Daliconi, Vanuabalavu (17:13.3S 178:58.0W), Northern Lau Group, 2-9-2014
After emotional goodbyes in the village with givings of more presents from either side we left Vulaga Monday morning at slack water high tide, way earlier than necessary for the 120 nm overnight trip to Vanuabalavu, but easier to negotiate the tricky pass than with a strong outflowing current that sucks the boat out.
After the most relaxed sail that we remember in times (broad reach with 5 to 15 knots of wind) and reduced sails to lower our speed (to 1.5kn at arrival) we entered the Adavaci Pass of Vanuabalavu at 10.00 the next morning. We anchored off Daliconi, a charming small village directly at the beach against a lush green hill with well kept houses and gardens. Our sevusevu we did with the sister of the Chief, as the Chief was working in the garden and could apparently not be bothered, with Ronny as our spokesman and so and so as the spokesman of the Chief/sister. No kava drinking, like in Vulaga, as it is more of a custom in this village to only drink kava in the evening or weekend. Which may also explain why the village looked so tidy and prosperous compared to Vulaga.
A couple of days later during a walk we met Semiti, a 74 year old very energetic local, who was just turning home from collecting copra on one of his plantations. He invited us for kava at his home, the biggest in the village on the most beautiful spot with a garden, kept in English style. His matagali (clan) owns most of the property in the area, including the grounds where the village is built, although the Chief is from a different matagali. A bit fairer skinned than most locals, he explained those were the genes of his mother, who was half Fijan, half German-Scottish. He introduced us to some of his grandchildren, the youngest of whom (5 years old) had Shirley Temple-like curls of a golden hue, a stunningly beautiful child. As a favour Semiti asked whether we had some “hot stuff” on board. After some prodding we found out he intended alcohol, which we were warned not to give to locals. He was well aware of that, and told us not to tell anyone else in the village, but assured us he could handle his liquor well (due to his Scottish descent?). He was convincing enough to make an exception in his case, also because at 74 he was in very good shape and very energetic, not the type who would get into binge drinking because of boredom. And at that age his habit of having one or two drinks before dinner would be hard to change anyway and probably does him well.
So we had a great kava session at his home, away with the formalities of wearing sulu’s or hand clapping, just a relaxed drink with our new friend.
We stayed at anchor in front of the village for a couple of days. At sunset the village is lit up spectacularly, and singing practice in the church would begin, which we could hear very well, as there was hardly any wind, making it a perfect spot for a well-deserved sundowner.