Daku Bay - to me, a place lost in time. Our expedition first came to Daku on Tuesday and soon after arriving we met Kata, Epi, Senemile and Epi Jr Ravono; friends of John and Amanda's from previous visits.
Daku is where we had our first experience with the sevusevu kava ceremony, a traditional Fijian form of socialization. The kava root was pounded, mixed with water, then we were each presented with bilos (a coconut cup) to drink during the ceremony. After the first round of kava, Epi led us to the chief's house where Epi presented our sevusevu bundle of kava, asking the chief for permission for us to anchor and swim in their bay, and to visit ashore. After some chanting and ceremony we went back to Epi and Kata's to drink more kava.
On Wednesday we hiked, with Senemeli as guide, an hour along the shoreline then up a steep hill to the nearest school, Vunisei District School which is the only school for three villages on either side of the island. We brought 450 lbs of school books, calculators, dictionaries, encyclopedias, pens and exercise books plus toothbrushes and toothpaste for the children, many of whom board in dorms at the school during the week. In thanks, the children entertained us with their beautiful and angelic singing and delighted us by performing traditional Fijian dances.
David and I waited at the nearest village while the rest of our group hiked back to Daku. While there, the villagers wanted to have a kava ceremony to welcome us, so when John arrived back with the dinghy, we were well involved in another kava ceremony with our new friends.
That night we returned to Daku for a traditional Fijian dinner that Kata and Epi and Senemeli had prepared in the lovo, or earth oven and which Amanda contributed to. Of course, more kava followed!
We spent the next day at sea practicing Lifesling overboard rescues and heaving-to, returning in time for an afternoon gave of volleyball with the villagers. The villagers laughed at David Potter's antics and cheered David Stone. Such friendly people with warm smiles!
As we left Daku Bay the next morning, we all stood in amazement as we remembered their simple, uncomplicated way of life. We all hope to keep that innocence and simplicity with us when we return to the "real" world.
The overnight passage from Kadavu to Mololailai was an incredible full moon lit experience.
We left our anchorage in front of Dive Kadavu resort at 1500 in order to have enough light to thread our way out the passage into deep water. We had a leisurely reach down the northern coast to Cape Washington at the end of Kadavu to use up some time as we wanted our next landfall to be after first light and to provide a better angle of sail, a broad reach to Molo. As darkness began to settle in, we jibed to starboard, set the preventer and prepared for the night ahead. With a two hour on and four hour off watch schedule there was plenty of time to both sail and rest.
The moon was full and kept the boat very well illuminated in the darkness and the steady 15 - 25 knot wind stayed steady on the aft quarter, giving us a perfect broad reach all the way to Navula Pass. At the pass the waves and wind moderated as we motorsailed through the pass (the wind was on the nose) and then set sail for Malololailai Islands. Instead of anchoring or mooring offshore, we went inside the tiny marina and tied next to the $3 Bar where ice cold Fiji bitter was waiting!