Sunday, July 31, 2016


In the spirit of the political season and with everyone doing "fact checking" on what is said or written, we thought we better come clean. So here are a few fact corrections to the previous log entry.

"Mirror MAN" is actually "Mirror WOMAN." Yup, it wasn't a guy flashing us blind with the mirror but a woman. We went on a dinghy exploration to a nearby beach and on our return, the person again climbed the hill and this time was waving at us with a white cloth. So Michael decided to spend the afternoon finding out what this was all about. He walked to the house near the hill (passing the derailed sugar train – more on that to follow) – and met the family in the house. Sure enough, he met the woman who was the signal carrier whether mirror or white cloth. She didn't want her picture taken however. Michael enjoyed a cup of tea with the family and promised to return with "his wife" the next day.

The next fact to correct is that the sugar cane train was pulling not 25 cars as stated – but 59 cars. On his journey of discovery, Michael came up to the train that lost a cane car into the mangrove swamp. He chatted with the engineers and learned a ton more about the cane industry, the train and the process. They have at least three engines. Two can haul up to 80 cars filled with cane. At one point of relatively steep incline though, they have to pull up 40 cars at a time. They have a new engine that is much more powerful and it can pull 200 cars at once...even up the incline.

The derailment was caused by someone not stacking the cane correctly. It is at a point where the tracks as also quite uneven. They had to wait for a tractor to come along and haul out the car in the water and replace it on the tracks. Meanwhile, one of the young girls from the house (where mirror woman lives) came down to serve the train engineers tea. How nice is that!

So that is the fact corrections. We added some pictures today to the photo page.!
We did return to the house the following afternoon (after a morning of lots of projects because we had some rain the night before so laundry was a necessity!) We were served a cup of hot fresh cows milk. They had asked Michael the day previous if he drank cow's milk. Now we understood why he was asked. The whole family was there for our visit but not many spoke english so it was a bit challenging. We don't speak Hindi and the chance of us learning it is slim – a very difficult language. We had brought some small gifts and chocolate cake – they had asked for some reading glasses and some Panadol (aspirin). It seems Panadol is becoming a big request. After visiting for awhile, Michael ended up taking some nice family pictures, see new photos added today. He printed them for delivery the next morning. It is amazing how valued photographs of the family are to almost everyone. (It reminded us of the young woman we met in Tonga who only wanted a picture of her father from us.) When he brought the photos to the house we were gifted with some fish curry. Bet it's hot!

We will probably move on tomorrow to the big town of Labasa. We need to pick up some fresh vegetables and fruit, a little more fuel and some other supplies. Plus we'll see this town which is very "Indo-Fijian" with Hindu temples and mosques and we're certain there will be curry restaurants. It will be fun to see it. First we have to get there and figure out where to safely leave the boat and get into town.
At 8/1/2016 2:40 AM (utc) S/V Astarte was located at 16°17.14'S 179°28.09'E

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