Cruising South Viti Levu
03 July 2014 | Likuri Island
We left Musket Cove on a new adventure to Robinson Crusoe Island resort where we had heard that they presented a traditional Fijian fire show and dinner and were very happy to welcome cruisers. Some of the resorts are exclusive and we don’t go ashore but are able to anchor off of their beaches. To get there, we used Google Earth charts that were downloaded and transposed upon our electronic charts confirming that the electronic chart datum was dead on accurate. This gave us confidence that the reef was exactly where our chart told us it would be. We anchored off of Likuri Island where the resort is located. Our friends with young kids went ashore and spent most of the day playing while they were entertained at the resort. We went in for sundowners and signed up for the Saturday dinner and festivities, the following day.
The resort caters to tourists who come to stay for about five days in a rustic setting. The resort’s employees led activities entertaining the guests and cruisers most of the day. This was a cruiser friendly enterprise and many of us came ashore to participate in the festivities. At about six o’clock after dark we participated in our first Sevu Sevu experience where we were ceremoniously accepted by the community, donated our Kava and participated in our first Sevu Sevu . Kava is a root that is pulverized and mixed with water and is then offered for drinking in coconut shells. The theory is that the lips go numb and in quantity it relaxes the body. Kava was used by the Fijians for generations. It didn't taste like mud as we had expected, it was actually quite pleasant and it made our lips slightly numb. The senior person who prepared the Kava was dressed up ceremoniously and the ceremony itself was very colorful and entertaining.
The resort is successful in recruiting tourists from other resorts for their dinner and show and perhaps 100 people were brought in by boat and ceremoniously welcomed with music and torches. Once they were settled, we were treated to a fire walking demonstration where several Fijians walked barefoot on hot coals.
It was then time to serve a buffet dinner. We were provided with a Western type meal with roast pork, roast beef and/or fish served with baked potatoes and local vegetables and freshly buttered baked bread.
After dinner, it was pitch black and the fire show began. There were many enthusiastic performers all rapidly twirling fire sticks lit on both ends. Their gymnastics and stamina was impressive and the show was quite a spectacle. After the first act both Fijian men and women dressed in costume dancing to very upbeat music. A good time was had by all. The show lasted about an hour and by its end all of the performers seemed to be well exercised, as they were dedicated entertainers. The whole evening cost us only about $40 US, $70 Fijian and was great fun.
Despite their limited facilities they did a great job at welcoming guests and cruisers and have been doing this for many years. Some enterprising entrepreneur came up with the name Robinson Crusoe for the Resort name with no relationship to the real Robinson Crusoe who was shipwrecked several hundred miles off the coast of Chile.
We are now planning an overnight passage to Kandavu hoping that it will be extraordinary for it’s virginal reefs clear water and marine life. Kandavu is home to the fourth longest reef system in the world. The locals there are all native Fijians, not Indians, which comprise more then half the population of Fiji. The outer islands are much more traditional and follow the old way of living with their local customs. We are required to check in with the local chief and present a gift of Kava. He then gives permission to come ashore on the various islands that he oversees. When we leave his area we then again check in with the next chief and do the same thing again. The chief gives us protection from any disputes that might ensue (whatever that might mean). With that said there is no theft in these out islands. We are much more careful in the more populated “city” areas about locking up the dinghy and lifting it up in the davits at night.
From the Crew of Always Saturday.