Day 48, Year 2: From Vagola Bay to Korolevu Bay
Date: Monday, June 11, 2007
Weather: Another Picture Perfect South Pacific Day
Location: Korolevu Bay, Kadavu Island, Fiji

We (Safina, Ranger, and Windbird) made our transit to Korolevu Bay this morning and were settled at anchor by 11:30 AM. It was a beautiful day, and in the bright sunlight, it was easy to see the shallow reef areas. They are a beautiful turquoise green, but just below the surface are those dangerous coral heads. So in this case, looks are very deceiving. We motored between shallow areas, found the few stick marks that are on the chart, and they led us into Korolevu Bay. The bay is big, but the
anchorage area is actually very tiny. It is only big enough for the three boats, and maybe one more, because much of the area is very shallow.

We ate lunch as soon as we arrived and then all of us got into Windbird’s dinghy and we motored up through the mangroves to the village of Kadavu. A fishing boat passed us as we were heading in and they motioned for us to follow them. Even though it was coming up on high tide, parts of the river were too shallow for our dinghy motor. We hit the bottom a couple of times, but then made it safely to the village. We were greeted at the rocky shore by a young man named Skelly. He and some friends
had come out into the bay to make a cell phone call (they have no service in the village) and it was his boat that we had followed up river. He said he would take us to the village chief so we could present our sevusevu. Like, Vacaleya, this village also had nice sidewalks, but this village was much less prosperous. All of the houses in Vacaleya were constructed of clapboard wood siding or concrete block, but in Kadavu many are constructed of corrugated iron and even some thatched bures (traditional
Fijian dwellings). This is the first time we have seen those. People were friendly, but not with the same exhurberance that we were met with in Vacaleya and on Dravuni Island. Skelly found the chief’s son, Kadavu (yes, the same name as the village), and he went to find his father. The chief was sleeping. When he came out, he said he had too much yaqona last night and was sleeping it off. He actually let Skelly do most of the blessing and acceptance of our gift, and that was it. He invited
us to walk around the village, so we did. Jean-Pierre asked Skelly if he could buy kava or yaqona here in the village since much of it is grown here and he said that he could for $30 a kilo. We paid $38 in Suva for Kadavu kava and then brought it back here as a gift. It will now be taken back to Suva and sold again. Good business. Jean-Pierre and Colette went with Skelly thinking they were going to buy kava. We waited a bit for them to return from their kava purchase, but then we saw them climbing
rocks in the far distance. We saw Kadavu and asked him where they were going and he explained that they were at the village waterfall. He asked if we would like to go there and we said yes, so he led the way. Jean-Pierre didn’t know why they had ended up at the waterfall, but it was a beautiful spot, so we were glad for the confusion that led us there. While there a young man, probably about 14, came up to join us. He started climbing the high cliff above the waterfall and pool and Kadavu and
Skelly explained that he was going to jump off the cliff into the pool. Indeed, he did. And then he climbed the opposite cliff and jumped again from the other side. Each time he came up from his dive, he had the biggest smile I have ever seen. Evidently, he was really enjoying putting on the show for us.

We returned to the village and found the person who could sell kava to Jean-Pierre. He bought a kilo for more sevusevus, and then Skelly got in his boat and led us back down the river. We explained that we wanted to go to the Chinese store we had read about in the cruising guides. He took us most of the way, and then showed us where to turn in. We actually turned into the mangroves too soon and found ourselves at someone’s private home, so we turned around and tried again. We found Noah’s Grocery
Store, but it didn’t have a lot to offer. It was like the Chinese grocery stores back in Nukalofa in Tonga. You walk in and everything is inside a cage. You can look in but have to tell the person at the cash register what you want. The woman was definitely Fijian, not Chinese, but she explained that her deceased father-in-law was Chinese and had once owned the store. We had also read about the Matava Resort about a half mile from the Chinese store, so we motored on through the shallow water
until we found the resort. In the Lonely Planet, this is listed as the most popular budget resort with traditional thatched bure. Aceni had told us that Jenny was the owner and that she is from the United States. We went to the big restaurant-bar bure and met Maggie (as he told us, he is named after the Magpie). He runs the bar with a flair and made us feel quite at home. We didn’t meet Jenny today, but Marie of Ranger talked to her on the VHF after we returned. We are going there for dinner
tomorrow night and Ranger might have them pick up Paul’s daughter who is flying in on Thursday and bring her to the resort. Ranger and Safina also arranged for a dive trip on Wednesday, so our visit to the resort was a profitable one for all.

Skelly is coming by at 8 AM and is going to show us on the charts where we should go on the reef tomorrow for snorkeling. We’ll either follow him in his fishing boat, or we will follow his directions. He told us that about ten village men will be going out in his boat tomorrow to fish on the reef for the whole day. So even if we don’t go with them in the AM, we will probably see them out there. I’m just looking forward to snorkeling again, so that is the plan for tomorrow.

070611 Day 48a Kadavu Island, Fiji–Vagola Bay to Korolevu Bay
070611 Day 48b Kadavu Island, Fiji–On Land Around Korolevu Bay