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Tuesday, July 28, 2009

July 7 - 14, 2009 Back at Musket Cove

Every time we return here it feels like home. Most of the staff knows us by our own names, and not just as "Destiny", and that is part of the charm of the place. I had loads of dirty laundry after 23 days out and knew that it would be a challenge getting it all done with only one washing machine and 2 dryers for all of the resort employees, guests and the numerous boats in residence vying for an opening, in spite of the F$12.00 per load fee. In fact it nearly got ugly, reminding me of the aggressiveness of the women in Opua last November. I had to further remind myself (and some of the other indignant cruisers) that the facility was not primarily there for the Yachties and that we must be mindful of this fact while awaiting our turn to use it.

Our first morning I went to shore at 8:00 AM, purchased my token, walked over to the laundry room to find that I was already third in line for the machine. Women were circling like hungry wolves letting me know who was next and how the system works. I held myself from sarcastically telling them that this is not my first rodeo, and to back off with the territorial attitude. In spite of my irritation, which in my peri-menopausal state is not always easy to control, I smiled sweetly and said, "No problem, I'll just leave my bag in queue and return in 45 minutes." I returned to our boat, had coffee and breakfast with Frank, loaded my second laundry bag and returned to shore. I got there just in time to note that the load in front of mine was on the spin cycle and that some women had moved their bags in front of my bag. No problem - I was the only one in there, so as soon as the machine quit spinning I took the other person's things out, set them on top of the dryer and started my load. I placed my other bag at the end of the line behind the others and left for about 20 minutes. When I returned, my 1st load was spinning, several women were hovering and glowering as I noted that, once again, my second bag had been moved farther back. As I was removing my laundry from the washing machine a woman edged her way over as close to me as possible with a bag, poised up and ready to dump into the tub as soon as I moved away toward the dryer. Good Lord! This is what we are becoming! I really, really regret not paying the exorbitant fee that the IPY dealer wanted to charge us to install a washer/dryer back in San Diego. Now we have to wait until we get to a country that can procure for us and install a 110 V machine. New Zealand could not. Alas, I did not get my second load done and in spite of arriving at the laundry room at 7:15 the next day didn't get it in until around noon. Of the 7 days we spent here I managed to wash and dry only 3 loads of laundry. What a way to spend time in paradise!

We did get a chance to have some fun though. We were reunited with friends from Bold Spirit, Mokisha, Airwego, Charisma, Ahu, Mama Cocha and Mind the Gap. We had a couple pot luck dinners at The (island) Bar. I succumbed to a flu bug that was going around and spent a few days feverish, infirm and medicated. We were awaiting a good sailing window to head over to Vuda Pt. Marina, where we planned to make a road trip to Suva with TDM (and Baraka if they made it back from the Yasawas in time).

A couple of days before we left Musket Cove, Charisma, Mind the Gap and Airwego departed for Vanuatu. The day before we left, Mokisha headed out for some island hopping and we were saddened because we had really just gotten to know Tom and Colleen. (They along with Bold Spirit and a few others are staying in Fiji for the entire year). On the 14th, along with The Dorothy Marie, and with heavy hearts we bid a sad farewell to Kathi and Jeff and Kathi's daughter, Bailey, aboard Bold Spirit. Several of our friends took off in various directions as well; some we would run into down the way in Australia or Indonesia, others we may not see again after we part here in Fiji. Now I know how Frank felt growing up and moving around so much. You learn to cherish the good people you meet along the way and try not to take anything for granted because you just do not know where life will lead you all next.

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Sunday, July 19, 2009

Sharks & Sea Snakes and Running Aground, Oh My! Fiji July 5-7, 09

July 5th we returned to Navadra to find this anchorage becalmed as well.  This was a rarity and a big surprise because even the cruising guides state that this anchorage is always a bit of a challenge.  Third time's a charm?  Or maybe it was sailing with TDM that brought the good luck and these calm anchorages – perhaps Glen and Sally are charmed.  They certainly are charming and a lot of fun to be around. 


We donned snorkel gear and swam to shore – finally!  The coral here is beautiful and deep, but with very tall heads.  Visibility was just OK, so we thought we would get to shore and then "sight see" on the way back to the boat. I found so many pretty shells walking the beach I wondered how on Earth I was going to get them back to the boat. I placed them on top of my discarded fins and walked the island.  Frank had disappeared into the trees so I just explored the beach area.  It was littered with coconuts and debris that had washed up over time.  I couldn't figure out where "Survivor" tribes had been set up but made some suppositions in my mind based on the lay of the land.  I didn't venture too far into the treed areas because the mosquitoes were pretty dense once you got near foliage.  Eventually Sally and Glen swam to shore. He also disappeared into the interior.  Is that a "guy thing"?  She and I discovered a large sign declaring the island Sacred.  Nearby was a shrine/alter type structure covered with large and medium size sea shells, some coconut shells, a bundle of kava root and what looked like gifts and flowers that would be laid on a site honoring someone who had died.  Mysterious.  Glen came out of the woods.  Frank was down the beach walking in the surf while Glen was telling Sally and I that he had seen a black-tip shark swimming along the coral heads just off the beach.  Oh Lord!  My cowardly heart began palpitating thinking of how to get back on board without going back into the water.  Of course the guys didn't think anything of it saying, "He isn't here to bother us".  They forget that I attract things that bite!  The tide was coming back in so we began preparing to swim back.  I stuffed shells into Frank's pockets until they began to bulge, placing the better ones in first in case some floated out during the swim back.  We waded into the water, me kicking furiously to ward off aggressive shark attacks, with Frank lollygagging behind me.  What was he doing? I needed him to swim with me to defend me!  I kept swimming back to him, urging him on but he was more interested in looking at coral and pretty fish and ignored my pleadings.  In fear and frustration I swam hurriedly back to Destiny, praying for both our lives.  When I got up safely out of the water I planted myself on the sugar scoop ready to assist if Frank needed defending while getting to the boat.  He made it safely back, taking his time enjoying the swim and did not get attacked or eaten on the way.  Neither of us saw any sharks so I wonder if Glen was being serious or just pulling my leg.  I have a HUGE fear of sharks.


By the way, I forgot to put this in a previous journal:  Fiji is literally crawling or should I say slithering with deadly sea snakes.  Twice Jaime and Christine had returned to Morning Light while Erik and Gisela were visiting to find a sea snake on their sugar scoop (the back end of the boat).  While in Musket Cove, Frank and I had seen one or two in the water at the back of ours, but none had yet tried to come on board.  During our first trip to Somosomo with Jaime and Christine (ML) and Glen and Sally (TDM), we saw one in the water trying to swim up the side of Glen and Sally's dinghy while they were sitting in it beside our boat.  Glen kept swatting at it with an oar, while it persisted in trying to crawl up into the dinghy.  Finally they managed to thwart its attempts to board.  We don't know what their fascination is with getting onto boats and dinghies, but they are persistent.  Later on that same day we were all going to go to shore and were boarding our own dinghy while the others had come over in theirs and were waiting for us.  I was just about to get off our boat into the dinghy; Frank was already sitting in the back getting our motor started, when a sea snake crawled up the transom of our dinghy.  Frank watched it spellbound as it slinked its way right up over the motor into the back of our dinghy by his feet, while he began swatting at it with an oar.  He told me to stay on the boat. I froze.  He continued trying to lure it away from him with an oar.  It was utterly oblivious to the attempts and ignored him while it explored around the gasoline tank at Frank's feet.  Glen reached over with his giant machete and away they swung with their weapons, trying to abate the snake while not harming our fuel line, the motor connections or the tank.  Finally they managed to hack its head off and dump it over the side.  Sally had her camera and snapped a few photos of it but said she couldn't get a real good shot so we'll see if it turned out or not and if so will post it on the website.  It wasn't very large – maybe 18-20 inches long.  But that's big enough for us.


OK, so back to Navadra.  We spent a very pleasant night in the anchorage, yet by early morning with the rising tide the swells began to build.  The all too familiar roll had returned.  Frank and I re-anchored, moving closer to the spit between the two islands hoping for a little more calm.  A large motor yacht arrived and we watched him anchor and then set about pitching and rolling as we felt our own boat begin the dance.  Although having planned to spend the day and another night here we informed TDM that we were not going to take the chance of facing a rough day and night in this anchorage and were setting off for Malolo Lailai instead.  Although they had really wanted to stick around and were much more amenable to putting up with the roll, they decided to follow us out.  The forecast had called for light winds (under 10 knots) so we felt that it would be a decent travel day, although it probably meant a lot of motoring.  Forecasts are often wrong, however, and we spent a long, rough day of motoring, beating into 20+ knot headwinds, fighting a relatively strong current and large swells slamming us nearly all the way to the pass into the bay outside Musket Cove.  We felt badly for TDM because they were having to hand steer.  (Their autopilot had gone out during the crossing from NZ and they are still awaiting the parts to repair it.)  Normally I stay up top and "spot" for coral heads and shallows, but Frank felt confident that we were on a safe course, so I had gone down below to update my journal entries, which are weeks behind.  We were almost to the channel, when Frank called for me to come to the front of the boat to spot.  Just as I got topside, we high centered – ground to a halt!  I shouted "Oh Crap, Frank we've gone aground! What the hell!?"  Now we understand the reports we'd gotten from others who have done the same.  It had happened so fast.  Yes, we have charts – electronic and paper.  We have a depth gauge.  How does this happen?  We are careful.  We are diligent. We thought we had taken into account the "offset" on the charts. Frank is more confident than I.  I am the worrier who insists on always being up top and on watch.  This time I took it on faith that we were fine. I'd overcome my paranoia about hitting a reef or running aground. We had come and gone from here several times through both passes and thought we had a good fix on it.  Had we both become too confident? Unfortunately in sailing, and in particular in Fiji this is the curse of the cruiser.  We had veered just a tad off the track and a few yards is all it takes.  Thankfully we were inside of the bay and the waters were calm, Frank immediately threw the engine into reverse.  I had climbed on top of the mast pulpit and as I looked around, it seemed the bottom had closed in on us. With poor visibility we could not see whether the dark spots around us were coral or sea grass.   Frank has good instincts and managed to back us off veering to starboard and we broke free from the bottom – thankfully it was mostly sand, but we knew that there had been some coral, feeling it scrape underneath as we maneuvered off and prayed that our keel had not been damaged.  I stayed up high and continued to watch for clear pathways as Frank hailed Glen asking him to take the lead.  They had the advantage of some different software that seems to be more accurate than ours.  We humbly fell in behind them as we entered the pass into Musket Cove and headed for the safety of a mooring.  As soon as the weathered cleared, we intended to check the bottom, but for now a beer for the Captain and a trip to shore to see our friends was in order.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Fiji; Heading South in the Yasawas (7/2-7/5/09)

Leaving Blue Lagoon and still buddy-boating with The Dorothy Marie, we returned to Somo somo to meet up with Baraka.  They were heading north and we were heading south.  It had been weeks since we'd seen them so we arranged a rendezvous. We arrived to find Tom and Dawn from Warm Rain alone in the anchorage.  After we got settled Baraka soon arrived and we all got together for sundowners on Warm Rain. We four American boats had the anchorage to ourselves. The waters in that bay had calmed considerably since our last visit, and the skies had cleared so we made plans to hike over to the other side of the island and snorkel the wreck.  The next morning after a leisurely breakfast we all dinghyed to shore.  Armed with snorkel gear, appropriate clothing, plenty of bug spray and gifts for the family who lived there we set off for the trek across to the other side of the island.  We arrived to find an elderly gentleman and his daughter-in-law on an absolutely beautiful homestead.  There were two or three well-kept buildings on lovingly cared for grounds.  They welcomed us and chatted with us for a while.  We all presented them with goodies; tea bags, sweets, toys for the grandchildren and so on.  The man pointed out an orange buoy about 150 yards off the shore (it was a shallow bay), telling us that it marked the area of the wreck.  All we knew of the wreck was that it was a WWII Spitfire fighter plane that had gone down and at low tide could be found in about 15 feet of water.  We excitedly disrobed and donned snorkel gear and set off for the orange buoy.  We found the buoy and swam in grids for quite a while before someone shouted, "Over here!"  Over there was a part of the propeller sticking straight up out of the bottom sand and a piece of the small "wing" at the tail of the plane.  We were still excited but a little disappointed that there wasn't more.  Eagerly we continued to swim a grid pattern but with no more success.  Finally getting chilled and a bit weary we started back toward the shore.  When Frank and I were in the shallows and began to walk, Sally suddenly began shouting for us to come back.  She had found the fuselage!  Thanks to Sally, herself having given up the hunt chasing down a cuttlefish with her camera, she accidentally swam over the actual plane.  It was not as close to the orange buoy as we'd thought yet we didn't care; we had found the plane!  Time and the saltwater had done a fine job of eating away at much of the metal, but what was left after 66 years in these warm shallow waters was impressive enough to us.  After the boys all took turns diving down and pretending to sit in the plane and fly it, Jan calmly pointed out to us that a (venomous) lionfish was hanging out down there camouflaged beneath the frame just where the boys had been squatting!  We all gathered round for a look and sure enough – there he was as beautiful and graceful as ever feeding away on something in the wreckage.  We were lucky.


After our swim we returned to the family's home and visited a bit more, finding out that the plane had NOT gone down under the exciting conditions we had imagined.  Turns out that the US armed forces that were stationed here in 1943 were not actively fighting.  Being a little bored some of the pilots, during practice maneuvers, started horsing around flying low to the beach and this guy had a collision with a coconut tree!  Messed him up pretty good though from the looks of the scattered wreckage.  The living members of the Pilot's family have returned a few times for a visit over the years.

The morning of July 4th, we awoke, played some "God Bless America" music, blasting it out to the anchorage on our PA system, bid farewell to our friends on Baraka and Warm Rain, weighed anchor and followed TDM south to Nanuya Balavu, anchoring at Drawaqua just across from the Manta Ray (backpacker's) Resort.  This time the winds and swells were in our favor and hardly noticeable.  We jumped into the dinghies to do a little exploring.  Not knowing exactly where to go we approached a nearby resort to find out where to scout the famed manta rays.  A man came out to the waters edge to greet us.  We asked him if this was a private beach.  He indicated that it was indeed used exclusively for the Captain Cook Cruise boats and very kindly informed us that we were too early for the Rays.  He said to return at high tide, around 4 PM, which is when the manta rays come to feed in the Pass.  With time to kill we took off for Manta Ray Resort where we were warmly welcomed.  We got some cold drinks at the beach bar and walked around, made dinner reservations and then went back to the boats for some snorkeling.  At 4 PM we took off for the pass to see the rays.


When we arrived in the pass there were several boatloads of resort guests already out there with local Fijians spotting for them.  It was like a zoo.  We felt sick for these poor rays, but of course it didn't take us long to get caught up in the frenzy ourselves.  We had a small worry, and that was what to do with our dinghies.  There was a very strong current in the pass, which we estimated to be 4-5 knots.  It was too deep to anchor there, so Frank opted to tether the dinghy to him while he swam around.  Glen elected to do the same with theirs.  Sally and I both went over the side and took off at a brisk swim to the area indicated by the spotters.  She and I were a good bit away from the others and as I was swimming along suddenly a large manta ray appeared just below me.  I nearly hyperventilated with excitement.  I raised my head up and shouted to Sally, "Over here!" pointing down underneath me, while scrambling with my camera to get a picture.  Naturally, Sally and about 50 other swimmers came at me with fins slapping and arms flailing about.  I could have kicked myself for being so blatant.  But then again these other people were paying to see the rays so why not share my good fortune in finding them?   For a good while Sally and I swam around with 3 large rays.  At some point I realized Frank was not coming around and noticed that he was still about 150 yards away, I gave up my ray-watching and swam over to him.  Poor guy!  The current was so strong and our dinghy is so large and heavy that he just couldn't stay up with the rest of us.  So I traded places with him and just got into the dinghy and dropped him off up-stream.  On the way we rescued a young French man who had been left behind by the resort boats – kind of reminiscent of the Australian dive boats leaving that couple behind on the Great Barrier Reef!  After I dropped Frank off I noticed Sally seemed to be in distress.  She had gotten separated from Glen and her own dinghy and was also caught in the strong current.  I got her into our boat and took her over to Glen and her own dinghy.  After a while we were pretty wiped out from the adrenaline and the exertion, so Frank and I called it quits and headed back to Destiny to get cleaned up for dinner.  We "debriefed" on the way back.  What a thrill it had been to swim with these incredibly stealth creatures.  It was no less exciting than our swim with the humpback whales last year in Tonga.  And amid all the kicking and thrashing of the swimmers the rays seemed completely indifferent to our presence.  They were feeding, gliding through the water with hardly an effort, just looking so majestic.  I wish I'd been able to capture video footage of them, but did manage a few still shots.  We were told later that the rays are not spotted every day and that they only appear during one particular time of year.  Boy did we get lucky!

Friday, July 10, 2009

June 26 - Yasawa Island

Venturing up to the island of Yasawa, the northernmost of the Yasawa group, we first attempted to anchor at "Land Harbor", which we'd been told is normally a very quiet and peaceful anchorage.  Not today.  Typically, the Southeast Trades blow through here, but the winds had shifted around to the North (which would have been great for those previous anchorages).  We could not stay here. But we had a back-up plan to go over to the other side of the island to Sawa-i-Lau Bay.  On approach we were delighted to see how beautiful and protected this area proved.  In fact aesthetically it may be our favorite spot.  The tiny island of Sawa-i-Lau is sandwiched in between the larger islands of Yasawa and Nacula in its namesake bay, and is famous for being the site of the cave that Brooke Shields ran away to in the movie (Blue Lagoon).  Of course we wanted to explore this cave. The closest & best anchorage was across the bay in front of a village called Nabukeru.  We got the anchors set – it was just us and The Dorothy Marie – and then went to shore to seek out the chief/turaga ni koro.  We found a fairly youngish man named Joe who claimed to be the chief.  He was sitting on a mat with some women and another man who was a teacher at the large school just south of the village.  We presented our sevu-sevu and got permission, blessings and all and then set off to explore the area.  It was Sunday, so we were asked to stay clear of the village and Sawa-i-Lau until Monday, but of course were asked to come back in the morning to shop their craft market and to purchase any fruits/veggies/breads that were available and to visit the school.  On Monday we could also explore the caves but were told to wait until after Noon because the resorts ran tours there all morning. So off we went to explore the other beaches.  We spent the better part of the afternoon walking the beaches not associated with any villages, finding some beautiful shells and enjoying having the area all to ourselves.


Monday morning we visited the "market", which was not very impressive.  In fact instead of lots of handcrafts, I actually saw the ladies pulling jewelry out of cellophane and molded plastic packages that looked like something you could find at the Dollar Store (cheaters!).  By now I was pretty well done with looking at the same stuff over and over from village to village so didn't buy anything but a papaya.  That was all they had available in the way of fruit.  Sally did pick up some jewelry pieces that looked hand-made, a couple of shells, a papaya and some Taro leaves, then she ordered a loaf of bread on the way out.  We stowed our goods in the dinghy and walked over to visit the school.  Sally is an elementary school teacher back in San Diego.  This was a treat for us all.  The school was similar to what we would term, elementary & middle school back home and had only 2 teachers.  There were elder students appointed to act as class proctor who assisted in teaching and organizing the rest.  They were very impressive and very well behaved children with engaging personalities and amazing discipline.  We all agreed that children back in the US would have a difficult time behaving as these students do.  These schools are in need of supplies – pens, books, everything that we take for granted and have in abundance back home, yet they seem to get by.  We mentioned to other cruisers heading this way to bring supplies if they have any to spare.


After mid-day we moseyed over to the caves.  Paid our F$10 per person and hiked up to the entrance.  Except for one guide we had the place to ourselves.  After a walk "up", we entered the mouth of the cave and then walked the slippery man-carved steps down into the cave.  It was beautiful, and quite nice and cool in there.  We all jumped into the water and swam around before Frank and Glen followed the guide on into the next cave, which required a sub-surface swim under a wall.  Sally and I didn't follow, but could hear the guys on the other side of the wall.  It was as though they were in a sound room, magnified by 10.  They returned reporting that it is pitch black in there, but with the aid of a dive light could see pretty well.  I'm glad I passed.  We spend the rest of the afternoon snorkeling, but it wasn't half as pretty as SomoSomo.  The next morning Sally and Glen picked up their bread from the lady at the village and we took off again and made a two-night stop back at Blue Lagoon before heading back south.


Tuesday, July 7, 2009

June 18 - 25 The Blue Lagoon

Blue Lagoon is absolutely beautiful! It is actually an area, not just one lagoon. We anchored at the island of Nanuya Lailai where the original Blue Lagoon movie, starring Jean Simmons, was filmed. Just in front of us was a fairly new resort called "Nanuya Island Resort" whose restaurant is excellent, and features a lobster dish nearly every night for around F$28 (roughly US$12). A local family lives a few hundred yards to the west and is known to host the yachties. Va, the matriarch, and Tui, her nephew, provide a safe place for dinghies to land, trash service, and a general "connection" with locals. They are also known for their Lovo feasts. In fact their family had owned the island and the adjacent one, Nanuya Levu, which was purchased in 1972 by an American, Richard Evanson. He built a very exclusive resort there called Turtle Island Resort. I mention this for several reasons; you have to be approved to stay at Turtle Island Resort, it is one of the most expensive resorts in Fiji where the rich and famous go, the entire island is restricted to guests only, it employs 160 local Fijians to serve 28 guests, it is a turtle reserve, and every year a group of California eye specialists convert the place into a clinic for locals to receive eye surgery and recycled RX glasses for free. The part about being a turtle reserve is important because every day we see local fishermen come by with dead sea turtles in the bottom of their boats. It is heartbreaking that there is no law against the harvesting of these precious creatures here. Turtle Island is where the Brooke Shields version of The Blue Lagoon was filmed. The movie, "Return to The Blue Lagoon" wasn't made here at all, rather it was filmed over on the island of Tavenui.

We were happy to see our Kiwi friends, Russ and Florence ("Vivacious") were here and made plans to get together later in the week, as they were just leaving on the ferry to pick up family members from the mainland. The first night we went into the resort for dinner with ML and TDM. Then we went to meet Tui and Va. Tui explained that we were to offer some kind of sevu-sevu (which surprised us b/c we were told this is only expected when a chief is present), and after that is done we were welcome to walk the island, etc., etc. He also took our reservation for a Lovo the next evening. A Lovo feast is cooked in the ground under layers of canvas-type cloth and palm leaves. This Lovo was incredibly good, featuring a whole red snapper, chicken that was so tender it just fell apart, cassava, fresh baked bread, green salad, sliced cucumbers, "spinach" (cooked taro leaves) and fresh fruits. It was incredibly delicious and all for F$15 p/p. Afterward, Tui walked us down the beach to an area where he had built a gigantic bonfire just for us.

We spent several days at Blue Lagoon, walking the island and swimming, hiking over the top to the backpacker resorts on the other side and just generally taking it easy. Christine and Jaime (ML) left us to head back to the US for a visit, and after a few more days, Glen and Sally (TDM) ventured north with us to swim the limestone caves at Sawa-i-lau.

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Sunday, July 5, 2009

Discovering the Yasawas - June 2009

On June 15th we made a rough and rolly passage up to the island of Naviti, to a place called Nanuya Balavu - noted for its attraction to swim with the manta rays. Unfortunately the swell and high winds were on the increase causing us severe pitching and so after several recons around the bay, our little group of three resigned to leave the area hoping to have an opportunity to return on a better day. We continued onward to Somo Somo, a more protected (yet still rolly) bay, presenting a long, inviting white sandy beach and large coral heads all around us beckoning us to snorkel and swim to shore. We found the snorkeling here to be among the best we'd seen. The vibrant colors of both fish and reef were outstanding. The uninhabited beach was littered with shells and so we treasure-hunted. While Sally, Christine and I walked the beach the boys followed the trail to the other side of the island in search of the spot rumored to be great snorkeling of a WWII plane crash. They returned a few hours later to report that after quite a challenging hike they found the site of the wreck out in the water in front of a large homestead of an aging Fijian couple. They also reported that we would not want to make the trek without lots of bug repellant and formidable shoes. Because it was getting late in the day we postponed the adventure for another day. In the evening a Fijian man in a kayak approached Glen and Sally's boat telling them that we were expected to offer sevu sevu to the Turaga ni Koro in the next bay over before going to shore and swimming in these waters. OOPS!

So the next day, the six of us piled into our dinghy and went into the village. It was a much longer and rougher ride than expected, and by the time we got to shore we were all soaked! Thank goodness the Kava was tucked away in large plastic bags. We traipsed through the village, handing out candy and gum to the dancing children following us along shouting, "Bula, bula!" We were amazed to find that this was a very large and nicely maintained village - much more so than others we'd seen. We were taken to a fairly nice home with a large den, with a rug and pillow-covered concrete floor. At one end was an alter type setup on top of a table, and as we were invited to sit (in a circle) were asked to leave plenty of room around that area. This is where the chief sits. The chief was a woman named Adi (pron Andi). She prayed over the kava and gave us her blessing and welcome - all in Fijian. Then her daughter, Koro invited us back to the village that night for a performance by the locals. After we all agreed she informed us that we were to pay $100 for the six of us. Neophytes snared in the tourist trap!! Leaving the house we were asked to step over to a covered area where the women had set up a crafts market. We bought a small war mask, a shell and a necklace and then returned to the anchorage to move our boats into the bay in front of the village. There was no way we could return at night in the dinghy through those waters. After moving the yachts over, several fishermen came along selling lobsters and asking for fuel and cigarettes. We bought two very large lobsters for F$10 each. What a bargain! After dinner we went into the village for the show, which was quite good and very similar to the two others we'd attended (at Musket Cove & The Octopus). In the morning, the locals continued to swarm us asking for supplies, but for nothing in return. We had been warned about this - that they would feed on your sympathy and sense of pity, begging off of yachties but that we should not indulge them. So instead of worrying about offending anyone we moved the boats back over to the uninhabited bay. By the time we got over there, however, it was once again too late to make the hike over to the sunken plane crash, so we just snorkeled around and then called it an early night.

The next morning we took off for The Blue Lagoon - the famed site of the 3 movies.

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