Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Land excursion

So what was it I am supposed to remember about tides and the full moon??? Oh yeah, the lows are very low and the highs very high. Now picture 4 people in a dinghy heading to a dock that was floating the evening before when they left it. OH NO the dock is sitting on dry land!! Good thing I hadn't put my tennis shoes on yet. We all had to get out and pull the dinghy thru 20 yards of shallow water and across dry land to the end of the dock. I know someone out there is laughing. Wish I had a picture of it. I guess that is why Greg and Debby's workers took all the boats to the island that morning. I left the guys to situate the dinghy as we knew that when we returned in the afternoon it would be floating. I met our driver for the day - Sajmir, gave him a run down of what we thought we wanted to do - he kind of smiled. We all piled in his 4 wheel drive 4 door truck for the ride down the coast. I don't think we went even a mile before the road went from paved to dirt to almost 4 wheel drive. I am sure a good rain storm would make it impassable. I guess now we know why he just smiled in his quiet way when we said he didn't have to wait, we would just get a taxi or bus back. Yeah, not so much. 100 fijian was a total bargain for a driver all day - one who knew what we needed to do better than we did. We thought we wanted to do the bush walk, the waterfalls and the Lavena coastal walk. Sajmir without actually saying we were nuts, suggested there would not be enough daylight for all that. "Which two did we want to do the most?" Well, we didn't know, but the bush walk was the first thing we came to, so we stopped to get the scoop. As it happens, the bush hike is 5 hours, lots of up and an out and back hike. Josh was not too interested in that, and frankly it sounded pretty strenuous to me as well. So we decided on the Lavena walk and the waterfalls. Being smarter than the average bear, Sajmir took us to the Lavena walk first, ostensibly because it was the farthest away and the longer activity.

The Lavena coastal walk (in the Bouma nature preserve) is a 9 kilometer mostly flat walk to a waterfall/swimming hole and back along the Taveuni coast. It was a great hike. Just about all I could handle really. (not much space for aerobic exercise on a 45 foot sailboat). We walked thru the village, past the new school (saved them a 7 kilometer bus ride at 530am each day). There are 8 teachers and 111 students. This day they had neck kerchiefs on and were learning about scouting. On our way back we saw lots of kids running on the trail, making arrows out of sticks or drawing them in the sand. Two teachers were in the middle of the boys keeping track I guess. On the way out we saw lots of flora and fuana. They grow the pandana (sp?) palm for its leaves. They use them for weaving. We also saw Kava plants and a Kava nursery. Kava is ready to be harvested beginning at 3 years old. It does not seed or flower, so must be propagated by hand using the gnarled stems. The stems are planted in sandy soil until roots are established, then transplanted. We saw bird's nest ferns that were ginormous, taro plantations, a cool caterpillar (will post a picture of that). We eventually came to a suspension bridge across a river - pretty Indiana Jones -ish, but not as high thank goodness. I could hear this barking sound and when I asked Pio our guide what it was he said it was a barking Dove. Sounded just like a dog too - and not a yippy one either. Pio also showed us the very rare orange Dove ( i have a not so great picture of it to post). We finally arrived at the waterfalls, had to swim the last little bit to get right up to them. Way cool! and guess what??? the water wasn't salty!!! yes, I was in heaven. We played around until lunch called us back down to Pio at the end of the trail. We sat and had a good lunch, then sadly bid the best swimming hole ever "goodbye". The trip back went more quickly (Josh was on a mission). The hike and swim took exactly 4 hours, so it was then 1500 - on to the waterfalls (didn't we just see waterfalls?) . Sajmir said the hike to the upper falls and back was approximately 2 hours - noone had the energy for that, but the lower falls were a short 10 minute hike. Sadly it was 15 fijian per person. We decided that we didn't need to spend that kind of money to see another waterfall. I told you Sajmir was smart - we got a hike and a waterfall in one stop, and it was about all we were up for.

We made it back to town around 1600. Sajmir stopped to let us check the dinghy and pick up some fresh veggies, then took us to a pizza place for dinner. Josh thought we were nuts to try pizza again, but Sajmir said they had chicken, so he was okay with us having pizza - he just wasn't going to. Have I said what a great driver Sajmir is??? The restaurant was great. Good food, amazing view (on a hill overlooking the water) and cold beer. Hands down the best pizza we have had outside the US. They even called Sajmir to come get us for the trip back to the dinghy. We decided over dinner that we would have a rest day before leaving for Fawn Harbor. So it was nice to get home and not worry about getting the boat ready to go, or the dinghy up, just relax and prepare to sleep in.

Slept in a little today - 0815 for me. 1100 for Josh. Josh got a pretty good blister yesterday, and his back is still a little sore, but improving. He was happy to mostly rest (had to do a little math). I mostly rested as well, only did a few housekeeping chores. Dennis and Paul installed the fan in Paul's room, but that was the extent of our labors today. Don't remember if I mentioned the watermaker is back to working the way it should. It started acting up again, so we had to unload the anchor locker for the third time. After checking things for blockage, he went back to the manual and decided to check the pressure on the pump. He did something to it, and it is working like a charm. Mega Yay for that. So, I made water today (still making it actually). We want to hit Savu Savu with full tanks.

We plan to leave here tomorrow around 1000 and head 25 miles to Fawn Harbor, then in to Savu Savu on Saturday. The weather is forecasted to turn yucky by Sunday (read lots of rain) and stay that way until Thursday. Might as well be in Suva, get our provisioning done. Maybe see Mike and Cheryl.... Hope to post pictures there as well. Gotta get them off the camera first.........

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