Posted by: procamnz | July 9, 2008

Rabi Island and Stay

The Usual Form of Transport Rabi Style

Friday 4 July 2008

On Wednesday 2 July we decided it was time to move on and set sail for Rabi, an island to the north of Vanua Levu. The British Government bought this island after WW.II, for the Banabans who came from Ocean Island in Kiribati. Their island had been desecrated from the phosphate boom. The population is now about 4500 people living in four villages. Their language is Banaban and not Fijian although the island is administered by Fiji. We anchored in beautiful Katherine Bay on the south coast and within minutes an outrigger canoe arrived and the local invited us to his house to drink kava. We had an interesting afternoon with them. Fortunately there was a young lady there who spoke reasonably good English because our Banaban consists of two words, hello and thank you. Those two words are not enough to have a good conversation. However, people did have a little English too.

Cooking The Rabi Way

The Bus and Road

The next day we needed to visit the town of Nuku where we needed to check in with the local police. This turned out to be an all day affair. First, we had to motor out dinghy over to the shore and bring it up on the bank to make it safe for the day. Then we had to get a ride on a long boat to the other shore of the bay. This was necessary because the road to the village had been washed out and can’t be repaired until earth moving equipment can be brought to the island from the mainland on a barge. Nothing happens quickly here. The power line to the village has been down for over six months now. After the

boat ride there was a short walk up to the road where we boarded a flatbed truck, which had been converted to a bus. This truck carried as many people as it needed. At times there were over 40 people, without counting babies on the ‘bus’. The road was unbelievably bad with ruts and mud and fords. The trip took 1½ hours to travel about 5-6 miles. We finally arrived at Nuku, saw the police and filled out the required form. Then we had 1½ hours to kill. There is certainly not much to do and so we went for a walk, looking at the houses, gardens and hospital before finally catching the very full truck back to our boat. By the time we arrived back we were sore, dirty and very tired.

Today, 4 July we will have a quiet morning and then do all the preparations for our trip back to the south coast of Vanua Levu and an overnight voyage to the island of Makongai where we plan to stay a couple of days before heading for Levuka, the old capital of Fiji. We have been told that there is some very good snorkelling at Makongai and also a lot of turtles. We are also looking forward to visiting Levuka where we need to check in with Customs. We don’t want to arrive there on a Sunday or we would need to pay Customs overtime rates.

Cats, Coconuts and Machete in Kitchen

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