We are behind on log entries! Albert Cove on Rambi really is a picture postcard anchorage. We went ashore to meet the folks who call this place home. There are two families who live here – not connected by any roads to the main village. One family was gone (by boat) and the other family was a lovely young couple, John and Pauline and three young children (a boy and two girls). They live a true subsistence lifestyle. And as almost all the folks we have met that ave very little – they are the most generous of people. John immediately climbed a tall coconut tree and dropped down two green cocos that he then opened for us. We sat and visited in their open home. She wanted to know if we were dentists as she was in dire need of one as she had a terrible toothache. We provided at least some panadol (aspirin) for her. She also asked if we had a spare dive mask. We found one and brought it the next day along with a few other items for them. We traded for some additional drinking coconuts.
The next day we watched as John went out around 9 am with mask and fins and dragging a half of a 50 gallon plastic barrel. He swam out to the reef (easily a half mile) and returned at 4 pm. We met him in the bay and gave him a dinghy ride to shore expecting that he would be exhausted. He had a small amount of very small fish and one giant clam. Tough work to feed the family!
We did a few great beach walks in search of nautilus shells. We found an almost perfect one on one beach and that inspired us to look on more beaches. It was fun exploring. Saw some great eels in the tidepools and got stuck ashore and had to wait for the tide to come in to get the dinghy out.
It was a great place and well worth the visit. Perhaps we'll come back with our guests! After several days here, and joined by three more boats – we decided it was time to move on. Getting an early start we made it through the reef and our destination was around Udu Peninsula and to a place called Also Island. It was a 45 mile trip and a terrific sail almost the entire way. The bad news - no fish though we tried!
We made our way around the peninsula that juts off the northeast corner of Vanua Levu and through a narrow cut in the fringing barrier reef. Then we worked our way back to the island. There is an interesting story about this island. It was "given" to a couple who arrived here by sailboat in 2000 or so. Jim and Kyoko came aboard the sailboat "Also II," a Passport 42. They worked with the local villagers helping to fix outboards, repair buildings, solar panels etc. After a time, the villagers did not want them to leave, so they had a meeting and gave them this island to live on and to start some businesses on that would help the local communities. They started a boat repair/boat building shop and trained local men to make open fiberglass fishing boats. They repaired boats and outboards. They also started a virgin coconut oil making operation...including the patenting of a new copra dryer. They opened a small backpackers guest house and a small store. They sell fuel as well as buy fish from the local fishermen for resale in the nearest big town. Jim and Kyoko also have a huge farm where they grow 1000 pineapples, watermelon, all types of vegetables and fruit. It is really quite an amazing enterprise. They employ the local Fijians and teach them skills.
We also had been listening to Jim for awhile on the SSB radio where he hosts a morning net called "Rag of the Air." He provides weather info, check ins for boats and lots of chat. A bit too political at times for us. But nonetheless it was good to put a face with the voice.
They were very gracious and welcoming. We ate daily with their employees for lunch which was delicious plus enjoyed a night of pizza with Jim and Kyoko. Jim's Sunday pancake breakfast with Kyoko's fresh fruit salad was another treat. Michael tried to help Jim with his SSB radio which went on the blink while we were there – but there was no joy on that front. We took a nice walk along the island's paths and just had a fun time with talks, cards, and shared meals.
We managed to break ourselves our way (too easy to stay and keep getting fed tasty meals and buy freshly baked bread). This morning, we left Also Island. More on the next destination tomorrow.
The adventure around Vanua Levu continues.
Long: 179 56.24e
At 7/21/2016 6:58 AM (utc) S/V Astarte was located at 16°13.24'S 179°50.14'E
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