After a few days in Baulailai, we moved on to the next location … a new place for us. Prior to leaving Baulailai, we did meet the Indo-Fijian family that lives in the bay - Nilesh, his wife and three children. We enjoyed our time in this pretty spot watching the hundreds of goats on the hillsides, listening to the very loud cows hidden in the trees and hoping the fire we saw burning on the other side of the hill wouldn't make it over the ridge. The fire burned a very tall tree and it was alight most of the night looking like an old fashioned beacon. I had cut my foot while launching the dinghy in the morning, so we wouldn't be able to hike around or snorkel for a few days so we made the decision to move on. Its not a bad cut, but in this tropical environment it is always safer to keep it dry and out of the water.
We entered Rukuruku Bay, an inlet in the far northwest corner of Vanua Levu after negotiating our way around the reefs at the entrance of Baulailai. This is a long narrow strip of water between the hills. When inside it looks land-locked. We made our way down the few miles in 10 meter water towards the village at the end of the bay. There were seven fiberglass boats with outboards at anchor near the village – so it looks like a prosperous village. We had been told it was a very traditional village by Nilesh.
We anchored in about 4 meters of water (13 feet), but the spot is still very windy despite the tall hills all around. After lunch, we went to do our sevusevu in the village. Sevusevu is a ceremony where visitors present a gift bundle of yagona (the dried plant which makes the drink kava) to the chief and asks permission to visit the village. When you get to village and make your way ashore, you ask for the "toronga ni koro" (the man who will connect you with the chief for the presentation ceremony). As we made our way up a path through some gardens we asked a man working in the garden for the "toronga ni koro." He said it was he and his name was Philip. He took us into his home and it was the shortest ceremony we ever had. We never got taken to the chief, Philip simply invited us to sit down on the carpet, he asked Michael to write down our names and the boat name and then he clapped three times, took the yagona and that was it!
We then were invited to the other room for a cup of tea and some freshly baked rolls. There we met George, his wife and youngest daughter and an older girl. Later another young girl came into the house in her school uniform. After our visit with the family, we took a short walk around Koroinosolo. The village is on a hillside so there are three levels of homes. At this point, we had our large entourage of children showing us around. Michael took out the camera and that got all the kids posing and giving their hand signals! They love their picture taken. After our short walkabout, we got back to Philip and George and family's home where a young boy scurried up a coconut palm to get us some drinking coconuts. These young boys are amazing. The coconuts were then opened – one the traditional way on a stick that was imbedded in the ground and then "the faster way" with a machete or bush knife.
We got back down the hill with about 20 or so children who then helped us launch the dinghy which was now hard aground with the outgoing tide.
Today, we'll head back to the village in the afternoon to go visit the school. We watched as the fiberglass boats all left this morning with five guys in each. They came blasting out with a quick "drive by" Astarte with waves and yells. Off to work!
We'll probably stay here a few more days then make our way around the northwest corner of the island and get on the northside of Vanua Levu.
Happy Fourth of July – Patricia on Gulf Harbour Radio his morning played the USA National Anthem over the radio prior to the weather report.
At 7/3/2017 7:42 PM (utc) S/V Astarte was located at 16°44.16'S 178°31.60'E
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