Saturday 28th August 1535 Local 0335
On Friday we had set off from Kavewa island for
what looked like a decent anchorage 40 miles or so along the north coast of Vaua
Levu. The passage was uneventful and I caught a decent Tuna
We had beeb warned bu lots of people about the
navigation along the north coast and this was a good thing as we were on high
alert with Mark 1 Eyeball navigation. Every little cats paw of wind and every
tide line in the water is picked up and checked out lest it be a bommie or reef.
Flotsom such as coconuts or even oil sharpens the senses further.
Having been super alert for the five hour passage
it was with some relief that we swung round the noth western side of Nukubati
Island into the anchorage we had picked out. Once anchored and fed we went
ashore to check out the settlement or whatever on the gorgeous little island. We
hadn't spotted any people but thought we should check it all out.
It turned out that Nukubati (pronounced
Nukumbati as b is pronounced "mb" in Fijian) was a micro resort of the "Small
Luxury Hotels of the World" variety and it was not long before we were
introduced to the owners, Peter and Jenny Burke.
Peter, who is a yachtie, is Australian
and Jenny Fijian and they are the most wonderful people you could hope to
meet. There were no guests at the resort but the full team were there
and we were kindly allowed to have dinner in the great hall the next
During the day we went diving with their dive team
and we can honestly say we visited some of the best sites we have dived on. The
Great Sea Reef was
During pre-dinner drinks on Friday with Peter and
Jenny we were talking about Rhiann Marie and how it would soon be her one year
anniversary. At the sound of the word "anniversary" I fell into a panic
thinking I had forgotten our anniversary and checked the date on my watch. It
was the next day - the twenty eighth! Whew! That was a close one I
As the resort was so beuatiful and everyone so
kind and friendly we decided to stay the next day at anchor and come over for
a dinner again. At dinner on the Friday we had asked Jenny and
the ladies from Nukubati over for morning tea and cake.
Little did we know on Friday night just what
Saturday would bring. We have never had an anniversary like it in our lives, and
probably never will again until we go back to Nukubati! Check out www.nukubati.com
Just after 1030 on Saturday morning we saw a bit of
activity on the beach and we thought that's the ladies coming over.
However, two whole boat loads arrived - twenty seven people - men and
women. Every single member of staff - except poor Peter who was left to man
The two boat loads arrived off the stern of Rhiann
Marie with the whole crew, or should I say choir playing guitars and Ukelele's
and singing the most beautiful Fijian songs to us in celebration of our
anniversary!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! We have never experienced anything like this in
our lives, and nothing I can write can do the experience justice.
As the two harmonious crews arrived off our
stern the first two boarders presented us with two fragrant Frangipani
"Salusalu's" (flower leys), the next two presented us with a fully decorated
anniversary cake. Then came the remarkable, wonderful Jenny followed by every
single memebr of her staff singing, playing and dancing.
We were gob-smacked and completely speechless
before getting swept up in the frivolity and hilarity of the whole party
which ensued. We danced round the decks, sang, laughed and yes - we even had tea
Finally when things wound down a bit the first boat
load got ready to depart and in so doing they gave us the traditional Fijian
send off to a boat by circling Rhiann Marie three times singing and playing us
traditional Fijian songs. This also decended into a dance off between the 15
or 20 left aboard Rhiann Marie and those on the departing boat. It really
was one of the most amazing things anyone has ever done for us and we will
remember it forever. Unbelievable!
We had a quite afternoon and then in the
evening went for dinner. A table had been arranged for the two of us in a
separate Bure (traditional hut) near the beach which had been decorated with
flowers and candles - spelling out in huge letters in the sand "happy
anniversary". Good grief these people know no end in their abilities to
pamper people! Trish was in heaven and even had a chocolate pudding to top it
all off! Those men among you reading this will think I have turned into a
romantic fool, but you had to be there to experience the sincerity
and creativity of all those at Nukubati. It is beyond my comprehension, I
can tell you!