Thursday, June 29, 2006
The floating island near Labasa
A house guest, Pita from Sydney, told me a story today about the floating island in Macuata. Pita is from Vunivutu village, east of Labasa. He said that it is within the village of Nubu, over an hour’s bus drive from Labasa, going east, there is a small lake with a floating island about the size of a large house. It is made of thick tangled reeds such as kuta and is called Nawaqakuta which means the Kuta reed boat. Kuta is a type of reed. The island is so-named because it moves like a boat. Pita said that a traditional priest, a bete, chants beside the lake and the island moves. Eventually it stops and sits beside the hard land. The people don't go swimming in this lake and it is rather shallow.
The only references I found to a floating island in a lake in this area is named as Nakelikoso, which is a village not far from Nubu. Today a road goes to Nubu. Before, access was by boat and river. The local people do not go near the lake because they are a bit frightened about it, Pita said. But when the priest performs his chant a group of people can stand on the floating island.