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18/08/2014, SavuSavu Hospital

Chris lost a filling last week and effected a repair with one of those kits but found it restricted his diet (pineapple dissolves it) so today we went to the dentist. Clean, airy waiting room (an open veranda) with no old magazines (no magazines at all) a selection of health promotion posters and a selection of cheerful chatty patients with the usual questions, who were we, where were we going and where did we come from. Chris was seen quickly in a modern well equipped surgery and charged the grand total of $18 (about £6) for a filling. He was advised that he needs a crown and we will have to organise that for a later date.

Day Trip
12/08/2014, Rambi

We (Caluso and Kailua) Chris did not come as his knee was bad) were collected by the village ferry at 6.30 this morning to make the trip to Nuku (the Capital). The boat was packed as it is used to take the village children to school. They have a long day as they do not return until 17.30. There was a small cuddy at the front which offered some protection from the waves that occasionally broke over the windward side but was already full by the time we got on. I am glad we did not squeeze in there as a young baby was sick all the way across and her mother used its hat to catch the vomit (then put it back on its head when they got ashore) We collected passengers from several points around the bay at each stop one of the passengers had to jump out to hold the boat while others got in. This involves wading out to the boat, cases, bags and babies are passed over to passengers already on the boat. All in all quite a wet process. The journey took about an hour passing over areas of reef which seemed alarmingly close to the boat. At the ferry destination we had to transfer to a 'bus' In reality an ancient truck with planks in the back, we had been advised to bring a cushion but even if it had survived the boat trip without getting soaked I do not think it would have offered much comfort -definitely not a journey to undertake with a bad back or weak bladder. The bus had not arrived so we decided to start walking, the other passengers said that the bus would pick us up when it passed. The village was neat tidy and teaming with children making their way to school, progress was slow as everyone had a friendly greeting and many wanted to know where we were from why we were there and where we were going. Met a teacher also waiting for bus as she was going to post office (infant school broke up yesterday) , we talked until bus came and she was our guide around Nuku. By this time mother and baby had joined us, The Mum told me that baby had a fever and she was taking it to the hospital (not seasickness like we thought). Although a very small one horse village we would have missed so much without our guide. We completed official business by signing in at police station it was quite laid back, they did not bother too much about documents. The cell at the back of the police station appeared to be standing in as a bike store, would have loved to get a photo but thought they might not be too happy about it. Our grand tour included the new ice plant, the eco fuel producer (turning coconut oil into diesel for trucks and generators), hospital and a small factory producing virgin coconut oil. Coconuts are bought at 20c each (a few pence) from the villagers, and processed with very basic tools. Milk, coconut water and oil is extracted is extracted and the 'meat' is spread out and dried on a bench which is heated by burning the coconut shells. The processed coconut is mostly used as chicken and pig feed but also coloured and used in cakes. Some of the shells go to a ladies cooperative down the road and made into jewellery. Absolutely nothing wasted and provides employment where jobs are scarce. As there was nowhere to buy food or drinks we opted to start a leisurely amble back, the bus was not due until 14.00h. Our teacher had invited us to see a traditional dancing display at the junior school (her daughters were taking part) it was the last day of term. The school in Nuko was practicing for the sports day on Thursday, we met the teachers and then bought coconut donuts (coconut filling stained lurid shades of green and red) from the school tuckshop, it was that or bubblegum as the last of the rotis had gone. Sugar fix completed we continued on, progress slow as ever as we kept stopping to talk. Then everyone disappeared, it was lunch time we sat outside a 'closed for lunch' shop to rest in shade for a bit, we had not been there long when an old lady popped out to see if we needed help. We are fine we assured her but felt obliged to troop into shop and came away with salted dhal and wafer biscuits. Next rest was on the steps of a large Methodist Church where we managed to borrow some cups to share out our homemade squash (courtesy of Caluso). Rested and quenched we set off again and were soon overtaken by bus which bumped and rattled us back to our starting point. We had an hour to wait for the display so were shown around infant school, had nibbles and water and saw 'lovers rock' (see photos). The dancing display was brilliant and well worth waiting for, costumes were all made by the children themselves. We then had a dash for the ferry and an even wetter ride back. Mother and sick baby sat next to me no longer vomiting but coughing and very snotty. A very thoughtful lad sitting on the floor in front of us kept wiping the snot off the baby with his hand (I don't know where it went after that) I gave them my packet of baby wipes which seemed a better solution to problem. Returned to the boat shattered, hoping Chris would have prepared meal, no such luck but at least the knee was better

Change of Plan
08/08/2014, Fawn Harbour

Arrived Fawn Harbour yesterday, after a slightly bumpy passage. Very pretty anchorage but decided not to inflate dinghy as we would move straight on to Viana, but the weather had other plans. Day started calm but heavy mist which we expected would burn off, instead visibility got worse so we were stuck as we could not go through the reef without the sun overhead to show up the rocks and coral. It remained wet and blowey all day so we were not tempted to inflate the dinghy especially as a visit ashore entailed a wade through the mud at low tide (and you never know what is lurking in that!) A lazy day reading, baked bread and banana cake

Found them
02/08/2014, SavuSavu

Found the Springs, they were behind the health centre and further inland than I had thought. Too far to cause the steam to drift over the sea, but they were definitely very hot and were being used for cooking. At home they would have been all fenced off to prevent anyone from falling in/touching it!

Where are the hot springs?
02/08/2014, SavuSavu

Have walked up coast in both directions. No sign of the hot springs, guide book says you can't miss them as they are boiling temp and you can see steam rising where they meet the sea. Locals are supposed to use them for cooking in! All I found was health spa baths and The Hot Springs Hotel which have presumably been built over the site since the guide book was written. Still the walk was nice. We went as far as Savusavu Marina in the other direction having met the owner in the butchers (originally a vet from Devon). We had tea there, lovely peaceful spot in the mangroves and very protected. Will probably base boat here as it is very pretty but not far out of town (£1 in the taxi).

Arrived Fiji
29/07/2014, Fiji

Arrived yesterday in time to get the last customs berth, clearance took all morning and we were at last free to go ashore. Luck remained with us and we got the last berth in the marina. That means electricity, wifi and water. The Coprashed Marina is quite small but has friendly staff, a nice bar and restaurant with deck over the water. The shops and market are only a short walk away and are well stocked. Chris says the beer is excellent!. Too shattered to do anything yesterday (fell asleep before we had finished our bottle of wine). Feeling much better now after a good sleep. Went into town plenty of shops and a good market with loads of lovely spicy aromas (will have to come without sun glasses as it is a bit too dark in there to identify things). Much cheaper than Tonga. Lunch out for about £1.50 and evening meal in Marina restaurant for £10 so quite hopeful that I may get my birthday meal out (It didn't happen in Tonga because they were not showing the Rugby. Loads of fabric shops so may get a new Lavalava. Supermarket is well stocked with European, Indian and Chinese foods and spices.

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