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Freedom and Adventure: Heading South to Musket Cove

by Andrew and Clare Payne 12 Aug 11:25 UTC

Beautiful Blue Lagoon

We came back into the Blue Lagoon on 24th July to catch up with some friends. There is always a good number of cruising boats in Blue Lagoon because it has good protection from the wind and the flat sea guarantees a good night's sleep. Many of the other anchorages along the Yasawa chain are open to swell and we get a bit sick of rolling.

We knew the cruising folk on about five other boats and so we had a very social time. We all attended a traditional Lovo dinner cooked by a local Fijian family. We had fish, chicken and vegetables cooked in a pit for several hours, very tasty and tender. The only problem was there were about a dozen kids at the dinner and only two chickens served. By the time the adults got to the table there was only a plate of chicken bones left. Thankfully the kids weren't fussed about the fish otherwise the adults would have starved:) A good night was had by all.

We did a bit more snorkelling here and found some giant clams which have been relocated to live on the reef. After learning all about the development of the giant clam, when visiting the island of Makogai, it was good to see some giant clams settled in their natural environment.

Go Girl

After leaving Blue Lagoon we visited the village of Somo Somo. We wanted to met the ninety seven year old female chief. A female chief is pretty unusual as the position is handed down through the male side of the family. However this chief's father only had one daughter and so she got the job. This 97 year old female chief only produced one daughter as well. Unfortunately the daughter is deceased and so when the 97 year old female chief dies the position will be handed over to the male cousin (her father's brother's son). The chief speaks very little English but she performed the Sevusevu ceremony, with her grandson translating for us. I asked permission to have my photo taken with the chief and as soon as I sat next to her, I felt her arm come around me. She had a very caring manner and was most approachable. Her eyes were clear and engaging, we think she will be around for a while yet. The grandson likened her to Queen Elizabeth.

Happy Faces

We went to the village kindergarten and the kids took our hands and led us into their classroom. They sang us the ABC song and seemed surprised that we could sing it too. They individually introduced themselves in English saying their name, sex, their village, mother and father's name. All important safety information when visiting the city. Their last song, also in English, was naming parts of the body. Pretty good considering English is their second language which they learn at school level. Some of them were touching their ears instead of their nose, and then touching their knees instead of their toes, but it was all very endearing and sung with great gusto.

So the village of Somo Somo was the sixth and last Fijian village we will visit. It has been quite an experience. Compared to our world, their living conditions are very basic. But they seem happy and their sense of community is strong. A totally different life, but who is to say whether it is better or worse than ours? It certainly is food for thought.

A Change of Plans

We were heading back to Musket Cove as it is the only other anchorage in the Yasawa chain where we can expect calm conditions and peaceful nights. On the way, we anchored at the island Navadra with four other boats and rolled all night due to the swell. The following morning we intended going south to Musket Cove but we had 20 knots on the noise. This would make for a very uncomfortable trip bashing into it for 4-5 hours. So as there was no rush, we sailed north for fifteen miles to Waya Island and waited for the wind to drop. The good news is that we caught two good fish. A wahoo and a small tuna, so we were set for any delay.

Here we anchored with the motor vessel "Senses" which is some 250 ft and owned by one of the partners of Google. If you want to hire it for your friends, it will cost you 350,000 USD a week. Wow! They had an array of toys out the back, but the one we loved to watch was the foiling self propelled surf board - what fun.

Good Friends

We eventually made it back to Musket cove and caught up with our good friends Ellen and Martin on Acapella. We were invited aboard to have one of their newly created cocktails called "Acapella on the Rocks". This cocktail came into being after Martin and Ellen hit a reef earlier this year in the Lau goup of islands on the east side of Fiji. They were stuck on the reef on a fifty degree angle for 12 hours until high tide lifted them off. Fortunately there was no water ingress, but their rudder was badly damaged. The cocktail "Acapella on the Rocks" is to celebrate, that although scary, it could have been a lot worse. We spent a few days together sharing morning coffee and a BBQ at the sailors bar. Good fun people, we always enjoy their company.

We sailed across to the main island of Vita Levu, Fiji to provision for our trip to Vanuatu later this month. We have taken on fuel, propane gas and a new starter battery for the engine. We have made two trips to the supermarket and restocked the boat. To all reports Vanuatu is a lot more remote than Fiji and it is best to bring everything you need.

So What's Next

We are considering getting an extension on our Visa to stay in Fiji and wait for a good weather window to sail to Vanuatu. This won't delay our plans by much, but it will take the pressure away from working to a set date. So we will keep you posted.

This article has been provided courtesy of the Freedom and Adventure.

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