We enjoyed a few days nestled behind the reefs near Vunanui (pronounced Voo-Nah-New). The anchorage was very flat and quite comfortable and the views of the crashing waves on the outer reefs is always impressive and noisy.
On Saturday morning, we went into the village to do our sevusevu. We were met on the beach by a few young boys and Bill. Bill took us to the toronga ni koro (well actually the brother of the toronga ni koro). It seemed there was a going away party for some visitors so many of the men from the village were gathered in an open hut. We were brought in and introduced to a few folks and invited to sit on the mat. There was a huge tanoa bowl front and center with kava. The tanoa bowl is a lovely wooden bowl normally mounted on four legs carved out of a single piece of wood (bowl part and legs). This one was quite large with probably six legs on it and very lovely.
We presented our bundle of yaqona (the kava making plant roots) and a speech in Fijian was made followed by some chants and thombos (loud claps). Then the bundle was handed over to the chief (actually the brother of the chief) and he also did a small speech on Fijian with chants from the rest of the crowd and more thombos. It was the most formal sevusevu ceremony we had been to yet and it was very moving. We felt very welcomed. Then a few bowls of kava came our way with the traditional thombos and "matha" after the drink is completed. We stayed awhile, having a few bowls of the kava. Meanwhile, our package was taken by some young men and already opened and being pounded for the next bowl of kava. I guess we had good timing!
We then took a stroll around the village which was filled with friendly people and lots of kids playing volleyball and running around. We came by the hut before leaving and were invited in again for "one for the road or one for the ocean" - we passed on the temptation.
We stayed a few days and attempted a snorkel on the reef. There was a very strong current though and it was windy and choppy...so we ended up doing a drift snorkel – just holding on to the dinghy and floating behind it looking at the critters below.
We left early on Monday morning for a 45 mile trip to Lekuri. We sailed much of the way with just the headsail in a downwind run. Two lines in the water – going pretty good speed at times...no fish were caught...though at one point we had two bites – one on each line and Michael could actually look back and see what looked like four mahi checking out the lures – but not biting them again. Bummer.
We stayed one night in this anchorage – near the Robinson Crusoe resort. We were entertained from shore with lots of singing, drumming and fire dancing. It was pretty windy though and a long day and we decided to not head into the resort. We were working on a record of zero dollar days!
This morning, Tuesday, we left early to take advantage of the lighter winds and slack waters to get through the very narrow cut in the reef. It was pretty rocking and rolling coming in the day before. Once out of the cut, we killed the engine and put up the head sail and had a nice downwind run for the 15 or so miles. We were slower today – and again, two lines in the water, different lures...no fish.
We may stay here a few days – or move on...who knows! No more fresh vegetables or fruit on board. Beer supply is also pretty low. But it is a pretty and protected spot inside the reef on the southwestern corner of Viti Levu.
At 10/25/2016 7:07 AM (utc) S/V Astarte was located at 17°55.05'S 177°16.06'E
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