|We joined 2 other couples from the resort and visited Lalati Village on Friday afternoon. We were met by several of the villagers and presented with lei's and shown around the village. The buildings are very basic and not of traditional design. The village has a generator which runs for 3 hours each evening. Not long after we arrived a boat pulled in and a stack of kids carrying bags got off, they all attend "boarding school" at another village on the island and are away all week, returning home for the weekend. Apparently there are 9 villages on the island. The village women had set up little stalls selling local handicrafts and we all did our bit for the local economy. We were then taken into a building where the men of the village were gathered, including the chief and the elders. We presented our "sevu sevu" to the chief, which is always some kava. This is the Fijian equivalent of turning up with a six pack of beer when you visit someone in Australia, although there is quite a bit of ceremony attached to the kava process. One of the young men prepared the kava in a large kava bowl under the watchful eyes of the chief and then we were all presented with a half coconut shell of the end result. This process went on for a while with everyone having a few bowls. I think they gave us a watered down version (kava light) as it had little effect and the taste is pretty ordinary. A few of the local lads then got out their guitars and sang quite a few songs, they were quite good. Then we were all grabbed by a local and dragged up to dance. Was quite a good afternoon.|
The next day Nigel went out fishing with 3 of the local guys in the dinghy, and came back several hours later with some of the smallest fish I have seen. They take anything they can get, no bag limits and no size limits. It drizzled rain most of the morning so my initial disappointment at not going soon disappeared. The day started off sunny for a change so Sue did several loads of washing, but no chance of drying it due to the rain. Sue and I cooked Mahi Mahi Curry for dinner, was beautiful.
Sunday was a beautiful day, the first sunny day we have had for a week. So we got out the snorkelling gear and headed across to the reef and had a couple of hours snorkelling around. The reefs are not great, but had quite a lot of small reef fish and it was good to have a swim again. We saw one 3 foot white tip reef shark, and I had the slightly unnerving experience of having a massive Giant Trevally swimming directly towards me and passing less than 2 feet from me. One of the downers was the amount of plastic floating in the water, not as bad as Panama but still bad. Nigel and Kitty had been invited for lunch at the village and he wasn't clear on whether Sue and I had also been invited so we elected to do some exploring in the dinghy. We headed out to Nanuku Island (Storm Island) about a mile from the anchorage. It is a beautiful little island with a traditional fijian thatched roof which the resort uses for romantic interludes for their guests.
Today is another beautiful sunny day, two in a row. Not much happening, Nigel is at the resort using their wifi to check on his visa applications. His French visa has been approved but no word on his Aussie visa as yet. Hopefully that will be approved today or tomorrow so we can get organised for the crossing to Noumea. The weather was looking OK for a crossing this week and we are keen to get moving. We are heading back to Suva in the morning (Tuesday) and we hope that we will be on our way later in the week. We still have to replace the mainsail, refuel, and do a bit of a shop to top up the larder before we can leave but if we get stuck in we may be able to head off by the weekend.
Kava mixer checking with the Chief for instructions
Kava ceremony, Lalati Village
Shelter on Storm Island
Malumu Bay, Beqa Island