03 September 2016 | 16 46.69'S:179 20.03'E, Savusavu, Fiji
Today is our last full day here in the small, laid back town of Savusavu, Fiji. Tomorrow, we will sail SE toward Viti Levu, the main island of Fiji where we will spend the next couple of weeks before heading to the wild country of Vanuatu.
Savusavu must be great because we have been in port nearly two weeks and can hardly account for our time here! Where did the time go? After our less than overwhelming, and very wet, visit to Tonga, Fiji has been a breath of fresh, mostly dry air.
Just under two weeks ago we arrived and instantly loved the feel of this little one-street town of less than half a kilometer in length. It may be small, but they really pack in a lot in a small distance. There are at least four grocery stores, several pharmacies, nearly a dozen clothing stores, several hardware stores, and "Pillays" where you can get any electric motor rebuilt from the ground up. The town is bustling and the people are outgoing and friendly, often calling out "Bula" (hello!) as we walk by. It is an energizing place with always interesting comings and goings to watch.
The number of cruising yachts semi-permanently anchored here attests to how easy a place this is to live. This is partly because it is extremely inexpensive to eat here! Fiji's population is nearly 50% Indian so curries, especially, are plentiful and cheap. A light curry meal is about $6 FD ($4 Canadian) and a full curry dinner with several small plates of food is about $10 ($6 Canadian.) Needless to say, we have taken advantage of the dining possibilities and have eaten out more meals than we have had on the boat. For fine dining, we have eaten at the yacht club where a three course steak meal set us each back about $25 Canadian. There are also a couple of great Chinese food restaurants with tastes that put to shame anything that I have had back home.
Besides eating and hanging out with our friends on Agility and Moonshadow, we also all got together, hired a couple of taxis, and went on a tour of the island.
Our first stop was to a swimming hole and waterfall just a short drive from Savusavu. Before visiting the waterfall were required to stop at the village and ask permission, a standard practice in Fiji where the local village owns the land, water, ocean floor, and all plants in the area. We were greeted at the village by the singing of a welcome song. Then, we offered the chief's representative a bundle of kava root, received their blessing and protection, and were invited to visit their waterfall. Just like the falls that we visited in French Polynesia, the setting was amazing, and swimming in the cool water of the falls was invigorating. We had the falls all to ourselves with jungle overhanging us on all sides.
Other points of interest during the day included a coconut oil factory, sugar cane fields on the north side of the island, a hindu temple and lunch in the big city of Labasa. By late afternoon we were back at the boat, exhausted, but with a bit more of an understanding of Fijian life.
Since we have been here so long, you would expect that we would have done more than just this? Well, there were a few boat jobs thrown in, provisioning, visits to the vegetable market, and some great hikes up the hills behind Savusavu, but not much more! We have done a lot of relaxing on the boat, socializing, and enjoying the first really usable internet that we have had since Mexico.
Tomorrow, we will say good-bye to one of our favorite towns and head off to what locals call the "mainland," the big island of Viti Levu. Prices will be much higher, there will be far more people, and we will start seeing some of the resorts that Fiji is famous for. But, before then, we have several days of travel inside what are supposed to be some pretty stunning coral reefs. We look forward to it!
Picture: Upper Left - Speakeasy, Agility, and Moonshadow enjoying lunch on the deck of the Savusavu Yacht Club. Lower Left - A tropical waterfall and swimming hole all to ourselves. Right - A walking mediation on the 108 steps at the Hindu Naag Mandir "Cobra Rock" temple.