Malakati semolina-like sand

If it hadn’t been for the wind chasing us away from our too exposed Sawa-i-Lau anchorage, we might have missed out on the picturesque sandy beach of Malakati Bay.

Back from school

That would have been a shame, as we enjoyed there a relaxing afternoon playing in the water, walking on the beach (a change from our countless swims from the boat), and some crab watching.

That is after the most expedited sevusevu with the 76-year-old chief whose afternoon nap we disturbed, and who nonchalantly threw our bunch of yaqona behind his bed as soon as the “ceremony” (one sentence, three claps, him sitting on his bed and us standing in front of him) was over. The brief tour of the village escorted by Jo, the young man who acted as the ambassador, somehow balanced the sense of neglect, and we learnt that, as the eldest cousin of his generation in the chief clan, he was the designated heir destined to become chief when the last one before him would pass away, but he didn’t look forward to this moment and in fact was doing everything he could, studying law and politics in Suva in order to find a job there, to escape his destiny of boring duties as village-bound leader.

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