De Novo Lovo

The trip up to Yanuca was butt ugly and unfortunately the anchorage off the village didn’t offer very much protection. We scouted around for a better spot and talked to another visiting yacht and the conclusion was to stay put. It was bad enough the first night that we didn’t launch the dink and stayed aboard although we did make contact with Jack, the acting Chief.

The next morning brought better weather and the feast was planned so we launched and headed to shore. Everyone was out awaiting our arrival.





The other guest of honor was being prepared as well.


While the villagers were preparing the lovo, Kim, Paul, George and Debby were off to the school with books, crayons, markers, paper and stickers that we had brought along. The school (like most village schools we went to) was in desperate need of supplies. The children expressed their thanks by singing songs and individually coming up to collect the books we had brought. Pictures of the school are available on our first post about Yanuca.

I stayed behind and watched the villagers prepare the lovo. These are taro – a starchy root vege and they are first onto the hot rocks.



Then comes our friend the pig wrapped in palm leaves along with fish and chicken wrapped the same way. ONce everything is assembled, palm leaves and banana leaves cover everything.



Then comes a tarp and sand.



Once in the love, everything cooks for around 3 hours. Meanwhile other dishes and desert are prepared. Desert is boiled tapioca with a sauce of boiled coconut milk and brown sugar.


While we were waiting, some of the villagers returned from a day of harvesting sea slugs. The process involves dropping a line with a weight on the end in deep water. Attached to the weight is a barbed hook which impales the sea cucumber and they are hauled back to the surface. One would think the process is inexact and inefficient, but they came back with three large tubs full of the critters.


Not sure how many were there but it I guess they numbered over several hundred. The sea cucumbers are then gutted and dried in the sun. They are further processed by brining and drying them. Once processed, they command something like $150 in the asian markets as a male enhancer – I will leave it to you as to which part they feel gets enhanced.

At any rate, this is the villages main source of income. Jack pays each villager something like $20 for each one they harvest and process. Jack then sells them to a middle man for an amount that he did not disclose. Some of the proceeds are used to benefit the village as a whole (like the new sea wall they are building) and the balance goes to Jack.

Our gift to Jack was a handheld GPS which he said will be very useful in saving good spots to capture the critters – not to mention transiting to and from Taveuni in bad weather.

After a full morning, the food was ready.




Once again, we managed to eat far too much.

After dinner, Debby was presented with gifts from the villagers – a woven mat and place mats. These now grace our deck in Pittsburgh.


George was playing with one of the locals.


Kim and Paul were enjoying a little desert and a suki (Fijian tobacco rolled in news print).




All too soon our day was over and it was time to head back to our gal before we got cut off by the tide.


At first light, it was off to Savusavu but our fond memories of our time at Yanuca will remain. For more about this wonderful little place, look at our first post on Yanuca.

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