We left the village a little later than planned, and a short ten miles later we arrive at the first option for an anchorage. The movie-set scene beckoned us to stay: white sand beaches surround a calm cove, palm trees, a large sharp rock facing toward the west. The water was more clear than any anchorage we have found in Fiji. “It looks like the set of a Survivor episode.” I think.
As we weighed our options, we realized if we sail two anchorages away, we would arrive at exactly sunset - leaving us no flexibility if the anchorage did not work out for one reason or another. So, we decide to stay here.
Andrew swam away to check the anchor and pretty soon a Fijian man motors up in his little fishing boat. “Bulla!” he beams a big smile. “Where is your husband going?”
I explain he is checking to make sure the anchor set well, and the man nods. He says, “no problem, but before you snorkel or go to shore, you must present sevusevu.” I look around and see no village. Instead, there is a camouflaged tent buried into the bushes.
“Where do we present the Sevusevu?” I ask, looking for indication of the village chief.
“Oh, you can just give it to me. I’ll make sure he gets it.”
After all our previous Sevusevu trouble, this was too easy. I go below and find a kava bundle to hand over. When I return, the man explains to me we are welcome now anywhere on the island except “Over there, where the camouflaged tent is. You know the TV Show Survivor?” I nod, “all their expensive camera equipment is kept in that tent. We guard the tent. So you can go anywhere on the island, except the area of the beach where the tent is. They are filming right now, two islands down!”
Well, what do you know? I laugh and say “no problem.” We explore the white sand beaches, meet some friendly goats, swim and snorkel. Andrew spends a solid half hour trying to coax a bright blue, black and white striped fish we haven’t seen before out from under a pancake reef.
As the palm tree shadows become long across the beach, we are still snorkeling out on the crystal clear reef. A white tipped reef shark arrives, and we watch him for a few minutes until he turns his pointy nose toward us and swims a few fin strokes our way. Like the flying fish that launch themselves onto Sonrisa’s decks, in one swift motion I am out of the water and into Grin, leaving Andrew bobbing in the waves.
“Get out, get out!”
“What? He’s fine.” Andrew tells me, but heaves himself over Grin’s side as well. We putter back to Sonrisa, crack a “new anchorage beer” and watch the sunset.
Cruiser’s Midnight comes early out here, and we are in bed by 8:30 p.m. The next morning, I do a workout on Sonrisa’s bow in a bright pink sunrise. Then, we get under way.
As we pass the next anchorage, we confirm we couldn’t have stayed there anyway as they really are filming Survivor. Guard boats are stationed at the entrance to keep out the sailorly riffraff. A helicopter swoops along overhead. The island is beautiful. Its mountain ridge curls in like a semicircle, undoubtedly lined at the bottom by a beautiful beach. I peek through my camera lens and see a gathering of people, loading onto boats. “They must have been voted off the island,” I tell Andrew.
Just offshore, dolphins jump and play in the waves. As we sail by, the helicopter takes notice and buzzes around us once, flies away, and then returns even lower this time. I wave as they spin their circle just above Sonrisa’s mast. Maybe Sonrisa will be famous! We carry on to Musket Cove, our next stop.