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|
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.|
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!|
|The British yacht Afar VI gets a visit|
|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.|