We are in Vanua Balavu, one of the northernmost islands of the Lau group. It took a few weeks for a suitable weather window to come up for us to get here, as we are going against the SE trade winds, but eventually the wind eased off and we had a beautiful, moonlit, overnight motorsail from Matei bay, on the northern tip of Taveuni. We arrived at the entrance to the passage at 10 am; perfect timing with the sun behind us in order to clearly see the reef. We threaded our way through using a combination of waypoints and keeping watch from the bow and dropped anchor in front of Daliconi village just after midday.
A number of other boats were also newly arrived, so we chatted on the VHF radio and arranged to go ashore as a group to offer our sevusevu to the chief – our first of the season. We assembled onshore where we met with the Village headman, known as the Turaga Ni Koro who collected up our respective bundles of kava/Yaqona root and led us to the Chief’s house.
Sevusevu marks the time and place for visitors to receive acceptance into a Fijian village. After the formal part of the ceremony, we were asked to sign the guest book while they chatted to us about life in the village. We were told of the local ‘bus’ which ran three times a week to Lomolomo, the main village on the island. It was scheduled to do a trip the following day at 8:30am, so we were up bright and early the next morning and along with the crew from ‘Forever’ and ‘Masquenada’ we jumped aboard and made the half hour trip across the island. The ‘bus’ was a converted truck with bench seats and cost $2.50 per person, each way. Over the course of the journey we stopped off at local villages and schools where people and supplies were added or offloaded. It was a great opportunity to chat to the locals and discover a bit more about life in the Lau Islands .
Lomolomo has a post office, general store and a bank. We picked up some bok choy and some fresh bread and Rick from ‘Masqenada’ made the most of the chance to eat ice cream !
Most yachts come into Daliconi simply to do their Sevusevu and then move on. We hate to rush and wanted to get to know the villagers a bit better, so we stayed over for another few days. We chatted with Sera, who was shucking coconuts and picking leaves from a Moringa tree ( also known as the Tree of Life. ) These are really nutritious and they let us take some. Very tasty indeed.
We were asked if we wanted to take a couple of breadfruit with us as their tree was loaded down with lots of ripe fruit. Never know to refuse free food, we grabbed a couple and were given instructions on how to prepare them. They turned out to be delicious. We were also gifted some papaya, so it was with a very well stocked boat that we finally upped anchor and headed an hour north to the beautiful Bay of Islands.
We have been anchored here for the last 6 days. It is a beautiful spot with a myriad of sheltered bays and islets , surrounded by high rocky islands. We have spent time snorkeling, paddle boarding, kayaking and exploring the clear blue inlets and coves. Tough gig, but someone has to do it.