15/07/2012, 16 46 S :179 58 W
We are anchored offshore from Taveuni after spending 9 days
based at a nearby island, Qamea, as we found lots to do there every day!
Daily we snorkeled nearby reefs (we even found one that rivaled the world famous White Wall and Purple Wall, but had it all to ourselves), swam, paddleboarded, socialized with our cruising neighbours (Kent, Ami, Gill, Marlene, Madison and Hannah on Veladare and Rick on Guava Jelly), and visited our friends in the nearby villages and the Indian family (the only on the island) whom we befriended last year and were very excited to see us back. But then some days were even more memorable.
We went to the local school fundraiser last Friday which was a real insight into village life, and inter-village rivalry! Each of the four houses tried to outdo each other all day with dances and fundraising activities. All 3 boats in the bay were guests of Bua (Blue) House and no one is
quite sure who won. Rumours of cheating still reverberate around the
Saturday we had a maintenance day and then went across to Taveuni to pick up Dave's friend Brett and had two local boys onboard with us. They loved helming and sailing - for both their first time. That night we had the Indian family who have been so good to us plus Jone a Fijian man who lets us take water from his property, and Rick on board for curries and a sing-a-long (Rick plays guitar).
And then Sunday was a real highlight. We were invited to go to a AOG church service in a nearby village and to then have lunch with the church elder, the pastor and his family. The church service was in a temporary shelter as their church was blown away by Cyclone Thomas, but together the passionate pastor and the small congregation made a huge impact on us. We all (me, Dave, Brett and Rick) felt it was what church should be like and we were moved to tears by the messages (the pastor performed quite a bit of the service in English for our benefit), the communty spirit and the singing! Lunch afterwards was an occasion to discuss the village's ambitions to offer tourist activities and their challenges, as well as how best to rebuild the church.
And then after lunch we had a number of visitors out to the boat - many of whom hadn't been onboard a yacht before, despite the bay hosting thousands of cruisers over the years - and then that night the Indian family laid down a lovo for us.
Monday began as another chores day - especially loading up
with water - but then the villagers invited Dave and Brett out spearfishing for
walu. They were very pleased to be able to share their catch with our neighbours at a pot luck dinner that night.
Two days we headed across from Qamea to the east side of Taveuni with Rick to walk to a series of beautiful waterfalls. A 45 minute climb took us way above our anchorage with stunning views back to Qamea and the boys found a ledge above the highest one to jump and dive from.
Yesterday we sailed to the western side of Taveuni (where we are now) to provision and spend some time on the Internet before we head off back to some of our favourite, remote spots: Rabi, Budd Reef, Duff Reef and then the Lau Group. Winds allowing we will then head to Kadavu, Beqa and finally to Lautoka in September from where we will depart for Vanuatu - but you'll here a lot more from us before then!
Carolyn and Dave
Photo is of Dave, Brett and Rick above the waterfall
We have made it back to another of our favourite spots - Budd Reef. It is a beautiful submerged reef with three groupings of small islands - including an extinct volcanic island with a water-filled crater (which we hope to get into in our tender) - and crystal clear water.
We went to a beautiful church service on Sunday where the local children sang all their Sunday school songs for us. We then had lunch with the chief and his family where the mahimahi we caught on our way here from Rabi Island was on the menu.
Yesterday Brett went out for a spear fish near the crater island (Cobia) with the chief's son, Willie (Carolyn was boat girl and Dave stayed on Riada II as the anchorage was exposed). He saw a dogfish tuna and so today we were hoping to go back to the same spot to see if Dave could spear one but the weather was against us and so a snorkel in a sheltered spot was the best we could do. Maybe tomorrow - we are on Fiji time after all.
Dave and Carolyn
(photo is of Alexander (on right) and his friend in their preferred form of transport after our Sunday lunch with his grandparents (Chief) and parents
We thought of you all in the New Zealand temperatures as we have the opposite problem
this morning - we had to run the engine earlier than normal to chill the fridge and freezer before the 2 lobster the boys got yesterday warmed up!
We have woken to a beautiful morning here in Albert Cove, Rabi Island - one of our favourite spots - and just had a breakfast of green coconut juice, then pawpaw and lime, followed by pineapple, passionfruit and banana with yoghurt and Fijian honey, all washed down with a freshly brewed coffee - yumm!
We plan to get a few chores done - including our washing in a creek onshore - before the sun gets too high, and then go to the outside reef to look for more lobster (the boys) and snorkel (Carolyn). We are also going to look for some watercress in the creek for our lunchtime lobster salad. More yumm!
Tomorrow we are going to nearby Elizabeth Cove to climb up to the Korotapu "cannibal cave" which are where the remains of many a valiant warrior are to be found and then the three Banaban families who live in Albert Cove are putting down a lovo for us - killing two chickens. We are very honoured and hope to catch some fish bottom fishing tonight so that we can contribute to the menu.
Until next time
Carolyn and Dave
*Banaban (Rabi Island) for hello
(photo is of Carolyn and Brett at the cannibal cave)
12/06/2012, Viani Bay, Vanua Levu, Fiji
The cruising jungle drums started sounding - bad weather was coming! And so early yesterday morning we left the north west coast of Taveuni with our neighbours - Bruce and Alene of Migration and Rick of Guava Jelly - for Viani Bay and an anchorage off "Jack's place".
Viani Bay is in the northeastern corner of Vanua Levu and provides wonderful shelter from the north and west, and Jack is a wonderful fixture of the bay. He paddles out to make you feel welcome and to check if you want to dive the nearby White Wall - one of the world's best 7 dives. Needless to say tomorrow Dave, Alene and Rick are heading out.
The bad patch of weather lasted about as long as we were in passage from Taveuni to Viani Bay. We arrived well rinsed but ...warm ☺!!
To celebrate being dry we had a lovely night with our neighbours - eating walu sashimi and baked walu (the walu compliments of Migration, the sashimi one of Dave's masterpieces, the baking Rick's). Tonight its our turn to host the two boats for one of Dave's world famous venison stews - yum yum :-).
Carolyn and Dave
Photo is of the " Riada Pirates" taken by Rick of Guava Jelly before we left Taveuni, Guava Jelly in the background and Migration's pizza dough recipe safely tucked into Carolyn's bikini top :-)
07/06/2012, Wairiki, Taveuni
The last two days for us, Brett and Jen have been ones we will talk about for years.
We left the Cousteau Resort on Tuesday bound for Dakuniba Pass and the Loaloa family's home - the family whom we gave a 90kg striped marlin to last October. We sailed in to find members of the family boating towards us calling "No shoes Dave and Carolyn, you came back!"
When we met them last year seven of the eight Loaloa siblings and their families were at the family bure to celebrate an aunty's funeral. This time we were able to have a wonderful reunion with the oldest (Sele) and the youngest (Jone) Loaloa siblings and their families. This time we arrived with mahimahi and tuna, and a storybook for Martha (four) donated by Dave's uncle and aunt.
That night they insisted we joined them for a dinner of tuna prepared in coconut, grilled reef fish, marinated clam and cassava. After dinner Carolyn read Martha her storybook and we showed them photographs of our 2011 trip - including the photos of their family, and photos of Dave's passage back to New Zealand - especially his sailfish, and Matt and Chris' hapuka and snapper. In the morning we returned the favour by bringing the whole family out to Riada II for a cup of tea and "keke". For all of them it was their first time on a yacht, despite having hundreds visit their bay.
When we arrived at their "beach" we spotted a section of the cockpit of the yacht 'Touche' which had so tragically been wrecked on the nearby reef. Two of the Loaloa ladies had paddled out to the reef and brought it in. As a result Wednesday was spent sailing to the reef where sections of 'Touche' had come to rest. It was a very sobering reminder of the power of the sea and the need for care at all times! We took Sele, Jone and Sele's sons Tavite and Mateo with us, and so they all had their first ever sail.
Jone, his wife Eli and daughter Martha had travelled over from Taveuni for the funeral of Sele's wife in March, and when the rest of the Loaloa family departed afterwards, he and his wife and daughter stayed on for a while. Well that while had become three months as the weather had prevented a friend coming over from Taveuni (in his little boat) to pick them up. So yesterday we brought Jone, Eli and Martha back to Taveuni. Riada II was transformed into a ferry with bundles of wood for their first fire, papyrus grass for making mats, raw Tapa cloth and dyes, coconuts, pawpaw, citrus fruit, chillies, and coconut oil - as well as their bags ☺.
Martha loved being on the helm, and her Mum was fascinated by Riada II's organisation and technology, while Jone - a trained surveyor - was fascinated by the GPS and chart plotter.
When we had gone to leave the family presented us with beautiful pieces of tapa they had made for us the day before, a new sasa broom for Carolyn and bundles of fresh produce in coconut leaf baskets. We were over-whelmed by their generosity and hope one day to be able to return and help them by providing solar power and a fresh water pump.
For today's adventure we will cross back over the Somosomo Strait to Viani Bay where Dave and Brett will enquire about a dive on the nearby White Wall - reputedly one of the seven best dives in the world. We'll let you know how the boys find it.
Carolyn and Dave
(the photo is of Eli and Carolyn with their gifts of produce, about to depart on Riada II for Taveuni and their first ever sail)
We loved Makogai and Naigani last year and so it was fabulous being able to share them with Dave's crew of John, Brett and Jo again in 2012. We explored the island and its ruined, refreshed our knowledge of their clam breeding programme and turtle sanctuary, snorkelled the marine reserve, paddle boarded around an nearby island, spotted lots of turtles and caught a walu - outside the reserve ☺
Naigani had the most beautiful water and we collected green coconuts and shells on shore, Brett and Jo also killed 5 crown-of-thorns, the enemy of the coral reefs which sadly we see everywhere we go.
We made our way back to our favourite marina - the Copra Shed at Savusavu via Koro Island on Friday, to find that the 3 yachts that Dave and crew had met at South Minerva Reef were also there, with many other yachts. We timed our arrival perfectly as we were invited to a cocktail party on board one of them, Migration, that night!
Yesterday we taxied to Lambasa to take John over for his flight back home to NZ and to go back for the amazing curries at Oriental Restaurant - especially the crab curry. We bused back with the locals. A colourful trip, but taking over three times as long as the taxi as the bus stopped whenever anyone needed to get off - often we only made 200m before the next group disembarked!
Today we have been anchored off the Coustaeu Resort but we are heading back into the marina to host the three yachts from Minerva Reef for fish curry and venison stew - yumm!
Tomorrow Jo will leave us and we will head along the Vanua Levu coast for more of our favourite haunts - Rabi, Qamea and Taveuni Islands - as well as explore some new jewels. Can't wait!
Carolyn and Dave