About Us

Welcome to our blog, describing our voyage aboard Bravo, a Kelly Peterson 46 sailboat with homeport in Seattle, Washington. We headed south in 2010, destined for Mexico and beyond. Cheers, Adam and Cindi

"As for me, I am tormented by an everlasting itch for things remote. I love to sail forbidden seas, and land on barbarous coasts." -Herman Melville, 1844

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Fulaga Chronicles - Part 5: Dead Men Tell No Tales!!!

It's well known that early Fijians were fierce warriors.  And that cannibalism was a commonly practiced ritual.  Put those two things together, and things can get ugly!!!!!  Little did we know that the idyllic island setting of Fulaga was, like much of Fiji, the site of these rites.

One day, after hiking to the high point of the island to check out the views, Mele and Bis offered to take Graham, Diane, Cindi, and me to see a nearby cave strewn with early human bones.  Bringing out the Indiana Jones in us, how could we refuse???  Lead on, oh fearless guides!!!

We climbed up a short steep rock outcropping to a cave set into the face of the cliff over the village.  There we found a good sized pile of bones...skulls and other bones piled up with no particular reverence, as might be shown in a typical ancestral burial plot.

Bis said that no one knows what the origin of the bones really is....are they ancestors of residents of the village, or remains of vanquished (and presumably eaten) warriors???  To their knowledge no archeologists have ever studied the remains or dated them.  We examined several of the skulls, and most showed signs of being smashed, usually at the back of the head.  This, plus the rather cavalier stacking of the bones, would seem to indicate that no love was felt for the original owners of the bones.....likely not a burial site for ancestors.  The mystery lives on.....

A few days later, we were telling Bis how interesting the cave trip was.  He mentioned that he might be able to find another cache of bones near another cave as well, if we were up for it......UP FOR IT???  Lead on, Bis!!!

Check out Joanna's left foot hold!!!!  We're getting there!!!
 Reaching this batch o' bones was a bit more of a challenge, involving some class 4 rock scrambling.  Happily us kaipalangis wore hiking shoes, though Bis and his wife Joanna were in sandals!  At any rate, we all made it up the short face and gingerly peered over the edge.....once again, another assortment of human bones.  This time they were just sitting on a ledge under a rock overhang.  Here they were sorted a bit.....skulls in one pile, other bones in another.  Again, no real knowledge among the villagers of the origin.  But like the other pile, many of these skulls were cracked open.

Graham, aka "Indie of Ardwall"

Reaching the ledge of bones

"Who goes there???"

 After checking out the bones, we decided to check out the little cave opening next to the ledge.  Bis said no one had been up here yet this year.  He stuck his head in, and immediately we heard a horrendous SCREEECH from deep in the cave!!!  It kept on going!!!  Bis freaked out, so of course so did we kaipalangis!!!  (No matter how old they are, messing about with skulls is bound to put you on edge!!!)  We thought that maybe a feral pig was around the corner, and no one wanted to meet it face to face!!!

But not to be deterred, next in went Indie of Ardwall, not knowing what lay in wait just inside.......We had no flashlights, but he held his arm in with his camera strobe on, reached around, fired off a shot, and pulled back his arm.  We all huddled around the camera to see what beast was in there shrieking so loud.   Graham opened up the image, and we all started to laugh...

Entrance on right, then into the larger cave to the left

It was a baby bird, tucked into a small alcove just inside the cave entrance, whose mother must have left to go get food.  At first we thought it might be an owl, but looking at it's webbed feet, it's obviously a sea bird of some type.  After checking on the internet, it's clearly a baby white tailed tropic bird.

We took a few photos of the feisty chick as we walked past into the large cave beyond.  We were eager to check it out and be gone before mom came back with dinner!!!

Hard to believe how loud the little guy's warning cry was!!!
The cave beyond was quite spectacular, with stalagtites and stalagmites all around.  We hurriedly did a bit more exploration before leaving the little chick to the darkness, awaiting his meal.  All in all, it had been another great day in Fulaga!!!  Thanks, Bis and Joanna, for showing us another unique bit of the island.

Cindi looking for the lost "Temple of Doom"

Bis at a rear entrance to the cave in the face of the cliff, looking out over the water.

1 comment:

  1. Hey guys! Just catching up a bit on your wonderful adventures- life keeps getting more & more interesting as you journey forth! Jamie & I had a nice Lower Salmon river trip a little while ago & the daughter of our friend Chris White was along- Taiga & her brother Taran- & lo & behold it really is a small world, cuz she fishes up in Alaska & is a neighbor to Gray- knows them well! I remember you telling us about a "vacation" up there with them years ago & you helped with the set-net fishing...what a coincidence, eh? PS-We celebrated our 24th anniversary this past Earth Day, too- but didn't have the classy celebration as you did. Looked like a blast of a party! Love- The Bunster