Savusavu on the south coast of Vanua Levu was our first stop in Fiji. We spent a few days here, recovering from the sail up from New Zealand and re-stocking with fresh food.
There is a large Indian population in Fiji, mostly descended from indentured labourers brought in by Fiji’s British colonial rulers between 1879 and 1916, to work on the sugar cane plantations. We wandered around the town and along the waterfront, soaking up the atmosphere and tasting the local Indian cuisine (so cheap even we ate out). Savusavu is a small, busy town but we were amazed that everybody said “Bula” (hello) with a huge smile as we wandered through. So far we have been bowled over by how friendly and helpful the Fijians are. Getting our gas bottles re-filled was straight forward despite by now having 3 different bottles, from 3 different countries, with 3 different connectors!
One of the major items that we had been unable to get hold of in New Zealand was anti-malaria drugs (for use in Vanuatu). In NZ we would have needed an expensive doctors appointment, for which there was at least a 2 week wait. As we were exploring Savusavu we passed their medical centre so popped in to ask about anti-malarials on the off-chance that they would sell us some. Within 10 minutes we were walking out with a prescription in hand, which the local pharmacy quickly fulfilled, at a fraction of what it would have cost in the UK or NZ. Lesson learnt: if you can’t get what you need easily, just try another country.
With 6 weeks to spare before we collected our friends from the airport in Western Fiji, we were keen to explore the remote set of islands to the east, known as the Lau group. For this we needed to take on board a stock of yaqona (kava) . This root is pounded into powder and mixed with water to create the traditional drink that is much favoured in the islands. Each area we visited would require us visiting the chief and presenting a gift of kava root to request permission to anchor, snorkel and fish in the area belonging to that village.
We headed east along the coast of Vanua Levu in light winds. Unfortunately the light winds soon became no wind and we had to motor for a day. Making our way through a pass inside the reef, we were met by these incredible spinner dolphins. We didn’t catch them jumping in a photo, but these shots from the bow show how still and clear the water was.
An overnight anchorage along the coast allowed us to explore the mangroves and watch the sky fill with thousands of huge fruit bats at sunset.
Continuing along the coast we found deserted beaches, and with the flat calm conditions we explored nosed our way into some of the beaches. Here the chart had no information so we just worked our way in through the reefs by eye and found a beautiful spot for the night.
The Lau group is upwind from the main islands and therefore normally difficult to get to, but a break in the weather meant that we should be able to beat there overnight in flat seas and just 9 knots of wind, kind of perfect conditions for going upwind! So we made the decision to skip some of the sights we wanted to see along the coast and head out to sea again.
3 thoughts on “Our first taste of Fiji”
Awesome piks and story line, guys! Thanks for sharing your amazing trip with the rest o us “land lubbers” and dreamers! keep up the good work….( is it work ???? 🙂 🙂 ).
Fair winds, blue skies and good health.
Keep it coming!
Thanks Geoff, we would struggle to call the parts of the adventure that we share ‘work’! The maintenance and editing perhaps, but as far as we are concerned we are living the dream. 🙂
Great pics and stories. What memories you will have to tell your kids! ☺ Is there another video coming soon?