Take me to your Chief!
Our final 100 miles into Lautoka, on the west coast
During the night, we hugged the southern coastline of
Lautoka has a huge veg and fruit market, with big
piles of kava roots as well as wonderful papayas, pineapples, bananas and all
sorts of vegetables. Having bought
as much as we could carry, we raided the big supermarket for the other
provisions which we hoped would last us to
The next day, Thursday, we went off to explore the
outlying islands of
Robert, Susie and Pippa braved the rain and went
ashore. A young boy was standing on
the beach, and Robert approached him.
“Please take me to your Chief” he said. The boy replied: “I’m a tourist, from
Everyone we met in Yalobi village was exceptionally friendly – “bula” was the universal greeting – and both children and adults shook our hands and asked us our names. We were steered towards the house of Thomas, the village Chief, and Robert duly presented him with our kava as we sat with him, cross-legged, on the floor of his house. Thomas chanted solemnly in Fijian for some minutes while fondling the kava, and then clapped gently. We then had a very friendly conversation.
While on Waya, we saw many aspects of village life – a strong young man crushing kava roots in a giant mortar, smiley ladies cooking cassava in outside cook-houses, and men making canoes out of corrugated iron sheets – as well as meeting up with a lot of young backpackers staying in a simple resort on the beach. Before we left Waya the next day we went ashore (again, in heavy rain) to present the Chief with a bag of pencils, pens, and other presents for the children – interestingly the village’s primary school (200 children) is also a boarding school for the children from the three other villages on the island who, without roads or motorised transport, cannot travel home during the week.
In the pouring rain we set off for Malolo island, 35 miles south west. To begin with we sailed, but as time pressed on and the wind went back onto the nose, we motored, weaving through the reefs surrounding most of these islands. We finally arrived off Musket Cove and picked up one of the many moorings in the bay.
Saturday was a domestic day with mounds of washing to be done ashore as well as more provisioning and filling the diesel tanks for the next stage of the voyage. But we also had time to explore the coastline on foot – long sandy beaches with a few large (and surprisingly empty) resorts and a very shallow sea.
Saturday was also the occasion of Andy’s leaving
party – after around three months and 7,500 nautical miles since leaving
Panama, Andy flew home to the
Next morning, we motored back the 12 miles from Malolo to the main island of Fiji on Sunday to drop Andy off in Denarau, near Nadi airport. Rumpelteazer was once again a hive of activity – Charles servicing the mast winch, Susie almost landing her first fish and Pippa writing the blog.
We did our final provisioning back in
Lautoka today, including collecting an order of frozen meat sufficient for
the next 16 days to