Karen and I did a bit of exploring at the town of Matai near the anchorage. We bought some fruit and a few other grocery items during our walk. We also stopped at an Internet cafe, and had some lunch at the Coconut Grove Resort. There we met up with the crew of s/v Callisto and watched two more boats arrive.
The locals had certainly taken notice of all the boats in the anchorage. A boat came out with three police and 3 or 4 other locals. They came to each boat ostensibly to view our paperwork. But, what they really seemed to want was a chance to get on our boats and get a look at what these big yachts looked like. It was like a boat show to them!
On Tuesday evening we headed over to Dignity and joined with all the crews of the boats here for a fun celebration. There was lots of the usual cruiser talking, drinking, and eating. A very enjoyable time for all. One of the boats, s/v Boree, made special “crowns” for the two celebrating wife and husband.
Yesterday, many of the boat crews planned to head in at 9AM and catch a bus to a park on the east side of Taveuni and do a coastal hike with a waterfall view. We had heard the roads were rough, and Karen’s back was giving her trouble, so she stayed on Tahina. There were 15 of us in the group. We ended up waiting 1.5 hours for the bus, but it finally arrived. The road was very bumpy indeed.
The views along the coast were spectacular. It was low tide, and the extensive reef system revealed itself above the water line with huge areas of tidal pools. There were local Fiji people all along the reefs looking for treats. We were told they find mullusks, octopus, crabs, and fish (which they shoot with Hawaiian-style spears).
We had a 4.5 hour hike round-trip along the coastline. At the other end the hike took a turn up into the hills and we finally reached the waterfall in a narrow canyon. We had to swim 100m up to the waterfall pool and we could then see there were two separate waterfalls. The water was very refreshing after our long hike.
During the hike, we passed several small communities of local Fiji people. The people all called out to us with “Bula!” – the most common greeting in Fiji. Especially nice was the enthusiastic greetings from the children. The children are so open and happy here and were not afraid to greet strangers along the way. Usually with big smiles, waves, and many “Bula”s.
The start and endpoint of the hike had a small reception area for the park. They had some bathrooms and a few refreshments. There also was a very lovely beach with large volcanic rocks, coconut trees, and beautiful white sand. The area was even used for the filming of a movie not too long ago (Blue Lagoon 2). Since the last bus had already left, we had to arrange for some taxis to take us back. The ride was even bumpier in the smaller vehicle.