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Wednesday, June 24, 2009

The Sandoval's Visit (part 2) June 4 - 7

On Thursday, June 4th, we decided to move on up to Yalobi Bay, the southern most anchorage on Waya Island in the Yasawa Group and home to the local "Tui" (king/chief) or "Turaga ni Koro" (local dignitary/ancestral chief). Once anchored Frank and Sandy went to shore to seek him out and to present our "sevu-sevu" (gift) of "yaqona", (kava root). This must be done in order to receive his blessing and his permission to visit his village, walk his shores, pick up shells, swim in his waters, etc. They returned a short while later happily reporting that the chief, Big John, had received them, accepted the kava, blessed them and encouraged them to return later in the day with their wives. So around 4:00 PM, we ventured to shore where we were warmly greeted by the villagers and taken to the home of Big John and his clan. He came out of his bure (thatched hut) & motioned for us to join him, sitting cross-legged on a large hand-woven mat under a covered area much like a carport. He then asked us each our names, and a little bit about ourselves and because Sandy and Debra told him they were from Texas, Big John and his family excitedly began referring to Sandy as Chuck Norris (Walker, Texas Ranger!). Pretty funny. He then immediately had his people begin preparing a large vat of kava. Although we have described this process in a previous journal from Tonga, I'll go through it again: It begins by taking the kava root that had been finely hand-ground by the women, placing about ½ to a cup of this inside a cloth bag, into which water is poured and then the bag is hand squeezed, rendering the juice into the bowl. The juice looks like something a tobacco-chewer spit out. Disgusting. More water is added and the bag squeezed until the desired amount and consistency of liquid in the bowl is achieved. It looks like filthy swamp water and tastes like something you would scrape off the bottom of your boots after hiking through a Houston bayou. Even the locals agree it tastes awful, yet they drink it every night! It helps them to sleep and is medicinal. Right. Anyway, after we gagged down several rounds of the stuff, Big John excused us for the evening, but not before his wife and sister invited us back into the village to visit their crafts market the next morning. So, on Friday morning we went back into the village, did a little shopping, bought some beautiful hand made jewelry, fans and pretty shells and then walked around a bit along the beach where we picked up some nice big shells ourselves. I sure hope Debra and Sandy were able to get theirs back home through US Customs. It would have been a shame to have had to forfeit any of them.

Late morning we weighed anchor to make our way around the west side of Waya, anchoring in the bay just off the shores of the Octopus Resort. It was my birthday. Sandy and Debra gave me a Texas flag bandana and a beautiful copper Aspen leaf magnet to remind me where I came from. Sandy presented me (actually before this day) a very cool pendant he had made from a shell, on which he had carved the word "Destiny" and an etching of our boat. I loved my gifts! We spent the day in the water on our little floats, and then went into shore for a Fijian show and a fantastic Fijian-Indian feast.

On Saturday, the 6th we made a straight run to the mainland of Viti Levu and the marina at Vuda Point, where we ran into our friends Glen and Sally from The Dorothy Marie, and Jeff and Kathi from Bold Spirit. They gave us the lay of the land telling us about the yacht club, the pool at First Landing, the local resort, and all the happenings around the area. We wanted Debra and Sandy to see the "town" and the local open-air market, so we cabbed it into Lautoka, arriving there just about the time that the market had closed. Not a problem because many of the vendors just moved outside and laid their goods right on the ground for display. We stepped over and around them picking out fruits and vegetables. Sandy and Debra got to see what shopping is like for us. Very different than it is back home for sure! After the market we stowed our goods into the cab and walked over to the "Jolly Good Café" for a late lunch. All they had left was fried chicken - but boy was it good! That evening we had an excellent dinner at the yacht club and called it a day.

Sunday, June 7th - last day with Debra and Sandy. We went to the pool at First Landing where we found the best hamburgers we'd tasted in a long, long time! We took it easy lying around, chatting and reading and eventually our friends Glen, Sally, Kathi and Jeff joined us. Later in the afternoon Glen was planning to take his Sax over to the yacht club to jam with the band that plays there every Sunday, so we all tidied up and joined them. What fun it was for us to share these special times and special cruising friends with Debra and Sandy, giving them a taste of our life out here. We enjoyed some excellent entertainment, watched a brilliant sunset and then walked them over to catch their cab for the airport. The week had gone unbelievably quickly.

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