Trish and I continue to work our way through the Yasawa group of islands and
are now in a large bay on the northern coast of Naviti. Before we left
Yalombi on Waya we returned to the school to take some food and cash
contributions for the 100+ kids that boarded there but receive only F$12.5
per child per 14 week term as a food allowance. The headmaster had some of
the older boys and some of the young men from the village fixing guttering
to improve their collection of rainwater. The school tanks were empty and
the kids had to walk to the village at 6am each morning to wash and clean
their teeth, resulting in low supplies for the villagers. (the things we in
the west take for granted!). We also met a young English/Canadian couple,
Toby and Nicole who were travelling through the islands on a short
sabbatical from work and were waiting for a boat to give them a lift north
to the next village on the north coast. We offered them a lift and they
enjoyed the sail north to the village of Naulawaki so much we asked if they
would like to cruise with us for a few days.
We all went to pay our respects to the "Chief" in Naulawaki where the Sevu
Sevu ceremony was far less ceremonial. The villagers were once again really
friendly, asked many questions, welcomed us to their village, much smaller
and obviously less well to do than Yalombi (a relative measure!) the
following day we went back into the village to take some antibiotic creams
and wash for a young girl who had a very painful boil on her forehead. There
does seem to be a high incidence of boils here, possibly due to diet,
certainly due to the lack of clean water and hygiene. The heat, humidity and
coral does not help either.
>From Naulawaki we sailed north along the west coast of Naviti, always
keeping lookout for the numerous reefs and shoal waters that make navigation
in these islands so difficult. This is only possible in very good light
either side of noon or with excellent local knowledge as non of the four
sources of charts and the two cruising guides are accurate enough to enable
you to take chances. Sailing at night through these waters is unthinkable!
We are now in Somosomo Bay and again paid our respects to the chief. This
time a 80 year old woman called Andy who blessed the gift of Yaqona and the
parcel of food we had taken in and then tried to sell us a string of pink
This bay is used by small cruise ships calling in and when we left the
chiefs hut there was a group of woman and children who had set up cloth
"stalls" selling shells, coral jewellery, woven handicrafts and carvings.
We were escorted by a lady called Assinimba whose husband had gone off to
the hospital in Lautoka and died of "headache and stomach ache" more she did
not know! She was left to bring her teenage daughter and 12 year old son up
by herself with no outside means of support. We bought some fruit and onions
from her and she offered to have her son guide us to the sunken wreck of a
WW2 fighter plane that had ditched just offshore on the east coast. Waisake
and his friend Sainiana guided us through the forest/jungle across the
peninsula to a small group of houses where 74 year old Clara and her husband
Sissimi lived alone, their 6 children, 17 grandchildren and four great
grandchildren having gone off to the mainland. Their English was impeccable,
their knowledge of their island extensive and after snorkelling out to the
wreck, Clara got out some photos of a P39 American fighter plane and
explained how the pilot had been flying too low, hit a coconut tree, damaged
the propeller and ditched the plane into the shallows just offshore.
The boys stayed with us for the afternoon, swimming off the boat, joining us
for lunch and then after asking if they could watch TV, settled down to
watch DVD's. Johnny Depp and Pirates of the Caribbean was not to their
liking and they enjoyed Finding Nemo much better. We gave them a lift back
home, thanked Assinimba with a parcel of rice, sugar and dried beans and
bought some fish from her.
We had been joined in the Bay by Rick and Jon on Freestyle, friends we had
made in Hiva Oa at the start of our Pacific adventure and who had headed
north from Moorea through the northern Cook Islands and the Samoa's. We had
kept in touch via e mail in the intervening period and planned to meet up
somewhere in the Yasawa's.
They joined us for dinner on Curious where Toby and Nicole prepared a great
meal of Sushi followed by Thai fish curry accompanied by a 10 year old
bottle of Saki that our son Chris had brought back from his visit to Japan
as many years ago. Another great evening swapping tales, telling jokes and
making plans to meet up again in New Zealand.
Late to bed and a woolly head this morning!
PHOTOS TO COME WHEN WE GET INTERNET!
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