Skip to content

Back in Suva

September 29, 2014

We are again anchored off the Royal Suva Yacht Club in Suva, Fiji, after completing a 10 week cruise of the Lau Group, Taveuni, Vanua Levu, and islands in the Koro Sea. Fiji has so much to offer we can see why some cruisers never leave.

Our last post covered the incredible diving at Namena Island. From there it was a short run to Makogai Is. (lat 17 26.5S long 178 58E) and the ruins of a large leper colony that once housed lepers from all across the South Pacific. We met Inia who gave us a tour of what is left of the colony. Separate camps housed ethnic groups that shared the same language and religion. The common graveyard has over 1,000 markers that the overseers are maintaining so visiting family members can find their loved ones. The colony was shut down in the 1970’s after the discovery of a cure for the disease.

Today Makogai is home to the fishery’s Mericulture Center that raises endangered turtles and giant clams to be released throughout Fiji. The entire operation is run by solar energy including the water pumps that service the hatchery tanks. The clams are really-really big measuring well over a meter and weighing hundreds of pounds. Leaving the pass we caught a 30 pound walu.

For our next stop we joined the rich and famous at exclusive Wakaya Island where the home owners include Bill Gates, Charles Bronson, and Prince Phillip of France. We were not allowed ashore but enjoyed their views and diving. At night there was only one mansion that was lit up so the occupancy rate must be very low. What a waste!

We then headed to Gau Island to visit the friends we made last June in Somosomo village. It was like old home week as everyone turned out to welcome us back. Miri made a woven mat that said “Welcome Home Sandy and Brian” and there was a lot of hugging and a few wet eyes. The next day we took Noa and Miri and Suli’s entire family out fishing beyond the reef. It was a beautiful day and we all had a great time, but we didn’t catch a thing. Fortunately, we had some mahi mahi that we pulled out of the reefer so our guests wouldn’t go home empty handed.

The villagers are raising oysters that they plan on selling to the pearl farms to bring in money for the village. It is a project for the “youth group” that includes the under-35ers. It was time for the youths to “clean” the oysters, but the morning they were to do so their boat was unavailable. So we took Miri and the minister out in our dinghy and Miri and Brian cleaned about 10,000 oysters by shaking the lines they are attached to. It was hard work and we see why they have allocated this task to the youths. But Brian and Miri with a combined age of 100 bailed the youngsters out.

We were invited to Sunday afternoon service where the three clans of the village take turns singing. We took videos of the singing and made a movie that was played over and over.

We spent several evenings drinking kava with the locals. The muddy brew is not particularly tasty, but the social gathering is great. It’s a time to relax with friends and talk about what happened during the day and plan for tomorrow. Kava consumption increases as the evening progresses and soon everyone is laughing and getting silly. Not a bad way to end the day.

It was a tearful goodbye when we left Somosomo. We took Miri with us so she could visit family in Suva. The seas were a little bumpy and Miri spent most of the time sleeping, but appetites returned when we dropped anchor and we headed into the yacht club for dinner.

We will provision here in Suva and take in the shark dive at Beqa before heading back out to the islands. It’s getting late in the season and we need to seriously think about moving out of the cyclone belt.

Red footed boobie at Namena

Red footed boobie at Namena

Leper cemetery on Makogai

Leper cemetery on Makogai

Leper colony subdivisions by ethnic groups

Leper colony subdivisions by ethnic groups

Turtles at the hatchery on Makogai

Turtles at the hatchery on Makogai

The hatchery at Makogai

The hatchery at Makogai

Hatchery at Makogai

Hatchery at Makogai

Kids on Makogai

Kids on Makogai

Inia give us a tour of the hatchery

Inia give us a tour of the hatchery

Giant clams about ready to be released

Giant clams about ready to be released

Giant clam at Makogai

Giant clam at Makogai

Giant clams at Makogai

Giant clams at Makogai

Walu caught in the pass leaving Makogai

Walu caught in the pass leaving Makogai

Billion dollar sunset a Wakaya Island

Billion dollar sunset a Wakaya Island

A mansion on Wakaya Island

A mansion on Wakaya Island

Kids at Somosomo

Kids at Somosomo

Sunday dinner at Noa & Miri's

Sunday dinner at Noa & Miri’s

Traditional bure built for visiting pastors

Traditional bure built for visiting pastors

Looking for birds on the fishing trip

Looking for birds on the fishing trip

Much of fishing was just enjoying a beautiful day

Much of fishing was just enjoying a beautiful day

Miri & Noa hang out in the shade of the solar panels

Miri & Noa hang out in the shade of the solar panels

Suli's family

Suli’s family

Miri & Sandie

Miri & Sandie

Piece of coral came up with the anchor

Piece of coral came up with the anchor

First load of guest for the fishing trip

First load of guest for the fishing trip

Call to church

Call to church

Miri shaking the silt off the oyster collectors

Miri shaking the silt off the oyster collectors

Cleaning the oysters

Cleaning the oysters

From → Travel

Leave a Comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: