Monday 11th November 2013 - Matasawalvu and Naigoro Bay

Jon & Carol Dutton
Sun 24 Nov 2013 00:35

19:00.06S 178:28.20E


Monday 11th November 2013 – Matasawalvu and Naigoro Bay


The chart of the passage between Ono and Kadavu looks particularly scary – rocks are strewn liberally around and patches of reef partially block the entrance to bays.  However, armed with tracks down-loaded from the OCC website, we were able to negotiate our way through the hazards without any heart stopping moments and eventually drop anchor in Naigoro Bay in the early afternoon of Friday 8th.  Carol had been hoping to do some diving from here – the Naigoro Pass is reputedly one of the best sites in the area but the nearby dive resort was closed whilst we were there.


Again, we had been advised to go to the main jetty in the village of Matasawaluvu at high water.  This time the low water peril is not coral but yards of thick gloopy mud.  There is however a smaller landing spot further away from the village, accessible at all states of tide and known charmingly as the bus stop.  The route ashore from the anchorage (around 6m depth at chart datum) is always to drive direct to the bus stop.  That takes you safely inside the inner reef.  From there the safe dinghy route is a few metres off the outer edge of the mangroves in a curving anti-clockwise track until you get to the main jetty.  At low water you won’t make it so park at the bus stop and walk.




                                                        Lots of gloopy mud and it isn’t even half tide.




                        The Bus Stop – accessible at all states of tide but 5 or 10 minutes’ walk from the village


On coming ashore we asked to be directed to the chief’s house but instead were taken to the mayor’s house.  Sireli told us that he invariably welcomes visiting yachties.  He was very grateful to receive our gift of kava roots even though he farms kava himself.  He very kindly took us on a tour of the village.  Carol asked where the best place was to see the musk parrots for which the island of Kadavu is famed.  “No problem!” said Sireli – there is a tame one kept by one of the locals.  Jon’s family used to have a parrot or two when he was a child in Sierra Leone about a hundred years ago and he was quite happy to have the very handsome chap perch on his arm.




                                                                                Who’s a pretty boy, then?

We were also taken to see the piggery built on stilts in one of the mangrove swamps.  Free range pigs these are not, apart from the sow.  However, they do have a certain amount of freedom of movement, are out in the fresh air and are protected from the heat of the sun and the rain by the tree canopy.




                                                                                        Not too unhappy pigs


Every house in the village has a solar panel connected to a battery and an inverter - all provided by some sort of central funding.  So, there is a limited amount of 240V AC power available to all.  That does seem a much better idea than the previously seen initiative, elsewhere, of installing a diesel generator.  First it needs diesel - not readily obtainable in the small islands – and, second, it needs servicing.  We heard from one cruising friend a few months ago about a conversation he had with villagers whose diesel generator had, apparently unaccountably, stopped working.  When he asked them when it was that they had last topped up or changed the oil he was met with baffled looks.


Whenever you walk around the villages here you come across fully laden washing lines.  Indeed, one of the supplies that we were advised to bring with us as gifts, was long bars of laundry soap.  Of course, there are no washing machines – everything is done by hand.  Carol spotted one mathematically inclined Mum who had almost achieved an exponential curve with the bottom of the clothes on her line – possibly indicating that a woman’s work is never done!




                                                                    High tech washing line and solar panel


On our third day in Naigoro Bay, the lovely sunny weather disappeared and, the skies became leaden, the wind increased and there were several heavy downpours.  It wasn’t conducive to exploring the area so we caught up with a few chores -Jon cleaned the waterline – much easier now since we raised the antifoul a few more inches in New Zealand.  Carol cooked up casseroles to store in the freezer in preparation for the week long passage to NZ at some future point.


Jon’s back wasn’t getting any better so, on Monday 11th November, we weighed anchor, reversed our track through the rocks and reefs under a gloomy grey sky and headed back to Vuda.  Apart from one rather unpleasant squall in the middle of the night, it was a decent down wind sail, with one reef in the mainsail and the Yankee poled out, in a good 20 knots of breeze.  Early on the 12th, we were tied up once more in the marina and on a mission to find a doctor to have a look at Jon’s back.