to meet one of the teachers to buy veggies we were invited to join the extended family in a kava party! On the walk back we chatted to a very bright, charming 10 year old boy who spoke perfect English. He had walked a couple of miles to buy rice - which he was carrying across his shoulders. He was very proud of his village and the clean drinking water - he told us it was named after Queen Elizabeth when she visited his village to see the spring water. (We think this was on her Pacific cruise shortly after her coronation). Whilst Matt showed him how to make bird noises with a leaf I offered to carry his rice whilst he practiced - 'No thank you - in our culture we do not let girls carry heavy loads'! In school the children learn 3 languages - English, Fijian and Hindu and on Rambi they also speak Banaban. They pay 30 Fijian dollars (around £12) a term for each child - quite a lot for these very poor people who have a subsistence living.

17 June - We reluctantly left Rambi to head down to the Lau group of islands - because it's a sail to the south-east there are not many opportunities to make the trip (around 180 miles) in a northerly quadrant wind. Spent a night on the island of Metangi - great views of the bats - and then left in the early hours of the following morning.

19 - 22 June - arrived at the village of Daliconi on Vanua Balavu. Beautifully kept village - and of course the usual friendly Fijian welcome. This was our first village where we did 'Sevusevu' - a ceremony in which you present a gift of yangona to the chief and he gives his permission for you to swim in the surrounding bays and walk on the island etc. See flotsam for details of sevusevu and kava making. We visited the school a couple of times - a total of 30 children in 4 classes (ages 5 - 14 years) with 3 teachers. Friday is their gardening day - they were all busy digging and breaking down the soil before planting roots and seedlings which have been given by their parents - they were going to sell the produce back to their parents to make money for the school. Everyone had a job to do and did it with such enthusiasm - great to see.

23 - 30 June - From Daliconi we sailed around to the Bay of Islands - anchored amongst the mushroom-shaped volcanic rocks. Then on to Batavu harbour and the Royal Exploring Isles Yacht Squadron before a very quick overnight passage down to Komo in the southern Lau. Went ashore to do our 'sevusevu' and were invited to come back at 4pm to join a 21st birthday celebration. The birthday boy was also the primary school teacher in the village. The women were busy making tapa garlands and cooking whilst the men prepared the kava. The celebrations were very special with the minister blessing the boy (Jone) and several very emotional speeches followed by much food and kava drinking and music. We felt very honoured to join in. We were invited to go to church on Sunday which we did and were then invited to join the minister and his extended family for lunch. There seems to be no end of the hospitality of these people.


Position on 30th June - S18.40.675 W178.37.603

July 2013.....