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Mico Verde
Introduction to Musket Cove

Malololailai, Fiji
July 31, 2006

(Wojo) We'd previously read in the Lonely Planet that there was a great hike to be had on Malolo (the bigger island next to Malololailai, accessible by land at low tide). After asking around the Musket Cove Marina we were very disappointed, however. The marina staff told us was that we needed to first come inside and take a slip and then someone would take us by boat to the village of Solevu where we could start the trek.

The Lonely Planet described a 1940s area lookout built by the American army during WWII. They also mentioned that it had some incredible views of the Mamanucas isles. We were determined to get to the top of the lookout by hook or by crook.

Musket Cove anchorage

While practicing my Fijian with some locals at their vale on Malolo one day, I asked an older gentleman if he was familiar with the hike and lookout. He most certainly was but was very curious as to why tourists no longer frequent it. Little did he know the marina and resorts were sabotoging their efforts to get a few tourists on his island. He also told me that all we needed to do was to take the dinghy down the beach to his sister's place and from there the locals would tell us everything we needed to know to get started.

Two days later we were set to find the path. We'd even pressed into service a couple of Kiwi friends to help keep the official story straight in the end. At around ten in the morn we headed across the reef at high tide for the bay on Malolo. We found the point of departure in question and met a nice big Fijian dude named Nicky. He was a little surprised to see us but pleased that we wanted to see more of the island than just the lazy touristy bits. He gave us info on how to find the trail and we were off like a shot.

Basically we just needed to head to the top of a ridge and then follow it west to several other adjoining peaks and head towards the highest point on the island to get to the lookout. In typical Mico fashion it turned out to be a pretty challenging bushwack for most of the trip to the top, but well worth it in the end. The sights were indeed spectacular. It provides a full 360-degree view of the two islands as well as a host of all the other neighboring isles.

After a leisurely lunch we started to head down. The boys were convinced that we could "save time" by taking a short cut down a ridge and then cheat back over to the beach. The ladies thought this silly and opted for the safer and more well known path from the ascent.

After an extremely taxing slog through high bush and swamp I finally gave up the short cut and hiked back up the ridge (in 100F) to rejoin the path. Eventually I arrived back at the dinghy, sunburned and exhausted, and we had a quick trip back to the anchorage.

Following an excellent nap and lots of water we joined up with our NZ friends again at the BBQ pits at the island bar on Lailai. I love to grill over a wood fire. A fine meal was had by all and many Bitters were consumed.

Mamanucas islands looking North

Musket Cove on Malololailai

Castaway island where they reportedly shot the Tom Hanks movie.

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SV Mico Verde