We arrived in Vanua Balavu on June 24 after a somewhat unpleasant, 17 hour reach in 30+ knot winds (10 knots predicted) and bumpy seas. I’ve experienced much worse, but somehow, it is the one day journeys that start in the evening that are the most challenging for me.
Land was a welcome sight at sun-up and after entering the pass, we made our way south to Daliconi Village. We dropped anchor and shortly after getting settled, headed to shore with the crew of SY Mersoleil and their guests to make our first Sevusevu with the Village Chief.
Lako Newton, the Village Head of Tourism took us to the Chief’s home. The Captain presented our offering (a half kilo bundle of Kava) to the Turaga ni Koro who in turn presented it to the Chief. We shared our history and explained the purpose of our visit Daliconi and the Bay of Islands. The Turaga ni Koro translated and the The Chief accepted our offering and granted us permission to visit his lands under his protection. I was relieved that we didn’t have to drink any Kava as I’d had some once in another country and found it unpleasant.
After receiving the Chief’s permission, we decided to take a walk through the Village toward the Daliconi Primary School.
As luck would have it, the school children were holding a final dress rehearsal for their “International HIV Prevention and Anti – Drug/Child Abuse/Violence Against Women Week.
The Headmaster, teachers and students were very welcoming and engaging.
I enjoyed myself so much that I headed back with Robbie of SY Mersoleil and his friend Derrick the next day to see the final event.
The event kicked off with songs by the children, a blessing by the Village Pastor, the raising of the Fijian Flag and pledge of allegiance.
The students and teachers then paraded around the school grounds with hand-crafted banners.
Following the parade, Robbie of SY Mersolei gave a wonderful speech to the students at the invitation of The Headmaster.
We were then treated to wonderful performances, speeches, and poetry readings by the very impressive students. At the conclusion of the morning’s activities, we were given bananas and coconuts and invited back for games in the afternoon.
Unfortunately, The Captain had come down with a very bad case of bronchitis and so I remained on the boat with him in the afternoon.
The next day, The Captain was feeling a bit better and so we went to shore for a brief walk. Daliconi was a buzz with activity preparing for a great feast to honor guests that were coming to the Village to make a donation of Rugby Jerseys.
It seemed as if everyone in the Village was preparing to welcome the guests with gifts, food and festivities. We were invited to join in the fun, but The Captain was still recovering and so we politely declined.
On June 27th, our friend Bev of SY Mersolei had arranged for the town to throw a surprise 70th birthday party for Captain Robbie.
We were invited along with the crews of SV Domino, SY Interlude, SY Local Talent, SY Sel Citron and Anna from SY Rewa.
What a celebration it was. Daliconi Village put on an AMAZING party with delicious food, entertainment, dancing, and kava (which I decided to try again and found it surprisingly delicious this time around. Very earthy. I had seconds).
Robbie was quite surprised and a good time was had by all.
After the party, we got out the Bocce Ball sets and played a few rounds with The Villagers.
We had planned to leave June 28th for the Bay of Islands but The Captain still needed a few days of rest to fully recover before we could head out. So we stayed.
On Sunday, I decided to check out a local church service with Sabine from SY Local Talent and Anna from SY Rewa. We were graciously invited to join for the lunch afterward by Sam Newton.
Each Sunday, a lunch is prepared by one of the local families for the visiting Pastor, the local Pastor, the Choir Master and esteemed congregants. We enjoyed another amazing meal and getting to know the locals.
Monday was laundry day and lucky for me, Lako takes in laundry so I dropped mine off and then headed out for a nice long walk, stopping by The Daliconi Primary School to say good-bye to The Headmaster. The Captain remained in bed.
On Tuesday, we said our good-byes to Lako and Sam Newton and then it was anchors up and off to the beautiful (internet free) Bay of Islands.
We enjoyed a few days of unique landscapes and shared a sundowner with the crews of SV Domino, SY Mersolei and SY Local Talent.
Flying foxes provided the evening’s entertainment.
Next stop: The anchorage at Nabavatu Plantation where we will do some hiking and celebrate The Fourth Of July.