Recovery day

A recovery day? Maybe. After back to back 4:00am departures and long days at sea, it was nice to not have that pressure today. We took our time, had coffee and read the news while the boat gently rocked. Magnificent. Of course all good things must end and I got to work, the freezer in the fridge needed to be defrosted, I prepped the old bread for tomorrow’s (Thanksgiving) homemade stuffing, made new bread dough (and left it to rise), and had breakfast (including a small papaya I harvested on Manera island).

With work done, I grabbed a paddle board and headed to shore. I wanted to beat the resort guests who come for a “private beach experience.” Yesterday Vuni had mentioned 10:30am, so I wanted to be back to the boat before then. After stowing the paddleboard in the shade I took off south along the beach. I was in no hurry and took time to sit and stare at the ocean. Climbed over one grassy hill to avoid a possibly unpassable volcanic outcrop section, and did a bit of shell hunting. Oh and worked on my 2023 Thanksgiving “Top 5 What am I thankful for” list. Along the way there was a palm tree with two low hanging coconuts, so I pulled one off and carried it to the next volcanic outcropping where I worked it open for a refreshing drink and followed by eating the meat. Yum, what a recharging snack. All told I put in almost four miles and getting back to my paddleboard was perplexed to see people snorkeling. Huh, guess they came early. I discretely paddled back to Sky Pond…

For lunch I had a mix of left overs and a sausage roll from The Bread Kitchen. I had just sat down when I heard an outboard. Looking out I saw a long boat headed our way, Carl was doing exercise on the bow so I greeted Vuni as he arrived. We chatted a bit and he asked to tie up and come aboard. This turned into spending a big chunk of the afternoon talking about stuff. A few highlights:
1. Vuni is the third oldest in his family of nine with three siblings living on the big island
2. I learned more about his children (five, three boys and two girls), the girls are on the big island with an Auntie going to high school (cost is $50 per month boarding)
3. Most of the children do return to the village (population around 200) after high school
4. His favorite thing is spear fishing, with wahoo, Sierra mackerel, and barracuda being his favorites (barracuda in a coconut cream sauce with ground coconut is the best)
5. He met his wife fromm another village on the same island when they were children but didn’t start dating until she was in high school on the big island and he was there working (5 year age gap)
6. They have lived in her village since 2017 and chose her village because she was the only sibling still on the island (and her mom has passed away)
7. The resort workers make $4 per hour and work six days a week (8 hours per day) – I had heard earlier Fijian workers make $2 to $7 per hour, so almost in the middle
8. The government boat comes to their village once a month with supplies
9. He isn’t a fan of the big island because everything is money, money, money, nor cell phones and the distraction it brings the kids (sounds familar)

Carl came back from his hour-long swim and offered up some tea and breakfast crackers which we enjoyed but unfortunately Vuni had to leave before he could finish as it was time to pick up the guests. Experiences like this one will last in my mind forever.

No Comments

Leave a Comment