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It Is All Sunshine And Rainbows

After a wonderful afternoon with the people of Koroinasolo we enjoyed an evening under the stars on Dazzler. The sky was crystal clear and the stars shone bright above. We sat in the cockpit and enjoyed the beauty all around us until it was finally time to head below for a movie and bed.
Yes, it was a magical day but today it’s time to move on. After all, we still have a lot of ground to cover if we are going to circumnavigate Vanua Levu and be back in Suvasuva by the 1st of July we have to keep moving.
We pulled our anchors bright and early and headed to Nukubati Bay (prounounced Newkumbody). We were all very excited to see this bay as we heard there is a wonderful resort there and Dazzler was completely out of beer! Yes, this could be considered a tragedy for sailors like us but fortunately we still have rum and other spirits aboard.
The cruise here was absolutely wonderful and full of rainbows. It seemed everywhere we looked we saw yet another beautiful rainbow over the land or sea. If you’ve never seen a rainbow when it ends in the sea it is truly magnificent. The rays actually penetrate the water at the surface and it literally glows. Maybe this is where the whole pot of gold thing came from.
As we neared the entrance to the bay we could see Nukubati Resort on the tip of the peninsula with its palm frond roofed huts dotting the bright beige sand. All of this was accented by the brilliantly colored aqua water lapping on the shore. I was on the bowsprit keeping an eye out for coral and of course checking out the resort. We were all ready for a nice afternoon of cocktails at the resort. But wait, what’s this? I don’t’ see anyone on the shore. Hmmm….let’s get a closer look here. OH NO! It can’t be…please say it isn’t so! This place looks to be completely closed up! This is not as we expected our afternoon to end. Wait! Maybe they don’t open the restaurant until later in the day. It’s still early so let’s not panic. Let’s just get settled and see what happens. Yes, we must keep a positive outlook here.
As we get a bit deeper into the bay we see there are three mooring balls. Seeing as how there is coral everywhere we decided to pick one up. After all, it beats having your anchor chain wrapped around a bommie and it does save the coral from being destroyed so we are doing our part to protect it. Sure, it may cost us a few dollars but it’s worth it to us. And we’ve read that this resort is owned by a yachtie so we reasonably assume the moorings are solid and well kept.
We pick up the mooring and then proceed to get on the phone to call the resort to see what is going on there. Dan speaks to a nice lady who informs him that the resort is closed. She is very short on the phone and possibly doesn’t speak much English so we begin to wonder if it’s not just closed because it is Sunday. Maybe it will open tomorrow and we’ll stay an extra day. Yes, that it surely it. Tomorrow we will have beer and a great meal at the resort. We can wait another day.
I send an email to the resort asking about the moorings and how we pay for them. I also inquired as to their schedule. Soon I receive a reply telling us they are closed for the week. BUMMER! This is going to put a little damper on the day but we are still in paradise so there’s that. And, the good news is they welcomed us and said not to worry about paying for the mooring so we’ve got that going for us as well. Okay, okay, it’s not so bad.
So I guess it’s time to implement plan B. We invite Lutz & Gabi over for dinner to thank them for their assistance with the electrical issues we had at Bua Bay. What’s on the menu? New Zealand filet, baked potatoes, grilled eggplant and fruity rum cocktails. Oh there is something very special about New Zealand beef and we are blessed to have so much of it on board. We left there with 24 filets and plenty of mince to make lots of taco dinners. Tonight we will dine like royalty aboard our magnificent Dazzler.
The evening was lovely with great food and company. It was the perfect end to a wonderful day full of sunshine and rainbows. In the end, no one really cared that the resort was closed. Tomorrow we head 15 miles to Kia Island. Here we expect to see lots of the beautiful Fijian water we’ve been waiting to see. And, we hear that not many cruisers visit this island so we are looking forward to yet another wonderful adventure in a place less traveled.
Until next time,
Jilly & Dan

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Koroinasolo … A Magical Village

This beautiful new anchorage on the shores of the village of Koroinasolo is definitely remote. We’re the only two boats here. It’s not beautiful water, rather a shade of pea green and it’s a bit cloudy from the run off from the mountains. It’s not a big deal because you wouldn’t swim here anyway as the bay is full of purple crown jellyfish. They just look evil!
After our anchor down libations we drop the dink in the water, picked up Lutz and Gabi and head to shore. We are greeted by a handsome young man named Laisenie. He is maybe 13 or 14. We ask him to take us to the chief and he leads us up this steep and narrow dirt path. It’s hot and I’m really huffing and puffing. Age and a bit of asthma make this trek a bit on the difficult side for me. I had to make everyone stop twice because I was having trouble breathing but I won’t let it stop me.
Eventually we reached the top of the hill where we are greeted by his father, Tom. Tom is the Taraga Ni Koro. He greets us with a warm smile and tells us he will take us to the chief. We snake our way through the usual corrugated metal homes and come across three men lying in the shade. They each greet us with wonderful smiles and shake our hands as they ask where we are from. That seems to be the question on everyone’s mind in the islands when they see the Kepalangi. After a brief stop we make our way further up the hill and finally reach the very top. Thank God…At least I know it’s downhill from here. LOL.
The brush opens up into a grassy area with houses here and there. Right beside a rather large Methodist church is the home of Chief Laisenie. He’s the young boy’s grandfather, hence their names being the same. We are led into a room about 12’ x 14’ where the chief is sitting on the floor with his back against the wall that is covered with bright scraps of material and photographs of him and his family. He’s 68 years old and is showing his age. He is missing the lower portion of his right leg as he lost it to diabetes. Near the wall to my left is a wheelchair. It must be very difficult to get around on these dirt paths in a wheelchair. It makes me feel a bit sad for the chief. He has a distance in his eyes that tells the story of a long and difficult life.
It’s Dan’s turn to present the sevusevu on behalf of our group. We are sitting on the floor and Dan kneels in front of Chief Laisenie and places the Kava in front of him while asking for permission to stay in the bay and visit the village. He graciously agrees. We also give the chief some Frisbees, beach balls and packets of drink mix. He smiles and thanks us for the additional items.
Around us are Tom who is the chief’s son and who one day will become the Chief himself, his wife, a couple of small children, Laisenie and an older woman we believe to be the Chief’s wife. We ask lots questions. It turns out this is a rather large village with over 300 people living here in 48 houses. They have one vehicle for the whole village to get to Labasa (pronounced Lambasa) for supplies. It costs them $200 Fijian to go and come back and only 5 people can fit in the van. That’s a lot of cha ching for people like this.
We also found out that we are the only people to visit their village in three years. Boats come and go but no one comes ashore. It’s a shame because these are such wonderful people who proudly wish to share their village with others.
After our visit with Chief Laisenie Tom takes us over, around and down through the houses where literally everyone stops to greet us. This is a beautiful village with a large valley in the middle. Along the way we stop to talk to some villagers while Tom goes back to ask the chief, if it’s okay to show us the school. He comes back and says it okay and we continue on.
The next person we meet is the schoolmaster. His name is Tomasi. He walks with us to the school. It’s a beautiful little school with lots of colorful painting. And the cool thing is that they have recycled plastic bottles and used them for decoration all over. They cut the tops off of large ones and use them as trash bins. They color smaller bottles with paint on the insides and then string them up and use them as decorative fencing. Others are used as planters. It’s really very crafty and helps the kids understand recycling.
The school teaches grades 1-8 and currently has 58 students. There is also a small building used for kindergarten. Tomasi tells us their biggest need is more solar panels. They have several computers but only enough solar power to run a couple at a time. He’s a very well spoken and knowledgeable man who seems to be doing everything he can to help this village.
Tomasi is originally from Labasa. He tells us that when you work for the Ministry of Education they determine where you will teach. You don’t get a choice. He’s been here for four years and from the looks of things he is doing a fantastic job. The most teachers get paid, if they have a degree, is $26K Fijian or roughly $12K USD. Seems teachers all over the world are severely underpaid!
Once kids are old enough to go to high school they go to Labasa for boarding school. Our new young friend Laisenie will be going next year. When I ask him how he feels about it he seems excited yet a bit sad. Apparently they only get to come home for Christmas and summer breaks. It must be hard for these children to be so far from home and in a much, much larger and hectic environment. I pat Laisenie on the shoulder and wish him well in his continued path to education. He smiles as he looks up at me and says, “Vinaka” (Thank you) as we continue our tour.
After our tour of the school we head back through the village and down to the shore. The tide has risen since we anchored the dink and it’s in much deeper water. Laisenie goes out and gets Sparkle and brings her in closer for us as we are saying our goodbyes to Tom. The respect these children have for others is awesome.
After we returned to the boat we both showered. I was below getting dressed and Dan was in the cockpit drying off when a boat came toward us. It was Tom, Laisenie and Tom’s brother. They wanted to see Dazzler. Here Dan is standing there with nothing but a towel around him trying to assist them with tying their line to the stern of Dazzler. I’m looking out from the cabin and see his man junk dangling in the breeze. I can only imagine the view our new friends were getting. LMAO
I scramble to get the proper clothing on that covers my knees and shoulders and Dan gets them tied off and races below to grab some clothes. Once we are both decent we go back to the cockpit and welcome them aboard. They are in awe as they look around. To them we must look like billionaires. We sat in the cockpit and talked for fifteen or twenty minutes and then they said they were going to visit Lutz and Gabi.
Later we found out they did not board SuAn because Lutz and Gabi don’t allow villagers on board. In retrospect we decided it probably wasn’t the best idea. It’s not that any of us are afraid of them taking things. This isn’t even a thought. It’s that they live a very simple life and they seem truly happy with that. By showing them fancy things and doodads we could be influencing their lives in a negative way rather than a positive one. You know the old saying, “You don’t miss what you don’t know.” We certainly don’t want to be the people who cause the villagers to become unhappy with a life they have enjoyed for centuries. And let’s be honest, all the technology in the world today hasn’t necessarily made our lives simpler or easier. In actuality is seems to have increased the pace in which everyone feels they must move. When you see these villagers and see how happy they are without all this stuff you have to wonder who really has the better quality of life. Hmmmm….
As the moon comes up over the mountains we can’t help but feel blessed for yet another amazing day filled with adventure, wonderful people and beautiful scenery.
Until next time,
Jilly & Dan