It's hard to get anywhere in Fiji without Ravi causing quite a stir. Fijians love children in a way that's often commented on; even by people not trying to get across the market in order to catch a bus with a babe in arms. There's warmth and positivity towards all children here more noticeable than anywhere else we've been but common to all island communities. It's deep in the culture.
Wailea is a general exclamation word similar to wow. Ni Sa shows warmth and is added to lots of greetings but is used on its own to coo over Ravi. Papa is the Fijian word for baby. Fijians everywhere we go want to give Ravi cuddles. They pinch his cheeks, they stroke his arms and sniff his head showing affection similar to a kiss. Children come up and kiss him then parade him round their friends.
Any Fijian you encounter can be willingly entrusted with holding the baby if you're trying to do something. Where else would a lone man wandering past be delighted when a tiny one only a few weeks old is thrust in their arms? It means that dragging the dinghy up the beach or rearranging shopping bags is a breeze. Given half the chance they'll keep him as long as they can; no one's ever too busy to gush over a baby. In Fiji time everything else can wait.
The school kids and Lani the teacher at these boy's school would shout Ravi Ravi from the shore out to the boat for him to come and play
The ladies in this supermarket said they would baby sit him 'come back for him when he's 12!'
Tom the chief of the village of Yalobi on Waya, Ravi with Mary who, pleased to see we used cloth nappies gave us a big one from her boys 'all grown up now'
These kids had never ventured up the path scaling the hillside but scampered up alongside us if it meant they could hang out with Ravi just a little longer...
We're pottering along nicely here. We thought the passport might take some time and we weren't wrong... There have been several tedious stumbling blocks the trickiest of which has been getting the right background for the photo. Our first attempt was to use a photographer in town but not only was it rejected because the background was wrong, it was also technically too small and missing a border. Ridiculous we know, but it's not as easy as you might think finding a suitably coloured and clean sheet, then getting him to hold his head square on it without wrinkles. Hopefully we've finally found a solution and together with all the extra forms and proof required, the UK passport authority should be processing it any day now.
A few photos that didn't make the cut
Life continues as normal here in the meantime. Alongside handwashing around 15 nappies a day, we've still got boat projects and fixing things as they fail. In the last month or so we've been keeping on top of the varnishing and trying to figure out why the engine wasn't starting so well. In the end the culprit was the injectors which have now been serviced and in the mean time our exhaust muffler developed a leak and so we've re-designed that system to make it more convenient and less likely to fail in the future. Also our main halyard winch pulled out of the mast whilst sailing. It made a dent in the mast but could have been much worse. It's now through bolted to the staysail winch on the other side and all the old holes are plugged. Sitka spruce whilst being light and strong does not take fittings well. Thankfully we made the mast solid at that point so this is no problem and we're glad we already overbored and epoxied the mast track screw holes.
We had a lovely couple of weeks out at Waya staying by the village of Yalobi. We liked it so much we are wending our way back there now. We hope to give them our old main sail as we think the villagers will put it to good use as a shelter or for drying pandanus in order to make the mats they weave. It's quite an industrious village what with the big boarding school serving the surrounding islands and with visits from cruise ships most weeks. It's still very much a traditional village though with a chief and a laid back friendly feel.
Yalobi village, Waya.
Ravi enjoying the sunrise outside
We tried to encourage Ravi to look at the camera but he was too overwhelmed by the sight of his beautiful wooden mast so we went with that look instead. Along with Ravi's first photos we've lost our straightening program with our dead hard drive. A necessary tool when taking photos on a boat!
We're taking him for regular dips. Baby steps.
We lost the path on the walk up to the ridge so eventually had to abort, I was barefoot but the main problem was the mosquitoes and the sun getting higher.
Waya on the way out, we'll be back
Heeled right over he was oblivious... until we tacked!
Life never gets boring on a boat, if nothings happening you can just dance to the windscoop fluttering...
Or laugh at the clouds...
Our bright eyed boy is getting more interactive all the time...
So I'm sure some of you might be wondering how it's all going. Truthfully it's great. We can't compare parenting on land but there are loads of things great about parenting on our boat. The trickiest is probably how careful we need to be with him and the sun. He's fine around town or rowing about as he's quite happy to have a sarong flung over his head and generally goes to sleep or has a feed. However we've found that even just the reflected sun from the water out in the cockpit has to be carefully rationed and when going for a swim not only does he risk burning but also gets cold very quickly too. All part of the learning curve! Hopefully from the photos you can see how good a time we're having, probably the most important is that we have the time to really enjoy it. All those boat jobs can wait. We're on Ravi time.
Ravi in his carseat having a gentle sail back for his check up and immunisations