Friday, November 9, 2012

Komo in Lau in Fiji

When we finally tore ourselves away from friendly Susui, we headed to the island of Komo, an overnight sail to the SW.  We were the only yacht here for the 10 days we stayed.  It was quite a hike to the village--up and over the hill and down a red dirt path past the school and into the village. 

Matui met us the first day we anchored and he was our guide whenever we went to the village.  Guides are usually related to the Chief and Matui was the grandson or nephew, I'm not sure.  Family has lots of blurred lines and crossed meanings here.

Note: the pics below aren't necessarily in order of their happening.

Jason and Karen with the island nurse in front of the medical clinic at Komo.  The crimps in the fishing line gouged Karen's hand when bringing in the mahi mahi below and the nurse changed the bandage since it had gotten wet with ocean water coming ashore that day.
 The mahi mahi we caught en route to Komo.

Some of Karen's cowries found on Komo.

School kids doing a traditional dance for us in their classroom.
 Schoolkids outside to do another song and dance for us.  They sang their national anthem for us the last day we were there as a good-bye, too.
 The view of the lagoon in front of the village.  This is the view from the top of the hill we had to walk over to get from our anchorage to the village of Komo.
 A beautiful Komo sunset
 The mahi mahi landed on YOLO.  They are such a colorful fish at first, but the color drains away quickly after they are brought aboard (as you can see in the pic above).  This female was good eating.

The village water supply is in this structure, in open vats with this as the only protection to keep the water clean and free of falling debris.
 Our first visit to the village, Matui (on left) brought us into his home and fet us papaya, banana, lemon leaf tea and donuts they called pancakes.  So sweet and friendly and generous in their hospitality.
 Matui with a giant clam shell on the rocky part of the shore.  These gian clams are considered endangered but we saw lots of them alive and very colorful, though few as big as these in our snorkeling depths.  There were lots of these shells everywhere, but we're not allowed to have them as they are on the list of endangered species.
 An old sewing machine now used as an anchor in a local boat.
 Matui's mother, Sarah, rolling herself a cigarette with the local tobacco called suki.  Who needs rolling papers?  Just use an old newspaper or a page of an unread book.  I had a really poorly written book I'd read and was thinking of giving her to use the pages for her smokes, but thought that might send the wrong message.  Magazines were a much more popular choice than books here.
 Sarah and her cigarette.  Not her most flattering pose, eh?

A Komo woman weaving a mat in her home.  Mats are considered very valuable and show prestige.  They are kept as heirlooms and given as expensive gifts.
 The yam, cassava and papaya Matui gave us on our last day as a farewell gift.  These baskets of woven palm fronds are everywhere.
 YOLO at anchor off Komo.  Looking back from the hilltop on the way to the village.
 Jason, Matui, and Jason. The insisted they walk us back over the hill and carry the haul of fruits and veges for us as we prepared to leave.
 The drying coconut twine on the roof of the homes.  It is called mangi mangi and is the principle source of income for these folks.  They braid the coconut husk strands into this rope and sell it for approximately $5 for 75 feet.  I don't know how they survive....
 China has recently begun buying dried sea cucumbers from Fijian islands and many of the islanders are pillaging the sea floor to gather them to sell.  They dry them, salt them, and send them to a big city to be sent to China.  They get a pittance for them and I'm afraid they'll decimate the seas around them for a quick buck for a Chinese aphrodisiac.
 Palm fronds drying to be used for weaving
 Jason with coconut husk fibers like the ones used to braid into mangi mangi rope.


Missy Shay said...

I am doing a blog post about people using sewing machines as boat anchors. Do you mind if I borrow your picture, I will quote your blog post as the image source.
Thank you!

ctah said...

Thank You very much guys for the lovely pictures of my island home.. It was nice seeing pictures of relatives back home... For the islanders.. Sera and Se, your kindness and hospitality will be renowned beyond those shores....

Kirsten Takape said...

Thank you so much for posting these beautiful pictures of Komo!! It is my husband's village and I long to go see it!