– We have 2 options, says Sorin. Sail back south directly to the Blue Lagoon or stop first in Malakati village.
Neither of us were keen to visit another Fijian village, after our most recent experience at the top of the Yasawas. We were anchored by what is called Champagne Beach, when we were approached by a couple of Fijians from the neighbouring bay, asking for Sevu Sevu (the Kava roots offering). We could not understand why there was an expectation to make an offering since we were not anchored by the village. The village was actually miles away from where we dropped the hook.
Other such confusing situations where reported by other cruisers around the Yasawas. Locals who were claiming to be the village chief just to enter in possession of the much valued roots. Inappropriate setting for the offering (e.g. we had to make a kava offering on the beach with no receiving ceremony – picture below). At that point, we were feeling slightly fed up with what felt like deceiving Fijian village traditions.
Nevertheless, as ever, we listened to our gut instinct and decided to anchor by Malakati village, rather than sailing directly to Blue Lagoon, the setting of the movie with the same name featuring Brooke Shields.
As soon as we dropped the hook we were approached by a local skiff asking for help. The motor boat designated for the daily school run to a neighbouring village had a broken engine. Since it was a Sunday, worshiping day in the Methodist village, Sorin attended to the broken engine the following morning, under the scrutinising eyes of a senior in the village..
By the time I was back from my stroll around, Sorin was high-five-ing the excited onlookers. The engine was working again.
All sorts of repairing jobs started flowing. A broken kayak. The villagers generators. So was Sorin, now the village hero, taken around the village all day, attending to various repairs.
Unfortunately, we could not fully enjoy our gained ‘privileged status’ in the beautiful village of Malakati, as the shifting winds forced us to leave the following day. We sailed on south to the Blue Lagoon, loaded with gifted tropical fruit and a loving heart.
We continued moving with the wind south towards Musket Cove in Mamanuca, where we had started our cruising Fiji more than a month back. We felt satisfied with our discovery journey. We also felt pretty worn off by the hazardous cruising Fiji conditions. Hearing about numerous boats running aground this season and known people ending up on the reefs did not help with our cruising Fiji enthusiasm. We were ready to return to civilisation and all its conveniences after weeks of eating mostly bananas, coconut and papayas (known around here as papaw).
However, we had some unfinished business. On the ŵay back south we stopped in the bay where we came across the lemon sharks on our way up. We returned exactly to the same spot and guess what? They were there! Like they had been waiting for us to return all this time. We quickly wrapped in cling film a minor wound that I had on my foot and slowly made my way down in the water. Sorin followed. Sadly the sharks were not too excited with us invading their space. Not long after they swiftly dove down making themselves unseen in the abysmal ocean. So long beautiful creatures…