September 25 – 29
16 11.382S 179 46.251E
Posting by Barb:
We still have not seen any other sailboats. This anchorage will have to be our NEW favorite anchorage. And it’s the local people that have made this a special place. We stopped here so that we could take the dinghy and explore the Wainikoro river but inadvertently ended up at the wrong river, the Nasavu river. We had picked out the anchorage based on another cruisers information but while we were trying to anchor where we thought they had anchored we ended up with a foot of water under the keel and the tide going down. It was a close call and we got a little bit of a scare. Once we were anchored we had a closer look at the description of the anchorage and realized that we were at the wrong river. We decided to explore this river while we were here.
As we started our river tour we saw a few villages and locals waving as we passed. We went as far as we could go by dinghy and it turned out to be the last village on the river. Unfortunately, we don’t know the name of the village. The people there encouraged us to get out of our dinghy and visit for a while. We ended up sitting in the shade with a number of the locals. We ate their papayas and drank fresh coconut water out of Fijian straws (a plant that has a hollow stem, which they cut and use as straws. They use the leaves to rub on infected cuts). Wish I knew the name of the plant. They ate the lunch I packed which included Sardines, crackers, chocolate chip cookies, fresh carrots and fresh radishes. The radishes they did not like!! We were the first cruisers to visit their village and they made us feel very welcome. They could see that the heat was bothering Denny a little and before long one of the ladies came out with a fan and sat and fanned Denny and me for the next 2 hours. Before long they brought out the Lali drum and beat out a rhythm while singing in harmony and a few ladies and one man put on a show dressed in some silly dance costumes. They got us out to dance as well and it was a lot of laughter, singing and story sharing. They were not even interested in a Sevu Sevu ceremony or Kava as that is what they grew and it is their main source of income. They invited us to spend the night but we gracefully turned down that invitation. As we left they offered us Papayas and handmade ‘fans’ as gifts (Denny expects me to fan him all the time now, NOT).
On the way back we made a little detour through a mangrove stream and ended at a little local farm where a lady was taking a bath in the stream. She spoke a little English and yelled out something in Fijian to her husband. He showed up with more Papayas and 3 fresh Capsicum (green peppers) for us. It’s been months since we had fresh capsicums. They wanted nothing in return and shouted God Bless you as we left knowing we had to get back before dark.
During the time we were anchored here we had a local boat from a nearby village drop by and say hello as they travelled to or returned from their fishing expeditions. They fished for sale at the Labassa market. They inquired about ‘Trump’. Everybody here has to ask about Trump when they find out the boat is from the USA. Well known but not well liked. They seemed to have cell phones and they explained that the cell phone tower was only a year old and things changed for them once they got ‘connected’. Now they have bills to pay. As one of the young men put it ‘We had the trees and the water, now we have the trees and the water and “Trump”‘. They were such a fun, happy bunch of young locals who badly wanted us to visit their village but we ran out of time.
We were visited by the caretaker of Tilagica Island. The island was purchased by an American ‘Sight unseen’ and has yet to visit the place. Stan Louis , the caretaker lives there with his wife Ana and their 4 year old son George and their dog Master. They dropped by the boat with more beautfiful, fresh Papayas and invited us to visit the island. It was a beautiful place with a main building flanked by two other buildings which were the sleeping quarters. The place even has a wine cellar, although we didn’t tour the inside. The Caretaker’s home was off to the side, small, quaint and comfortable. They served tea and deep fried dough bread (donuts) and then offered us use of their shower. What a luxury to be able to stand in a clean beautiful hot shower (although we both used the water sparingly and didn’t really want hot water). Beautiful family. In return we gave them a large bag of freshly popped popcorn and some new movies to watch.
It was definitely the people that made this anchorage our special Shangri-La!!