Much of the land in Fiji is controlled by villages and we are required to check-in with the local chief of the controlling village when we anchor someplace. That’s where the sevusevu is performed. When we were in Savusavu we bought several bundles of yagona (kava) root, tied up in bundles wrapped in a page of a current newspaper. I guess it’s their way of knowing how fresh the root is. Anyway, as soon as we drop the anchor we’re supposed to go into the village, dressed in sulus and no hats or sunglasses. We ask for the spokesman to take us to the chief where we remove our shoes, step into his house, sit on the floor, tucking our legs somewhere, and present our kava. Fijian prayers are said over the kava and everyone claps 3 times as thank you. We have yet to be presented with kava to drink during sevusevu. I think they like to save it for themselves and have found foreigners don’t like the taste. After the blessing, stilted conversation ensues. They ask us where we’re from and we ask them about village life. Somewhere in the mix they advise us of any restrictions like no fishing in the bay or we can only walk around the island with someone from the village, or we ask about trading for fruit and veggies. Often the chief is not present and you certainly can’t spot him by his attire. We’ve only met 2 chiefs in sevusevu.
With that said, after we left Dalicone we motored back up past Bay of Islands and wanted to anchor in Tota, but first we had to motor to Mavana where the chief is. We were buddy boating with Sidewinder. Mavana is fronted by a very large reef area and we arrived at med tide so we had to anchor out and dinghy in. As we approached the village, we were met by Sam from Dalicone who was visiting family. He took us to the chief’s wife and daughter to present the kava, then gave us a tour of the island. The village was like a travel brochure with huts and houses of interesting design. It was clean and tidy and everyone gave us a bula welcome.
We were invited to sit and have some water and they gave us ladyfingers bananas which are wonderfully sweet little things. Suzy and I wandered through the garden and just as we were getting ready to leave the chief appeared, lugging a big bag of coconuts. We said our goodbyes and lugged our dinghy back out to deeper water and headed back to Tota (Little Bay) to anchor for a few days.