Thursday, June 25, 2015

A Taste of SavuSavu


After all our motor sailing, it was really nice to be on a mooring buoy, in a quiet and sheltered anchorage, although when the wind filled in again, we found ourselves uncomfortably close to the shore…… and some other cruiser’s sad demise!

We enjoyed the peace, while it lasted, and had some lovely sunsets to remember.

We visited the local market, and found plenty of good fresh produce at prices cheaper than NZ… Not difficult! 

On one occasion we were entertained by the US Naval band from the “US Mercy”.

“Mercy” is the world’s largest hospital ship, which sails around the world offering first world healthcare, surgery, etc to many of the less fortunate countries. This was its first visit to SavuSavu, and the Ship was handling over 500 patients per day in their fully equipped operating theatres, X-Ray, Cat scan etc facilities, with launches and a helicopter ferrying patients from dawn to dusk, for the entire time we were there. (10days)

In the background, USN Mercy, lit up like an office block
On another occasion the Fijian Police brass band showed they were not to be out done, with a parade through town. I got some lovely video footage of a Fijian trombonist forsaking his instrument to do a “makarena” with a game old lady he plucked from the crowd.

One day we took a 2½ hr, $11.50, return bus ride to the island capital of Labasa. The trip took us over the mountains, through the rainforest, and down to the sugar plantation area, of which Labasa is the centre.

Oranges for sale at crossroad

Although mainly of Indian culture, we walked a few miles to the WASAVULA Ceremonial site, which we found to our shame, was in the middle of a little village, and we should have brought an offering of Yaqona (Kava) for the Chief, in order to request his hospitality, and be shown the site.

THE Monolith
Brain bowl on the left
Head chopping block
Legend has it that the Monolith pillars are in memory of the “Elders”, and we were shown the VATU ni BOKOLO, (or head chopping stone), on which victims were decapitated in earlier cannibalistic history. In addition, there was a bowl shaped rock, in which the “Chief” was served the victim’s brain!
All too much! We made our way back to the town, where we enjoyed a couple of cold beers and a Chinese lunch, before walking through the market, to the bus station , where we made sure we caught the only bus going back to SavuSavu.

Labasa market with its yaqona dealer
View of market over the river
The next day we went out and bought our yaqona roots, from which the Kava drink is made. Each bunch costs about as much as a bottle of wine….. and it apparently tastes a bit peppery and foul, numbs your lips, and is a calmative,…  but it is an age old custom , and tradition of Fijian hospitality.

Weighing out our yaqona bundles
We had all made our plans about where we were heading when the weather window opened up, so we said farewell for a while to Scott Free and Beez Neez, who were heading East, to Vianni Bay, and the Lau group, while we were heading South, and East to Makogai, Naingani, Nananu I Thake, Denarau, and Mololo (Musket Cove).

Drinks at the Copra Shed Yacht Club

 We will all meet up again there, in about 6 weeks, when we head out to Vanuatu.
On Sunday evening, we headed out to Cousteau resort, on the SavuSavu point, to knock off the first 6 miles of what would be a 46 mile trip south, for which we welcomed the 15kt Easterly.
As it turned out, it was just as well that we had decided not to head Eastwards…. two  nasty boat problems made themselves known to us.
Firstly, the autopilot jammed, and would not release. We had to steer ourselves into the anchorage using the autopilot, to drop the anchor, and then address the problem. Secondly, we experienced one of the cruising life’s worst nightmares….. the new and very expensive New Zealand black water holding tank blew up…. Not only depriving us of our loo, but covering ……….. well lets not go into too much detail!

Suffice to say, that the joys of being a skipper on a cruising boat are never ending!   

No comments:

Post a Comment