Thursday, October 24, 2013

Kasiui Island

After an overnight motoring passage, we arrived at Kasiui Island (S04°31.268' E131°40.962') where we planned on staying for a few hours. We were immediately approached by a lone man in a bright pink longboat who suggested with hand signals that we should re-anchor behind the barely visible reef. He also politely asked for some gasoline for his longboat but as ours already had oil mixed in, it was not suitable for his boat.

Another longboat passed by but filled with happy, friendly passengers. They all waved and shouted out "Hallo Mista" and "We love you!" We don't think they get many visitors!

We had just enough time for a quick breakfast before another longboat came by. This 1 had 2 older looking gentlemen wearing once again contemporary shorts and shirts, 1 with black curly hair and the other with grey curly hair. Both were almost toothless. With hand gestures, they indicated they wanted to come aboard to see around Sea Turtle.

After a quick tour, we retired to the cockpit as it was just too hot down below. At least above there was a bit of a breeze. Through limited conversation, and with the help of an Indonesian phrasebook given to us by SV Veedon Fleece, we discovered that our visitors wished to take us to their river.

We all piled into our dinghy with their longboat in tow. They pointed out the best directions to head through the shallow coral water. As we motored, they proudly waved with big smiles to friends in passing boats and ashore, and with hand gestures pointed out that they were in a motoring dinghy, with white people! On the way they untied their longboat and tossed down their anchor, a piece of volcanic rock with rope through its holes. What a great anchor!

Not too much further, we dropped anchor and then waded ashore in the shallow water covered with sea grass. This is where Jordan noticed that he had forgotten his sandals so he went native, barefooted! On shore, another Muslim man joined us dressed more traditionally. He was very interested in our Indo/English phrasebook and conscientiously skimmed it during our entire walk.

We tread through the jungle and through the shallow clear stream which at times was no more than a trickle; finally arriving upon our destination, our leaders all lit up cigarettes and we sat around admiring the tropical enclave.

Taking a break

As we returned along a different route, we were handed aromatic nutmeg leaves and small pieces of clove. The group also picked up round dark nuts and smashed them open on a rock with a rock, just like the youngsters had done when we were in Tanna (Vanuatu). They were very soft but good. Several had been gnawed on by rats trying unsuccessfully to break them open for the tasty treat inside. We also returned with a large nafara (sprouting coconut) that will make our favourite breakfast tomorrow.

This 1 is for you

Our next stop was to visit a couple of the villages. But first Jordan wanted to return to Sea Turtle to retrieve his sandals! We all piled in the dinghy once again and made a speedy trip back to our boat. Jordan also grabbed the dinghy wheels.

Back to shore, Jordan set the wheels in place. The 3 men broke out in gales of laughter as they realized what the wheels were for as they watched Jordan easily pull the dinghy across the sand and away from the water. This must have been a first for them.

The first village we visited had a little litter lying around but the second village was worse. We tried to explain that this is a punishable offence back home.

We were taken to 2 of the men's homes and invited to come in. It is custom to always remove your shoes before entering, which we did. The homes were very sparse with little or no furniture. We sat on a plastic mat on the floor. But yet there would be a small stereo or TV. I personally would rather have chairs or tables instead of TV!

The kitchen of 1 man's place was very neat, tidy, and well organized but primitive. This I noticed as I am a very organized person. It was the nicest room in the home. These men all had young children, most of whom we met, but their wives were not home.

When we were noticed by the villagers, everyone came running for pictures. Sooo many pictures. Some were taking pictures of us but most wanted their pictures taken WITH us, even if they did not have a camera. Everyone wanted to be in the picture and they firmly pushed each other aside. I was handed 1 lady's baby who immediately started to cry loudly (the baby that is) but she would not take him back until the picture was taken...

Take a photo!

Finally we managed to escape as my eyes displayed my exhaustion...

There is an ample tide range here and it was very low as we went back to Sea Turtle. As soon as we arrived, it started to rain - what good timing! We pulled anchor at 13:00 to head for our next destination.

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