After a bumpy sail for a lot of the fleet from Tonga, the World ARC Pacific fleet arrived in Fiji with the majority of boats arriving in Lomaloma on Vanua Balavu one of the islands in the Lau group. As this isn't a clearance port, the chance to clear in and visit these stunning islands is a huge privilege only made possible by advance arrangements.
A group of officials from Customs, Immigration, Biosecurity and Health flew out to Vanuabalavu for the week, accompanied by a representative from the agent and WCC rally control. As boats arrived in the anchorage in Lomaloma the officials visited them onboard to complete the paperwork and clear them into the country, enabling the fleet to start exploring the archipelago.
The fleet arrived and were cleared in over 4 days and were very keen to start exploring, most leaving for more protected anchorages on the north and west side of the island.
To enable the boats to visit the islands, a sevusevu ceremony must be completed with each village, asking permission from the chief and village elders for the boats and crews to anchor, explore and swim in their waters. This traditional ceremony is hugely important and holds great significance, with a representative from the visiting officials speaking on behalf of the rally and visitors to ask permission and presenting the Kava root, an important part of the ceremony.
Sevusevu ceremonies took place ahead of the fleets arrival in the villages of Lomaloma, and Daliconi. This protocol must be observed for the rally to anchor and clear in at Lomaloma and to be able to visit the Bay of Islands which is owned by the Daliconi village.
Once all the boats had arrived a sevusevu ceremony and meke, a traditional dance, was arranged for the crews at Daliconi village. It was enjoyed by all with many joining in the dancing with the locals. Crews also visited the local school where school children welcomed them with a song and showed them around.
The boats have spent the week exploring the Bay of Islands, a group of 307 islands in the North of Vanuabalavu famed for its stunning scenery, caves and brilliant blue water. They will now start to move on to other islands in Fiji for a period of free cruising before regrouping in Musket Cove at the end of August for the restart to Vanuatu.