Fulaga week 2

Serenity of Swanwick
Phil and Sarah Tadd
Fri 23 Aug 2019 02:48
We had a quiet few days at the Sandspit anchorage, walking on the beach, and getting on with boat projects. The hardworking water maker has been serviced and is sounding much smoother, the engine has had an oil change and replacement mosquito nets for the hatches are on the way as the 3 year old ones are getting to the point where they are more sticky tape than net.

On Wednesday we had eaten our last banana at breakfast, so decided to go back to the village to see if someone could sell us more fruit. We lifted the anchor in clear weather but as we motored away from the Sandspit anchorage rain clouds began to gather over the land and just as we were going through the narrows between two islets with coral heads all around the wind swung through 180 degrees and the heavens opened reducing visibility to almost nothing. We had a tense few minutes while we careful followed our inward track on the chart plotter to clear water.

Back at the village anchorage we were warned that the rain over the weekend had brought the mosquitos out so the old nets were pressed into service again and we covered ourselves in insect repellent before setting out on the 20 minute walk to the village. We had been told of another viewpoint off to the side of the track, so when we saw a trail going off in about the right place we decided to follow it and after a bit of scrambling emerged on the top of a rocky out crop with excellent views all round. Sarah had come out dressed for a village visit and mosquitos in her long sulu (wrap round skirt) and thinks she now knows how Victorian women mountaineers felt.

We were told that Tai, who had done our laundry, was the man to talk to about fruit and found him sitting on a woven mat outside his house with the Forevers and the Double Troubles. We were immediately invited to sit down and given a drinking coconut with a straw made from the hollow stem of a papaya leaf. Tai had papaya and the local spinach leaf available and said he could get us bananas and breadfruit from the next village if we could come back later. It was a community day and most of the villagers were cutting the grass or raking up leaves as their contribution to keeping the village tidy. It’s the end of the breadfruit season and the trees are shedding their huge leaves with new growth showing already.

When we returned for the fruit on Thursday Phil fulfilled a commitment to fix a hole in one of the fibreglass longboats. John, our host, said he had been on a course to learn fibreglass repair but the village didn’t have the repair material. It didn’t take long to put a patch on inside and out. It is a similar story with their power generation. Most of the houses have solar panels but the batteries are 6 years old and many are now failing, so they don’t have power when they really need it - after dark and they don’t have the means to replace them.

This morning, restocked with fruit, we have come back to the Sandspit anchorage. The wind is due to box the compass tonight and then come in strong from the South on Sunday and there is good all round protection here. And Tai told us of a good snorkelling spot nearby.