Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Birthdays, Music, and Cocoa

We are back in Lautoka and about to check out of Fiji and sail for New Caledonia. Our remaining days in Musket Cove were spent hiking around the island and with friends. There is a common barbecue area where we would meet up on most evenings. We also celebrated our friend Bob's 65th birthday. Bob and Linda are cruising on 'Bright Angel' and made the crossing from Mexico around the same time as we did last year. Rani made a cake for the party and Bob and Linda treated us and 3 other couples to beer and pizza at the Musket Cove restaurant.

Bob and Linda celebrate Bob's 65th.

Rani walks the path leading to the chapel at Musket Cove

Chapel windows

Chapel angels

We also finally met Paul and Catherine from the British yacht Kahia, whose boat we had first seen in Tonga last year. Among other skills, they are musicians and we spend a fun afternoon on Kahia playing uke, guitar, and flute and singing. We exchanged song books and plan to get together in New Caledonia after we have practiced some tunes. I also played some music at the resort. On Saturday night we watched the resort band play some Fijian and western numbers. Rani told them that I played uke, so they invited me to do a number with them as well as sharing their (very strong) kava with us.

The resort has a large organic farm where they grow lettuce, cabbage, tomatoes, herbs, and many other vegetables and fruit for the restaurants.

Tomato beds at the Musket Cove farm. They use mulch and seaweed to improve the soil.

We finally got around to roasting the cocoa beans we collected on Rabi and Kioa. Bob an Linda had helped us process these back in Kioa (by sucking the tasty sweet-tart fruit off the beans) and they asked us if we had finished processing the beans yet. Today we roasted the beans in the oven (about 100 deg C for 20 minutes) and removed the husks before grinding. We then made our first cup of 'from scratch' cocoa by boiling a couple of tablespoons of ground up beans in three cups of water and adding whole milk powder and sugar. The results were quite good with a lovely chocolate aroma and especially satisfying because we picked and processed the pods ourselves.

Cocoa beans roasting

Roasted and de-husked beans are ready for grinding

We use a small pestle and mortar to grind the cocoa into coarse powder

Chris enjoys a cup of steaming cocoa..

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