23 September 2015 - Savusavu, Vanua Levu Fiji Islands
We took a touristic trip with Bob and Annette on SV Tempest to both the Flora Tropica Gardens (Botanical Gardens just outside of Savusavu) and then to Vuadomo to see a waterfall. The botanical gardens are privately owned, comprising five acres of beautifully landscaped hillsides and creek flats, explored by walking along stone paths and elevated wood walkways. The highlight of the gardens is the palm collection with more than 300 species from around the world thriving. The gardens also include more than 40 types of tropical fruit trees, flowering trees, shrubs, flowers and much more.
These are photos of the Curly Stilt Root Palm and the Snakeskin palm, evident by their look.
This was a very interesting leaf, but I don’t recall the name.
I also don’t recall what this was called, but it should have been called PENIS PLANT.
There were lots and lots of different palms.
This was not a palm tree, but rather a structure made out of PVC that supported the LED lighting and wires, made locally.
After the botanical gardens, we took a boat ride on an aluminum “barge-like” boat, boarding and exiting at the beach - to Vuadomo. It was a pretty cool boat ride.
Since we were newcomers arriving at a new village, a Kava ceremony took place where our guide Billy presented Kava root to the village chief. I can’t say that we participated in the ceremony, but to be more accurate, we viewed it. We were quiet, clapped our hands when necessary and simply observed. Its a big deal here, but no, we didn’t drink any of the Kava.
As we walked through the village, I noticed that each house had an “outhouse” attached to it, so evidently indoor toilets and septic tanks were not common. I took a photo of some domestic pigs (much more common than iguanas) on our way through the jungle to the falls.
I also took interest in this big spider. It pays to walk through the jungle with your hand in front of your face if you don’t have a machete.
Last week, we took a shuttle ($5US per person, each way) to Labasa (pronounced Lambasa) (it took about 1 hour 45 minutes) over paved roads. The journey was very pretty and over a dramatically changing landscape, from tropical jungle to arid steppe with pine trees.
As we approached the North side of the island, it didn’t look like a tropical jungle anymore, but rather like a steppe or dryer climate. There were lots of coniferous trees evident.
These were some trees that were scarred at the base, and it was evident that people were harvesting the sap to be used for glue.
Labasa itself is NO TOURIST town. It is a gritty industrial city, based on the outlying sugar cane agricultural harvest, but they have a very good dentist with Dr Kumar. I had two fillings and a polishing for $ 40US. We needed to go back again the following week to complete the work for both of us. It was cheap but very good dentistry.
We went into one discount shop and the bargains were so plentiful that they even offered customers a wheelbarrow to haul away the goods.
I noticed that in addition to clothes washing soap/powder, you could also buy these really big bars that were used for “hand-washing”. I’ve not seen this kind of soap before.
Diane went to the nearby “J Hunter Pearls” pearl farm, for a guided tour. The tour began in their showroom with a short, 15-minute presentation on the history of cultured pearls. She was then taken out to the undersea farm in a boat and snorkelled to view the pearl oyster culture. She saw pearl oysters at different stages of growth, suspended on 200 metre long lines that run 3 – 5 metres below the ocean’s surface. At the end, the boat came alongside to one of the cleaning platforms where she saw farm workers cleaning and checking on the health of juvenile and adult oysters. A clam can only be out of the water for 1.5 to 2 hours, or else the host will die.
There were Japanese specialists onsite implanting nuclei, while others harvested pearls from the oysters but photos were difficult in this area. This commercial video really sums up their operation.
Since we arrived, I’ve had several parcels arrive: code zero sail (UPS from Hong Kong), replacement whisker pole T-track (TNT from NZ), boom exit blocks to relocate the mainsail reefing lines (DHL from Australia) and replacement Hood Jib Furler (DHL from Florida). There were no glitches. In my opinion, shipping “Yacht in Transit” to Fiji addresses works very well, providing you get the address line CORRECT and include the phrase “Parts for Yacht in Transit SY Joana, Rotation Number AY2015/199”. I am still doing repairs, some that were slated for NZ, some that needed to be done here.
Concerning the motor mounts - I decided that this was a good place to check the engine alignment AGAIN. I did it last in Papiette/Tahiti with Marcos. What I discovered is that the top of one mount had the nut spinning free. The washer below it had broken. Therefore, I decided to remove all the mounts and verify that all were good. I don’t expect the mounts to stay tight without washers, and lock washers. When I removed the aft mount on the port side, I discovered that it was broken and needed to be replaced. It was last replaced 5 years ago when we were in Florida. Also, one of the forward mounts was partially broken, and I replaced the bolt by cannabalizing an old mount. There is something weird going on with engine vibration (and there has been for a while) and I hope I can solve it once and for all while we’re here in Fiji.
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SV Joana is listed for sale at this site (in case you're wondering why, we're not planning to give up the cruising lifestyle or our home, but most things are for sale and since we've met many cruisers who have listed their boat, we figured we'd do it too).
Countries Visited So Far: (Departed Canada: May 2009)
Antigua: May 2011
Bermuda: June - August 2009
Bonaire: February - April 2014
Bahamas: December 2009 - March 2010, December 2010 - February 2011
Barbados: March 2012
British Virgin Islands: May 2011
Colombia: Oct 2014 -
Cuba: March - May 2010
Curaçao: May 2014 - September 2014
Dominica: May 2011, April 2013
Dominican Republic: March - April 2011
Fiji: September 2015
French Polynesia (Marquesas, Tuamotos, Tahiti and the Society Islands): April-July 2015
Galapagos: March 2015
Grenada: June-November 2011
Guadeloupe: March 2013
Martinique: March 2012, March 2013
Niue: July/August 2015
Panama: December 2014 (San Blas Islands), January 2015
Puerto Rico: April 2011
St Lucia: May-June 2011, December 2011 - February 2012, December 2012 - February 2013
St Martin /Netherlands Antilles: May 2011
St Vincent and the Grenadines: June 2011, February 2012, December 2012, April-May 2013
Tobago: March-May 2012
Tonga: August 2015
Trinidad: May - December 2012, June - November 2013
USA: August - November 2009, June - November 2010
US Virgin Islands: May 2011
Venezuela: November 2013 - February 2014