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September 17, 2017

Bula Bula another magnificent day in the South Pacific saw us on Saturday 16th September arrive at the island of Vanua Balavu in the Northern Lau Islands. The village of Delakony awaited us. We approached through the magnificent Bay of Islands with amazing perfect navigation from our Captain Darren Naggs, past coral reefs and narrow channels to reach this Paradise Island. The permanent crew worked perfectly helping the volunteers reach its safe overnight anchorage just offshore of the Delakony Village.

Having visited the Chief of the Village to request permission to visit, we were duly run ashore, even the wheelchairs are carefully lowered down from the ship and placed safely with their occupants Youki and Matt into the DOTI Boat and taken ashore.

Met by big Fijian men who assisted pushing the wheelchairs around their beautiful hilly village.

Books were taken from the ship by Medical Purser Daz and his team and carried up the hill to be stored for the new school currently under construction.  The village and village school had been destroyed the previous year by Cyclone Winston when it turned direction with little warning for villagers. One person was killed. Despite this the Islanders are a happy race, always smiling, dressed immaculately and very warm and friendly. The Village of Delakony is built on a hill side, dropping down to the amazing multi coloured Azure & Coral dotted sea. Brightly painted homes, palm trees, bananas and wonderful Breadfruit Trees and colourful Hibiscus surrounded the village. Idyllic is not a fitting word for this magical place.  Not a Tourist in sight!! Water is collected in tanks from the metal roofs for drinking.  Food is caught in the sea by hand or by nets. Colourful lobsters of pink yellow and brown spots were carried from fishing boats. Our night was spent anchored off this paradise and at 9.30am Sunday morning (17th Sept) we travelled by boats to the beach for church service …however, a forced delay caused by tidal state meant it was not to be quick. The tide was low and with shallow coral now breaking the surface it was making it difficult to reach the beach. However the local young Fijians carefully directed us into safe waters, swam out and pulled us to the beach. The church service was amazing.  Captain Darren was asked by the Pastor to say a few words and one of the local women thanked us for the books and our visit.

We duly attempted to join in the singing although the Fijian hymn songs were hard to follow. Fijian choirs are amazing we were not disappointed by this one. Having bid our farewells and walked to the beach we were then herded into a local home to try the Sunday meal prepared by the ladies. Fresh fish, Sea Trout, Tarrow sliced as bread and fresh vegetables and Mango juice.  All cooked in a hole in the beach on hot wood and covered with Banana Leaves for 45 minutes, it was superb, who needs electric! After a sad farewell and exchange of gifts, 2 large pumpkins were carried to the ship. The villagers made us promise to return, so watch this space!!

We weighed anchor once we had delivered a few village ladies and children back to shore. They had swiftly thrown off their Sunday Church clothes, offering to swim to the ship and made a brief exciting visit to Tenacious. The children were overwhelmed at receiving Pirate eye patches. Disappointed at their failure to trade some of our female crew for their island they reluctantly laughed and hugged everyone in a happy departure. Overnight was spent in the really safe secluded spot of Bay of Islands, which would protect any boat in a troubled storm. The night was clear and starry and Monday dawned with blue skies as we up anchored and Captain Darren skilfully got us back through the reef out to sea and sailing away under all Full Sails, pretty amazing sight, no sign of the water spouting whale from the previous day.  Now overnight sailing and 170nms to our next location Dravuni Island.

Let this Dream continue! Aft Port Watch


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