On Tuesday morning in virtually no wind at all, we motored out of the reef and motored all the way to Usborne Passage at the north of The Great Astrolabe Reef, entered and anchored off Dravuni, where there was a cruise ship, Pacific Jewel anchored off. Hundreds of people on the beach and the villagers doing a roaring trade.
Another yacht Sula from the UK arrived in the afternoon and another Pilgrim from NZ a bitb later.
The cruise ship left Tuesday evening and on Wednesday we three yachts went to shore to do the Sevusevu thing. Apparently (the others knew, I didn't) you now should bring your cruising permit to present to the chief so he can examine it. After a perfunctory sevusevu,"thanks for the kava, bye", we left. I went back to Elyse to get our papers and back in to see the chief outside his shack, you could hardly call it a house, cleaning petrol containers. He studied my cruising permit at length (they are all the same except for the minor details of the yacht and the skipper) and after reading it all the way through asked me if I had any fishing lures...um, no, sorry....
Went for a walk along the beach, but apart from the stunningly clear pale turquoise water, there is nothing to see here.
Thursday we did overdue washing all dried in a S breeze and sunshine, in a few hours.
In the afternnon we moved down to Yaukelevulevu Is, not realising that is now called Kokomo island, leased from the Dravuni folk by Australian property developer and multi billionaire, Lang Walker. He has built a $100m resort here called....Kokomo...look it up on Google, it is fantastic...beautiful and expensive.
we went ashore and were made very welcome...tour of the island on an electric buggy...this place is like a small town...with every facility you can imagine; power generation, desalination plant, medical clinic, engineering workshops, a farm and vegetable gardens, a chook house with 170 chooks laying eggs !...amazing, cheapest room? USD 7500 for 3 nights!
Friday we left Kokomo...bit rich for us ! and motored down to the island of Ono, where we anchored, as before in front of the village of Naqarra. Went in to do sevusevu with the chief and met by a fellow called Sirelli who wanted to be "kind" to us. after the sevusevu we walked around, Sirelli told us his wife was ill, but he would bring us coconuts later. We went back to the boat and he and his boys arrived with coconuts which they hacked at with a machete and gave us to drink the juice. Sirelli asked if he could come on board for a look...he then said he would bring us papaya, cassava, bananas...very nice....and then he asked for money..ok not that much, but still...ok we said....
Next morning we dinghied in at the arranged time, Sirelli turns up with a big basket full of stuff..great, thanks very much...then he asks ...do have any beer?...any smokes ? No sorry, we are very pure !
Another boat turns up and its Joe from outside the village whoes outboard I fixed 2 years ago...he remembered, after a short while and then it was do you like lobster?...we catch fresh this morning. Well no question we like lobster !...price negotiated, they say we come to the boat. About 30 minutes later this guy turns up with this beautiful spiny lobster must be about 35cm from head to tail !...great !!
So here we are at Naqarra...and lobster for dinner !
Alan and Gunilla