Sugarcane Time in Fiji
17 July 2008 | Fiji
When we arrived in Fiji, we were pleasantly surprised to see the acres and acres of sugarcane fields - reminded us of the green rolling hills of our home port, Durban. Sugar Cane has been the backbone of Fiji's economy.
The sugar cane here is harvested by hand and they use a machette, that looks a bit different than the Panamanian one we have on board for cutting open coconuts.
The cane is then tied in bundles and loaded on trucks or train trucks and transported to the sugar factory, where a grinding mill extracts the sugar from the cane. All over the roads and fields are small guage railway lines and little "tjoe-tjoes" work from early hours of the morning till late at night transporting the sugar cane back to the mill. Since they started harvesting, the chimney stack of the mill has not stopped smoking and as one enters the town, the sweet smell of molasses hangs in the air. I think you can read between the lines that I am really fascinated with and loving this cane harvesting time! The little train trucks are loaded as high as it is possible and quite often these trucks tumble over and then a road could be blocked by sugar cane for a looong, loong time!!
These days we all wake up at 4am by either the train's whistle or the rumbling and rattling of the wheels over the tracks! and that sets off the dogs...
We are on the Western side of Viti Levu, the big island and the mill is in Lautoka, the closest town to Vuda Marina where we stay at the moment. Lovely marina and worth a mention. It is a cyclone hole, we spent most of the cyclone season here and were very happy with our decision not to brave the lower latitudes and cold weather, going down to New Zealand! Have beautiful well maintained lawns, shop, chandlery, restaurant and bar with one of the best views of the spectacular sunsets. Boabab Marine is the yacht maintenance and repair company and also the Yanmar agent. And we are a few miles away from the lovely Mamanucas and Yasawa Islands; more about those islands later.
We have decided to stay for a while in the Fiji Islands and are currently going through the whole Immigration process. It is possible to stay in Fiji, get all the information on the website http://www.ftib.org.fj
Have lots to tell and lots of information, more about it all later.