Making our way through some breaks in the outer reefs, we came into Viani Bay and anchored (S16°44.980' E179°53.995') with about 6 other boats, most of which we knew from previous confluences. Viani Bay is on the east end of Vanua Levu Island.
The next day, Jordan and I took the dinghy out and snorkelled around a small reef that had some pretty coral and fish. But on the 30th, we dinghied out to an area called the Cabbage Patch where SV Merilelu was anchored with several other sailors aboard. What an amazing area! The so called Cabbage Patch coral looked just like the oversized leaves of the vegetable cabbage, only rock hard coral. It covered an area of about 75 square metres (800 square feet).
We did not take any photos so following is one copied from the internet...
Cabbage Patch coral
On July 1st, Jack (a local guide) took several sailors to an area called the Fish Factory. It is called this because there are so many fish here. And the prolific abundance and wide variety of coral included hard coral and also soft coral that was waving in the ocean current. The kaleidoscope of colours of beryl blue, orange, red, lime green, and lilac do not show up in our photo.
Polychromatic aquatic wonderland
Jack takes sailors (aboard their boat) to different dive sites, snorkelling sites, and also to other nearby islands if so desired. He does all of this for 10 Fijian dollars per person (which amounts to around $5 Canadian) for each site that you wish to go.
Then on July 2nd, all the sailors were invited to Jack's family's place on shore for a traditional Fijian dinner called a lovo. This meal is cooked in the ground. They swale a pit, line it with stones, stoke a fire for a few hours, usually using leftover coconut husks, then the food is placed on huge tropical leaves, covered again in leaves and tarps, then finally sand. It's left for about 2 hours then opened up for dinner time.
Removing the hot leaves
Some of the feast beginning to be exposed
As well as fish, there was a pig, food wrapped in taro leaves and delicious coconut cream, breadfruit, and accompanied with a delicious cold veggie salad. Jack also demonstrated how to quickly husk a coconut using the point of a sharp short pole sticking out of the ground. Several people tried to copy but could not do it as fast as Jack!
Jordan and Chris (SV Ladybug of Victoria BC) played the violin and ukulele and the day was topped off with Jack and his family singing a beautiful acapella "Thank You" song in Fijian.
Jordan with his husked coconut and Jack