Taveuni

We are anchored with Phil from Parotia off the beach at Somosomo town on Taveuni island. First go is a taxi ride to the gas depot to see if we can get Spill the Wine’s propane tanks filled. Can’t do. This location does not have fittings for my tanks. And they have butane only on which my outboard does not run well at all. They recommend I check Savusavu. But I’ve been there. They had the fittings but still butane only. Have to wait until Vuda point on the South island, Viti Levu. We have enough fuel to get by.

Back to town to get supplies. Some groceries, some veggies, some beer. Taxi back to the beach and load the dinghy.

Spill The Wine’s next leg is into the Lau Group. Nancy thinks that sounds like too much sailing for her taste and would prefer to relax on Taveuni island for a bit and meet us in Vuda Point after the Lau leg. I will miss her but she’s right, the Lau leg is a lot of sailing. She’s happy that Kat is on board to share in the deck work and watches.

Nancy and I taxi up the coast and check into a really cool placeimg_20180604_122045568_hdr

But they have coconut issues.  There a dozen bungalows on a hill looking over the Somosomo channel between Taveuni and Vanua Levu. Nice pool. Nice fellow guests. We met Seamus and Sarah. A lot Irish in a fun way.

The next morning I return to STW and we get ready to make our way to the Lau group. img_20180606_172635818-effectsPhil will be traveling with us on his boat Parotia. We make it to the other side of Taviuni. Anchored in a quiet cove that turned out to be fairly well influenced by ocean swell. That’s Rock and Roll people! The next day we go ashore and Rajan is waiting for us.       “So and so told me you wanted a ride to the waterfalls.” Well we do. And we are in the middle of a sparsely populated zone. It’s like we rubbed a magic lamp or something. He tells us he was born on Taviuni and lived all of his 58 years here. Why not? It’s called the Garden island. So named for it’s lush foliage fueled by plenty of rain.img_20180609_152513366_hdr

Rajan is ready to haul us off to the Tavoro Falls in Bouma Park. Decent dirt road.

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The path to the first fall is practically lawn.

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The first falls are a short hike in. Great to swim in but we passed for the moment.  There are some cruise ship leftovers from the small cruise ship nearby. We had passed quite a few of their passengers on the trail hiking back down to their transport. Some were quite ancient and still doing it. We were impressed. The second falls are further on and the path more challenging. IMG_20180609_114513138

Ford river on slippery rocks with dodgy rope to help you. After the second falls Ford again.

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Third falls had the best swimming hole but all were awesome.  Falls number two and three require quite a bit of elevation gain but we’re certainly worth it.

Phil is a bird watching guy. There was one sort of bird he came to Taveuni to see. A Silktail. Only on Taveuni. AAA Silktale

Stop squinting.  The photo really is blurry.  On the hike we saw two pairs and noted a nest as well. Phil got photos and video of them and their nest. He was in birder heaven.

After a few hours of that we came down and there was Rajan. Thanks for waiting man! If you ever need a ride to Tavoro falls ask for Rajan. Tell him 2 meter Chris from Spill the Wine sent you.

Rajan takes us back to our boats and after dinner we napped until midnight. Then we got up and headed out the channel making our way towards the Lau group. Goal was to time our departure so that we would arrive Lao  decently before dark. Wind was pretty good but not quite in the right direction the whole trip so we motored a bit as well.

We investigated a small island on the way pretty close to our destination. Cool reef, nice beach, no people. But the pass was marginally deep. I need 2 meters and it was barely there. I’ll come back some lonesome day at high tide when I’ve had more sleep.

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We carry on to the anchorage at Bay of Islands.  Phil captures Spill The Wine at anchor with his drone camera.  The setting was magazine cover spectacular.

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In fact I spotted our anchor spot on a Fiji Magazine back cover.  Very interesting topography here. Like the moon with water.AAA hats.JPG

Kat and I put on silly hats and set off to frighten the neighbors. Unsuccessful. A couple invited us to movie night on the foredeck of their catamaran. Fun. We met Hugh and Olga there and toured their catamaran after the movie.  More fun people.

The following day we note a number of new boats in the anchorage. A rally called the WorldARC has arrived. We joined a group of about 25 of them to go visit a half submerged cave with bats. Pretty cool but I have to say I have become quite unfamiliar with crowds like this. Claustrophobic. Not a big deal but I noticed.

Phil and I dinghy over to the village of Daliconi to pay our respects. This is important. If I have not mentioned it before if you visit an inhabited peripheral island a gift of kava root is traditional and we bring some. We offer the chief the amazing opportunity to have a goofy eye Dr and crew take a look at his population to see if they need spex. I think there are 130 people living in the village. They won’t all show up. Which is fine. We don’t have a big enough team to see them all in one day. We only have reading glasses but that is the most frequent problem that causes people to be interested in an exam.

He thinks that’s a fine idea. Phil and I dinghy back to our boats. His outboard’s gear shifting lever breaks. Making it hard to…., well…., shift! Into fwd, reverse, and back. The process is: start the motor in neutral, then shift into gear. If you can’t shift, its a long walk back to the anchorage. As it happens this failed in a very narrow shallow pass. So we really could have walked home. We figure out a way to make a lever out of a bailer. It won’t last long but it gets us home.

That night after fabulous chicken burritos and some libations I was able to recruit an eye team. Phil, Katarina, Hugh, and Olga will head to the village tomorrow for the Eye-Invasion.

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Olga convinced me to try stand up paddle boarding. A brilliant way to see the anchorage. And my legs were only a little sore afterwards. Let’s just say this is a skill I am still acquiring.

Then to work. Hugh’s dinghy is large enough for all of us and gear to make the 5 miles to the village.AAA Israel

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I’ll interview and examine, even though I have really bad dinghy hair.

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Phil and Kat work dispensing readers.

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Olga and Hugh are photographers and and prove to be quite capable of entertaining the crowd.

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Phil did some juggling which fired up the small ones.

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Then Hugh started to juggle the children. One at a time granted but this was very popular.

The clinic went well. Lovely people. Mostly glasses related concerns and one foreign body removal. “My eye is sore and red for two months now doc!”. Well there was a reason.

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One of the village elders, Israel, invited us back the next day for dinner. Kat and I brought Spill the Wine over in the afternoon. Extracting ourselves from the anchorage proves interesting. Another friendly reef caresses the keel. Not on my chart. Even Google Earth doesn’t show much there. There was a recommended course line that Kat had loaded. It’s hard to follow those precisely by hand and I was close but not close enough. Too soon old too late smart. No damage as we were going slow.

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We anchor off the village and go ashore to Israel’s house. Lobster with spinach and kasava greet us. Israel’s cousin attends. She lived in the US for much of her life. She is moving back to the village now. She was born here. As her English is flawless she is able to tell us quite a bit about the mechanics of life in Fiji. Tomorrow a truck will come and take people to the larger village of Lomolomo for supplies. We sign up to go and head back to the boat. Many thanks to our very generous hosts! Besides being tired from too much sun today, the invisible mosquitoes get about half a pint. Time to retire.

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