Fiji - Nasasobu, Dakuniba & Viani Bay

 

southern summer 2011

 

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WAHOO!

When this wahoo stuck our lure, his first run almost stripped all of the 50 lb. test line off the reel. A rule of thumb is that a of this size wahoo will weigh 1 lb. for each inch of length. At just under 5', we estimated 55-60 lbs. This monster fed a whole village...and us

Nasasobu

The lobe of this well-protected bay had multi-colors of green in the rolling hillsides.

Charlie

When we took our catch ashore at the settlement in Nasasobu, we met Charlie who helped us to lift, clean, wash off the blood and to steak the fish.

Stream of Gold

Farasiko, aka, Sautini, was our guide to the petroglyphs and waterfalls. He claimed an Australian company had drilled core samples and done ground penetrating radar studies near the stream and found gold. Let's hope they didn't find much...

Our Guide

Farasiko, a muscular 48 year old villager was assigned by the chief to guide us to the petroglyphs and waterfalls. He rolled his own cigarettes in newsprint using locally grown tobacco and had an ingenious method of lighting his smokes.

Vatuvola

The Fijian name means "Written Stones" but no one seems to know who carved them or what the message is. Les' theory is a depiction of a sailing ship being guided by the constellation Orion. Philip thinks they may have been used in human sacrifice.

Coffee Growing Wild

Occasional coffee plants grow wild on the hillside near the stream but are not harvested or cultivated by the villagers.

Pandanus for Mats

Sia (left) and Margaret and Leslie strip pandanus fronds of their thorny edges as the first part of the process of turning the fronds into pandanus mats.

Dakuniba Village

Farasiko (Sautini), Sia, Margaret and Peter posed for a group photo. We printed four copies on our small ink jet printer for them to keep.

Storm Coming

We climbed one of the hills overlooking Nasasobu Bay and watched this storm heading our way and decided it was time to retreat.

Snug Anchorage

Nasasobu Bay is considered by locals to be an excellent hurricane hole and many Fijians bring their boats here and tuck into the mangroves when a cyclone threatens.

Copra Drying Shed

We dinghied deep into the mangroves on a high tide and came upon this copra drying shed. The price of copra is well below production and transport so many of these facilities have been abandoned. Locals are, in some cases, extracting coconut oil themselves for primarily local markets.

Peaceful

There were a few of these meandering paths cut into the mangroves. Inside, the water was tannin-stained, dark and moved ever so slowly with the tide. Birdcalls echoed throughout the jungle.

Crab...Wow

These amazing-looking small crabs scurry into their holes as you approach. But if you sit quietly and wait with your camera, they will reappear and go about their crabby business. Note the eyes sticking up on the end of the stalks.

Crab Standoff

We don't know if this was a confrontation but it certainly looked like it.

Flying Foxes Roosting

Fruit bats (referred to simply as "foxes" by the locals) roost by the hundreds in trees on Likoni Point in Nasosobu, leaving their perches and flying north as the sun begins to set.

Buka

These ancient banyan trees frame the landing at Dakuniba and create a peaceful gathering place.

Chief George's House

We met Chief George, a very fit and muscular 75 year old during the sevusevu (welcoming into the village ceremony). It is customary to present a gift of kava to the chief but we also donated about 35 lbs of fresh wahoo at the same time. Drying pandanus fronds are seen here laid carefully on the lawn, while locals hoped for sun to dry them properly.

Ubiquitous Breadfruit

Breadfruit is a staple food throughout the Pacific. The pale green fruit is the size of a small soccer ball and has a pebbly mottled surface. The large leaves can be used for fans.

Home Fires Burning

One of the trim and neat houses in Dakuniba village, this one has some cooking going on inside. A separate cooking alcove with chimney is a commonly seen on homes in Fiji.

Coconuts for the Fire

This menacing looking steel spear is embedded in the ground near chief George's house and is used to strip coconuts of their outer husk by jamming the coconut down on the pointy edge of the spear. Coconut husks are used for cooking fires.

Dakuniba Catholic Church

We were told that the priest makes a monthy visit on his circuit of the villages in the area.

Nice Kids

The oldest child's name is Ella (for short) and we didn't learn the names of the others as they were too shy to speak. Still, they enjoyed our gift of "lollies" (lollipops) and followed us through the village.

Mac

We found Mac chatting with Margaret as she stripped pandanus fronds. He is a curious man and peppered us with friendly questions about ourselves and our boats.

Pandanus for Boiling

These pandanus bundles are the result of a few days work in stripping the fronds of their thorns; tedious and time-consuming work. The bundles will be boiled in fresh water for about 20 minutes prior to drying and weaving them into mats.

Family Ties

Paulini with her three grandchildren. A sweet lady, she is the sole support of her ailing husband and grandkids and survives by subsistance fishing, gardening and selling her tapa cloths made of mangrove bark.

Dakuniba's Valley

Dakuniba sits in a fertile valley fed by a cold mountain stream. The village is pristine and serene.

Hibiscus" Highway"

Stretching along the southern coast of Vanua Levu, the Hibiscus Highway ends at Dakuniba. Near its end it becomes just a humble double track of hoofprints and footprints.

Nasasobu

Looking south from the most prominent grassy hill overlooking the bay, Carina sits snugly in Nasasobu, laundry drying in the rigging.

Gift of Lemons

We woke one morning to find this bucket of lemons in Bacio, a gift from David, an aboriginal-looking fellow who lives on the "estate".

Our Pilot, Charlie

Charlie Rounds, one of the family members living in Nasasobu Bay agreed to guide us inside the reef from Nasasobu Bay to Viani Bay, a route through almost continuous rocks and coral reefs.

Philip with "Our Patient", Sophie

Sophie and Jack Fisher live on Viani Bay and extend a welcome to all cruisers. When we visited, Jack was away and Sophie was suffering from a nasty infection on her leg. After confering with a doctor by cell phone, we left her with antibiotics and med instructions.

The Fisher House

Our guidebook said this Tongan-style home was the Fisher house though it is not Jack and Sophie's house.