Sevusevu in Mavana

Fiji – Savusavu until Vanua Balavu, northern Lau

More than a week we enjoy being in a small city like Savusavu. Almost daily we eat out, at 4 to 6 Dollars a meal we have to profit from that.

Savusavu Waitui Marina
The Waitui Marina in Savusavu looks a bit run down, but we find it the coolest place to enjoy the sundowner and the kitchen is good and cheap
indian food
Yummy – the indian buffet at the Waitui Marina
buying yaqona in Labasa
In Labasa market we buy our first Kava roots, an expensive stuff!
Savusavu market
The market in Savusavu, the last chance to buy fresh veggies for the next couple of weeks!

With the bus we visit Labasa, the main town in the north of the island of Vanua Levu. We enjoy the ride over the island and find there in some small shops and supermarkets some things we couldn’t find in Savusavu.

Then we fill up with diesel, gasoline, water, beer and fresh food and when the wind turns to south we use the opportunity to sail east to Viani bay across from Taveuni.

The bay is already quite crowded with 6 yachts with all our friends.
Viani bay
Viani Bay – beautiful but a miserable anchor ground full with coral heads

The anchor ground is corals and stones and full with coral heads, so no chance to get the anchor to dig in, but the chain will wrap around some heads for sure. There is not much wind forecasted, so we stay anyway…

And why is everybody here? Well, the near-by rainbow reef is one of the most famous dive spots in Fiji and I remember well to have been diving here already more than 20 years ago.

Rick from Duplicat organizes together with guide William a boat for the next day. Like this our dinghies can stay home while we all go out to the reef in a longboat. It is a beautiful spot, especially close to the surface the small corals and fish are so numerous like never before. Further down we see more dead stuff, probably a result of hurricane Winston.

The earth oven. lovo- is filled with food and now only has to be covered with leaves to keep the heat inside
Mixing Kava
The men are prepairing the Kava, now just some water on top and ready is the brown liquid

In the evening the families on the beach make a lovo for the sailors. That is the traditional way of cooking in the earth oven. Curiously we watch them filling the food over the hot stones.

To bridge the waiting the men prepare a bowl of Kava and all of us tourists get to try. It has been a long time since I had it the last time. I find it not too bad and even feel some relaxing effect.

For the second dive the next morning we go alone to see the famous Great White Wall and thanks to Berry’s coordinates we find the mooring for the dinghy in the first try. We have a great dive, good visibility and a very curious white tip shark, but we learn later that the famous white soft corals would show only at the tide change at 5 am, which was anyway too early for us.

Sunset at the Paradise Bay Resort in Taveuni
Taveuni shopping center
Together with Vega, Blue Lilly and Duplicat we take a dusty walk to Sweta’s South Taveuni Shopping Centre
Parrot in Taveuni
on the way back we meet a curious parrot

We move over the 10 miles southwest to the Paradise Bay Resort, as we hope to get some southerly winds to sail over to the Lau group.

Bay of islands Vanua Balavu
The Bay of Islands in Vanua Balavu – we anchor surrounded by little mushroom islands

The plan works out, after 2 nights there we have a short overnight sail with light southerly winds, and the next morning we arrive at the Bay of Islands in Vanua Balavu, the northern group of the Lau islands. The Bay of Islands is full with small islands that look like mushrooms, a great place to paddle board and kayak.

The village of Dalikoni lies 5 miles further south, we go there by dinghy then next day to do our “Sevusevu”. That means we go to see the chief of the village, bring him a bundle of Kava roots and ask for permission to anchor in the area of his village and to move around in water and land.
Chief Dalikoni
Our first Sevusevu with the chief in Dalikoni
Dalikoni village centre
Dalikoni canteen
The Dalikoni village store is integrated on the house and offers chinese noodles, breakfast crackers and canned fish
It is a neat village with freshly cut lawn and everywhere clean.
large jelly fish
This about a half meter long jellyfish we find in the bay of islands, good that I have done my snorkling there already

The chief or the village headman (“Turanga-ni-Koro”) then speak a few phrases holding the Kava roots and then tell us that we are allowed to stay.

While we were aware that the village is far, we were not aware that the waves were quite high, even inside the reef. In addition one or two squalls pass over us, so we arrive in Dalikoni soaking wet including the underwear.
No problem, we just change into our sulus, so at leat a part of us is dry and as it is warm nobody will get a cold…

jam session
Jam Session on She San

The evenings we enjoy together with the Blue Lilly either with some fine food or with Reto and Hannes doing some Jam sessions. Absolut highlight is the song of the “smurfs”, as soon as we have some good internet we will see that we can upload it 😉

Bavatu bay
She San and Blue Lilly in the Bavatu bay
Bavatu bay
Beim Spaziergang durch die Farm – geschätzt die Hälfte der Kokosnusspalmen ist Winston zum Opfer gefallen
Batavu viewpoint
The Bay of Islands from the Batavu viewpoint

After 3 nights we move to the other side of the island in the Bavatu Harbour, there is a nice hike up to a farm and a viewpoint over the Bay of Islands.

Little Bay
Entry to the Little Bay – Raviravi

Then we move 4 miles further south into the Little Bay, where we heard there is some good snorkeling and nice people around. At low tide we hear someone shouting from the beach, we launch our dinghy and go over. There are Tui and Sotia, caretakers of the nearby farm belonging to the village of Mavana. They bring us a bucket of fruits and ask us to do our Sevusevu.

We agree to walk into the village the next day and visit Tui and his wife Bui in the afternoon at the farm called Tota.

Tui in Tota
Tui shows us how to drink Kava in the right way…
drinking Kava
…important to empty the cup all at once!

Tui welcomes us with the Kava that we actually brought for him, and he explains what we have to do when we drink Kava. Afterwards I sit there quite relaxed and content and become more and more quiet.

The next day we punctually start 2 hours before low tide to walk into the village and Tui comes with us to guide us there.
Sevusevu in Mavana
Doing our Sevusevu in Mavana – the chief is to the right
We walk through Mavana, where many houses had suffered from Hurricane Winston
Mavana school
Hannes is explaining to the class how we have sailed from Europe to Fiji
Mavana school
The kids make posters about improper use of social media and drugs
back from the fields
Coming back from the garden with bananas and Cassava
taking a break
The jung men also take a break in their work in the gardens

Just before the village he calls the chief in his garden, we walk together to the village where we all change into our sulus.

After the sevusevu we get a tour of the village including the new school just built with the help of New Zealand and Tui watches out that we move back in time before high tide.

Back in Tota Bui serves us a lunch with fried fish and cassava and as a dessert some cooked plantain bananas in their own syrup.

In the evening Bui shows us how to fish the Salala – fishing is women’s business around here
Bui on her plastic “fishing” palet that landed on the beach a few days ago

In the evening we go fishing together, we want to learn from Bui how to catch the Salala.

Unfortunately no bites, so we try again the next day when Bui comes paddling on her floating plastic pallet.

While I only catch stones Reto at least catches one little fish and Bui in the same time 4 or 5…

Then while Hannes und Lydia leave us our other friends are coming into the bay, so we fit Vega, Loupan, Hakuna Matata and Osprey together with us in the really not very large Little Bay…

For the weekend we expect some strong winds and we think that we are quite protected. Well, it turns out that there are quite some gusts coming through the gorge at the end of the bay and they sometimes blow us in all different directions…

Mavana church
In the church in Mavana
Sunday lunch Mavana
afterwards the table is loaded with food for lunch
Important to look cool on fotos
On the way from Mavana to Little Bay we pass by the village gardens

Nevertheless we all leave our boats on Sunday morning, a longboat takes us to Mavana to church.

Once again we arrive all wet, but this time we all have brought a full set of clothes to change, so no problem…

After the church we are invited for the Sunday lunch, the table is full with fish cooked in coconut, taro and taro leaves veggies. Good that we can walk home afterwards…

Tui and Sotia sing Fijian songs at the bonfire

On Monday evening Tui, Bui, Sotia and his family come to make a fire on the beach, of course the Kava is not missing… While we women all quit at after the 4th round our men take another 2 or 3.

On Wednesday morning our paths split up, only Ulla and Pelle from the Loupan head south to Susui together with us.

Sevusevu Susui
George-i, the chief from Susui, at our Sevusevu
beach Susui
Jacob shows us the outer beach of Susui
portugese man o'war
On the beach in Susui I find a Physalia physalis – well, better meet it here than in the water!
The women have a meeting at the house of Jacob and Bale (in front left)

Once anchored there we go first thing to the village, where Jacob, the village spokesman welcomes us at the beach. We do our Sevusevu with chief George-i who tells us we can stay as long as we want.

After Reto having repaired some torches from Tui and Sotia in Tota, I ask Jacob and the chief if they also have some electrical things that need to be repaired, as we have two skilled engineers here with Reto and Pelle.

The class room for the 3rd until 6th grade
After the duties the children play volleyball – when somebody makes a mistake they all giggle 😉

The next day they start at the school with what turns out to be a cheap inverter, then some simple washing machines, then a whole load of DVD players and TVs.

Susui outback
Walking through the bush and fields in Susui

On the third day Ulla and I decide to take a break and have a walk over the island, where we end up in several gardens. At the end we find Ana, who laughs loud “what are two white ladies like you are walking though the middle of the bush?”. After a short chat she gives us each a large Pawpaw and some island cabbage and sends us back the same way.

repair shop
Unfortunately only one of 5 DVD players can be “cured”
repair shop
but the success rate on the old TVs is a lot better…
repair shop
Also the satellite TV is a tough project
repair shop
but Ana is happy that her sewing machine works again

On the fourth day of repairing Jacob tells me “the villagers want to sell you some fruit in the afternoon”.

I just manage to reply sharply “I will not buy any fruit after Reto has been working here for 4 days repairing everything”.

He seems to understand and shortly after we get a bunch of bananas from the family who just got their TV repaired.

Summary of Reto’s and Pelle’s work:

the computer in the school can be charged again, 2 washing machines , 1 of 5 DVD player (the stuff is really not made for long…), 3 TVs (the old ones are still somehow better to be repaired), 1 sewing machine.

Most happy of all is Ana, whose sewing machine is working again. While trying to open the machine “made in Thailand” Reto almost became desperate. Probably these things are not designed to be maintained…

Ana thanks us again with a load of Pawpaw and a huge bundle of island cabbage – now by far my favorite salad with a bit of onion, some pieces of pawpaw, some salt and olive oil – yummy!

With the school boat we visit the two villages of Lomaloma (Fijian) and Sawana (Tongan). Target is to buy some veggies at the local market as Jacob tells us that there is a market from Monday to Friday. Well, we arrive on Friday morning, and to what we see and hear there is not really a market.

We stroll through the two villages and chat with a nice young guy. “Nowadays people merry between the two villages and therefore understand each other. It has not always been like that” he tells us.

store Sawana
The store in Sawana is incredibly well sorted

On the Sawana side just behind their church we find a quite well stocked little market where we get fresh eggs, stock up with some flour and sugar and and even get an ice cream each.

Sunday outfit
Sunday morning in Susui, the girls are in their sunday dresses
Sunday lunch
After church we are invited for lunch and eat first together with the men,…
Sunday lunch
…then the children…
Sunday lunch
…and pre school children – no wonder that everybody is able to sit like that for hours…
Loupan drone
The attraction on sunday – Pelle lets his drone fly above the village…
Susui air view
… and this is the result 😉

On Sunday the village meets in the provisional church, as the main church has been blown away by Winston. After the service we are again invited for lunch. There are huge plates filled with fish and cassava and tasty cabbage in coconut.

While we start to eat with the men, then also the women and children join as soon as there is some place around the table on the floor. We admire the locals sitting with crossed legs without any problem, but no wonder they all sit like that from early ages…

clean up Susui
Successfull picking of plastic – in only half an hour all the bags are full!

On our last afternoon in Susui we join Chris and Ross from the Sula who go with the kids to collect garbage on the outer beach. Of course we come to help and we are happy to see that the children are really good at picking up everything they see. A lot of it has been swept onto the beach from somewhere else, but together with Akisi we find 20 packs of diapers, that were just left in the bushes behind the beach…

Once back in the village the only method of getting rid of the stuff is burning it. Also not so nice but maybe better than ending up in the stomachs of all the fish and birds?

Just before leaving Bale brings us some more fruit and fried fish, so we do have the feeling that all the work and the gifts have been appreciated.

On Tuesday noon we head towards south together with Loupan, the wished target is Fulaga.
Just after the pass at the Tongan passage it doesn’t look like we will get there with the wind still being a bit too much from the south.
I already say good bye to Loupan on the radio, we know they are better in sailing upwind. But then the wind decides to turn, always just in the moment we need it to turn, so 21 hours later we end up in front of the pass entrance to Fulaga.

We spend another hour doing circles in front of the pass, the waves do not look very inviting yet. Then the tide turns so wind and waves go the same direction, the waves flatten within a few minutes and we make our way through the pass.

Fulaga sandspit anchorage
Welcome to Paradise! We arrive in Fulanga, southern Lau group

Passing through the turquoise lagoon past numerous islands and islets we are more than happy that we made it!!

And it is so beautiful here, so we might stay a bit 😉

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Fiji - Cruising the North Lau Group from Savusavu, Taveuni to Vanua Balavu
Fiji – Cruising the North Lau Group from Savusavu, Taveuni to Vanua Balavu

One thought on “Fiji – Savusavu until Vanua Balavu, northern Lau”

  1. Great blog and happy memories… glad you got some fruit after all the repair work xx

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