July 9, 2014 – July 11, 2014
17 11.088 S 179 00.007 E
Posting by Barb and Dennis:
We motored to our next anchorage which was only a couple of hours away. This anchorage was so different than the Bay of Islands. Mbavatu Harbour is a well-protected little bay and when we arrived there were 6 sailboats already there. There was a neat little yacht club there owned by Toni, who also owns Copra Shed in Savu Savu. We quickly realized that this place would be a social anchorage. At 5:30 all the cruisers in the bay get together at the Yacht club deck for Happy Hour. Toni was there the first night so the yacht club was open. He drops by once every 2-3 months so it was unusual for him to be there.
On another night it was decided that it would be Pizza night so we all had to bring a pizza. We enjoyed tastes of chicken, fish, curried, and spicy sausage pizzas. Dennis of course made the spicy sausage pizza and it was a hit!
On one of our day excursions in Mbavatu Harbour, we decided to do the hike up the well-built 276 step stairway to the plantation at the top. We had been told there was an outlook there where we could see the Bay of Islands. When we reached the last step there were 2 young locals, Usaia and Peni, who were anxious to show us the way to the lookout. It was about a 20 minute walk to the lookout and they entertained us with some of their folk stories and their experiences. I got the feeling that they genuinely liked the company and the opportunity to share their stories with a great sense of humour. They were both working students; Usaia is going to be a carpenter and Peni a Mason. We learned that they were devout Methodists as they blamed most of the damage done by cyclones to the other islands as punishment from God for the sins of the locals. On one particular island the only building left standing after a cyclone passed was the church. A long time ago, the locals at this particular village had eaten the missionary and God had not yet forgiven them for doing that! They are very aware of their cannibalistic history and jokingly told us that in another era they would have contemplated eating each other even though they were friends. They were nice enough not to hint that we would probably have made a good meal as well!! On the walk back from the lookout Peni plucked a fruit from a tree, which he called Sour Sop, and broke it into four pieces to share among us.
The fruit was white, spongy, and juicy and it tasted like a combination of pineapples, limes and oranges. It was delicious and very filling. Peni invited us to his house to sign his guestbook and then gave us some beautiful, large bananas without once asking for anything.
We did come back with a few fish hooks for them. They use potato chip bags cut into strips and tie it to the hook for bait.
Our diesel tank has started leaking so it turns out that we actually do have a leak somewhere. The diesel has started seeping into the teak flooring so we have decided to head back to the main island to get that fixed. We again have to say good bye to our newly found friends and we are very sad not to be able to explore the rest of the Northern Lau group. But we cannot ignore the diesel leak and we are afraid it will get worse. We checked the weather window and it looks like it will be a day of sailing and a day of motoring as we make our way to Vuda Point Marina on the Island of Viti Levu.