Jack's log of trip to Lau
6 November 2011
We left Suva yesterday sailing for the Lau. We are taking Kaiafa (traditional navigator), Peni (cameraman), Semeti (boat builder) and Paula (carver) so they can talk to the old men and women in the villages about making a traditional drua (Fijian war canoe). It is going to take us a few days to get there.
Yesterday we went to Kambara with crystal clear waters and golden sands, coconut trees and beach vines. At night land crabs come out to feed. A helicopter came in to take someone to Suva Hospital. We even built a look out post on the beach. I had a good time there planting coconuts. In the morning i went to school with the other children. First the teacher read us a story and we had to draw a picture, then I read some stories to the children. Then we went playing. After that we sang some songs and made Fijian pois out of pandanus. The kids used them for dancing. I liked Kambara. I would like to go back to see if my hut is still there and to see if my coconut tree has grown.
Today we sailed to Fulaga and it took us all day. Fulaga is a big lagoon full of lots of islands all made out of limestone. The islands were bigger at the top and narrow at the bottom and look like spinning tops. I think the waves have washed away the bottom at the sea level.
When we were on Fulaga we took a fiber and we went to the island Ongea about 11 nautical miles and we got there in 40 minutes. When we got there we went to a village. We found that the meeting house was on stilts and there were amazing rock formations made out of limestone. We took Kaiafa, Paula, Semeti and Peni to talk to the villagers about making a traditional drua. We showed them some movies all about sailing and I liked going there and I would like to go back.
We took watermelons into the village and we cut it up and I gave a piece to all the children. They loved it! Then we played with the kids on the beach, and we collected coconuts. They didn’t have many toys or books so we gave them some of our books. The headmistress told us that they had a big leatherback turtle there a while back but it was sick. It died and when they looked inside it, it was full of plastic bags. I think that was really sad. She told us leatherbacks eat jellyfish, so maybe the turtle thought the plastic bags were jellyfish. She also told us that turtles come and lay their eggs on the beaches but that for some reason that not so many eggs hatch out now as before. She told us there used to be so many baby turtles that they used to wash up onto the beach but now not so many. Turtles are protected in Fiji.
Today we went to church in Paula’s village on Fulaga. People sang songs and one lady and the vicar did lots of talking in Fijian so I didn’t understand much of what they said. The altar rail was made up of carved war clubs. They had two big drums (called “lali”) in a little shack which they beat to tell everyone when church is and the time (they beat them in the morning, at midday, and 6 o’clock at night). After church we had lunch, but not like New Zealand style lunch. There was cassava bread, cassava, reef fish, lots of shellfish like cockles, seaweed (called “nama”) and bananas and pawpaw. All the food came from the village gardens and reef.
We left Fulaga and sailed overnight past Moce and a lot of other islands, but then the weather turned stormy so we decided to head for shelter behind Lakemba. We saw sailfish swimming alongside the boat with their fins out of the water, but we didn’t catch them. We did catch four nice mahimahi on our trip though. We saw lots of turtles diving on the eel grass. Then we sailed back to Suva and it was much quicker going back because there was a strong wind blowing from behind us.
I enjoyed our trip to the Lau, and Kambara was my favourite island.