We continued to relax in Vurevure bay after our guests left. There were days to spend wandering the beach, visiting friends, taking photographs, and sitting on INTENTION enjoying the beauty all around. It is wonderful to have no schedule.
INTENTION in Vurevure Bay
Along the Beach
Patterns in the Sand One morning, quite to my surprise a woman and a boy approached INTENTION in a row boat. They were from the first village up the river. We had spoken with them when we explored the river in our dinghy. She came by with her son to give us some vegetables and fruit. She gifted us with cucumber, egg plant, mangos and papaya in abundance. I gave her a bit of money although she had not requested any. A few days later she returned again, this time with her husband. She gave us bok choy and more cucumbers. I continue to be impressed by the generosity of the folks weve met.
Late November there has been a lot of rain. We have been taking advantage of this, putting out buckets and plugging drains on the deck. We gathered enough water this way to fill our tanks. On one occasion the dinghy had filled with so much water that the inflatable floor lifted. The dinghy became our large bath tub.
Claude and Danielle had given us a whole rack of bananas from their yard. We ate what we could and with the many that became over ripe Jim made wonderful banana bread. We shared this bread with Claude and Danielle.
Early December we went to visit Peter and Lillian, the Danish couple that have the pineapple farm. We spent a delightful afternoon learning about the project they are involved in. They have started a farmers group and are focusing on elimination of the use of chemical fertilizer and soil regeneration. The farmers have watched the taro get smaller and they are eager to do what is necessary to regenerate the farm land. Peter and Lillian have gotten a grant for education and implementation. Someone who is knowledgeably in permaculture is coming from Australia to assist them, to teach classes. They have had one class already and the room was so full people were standing outside to listen and learn. Peter and Lillian have had their farm for 20 years. They are initiating a new way of doing agriculture and are bringing the native farmers along. While we were there we, of course, got some pineapples as well as lettuces, tomatoes, green onions and herbs. Those pineapples turned out to be the sweetest and juiciest ones wed had.
Peter and Lilian
When we arrived back at our dinghy in the afternoon the tide had risen considerably. Although we thought we had pulled the dinghy way up on the shore, it was not high enough. Sea water had splashed into it and with our small baler we could not empty it fast enough before the next wave came and filled it again. The dinghy, full of water, was too heavy to pull up higher on the beach. Trying to empty the dinghy was becoming a Sisyphean effort. We were rescued by Ducky, the Fijian fellow who mans the pearl hut. He saw us struggling and came over in his boat with a 5 gallon bucket. With his help we could make headway baling and were able to lighten the dinghy enough to pull it up on the beach. Successful, we made it back to INTENTION with our pineapples and vegetables.
Ducky showing Oysters
It was a season for suicide. No, no one on INTENTION got the holiday blues, unless the fish and the bugs did. One morning we found a fish in the dinghy. He apparently jumped in during the night and could not get out. He was long and thin and bony. The level of detailed work to pick out the good stuff was a kin to the effort of eating pomegranate. Still I was thankful to have fresh fish. Besides cleaning fish Ive been cleaning the ceiling. A bunch of tiny bugs decided to romance the light at night and then commit suicide on the ceiling like rejected lovers.
We also visited Jim Henning at his farm. While his Fijian friends and family drank kava, we had tea and cookies. He asked captain Jim about his sailing travels and he listened with great interest. We asked him if he ever slaughtered any of his livestock. If he did we would be happy to buy a bit of meat. He asked if we like pork as he planned to kill a pig soon. We answered in the affirmative. As we were leaving he gave us a bunch of bananas. Jim Henning seems to really enjoy it when people come to visit.
Henning’s Farm at Sunset
Farmer Jim and Captain Jim
A couple of days later I heard a squeal in the morning. That afternoon a large pork roast was delivered to us by boat. It was a gift, no money requested. Bless Jim Henning. We got three very tasty meals out of it.
Pork Sholder Roast
We decided to leave Vurevure about a week before Christmas. We spent a day just visiting to say farewell to all the wonderful people there. Peter and Lillian again had pineapple and vegetables gathered for us to take. We said good bye to Ducky at the pearl hut. No one was home at Claudes and Danielles so we left a note expressing our gratitude. We stopped at the village and were given a papaya. We visited Jim Henning to say thanks and gave him a pineapple. He in turn gave us more bananas. The following day we were set to leave.
The morning was magic on December 18, the day we left Vurevure. It is rare for me to rise at dawn although that is often my intention. But on this occasion the orange light of the early morning pierced my eyelids enough to wake me. The reward was great. On this morning there was a large arch of a double rainbow. So grand was the scale of it, I could not fit it into my camera lens. I had to be satisfied with merely capturing a portion.
Last Sunrise in Vurevure Bay
Hopeful Double Rainbow In this secluded bay it is not uncommon for the water to take on the appearance of undulating silk. INTENTION, alone here in the midst of the water is serene beyond all my ability to describe. It is something that can only be felt like the gentle rocking that adds to the stillness. And I contemplate, how is it that the water with its constant motion and infinity of ripples upon ripples, can induce such stillness? Then there are the sounds, the soft surf breaking on the coral, the occasional crow of the rooster, the rattling of the unoccupied auto-pilot. If the breeze picks up even a bit and I am attentive enough, I can hear it barely blow through the spinnaker pole. The sound is like a woodwind instrument or a distant pipe organ. It seems that if I listened hard enough I could even hear the clouds glide imperceptibly across the sky or the mist rising off the mountains.
Smooth silky Water
I have watched the land change from dull darkness, first to golden green in the foreground while the mountains still remain dark. Then as the sun rose just a bit higher the mountains brightened and the foreground turned emerald. Now the mountains have become dark dull green. The clouds that left them temporarily again shroud their tops. The palm-treed land closer to the water is taking on its many shades of green.
On this morning a lone boat moves across the sterling sheet of the water. Being in the shallows of the coral, it does not have the motor running. Or perhaps the single boater is respecting the tranquility of the morning. Now and then I am surprised by a school of small fish jumping across the surface of the water. They make a sound as though someone took a handful of pebbles to skip across a lake. They shine like little silver birds as they skim over the top.
7am and I have for the past hour been able to capture the best part of the day. Activity has started already, now two boats with motor running transverse the bay. A couple of vehicles are passing along the road. Even the sound of the surf seems to have progressed to a distant roar. My aim is to hold the tranquility of the morning inside as I proceed with the activities of the day. The rest of the morning was spent securing the boat to sail. We left midday with a rainbow circle around the sun. Going was slow. We lost all wind midway and arrived in Savusavu on the evening of the 19th.
It was especially nice to see Jeff and Christie again. We new they were to leave for New Zealand in just a few days.
Circle around the Sun
Spear fishing in the shallows of the reef
Jim and I and others who have boats at Savusavu Marina dock were invited to come to the home of Tua and Robin for Christmas dinner. Robin owns Savusavu Marina. We were treated to a scrumptious four course meal. In addition to having ham, chicken and muscles, there were unique South Pacific treats such as tamarind chutney and marinated cumquats. I drank Tuas homemade pineapple wine. We were also treated to a lovely sunset from their hillside home.
Sunset from Robin’s hillside Home
Boxing day we had another feast, a potluck, at Waitui Marina. Jim brought banana bread made from the abundance of bananas wed been gifted with in Tavenui. It was great to connect with cruisers we hadnt seen for a while and to make new friends. The meal was wonderful. Jim particularly enjoyed the roast turkey and cranberries, contributed by Philip and Leslie on Carina and cooked by Joe on Jublee. The dressing, mashed potatoes, and gravy made this feast extraordinary.
Since our return to Savusavu we have been spending a fair amount of time visiting. Other cruisers are a wealth of information and eagerly share trip stories, computer programs, insights about maintenance and marine products and various other resources. For the new year Jim and I have started a program of walking daily in the morning and swimming in the afternoon. We look forward to the arrival of crew on January 8. More sailing and exploration to follow.
Morning walks down the road