This morning the laughter of the children all piled into the boat, crossing the bay to go to school, put a smile on my face. A young man paddled his canoe across into a mangrove canal, whistling a lovely tune, on his way to work. It is lightly raining but there is blue sky surrounding us, so the potential for a stellar day is here. We anchored around 3 PM yesterday afternoon, along with two other boats, Migration and Equinimity, and we were invited to come to the village to watch Nemo on "the big screen," a sheet pinned to the wall of the pre-school. We took Worm into shore after the sunset and followed other villagers to the small building for the evening's event. Bruce and Eileen have a box full of technology needed to project the film with good sound and the event was a huge gift to the full house, mostly kids of all ages. What a special treat to present to the people who are so wonderfully welcoming to all of us!
When we got back to Sidewinder, we sat out under the canopy of stars, more than I have ever seen, and thanked the universe for this intense show. It did manage to rain again last night, but the weather is changing and we are happy to be adventuring again, one more time. Today we need to check in the main town, Nuku, and then head up the west coast to Albert Bay, where the snorkeling and beaches are known to be outstanding.
As described by Lonely Planet Fiji guidebook, the people here are Micronesians originally from Banaba in Kirabati. "At the turn of the 20th century the islanders of Banaba were first tricked and then pressed into selling the phosphate mining rights of Banaba for a small annual payment, and their tiny island was slowly ruined by the subsequent mining and influx of settlers." Surprise, surprise, eh?! "WWII brought further tragedy when the Japanese invaded Banaba and massacred many villagers. Following the war, Rabi was purchased for the Banabans by the British Government-with money from the islanders' own Provident Fund, set up by the British Government in 1931 for phosphate royalties-and 2000 survivors were resettled here. However, as they were dropped in the middle of the cyclone season with only army tents and two months' rations, and had never been so cold (Banaba is on the equator), many of the original settlers died."
The children who greeted us in their canoe yesterday, spoke a different language than Fijiian, but they did understand and speak a little English. I wonder what their own history lessons teach them about their homeland here in Fiji.
Love to all. I miss you. S
From Rabi again on Aug. 2:
After motoring against the wind and waves for several hours around the west side of Rabi, we wove our way through the coral reefs yesterday afternoon, just as the sun peeked out for a short while, thank goodness, and spent the night hoping our anchor would hold. We did manage to do a late afternoon snorkel on the outside reef, and if the weather stays calm, it will have great potential this morning. It did rain last night, and we are now sitting in the complete opposite direction from where we were yesterday, due to a change in weather and finally, no wind. PHEW! This life with the wind and rain can be mighty stressful at times! (But, of course, this is certainly nothing compared to the stress our friends and family are experiencing daily.) Woke up to a few high clouds and sunshine this morning, and if this weather holds, we will motor over to Albert Cove for the next day or two; it is supposed to be one of the prettiest places in all of Fiji.
Coordinates for GoogleEarth fans: S 16° 27', W 179° 58'