Naviqiri was a really nice village and though the weather wasn't perfect for our stay in Naurore Bay, it was a good place to spend most of the week. On Friday, with a break in the rain, we went up the nearby river in the dinghy to explore. We saw a small colony of flying foxes (large fruit eating bats). We also visited the village but there was a big meeting taking place at 4:30 pm, so some kids took us for a walk to their school. Our seven small tour guides were fun and full of stories. They spoke pretty good english and when they couldn't understand us, they simply say "yes" as an answer to our questions. It was quite a walk along a muddy road. At one hilltop stop, we could hear lots of people talking. This is cellphone hill – the only place to get a signal so everyone comes here to make their calls. It was like the woods were talking!
On Saturday, it was cloudy but not raining, so we invited Sara and Freddy to the boat for morning tea and cake. They came out and we had a nice visit. She brought along a Fijian broom which she had made for us – a lovely gift. Later in the day we went to the village and as usual were met on the beach by a dozen kids. We had promised to bring in some balloons for the seven kids who had given us the tour to their school. School has been out all week after the exams of the previous week.
We brought in the photos Michael had taken and printed up from the walk as well as Sara and Freddy's visit. We had asked Sara to give them to the kids and parents. She also mediated for us in handing out the coveted balloons making sure our seven tour guides got their gifts first. Then the remainder would go to others. We walked around the village more and it is a fascinating experience. People come outside to meet and greet you and the kids are constant companions chattering non-stop. When we said we were leaving the next day, they all shouted "you no go." That was nice – after all who else would pay so much attention to them, take their photos (which they want taken constantly and they love to pose) and bring in balloons and pencils! On our walk around the village we met many people and were brought into one home to see the new baby twin boys. The village had 42 homes and we probably met half the people there!
This is what we wanted from the visit to the north coast of Vanua Levu – a chance to meet more locals not jaded by too many cruising boats. We were certainly getting that. We now have villages that people have told us "this is now your village – you are part of our village."
This morning (Sunday), we headed off and would make our way around the northwest corner of the island and be on the west side of the island. We had to go through "Monkey Face" pass. There is supposedly a monkey's face in the rocks on the side of the hilly spot. But we couldn't see it though we tried from three different angles. Guess we needed better directions of where to look.
We left the calm waters and headed into the wind and some waves and swell. But it was a short hop – just 16 miles. We are now anchored in a pretty bay, Baulailai. Like most places, we have the place to ourselves. We came in through a very narrow pass through the reefs and are anchored in about 5 meters (16. 5 feet) of water, Hills surround us on three sides and a beautiful white sand beach surrounded by mangroves is at the foot of the bay,
This is not a place with a village so no sevusevu is necessary. Depending on weather, we may stay a few days and try to find the river and do some snorkeling on the reefs at the entrance.
New location Baulailai anchorage:
Latitude: 16 44.91e
Longitude: 178 29.06e
At 8/21/2016 2:58 AM (utc) S/V Astarte was located at 16°44.90'S 178°29.05'E
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