Nacula Island (pronounced Nadula)
Pos 16:53.58S 177:24.57E
We set off early for another try for Yadua Island and all’s going well until we hit the open sea and its 30 knots on the nose. This means that under engine we’ll be lucky to average 5 knots and consequently would have to manoeuvre through the reefs after dark, not advisable.
A rapid conflab and a quick diversion to Sawa-i-Iau which we have visited before and is the home of the “Swimming” caves. On the approach things don’t look to good as the winds whipping around the enormous cliff face are being spun and the woollies are forming whirlwinds that are sucking up the sea into mini tornados.
Beating a hasty retreat we run down the shore and into Malakati Bay on the west side of Nacula Island. The anchorage couldn’t have been more perfect, a gap in the shore line reef so you can run ashore at all states of the tide, a slowly shelving sand bottom allowing us to anchor in 6 metres though we could have gone even further in, and two telephone masts in sight giving excellent communications.
Having amused ourselves through beer o’clock, we lunch on last nights left over Spag Bol, then bite the bullet and go ashore for Sevusevu. Pulling the dinghy up the beach we advance clutching our Kava root towards a stocky gentleman sitting on a platform under a breadfruit tree.
Bob and Chief. Shan and Chiefess and grand children.
We’re looking for the Chief says us, that me says he. The pleasantries and Kava passed, we are invited to visit the village and wander freely over the beach and reefs.
We meet his wife Mila, who has just finished the washing up. Having been introduced, she asks Shan to call in on the way back.
In conversation with the Chief I enquire what they have been collecting on the reef at low tide and he informs me that they collect Octopus and squid and in fact if we go over to the communal cook house we can see some being cooked as we speak.
Octopus for dinner Old and new buildings
The village itself is a mix of old traditional Fale’s or Burse and modern concrete block, put up since the last hurricane demolish most of the former including the Chiefs house. A young boy has taken a shine to us and acts as our guide of a while.
As we wander through we meet some of the locals including the nursery school teacher Francis, who showing us her school, informs us she has 13 pupils and 8 children of her own. Shan is very impressed with the programmes they run which are very similar to the UK. Again she has an invitation to attend school tomorrow.
Francis Village green
As we return Mila invites Shan into her house while Lars and I talk to the Chief. Apparently the New Zealand doctors have recently removed Cataracts from her eyes but she doesn’t have any glasses so is not a lot better off, can we help? With a promise that we’ll see what we can do we depart.
Leaving Shan on the beach we return to the Yacht to get our kit then running the dinghy onto the beach for her to look after, we head off to the reef. The Sun has disappeared and a thin cloud fills the sky. We soon become chilled, yes even in water at 27C, and arriving back at the beach the wind chill makes our teeth chatter as we pick up Shan and the dinghy and motor back.
Speckled tobys Racoon Butterfly fish
coral in different forms
I nearly weaken and have coffee but a shower and dry off and a cold beer sounds much more attractive. Nibbles, Camambert and a glass of wine later, we’re restored, though we are now wearing T-Shirts, it must be winter.
Searching for old Glasses, Lars comes up with a couple of sets in various states of dis-repair and after a bit of engineering and cleaning we manage to come up with a couple of serviceable pairs. Shan has also been rooting in her goody bag and we have some suitable books, pencils and solar powered calculators that she can give to the school which has very little in the way of resources.
In fact the village has very little of anything, no gas and all cooking is on a wood fired “Bar-b-Q” and the only electricity appears to be a few solar panels, so everything’s pretty basic. This tends to make you wonder whether we really need all the things we have, just think no utility bills for a start mind you it doesn’t get cold here really.
Locals modern communications
Ancient communication (still used) Chiefs house after the last cyclone.
Chicken in pesto, with roasties and cabbage with bacon along with liberal lashings of garlic this evening. This, all cooked with gas, as Lars wasn’t to keen on having a log fire on the deck!
Bob the Blog