Welcome to the Maunie of Ardwall blog

This is the blog of Maunie of Ardwall charting our adventures as we sail around the world. We're sailing up and down the east coast of Australia after a summer back in Britain.

Thursday, 18 June 2015

Meals on Keels

We are certainly glad that we came into Naiviivi Bay yesterday. It's a really well-protected, deep and narrow bay, surrounded by densely-wooded hills and thick mangroves at the shore. Last night the bad weather that we'd been watching on the forecasts finally arrived - after a very relaxed evening aboard Maunie, with the crews of Ithaka and Exit Strategy, the rain and wind arrived with a bang at 11.30pm.

Today, the clouds hang low over us and, every now and then, big gusts and rain squalls find their way down the valley to soak us. The view is very similar to that on the Google Earth picture of our anchorage on http://www.yit.co.nz/yacht/maunieofardwall !

Looking East towards the head of the bay

Looking West towards the entrance, with Exit Strategy in the foreground and the island of Taveuni, almost lost in the mist, in the background. You can just see the waves breaking on the reef - there are 4-5m swells reported by an unfortunate yacht on passage from Tonga this morning.
We took advantage of a brief break in the rain this morning to go ashore to present our sevusevu to the Chief in the nearest village, Waibulu. This traditional and formal ceremony involving our presenting a gift of a neatly-wrapped bundle of yagona root, used to make the Kava drink, would result in our welcome to the village as special guests and their protection and help if needed. Getting ashore looked like something of a challenge but luckily Colin and Ana had done the trip a couple of days ahead of us and kindly offered to act as guides.

Kim and Dianne in our dinghy. We knew that the falling tide would involve wading through sticky mud so left the outboard engine on Maunie; Colin and Ana gave us a tow up the narrow cut in the mangroves.
The sevusevu ceremony was fairly short but we were invited to tour the village and to return tomorrow evening for a 'fundraiser' event and to drink Kava; we will report on the delights of this in a future update! Two of the village women showed us around; the place is home to 200 people and is steadily growing in size thanks to employment offered in farming and fishing as well as at a couple of expensive resorts on the island. One house we visited was carpeted in AstroTurf (complete with white lines!) rather than the traditional pandanus mats. Mary giggled and explained that her husband works at the 7-Star (?) resort on the other side of the island where he looks after the golf course so this unusual floor covering was 'a bit left over'.

Though there's no nursing station in the village and all the houses are basic corrugated iron single-story affairs, there's a tiny shop selling a few basics and every household has a sizable area to grow their own vegetables. All the children go to a school in the biggest of the four villages in the bay, up until Year 6 when they have to move to a boarding secondary school over in Taveuni. Everyone we met looked fit and happy.

The growing of yagona is the main cash-generating industry of the village - one of the ladies explains the drying process and the need to put the roots under a building to protect them when it rains

Ana learning about the fabled "Raining Stone". Before the missionaries came along the people here believed it had special powers; slap it once and heavy rain will come within the hour. Our guide slapped it and it has been pouring down ever since!
Tour over and with nervous glances at the fast-receding tide we returned to the dinghies, pushed them through a few yards of thick mud to the water and managed to get back to the boats just as the rain really started to bucket down at lunchtime. However a brief respite a few minutes later saw the arrival of some wonderful entrepreneurship:

The British yacht Afar VI gets a visit
 A local open boat, known as fibers in these parts, did the rounds of the six yachts anchored here offering ready--cooked lunches!

Meals on Keels in action - at the outboard is Moses, the Chief of the next village, and the two folk in the middle of the boat had huge cooking pots at their feet

Lunch for $5 (about £1.65). Clockwise from top: Salmon, cassava, onions, chilli, lemon, fried aubergine and, in the centre, cassava leaves cooked with coconut milk.
We'd just finished our lunch but took two plates of this lovely-looking grub and put them in the fridge for tonight's supper.


  1. Love meals on keels, looks delish! Trish x

    1. Yep, pretty good but the fish wasn't salmon as we know it!! Hope the weather in NZ hasn't been too bad - looks as though there's a nasty low crossing North Island. G&D x