Wednesday, June 30, 2010

The cyclone that hit Fiji last winter blew this bure askew.

We had a wonderful day today. It started off with breakfast in a Fijian household. Yesterday when we joined up with our buddies, we went ashore and did our sevusevu ceremony and a villager showed us around. It was a lovely village, a cyclone had gone through this season and done some damage to the village and the crops, but the village was clean there was a green space in the middle and the houses were spaced out nicely, not all crowded together.
When we landed on the beach a fellow asked us if we wanted some lobster and we readily agreed, thinking we would be getting another great deal. Once we had negotiated a price, we got around to asking if Barry could go with him. It was decided that Barry could go with him but he would take him in our dinghy, no problem. It was an opportunity you might never get again, fishing in the dark with a local for lobster. Barry set off at the agreed time and I thought they would be gone for hours, they showed up at the boat within 10 minutes, Ari did not have any batteries for his underwater flashlight. We rounded up 2, all we had on the boat, and then Barry went over to Argonaut and they had 2 more so the lobster expedition was on again. They went out to a reef and Ari speared a few fish, Barry said it was easy because the fish seem to be sleeping and you just swim up to them and stab them. The Fijian fishermen use a long thin steel rod and they also have devised a rubber slingshot which will shoot the rod as well. Barry said Ari was no dummy because he would stab the fish and then give them to Barry who would put them on another rod and swim around after Ari as he went hunting for other fish. If there was a shark in the vicinity who would he attack, the guy swimming about or the one who was holding dead fish oozing with blood!! There were still no lobster at this point, so they guys headed off to a different spot. Barry decided to stay in the dinghy at this point and Ari came back with 4 very small dead lobster. Barry explained that if he had been in on the kill he would have asked that they leave the small guys until they grew up a little, but it was too late and small as they were we really enjoyed them, they were quite tasty. I am really not to sure about the deal though, they used our gas to get there and back and Ari ended up with 4 brand new D cell batteries for his flashlight.
BUT....on the way back to shore Ari invited both boats to breakfast the next morning, so that is how we started out day. Breakfast consisted of tea, fried pancakes, cold boiled yams and paw paws or papayas. We met Ari's wife, his daughter, his sister in law and a cousin. When breakfast was served we ate and our hosts would not touch the food, it is the Fijian way, the host does not eat until the guests are finished. This interaction with the local people was the kind of experience I was looking for when we started cruising.
Cave entrance
After that wonderful beginning to the day we set off for another anchorage 6 miles away, we followed Argonaut who has previous boats paths on their computer. This is a great comfort because you know wherever they have gone there are no reefs so life is quite a bit less stressful. We stopped at a gorgeous spot that is known for its caves. After hiring a guide from the nearby village Barry and I walked up the cement steps that lead into the cave, took off our shoes, walked down the platform and then entered the water. The entry into the cave is about 5 meter in diameter, then as you swim out the rocks open up and there is a huge cathedral like structure that is open to the sunlight. It is amazing. There is a second cave that you swim into under water. When you enter you cannot see anything, our guide, John, had a torch and it's dim light showed us the low ceiling. The acoustics were fantastic, the echos of our voices rang out. John slapped his hands on the water and the sound boomed out raising goosebumps on my arms. After leaving the caves we explored up another lagoon by dinghy, the rock structures were quite striking.
Liz and Mike came over for dinner and we had a lovely time. As I was finishing the dishes Barry checked on the engine, something had not quite worked properly when we had turned it off. The wind had come up and we all were a bit concerned because the anchorage is deep and there is a cruise ship anchored just behind us so if we drag at all we will be spoiling the paint on a Norwegian boat. Well glory be if the %$#%@^$# engine would not start when Barry tested it. Well what next, I guess life was just too good to be true today. After fretting and fussing for about 1/2 an hour with me in the background going, can we just think about this in the morning, Barry explained very calmly that if we dragged anchor and we could not get the motor going, what then!! That set me back on my heels, I never think these things through. Barry hit the restart button on the engine and lo and behold the it started, we have no clue as to why it stopped but now I know where the restart button is and what a lifesaver it can be. So I guess all is well that ends well. Tomorrow is another day.