Bula from Fiji

Trip Start Jan 14, 2006
Trip End Ongoing

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Friday, September 8, 2006

Bula from Fiji,

Finally in Fiji! I've had Fiji in the back of my head for the last 9 months and never really though that I'd get here, but here we are! And what an amazing place Fiji is. We have been here for 4 days and are all amazed at the beauty and the people.

We left Tonga on the 2nd, two days after Jack and Grace left for the seriously long haul flight back to London, after having a great 6 weeks in Tonga. We had a great time and saw whales, dove caves, scooted round Vava'u and partied on a remote island under a full moon. I miss you guys. The sail to Fiji was a very long three and a half days. We were sailing for almost 72 hours but had the wind on the stern and fairly large following seas, which made for a less than comfortable ride. I had one occasion where I lost the plot and went crazy for 2 minutes as the fourth bowl of pasta that I had spent an hour and a half preparing, slid across the galley and emptied itself onto the floor!

Savu Savu is a great little town, and an excellent anchorage. The moorings are laid in a creek where the certain sections of the shore steams; a sign that we'd entered the 'ring of fire'. The town has a mixture of Fijians, Indians, ex-pats and yachties, it has a good market, well stocked supermarket (probably the best I've seen since Tahiti) and some very good restaurants. Everything is cheaper here than in Tonga, which has surprised us as we thought Tonga was pretty cheap. A local Fiji Bitter costs ₤0.64 (₤0.48 at happy hour!) and is welcomed in a glass out of the fridge to watch the sunset with.

We checked out the town on our first full day and had a great lunch; a plate of veggie chow mien, veggie black bean noodles, an awesome fish curry and a plate of sweet and sour veggies. We had two mouthfuls each then swapped plates! The food was amazing and the bill came to ₤10 for four meals, six beers and two fruit juices. Not too shabby!

We found a computer shop next to the café that had a look at our laptop that has been refusing to play some DVDs or most annoyingly, play a film till you're 15 minutes from the end then crash. Not ideal when you've been concentrating on a film for an hour and a half with the boat pitching all over the ocean! We left the computer with them overnight and picked it up today with a new DVD burner drive that now works and they sorted out a couple of annoying pop-up bugs; good effort!

Yesterday we hired two 100cc mopeds and set off across Vanua Levu to Labasa on the north coast. We took about 4 hours to ride the 50 mile road through the mountains, stopping for an hour to walk around a section of rainforest that has a well-laid path down to a beautiful stream and back. It was stunning being in the middle of the rainforest where it wasn't too hot and you could hear and smell the life around you.

Riding the bikes through the mountains of Vanua Levu was one of the most amazing things I've experienced since jumping into a back flip exiting the plane at 13,000 ft and freefalling for 45 seconds two years ago! This island is so beautiful! You ride the open mountain roads at 70kph and pass through spectacular villages where the you slow to wave to all in the 10 house village, perched at the top of a near-shear drop, drenched in rainforest. It was too cold in some villages that they could not grow enough coconut trees to deal in copra, so they grow bananas, which are sold on the roadside for $1 (₤0.32) for 6 good-sized bananas. Seeing the interior of the island and the main town of Vanua Levu showed me that even though everything is so cheap, no-one is going hungry, there is no-one on the streets and everyone is very welcoming and friendly. The island is stunning and to see it with open road and two on a scooter was amazing. I'm hooked on Fiji and we've only been here 4 days.

We plan to be here for another couple of days before sailing to the west coast of Vanua Levu, then to the Yasawa Group, north of the main tourist island, Viti Levu. The snorkelling is supposed to be excellent and the beaches to match the picture postcard beaches of Fiji. We're then thinking of heading to the west coast of Viti Levu and anchoring the boat in Lautoka so we can spend at least a week around the island. We're hoping to check out Pacific Harbour for to catch a glimpse of some good surf and possibly do some white water rafting but definitely plenty of walking. If anyone's got any good ideas of where to go in and around Fiji for 3 weeks let me know!

Missing you all loads

Lots of love

Tom x
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