June 10-July 5 2022

Travel to Fiji from Bora Bora was a struggle by sea and air. Fabian and Daniela had to deal with several nasty squalls with winds over 40 ,big seas and an autopilot that went out forcing them to seek shelter behind an atoll in the Cook Islands. After a little rest and replacing the autopilot fuse they were scooted off the island by Cook Island border patrol. I on the other hand dealt with a canceled Fiji Airlines flight at 1 AM and no nearby hotel vacancies. The whole process was massively mishandled by Fiji Air so it was 4 am before any of the passengers were able to get to a hotel room.

Chasing the setting sun to Fiji from 40,000 ft.

Ultimately we all arrive in Savusavu , Fiji to reconnect.

By air and sea
Savusavu anchorage

Fiji is located in the southern pacific approximately midway between French Polynesia and Australia.Considered by most to be part of mesonesia, not polynesia, Fiji consists of 330 islands spread out over 7000 Sq miles. The largest island Viti Levu houses Nadi , Fiji’s only international airport and Suva, the capital. Viti Levu and two other main islands Vanua Levu and Taveuni are home to 90% of Fijians. The remaining islands are remote,sparsely inhabited and make fantastic cruising opportunities to see unspoiled Fiji. Fijians travel among all the islands by small plane, ferry and personal boats. In short Fiji covers a huge area in the southern pacific. It is possible to only begin to explore this beautiful country in the month we are here. Fiji definitely deserves a return visit.

After 2 days taking care of immigration,customs, biosecurity and laundry we are off to Tevanui for some diving along the famous rainbow reef. Fiji has some of the clearest water and vibrant hard and soft coral anywhere in the world. The fish are predominantly small and colorful reef fish. The large pelagics we saw in Tahiti are less prevalent. As we move closer to Australia we are starting to see more aggressive sharks with Tiger and Bull sharks making the rare appearance.

Typical day of snorkeling in Fiji

Fijians are a proud uber friendly people. They speak their native language to each other but all are fluent in english . We are greeted with a hearty BULA , hello, by everyone we meet including complete strangers. While the cities and tourist spots are cosmopolitan when we get out to the remote islands tribal traditions predominate with each village led by a ”chief”. These island villages are small and self contained with 20-100 people many with small schools and all with their own church. The kids go to school on the ”school boat” and a boat takes many to church on Sunday.

When visiting a village there are certain customs followed that show respect to the chief and village smoothing the way to a welcome stay . This consists of wearing traditional Fijian clothes ,sulu, and bringing Kava root as a gift to the chief , sevusevu . Kava is a traditional and very popular urbal drug similar to a local anesthetic that causes numbness of the mouth and face. It tastes like muddy water . In some of the villages we visit it is almost a daily ritual.

Invited by local villagers into their home ….We are dressed in traditional sulu giving them a solar light provided by Sea Mercy
Testing eyesight for reading glasses
Through an NGO “Sea Mercy” we give eyeglasses to those who have very limited access to basic healthcare… The smile on their faces when they can see to thread a line on a fish hook for the first time in years…. priceless
Drinking Kava with a Fijian who had studied at U of Georgia, a proud Bulldog

We were joined by good friends James and Lyndi Rose for a week of packed activities….snorkeling, diving and exploring the remote northeast islands in the North Lau Group.

Getting ready for a sevusevu on Vanua Balavu, Susui where we were given a tour of the island and invited to a beach oyster BBQ
Escorted by local guide to “sacred cave “
“Sacred Cave” where those infected by measles years ago were isolated and sent to die…Village believes their spirits help protect them….More than we were prepared for and Pretty eerie ….
Tropical jungle critters 🤪 Mac this is for you…
Bay of Islands anchorage
Bay of Islands in North Lau ,very interesting place
Took a while to free our anchor from this ancient Admiralty anchor probably 50 years old or older
Returning from a dive at rainbow reef…. The water is as clear as the air,hard and soft coral the best I have ever seen
Always time to relax
Adventuring into a mangrove alcove in Bay of Islands where hundreds of bats hang out in the trees… these bats were the size of large crows…….Gail is thinking”Lets get out of here”😜

Time to say goodby to James and Lyndi …thanks for visiting and such a great time . We head back to Savusavu to catch their plane but not before they both get a Fijian massage and dinner at Jacque M Cousteau’s resort and dive center. We missed Tony Robbin’s Namale resort which is on the large island of Vanua Levu not Tony’s personal island as rumored.

Fabian unfortunately came down with COVID as we get to Savusavu and needs time alone so Gail and I pack our bags and head to Musket Cove , Malolo to join the rest of the Oyster fleet for a Fiji farewell party ….. More on Fiji later.

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