Mike's birthday in Viani Bay

Lynn & Mike ..around the world
Mike Drinkrow & Lynn v/d Hoven
Wed 21 Aug 2013 05:03
16:45.05S 179:53.99E Viani Bay -  Mikes Birthday!
We are anchored in a very calm bay on the east side of Fiji - where we came to celebrate Mike's birthday. We started with something more traditional - a dinner on Time 2. I hauled out the china from its protective wrapping (remarkably we have lost very few dishes!) and the roast leg of lamb & bottle of French champagne that I had been saving from America. We had a very pleasant evening with Kerri and Andrew from s/v Mariposa.
The next day we went to shore for a traditional lovo . Like the umu of Samoa, or the hangi of New Zealand, or even the crab bake of Sprite Island (see July 2010), food is cooked in the ground with hot rocks. Mike wanted a roast pig, and with an introduction from Kerri and a money exchange from Mike, Jack Fisher and his family were keen to oblige.  The Fisher family seem to own all the land around this bay and many relatives live on its shore.  The families live a quiet life, in very basic homes, without nearby roads or electricity - but enjoying the company and gifts of visiting yachts.    Jack is a great character and story teller, and his wife Sophie a kind hostess. Interestingly, Jack is regarded as "white" in Fijian terms, with a British grandfather in the mix.  They prepared a feast of roast pig and trigger fish wrapped in woven coconut leaves, accompanied by roasted taro and cassava roots, salad and pulsami. Similar to Samoa, the baby taro leaves are filled with coconut milk, and in this instance roasted inside a half shell of a coconut.  We had the lovo on the beach in front of Jack's sister Sarah's home, and quite a few member of the family attended, with everyone joined in to sing Happy Birthday for Mike.  We understand that this family can only afford a pig for special celebrations, and so  it is very well liked.    My chocolate birthday cake was a bit of a "hit" as a dessert. 
Niece Lydia packing the lovo                            Covering the lovo with taro and banana leaves to cook
Opening the lovo                                                                               Sophie about to unwrap the pork
Palusami , Cassava and Taro root                                                                Jack carving the pork
One of the interesting stories that Jack told us, was about getting diesel to the generator driving the cell-phone tower on the highest hill.  After the tower was built, the fuel had to be delivered by helicopter, as there are no roads in this area. Jack then offered to arrange for his extended family to carry the diesel up the hill, for one third of the price. They decanted the fuel from the 400 liter drums into manageable sized containers, from children with 2 liter bottles, to the strongest men with much heaver jugs. And up the hill they all went, along the narrow tracks, taking the whole day to deliver the fuel.  And everyone was happy with the arrangement ....until ......   some smart ^&%$ interfered, trying to whittle down the price and so the family walked away from the deal.