|Looking towards the village|
|The anchor chain - the 'snubber line' is stretchy rope which acts as a shock-absorber for the boat when she pitches in any waves.|
We dinghied ashore with Pacific Hwy. to offer our sevusevu and were taken to the most substantial house in the village to meet Ratu Assaelli. He welcomed us and explained that the last chief (his fbrother, we think) had died and, as yet, a new chief hadn't been appointed. There are 4 'tribes' in the village and we gathered there were some serious village politics at work. However, Aselli, as the villagers seemed to call him, (the 'Ratu' bit is a reference to the chiefly status of the family) and his wife Winnie told us a bit about the village, once the formal sevusevu was completed.
|Aselli and Winnie with Laura from Pacific Hwy.|
|Aselli and Winnie's house|
The place seems to get whacked by a passing cyclone on spookily regular, 20 year cycle. In 1952 it was abandoned after a particularly devastating storm but people started to move back in 1970 only to suffer more damage in the 1972 cyclone. The story was repeated in 1992 and the last Cyclone, Evan, hit in 2012. Aselli said he had 9 families sheltering in his strongly-built house and they experienced the eerie calm as the eye of the storm passed overhead before the full force returned from the seaward side. Waves flooded into the low-lying village and the Methodist church, several houses and many trees were flattened; their house still has plywood in place of glass in most of the windows and the village generator and underground cables are still out of action two years later.
|The village hall, left, is now also the temporary church as the original is now the pile of rubble to the right|
|Abandoned Lali (church drum) and the demolished church|
Certainly the village and the surrounding coastline are worth the effort to visit. We were assigned a team of 5-year-old children to guide us out to the beach on the eastern side of the island and they were lovely - chatting and giggling and, of course, delighted to see their pictures on our digital camera.
|Our guides lead us out of the village|
|Plantations of yams - the vines are trained up onto the trellis to keep the fruit from scorching on the sun-baked earth|
|The beautiful eastern beach|
|The delights of drawing in the sand are universal|
|Kids at play, young and old! Bruce leads the cartwheeling|
We walked back, after a fun afternoon, via a little market garden run by a few of the women. They are praying for rain but have to carry water from a well at the moment to irrigate the tomatoes and cabbages but the soil seems relatively fertile here and they have plans to extend their operation to sell produce to the resort in addition to supplying the village. One of the younger women was the the village nurse and it turned out she new Batai, the nurse at Fulaga, so we were able to pass on her regards to him on the SSB the following day.
|The bucket-chain from the well|
|Evening light on a perfect beach|