Pictures from the island of Rabi (pronounced Rambi). We
only stopped at Albert Cove and it's everything you imagine a tropical beach to
The island is quite big, being approximately 10 miles long
and 5 miles wide at it's widest point. The inhabitants of Rabi are
Banabans from the Gilbert Islands, a 1000 miles away. They moved here mid 1940s
when their island was destroyed by phosphate mining. Rabi is covered in thick
rain forest and the 4,000 people there live on the coast, mainly in 4 villages.
There is no village at Albert Cove, but there are 2 families living here in
the Cove, one with young children. Their life here is subsistence and right back
to basics. Their houses are very small and very primitive, being made of
pandanus leaves with a little bit of corrugated iron here and there. They have a
fresh water well, grow their own food (taro, bananas, papaya all grow with
little effort - with all the rain it's very lush and fertile) and fish in the
cove, on the reefs and further out to sea between Rabi and the mainland. They
also keep a few domestic pigs and hunt wild pigs in the forest. And of course
they have loads of coconuts. Coconut palms are everywhere. They've even found a
way of milking the trees to get coconut sap. The day it's produced it's very
sweet and given to the children, but within 3 days it ferments and turns into
toddy - a form of rum, which of course the adults drink. They also grow and
drink kava, but that's something they've taken on from the Fijians.
On our arrival there was only one other boat there, but by
the end of the following day another 4 boats had arrived. On seeing the boats a
small group of villagers came from the closest village to put on a display
of their local crafts - weaving mats and plates (yes, plates made of coconut
leaves), how they process copra, how they get toddy from the trees and
how they make the kava drink from the kava roots. It finished with some
We stayed at Albert Cove for 5 days and despite being
anchored in 70 to 80ft of water, we stayed put and didn't need the stern anchor.
While we couldn't see the bottom that far down, there was no crunching of coral
(which gets transmitted loud and clear up the anchor chain regardless of depth
and the use of a long snubber), and when the anchor was finally raised it
had clearly been in sand and came up without a hitch.
Anchored in Albert Cove, showing the route
And what it looked like from the
What dreams are made
One of the locals who lives here guided
a few of us up to a high point overlooking
the cove. It was quite a trek up hill (75
minutes or more) through the forest, but the
view of the cove and reef was stunning.
Aurora B is the middle boat of the 3 visible.
A close-up of Aurora B (as much as we could
get with the camera we took up).
The intrepid climbers, which included Liz
who's taking the photo. Bill, our guide, is
second to the left. We all wore walking
shoes, he didn't!
A stroll along the beach (with her NZ
walking pole in hand).
Now that's a nice
We toured the cove and surrounding bays in
the dinghy. The rocks here have been
undercut by the
Ready for a snorkel in
one of the adjoining bays with a deserted sandy
The locals demonstrating their weaving to
the women from the western world.
A sleeping mat made from coconut palm
The family home.
The other main house at the Cove. Note the
little solar panel on the thatch!
(Probably a gift from a passing
The youngest child playing with a plaited
All ready for dancing. The leaves and
flowers had been collected from the forest.
The speakers were plugged into a battery powered flash-card player and
locals looked on. Improvised kava bowl
(an old plastic buoy cut in
half) to the left.
And the dancing began - not unlike the
Polynesian dancing we have seen,
but more gentle and
The corals here were
pretty good too.
With more fish than some of the other
Christmas Tree worms of
different colours on the white coral.
Can't remember the last time we saw a blue
A sponge, all on its