Fiji - Vanua Balavu, Lau


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Carina at Anchor

Carina rides easily at anchor off the village of Daliconi in the Lau Group of islands of Fiji. The pronounciation of the name is: ndahl ee tho NEE


Israeli is one of Daliconi's elders. At 6' and possessiing an incredibly sharp mind and fit and trim body, he belies his 78 years. Philip guessed his age to be 60.

Isreael's Wife, Eleanora

Eleanora welcomed us to her home with juice, tea and cookies. She had an easy grace, melodic voice and inviting smile.

Coconut Palm Damage

The last cyclone to hit the Lau Group, Tomas, wreaked particular damage on the palm trees that produce the coconuts used for making copra and, more lately, more valuable virgin coconut oil.

Hillside Home

Many homes in Daliconi, sustained damage during cyclone Tomas, including loss of roofs.


This pretty lady, Lagi (pronouced Lang-ee), escorted us through the village and answered our many questions about life in Dalconi village.

Lagi's Sons

Lagi has 2 boys and 1 girl. The two boys posed in Israeli's house for this photo.

Out for a Hike

Lagi's smallest boy and her little girl sidled up to Philip for "lollies" (lollipops). Behind them is the island's main highway.

Joeli & Diani's Home

Joeli was our sponsor from the village for our special permit to visit the Lau. We asked him where he and he family took shelter during cyclone Tomas and he said they were in the "great room" in their home, even when they lost their roof. Joeli & Diani and their two youngest children still live in their damaged home surrounded by their lush gardens..

Tongan Influence

You see this style of building construction with rounded end walls all over Tonga. The village of Malaka sported this neat church indicating that at least some of the villager's ancestors were from Tonga.

Large Garden

This property was owned by a tall, lean fellow busy wielding a weed whacker to try to control the grass surrounding his house. His garden was quite extensive including taro, cassava, kumala or sweet potato, papaya, sweet corn, etc.

School Time

Dalconi's children attend school in these small buildings set adjacent to a rugby field. There is a small library sporting new shelves constructed by the school committee (of parents) after the cyclone.

Time to Meet the Visitors

This well-behaved group of school children entertained the yachties with songs and skits. Each child got up and told us who they were and about their family and their hopes for the future. Afterward, they were dismissed and we enjoyed light refreshments while questioning the teachers about the school.

A Skit and a Song

The children acted out and sang "I'm a Little Teapot..."

Pretty Flowers

The school gave out intricately woven salusalu (garlands) when we visited to watch a small ceremony put on to thank cruisers for gifts given the village.

View from Carina

This was our view of Dalconi from Carina's deck.

An Enthusiastic Teacher

Paulini told us she had been teaching at the school in Daliconi for 8 years. She is an island native returning with her husband; her children and grandchildren are living off island. Here she - along with her junior teacher Livai - tries to instruct a group of cruisers on some simple Fijian words - her enthusiasm apparent.

A Truck Taxi

On Monday, Wednesday and Friday, a truck travels from Daliconi to Lomaloma where some groceries might be found (depending upon the last freighter delivery). The road is very rough and the cattle-transport-type truck travels very slowly, carrying passengers of all ages, fuel, and groceries across the island, stopping at each village.

"Cruising" by Truck

Here Rob and Marjo, a couple from the Netherlands sailing on Taremaro, brave the truck ride to Lomaloma in hopes to buy a frozen chicken.

Sawana Elder

John from the village of Sawana (nearby to Lomaloma) met us and he and Israeli gave us a tour of the late prime minister's home. He was the reigning Tui Lau (king of Lau) when he resided here. John also filled us in on some of the village's history.

Community House

This building, again built in the Tonga style, is where Sawana villagers meet.

Sawana Meeting House

We were amazed at the construction of the building. No nails, no metal at all; just timbers fitted together with coconut twine lashings.

Roof Design and Construction

This photo shows a closer look at the intricate coconut twine lashings.

Tui Lau's Home

The last prime minister was born in the Lau Group. His home was spacious and airy but starting to suffer from non use. Tui Lau means "King of Lau".

Masi Screen

In Tonga, the process of painting intricate designs on paper made from beaten tree bark, is called tapa. Here in Fiji, the same artform is called masi. This tapa carries a design that is distinctly Tongan but was found in the home of the Tui Lau in Sawana, Vanua Balavu, Lau, Fiji

...and more Masi

Note the painstaking design of this masi.

Carina in the Bay of Islands

We anchored in the Lau Group's beautiful Bay of Islands, called Qilaqila locally. We tucked into a small one-boat anchorage and were protected from the strong southeast tradewinds that were blowing less than fifty yards from our calm snug spot.

Nooks and Cranies

The Lau Group's limestone rock gives a slightly milky tourquoise color to the water sometimes making it hard to spot coral heads or reefs.

Limestone Erosion

All the rock formations, cliffs and islands in the Bay of Islands have erosion at their base from milennia of seawater slurping up against them. This one had more than its share.

Sea Stacks

The Bay of Islands reminded us of Desolation Sound in the Pacific Northwest except it wasn't cold, the water was 78 degrees, and it wasn't raining!

Clinging for Life

Everywhere you looked there was vegetation clinging to the cliff faces, many looking as if sculpted by bonsai masters.

Another Mushroom Rock

This one looked to us like a monster with its mouth open and tongue out!

Soaring Cliffs

The scale here is hard to imagine but these jungle clothed cliffs soar hundreds of feet above the turquoise waters of the Bay of Islands. The morning light shows the contours of the canopy.

Andavathi Island...

was clearly created by a different geological process than the rest of the bay of islands.

Andavathi Island...

suffered tremendous damage from cyclone Tomas. This is the home of the caretaker named Jojo, an Indo Fijian with a gorgeous little grandaughter named Sharon Mackay.


Underway back to Vanua Levu, we looked over our stern in the late afternoon and saw Sagittarius rapidly gaining on us. We caught them just as the sun was setting as they blew by.

Going "Home"

Carina is caught here - sailing sedately dead downwind - by Sagittarius.