Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Three Days of 20 Plus Knots

We are still anchored off Komo Island in the Southern Lau Group of Fiji – and we are waiting for the wind and waves to settle. Since late Sunday (it's now Wednesday),the wind has been a steady 20 knots. The bay where we are anchored is open enough that the waves build, especially at high tide when they crash over the protecting reef. So we are rocking and rolling at anchor waiting for some settling of the easterlies. If they come a bit more from the southeast we would have a little less fetch and more protection from the island. The island itself isn't very high, but it does give us a bit of relief. The good news is that our anchor is well dug into good sand and we are only in about 30 feet of water. The bad news is that we are boat bound. Last night was particularly rolly and windy with gusts in the high 20s. The weather "gribs" (our weather reports), make us think that this won't be ending today either. Perhaps tomorrow it will start to lighten and our plan is to get out as soon as we can safely make way out of the reef and into conditions that are tolerable for a passage. Right now the winds are big and the seas are REALLY big – so we'll settle for a rolly and noisy boat and bit of discomfit for at least another day.

The dinghy patch seems to have held and we re-inflated the "car" and went to shore on Monday. We had told the schoolmaster that we would bring some books in and he wanted us there for the 8 am assembly of students. But it had rained a bit on Sunday night and we knew the path over the hill into the village would be a slippery and muddy mess so we waited until after lunch. The sun came out and we had hoped it would dry the trail. There hadn't been much rain for awhile, so we also hoped the rain would have been soaked up quickly by the thirsty land. It was a good plan. The walk was a tad slick, but not bad and we made it to the school after lunch.

The school has 32 students from ages 4 to 14. It is a tidy two building complex with several classrooms. There are also living quarters for the teachers and a small playground. The village also has a cricket pitch (field). The students are in uniforms and are well-mannered and seem enthusiastic. If anyone would like to send a postcard to the school or would like to be a "pen mate" with a student, here is the address:

Komo Village School
P.A. Komo
Lau, Fiji

They study in English, but it is their second language. We delivered books from New Zealand and the schoolmaster was very appreciative. He said their library is quite limited and reading material for the students is welcomed.

After our time at the school, we went to hunt out our hosts from the previous day's luncheon. We wanted to thank them and give them a few items as a thank you gift for their generosity. So we went looking for Vara, the minister's mother. After being sent on a bit of a circuit, we located her, thanked her and then walked a bit more around the village. Everyone again, was exceptionally friendly, offering us drinking coconuts and asking if we had any reading materials. It seems that adults and students alike have a shortage of reading materials. One gentleman, the father of Jone from the birthday event, asked if we had any novels or magazines as he wants to improve his mind and his English. Because we are now reading so much on our Kindles, we carry far fewer books for trading or gifting. That's one of the downsides of the electronic readers that are taking over as the cruisers' library.
The villagers seem to want us to come in daily – multiple times, constantly asking if we'll be back later. We didn't made a visit at all yesterday being boat bound due to the conditions. Perhaps today we'll see if it calms enough to take another walk in. Michael would like to repair one of the swing sets they have in the playground. And perhaps we can score a few bananas!

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