Savusavu

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Savusavu is on the island Vanua Levu, which is on the smaller of the two larger Fijian islands, and I have marked the location.

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Savusavu is unspoiled & a place that is unhurried and free of most modern trappings and has managed to retain much of yesteryear.

Savusavu was a popular trading port for sailing schooners of old, who arrived carrying a cargo rum & cloth to trade for sandalwood.

We only visited the town during our short stay, but perhaps one day we might return to experience the hot springs, which the locals believe can cure various illnesses.

I read that Savusavu is a popular area for Americans to buy land & homes because it is so idyllic.

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Once again, we anchored offshore and the tender boats ran a ferry service. I took the above as we approached the small wharf near the yacht club.

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The white haired guy at the end of the pier is yours truly  . . .

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Peaceful main street which had welcoming stalls along  each side of the road that lead to the main shops.
The stalls had interesting displays of locally made jewellery – even I, who hates shopping, got interested in certain items on display. The stall holders greeted us with Bula and left us alone to browse the items. We were never pestered to buy.

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A perfect caption that sums up the town. The sign was for sale as a locally produced item, but being a wooden item, and taking the strict quarantine laws in Australia into account, I only photographed the item.
But Maureen made up for my lack of spending and bought a number of items of locally made jewellery.

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A windmill (I think) made of local dried plants, and samples of the jewellery. The waters around Savusavu are rich in nutrients that help to create oysters that grow pearls that are black as well as various other colours. The seashells are turned in to unique pieces of jewellery.

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I cropped this picture from the stall photograph above.

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I found this Fijian piece of jewellery on the internet, it shows the patterns of the sea shells

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It was relaxing to just wander around – the ship can be seen at the end of the road.

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Council offices

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The local bus depot and the style of the buses brought back memories of yesteryear.

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Wondering around soon generates a thirst and as my nick name was on the advert it was pub time.

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We entered the local bar, but they didn’t have a Woody!

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So, I forced down a cold Gold.

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I like to help the local economy . . .  as often as I can . . .

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After a couple of hours or so, we made our way back to the pier and realised that there would be a slight delay for the tender boat, so next door was the yacht club – a perfect waiting area. You can just see the ship on the left.

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This time I thought I’d have a change. The yacht club didn’t have a Woody either.

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The small band were easy on the ear.

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Thanks to Ken for a much better street view of the ship.

When Captain Bligh sailed through these islands, he was reluctant to land because at that time were known as the ‘cannibal islands’. It was the arrival of missionaries and the spread of Christianity that put an end to cannibalism.

I’m pleased to say that things have changed since Captain Bligh sailed through the Fijian islands.

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I stepped between two stalls, because I could see a small park. It was just a few paces from the main road (which wasn’t busy) and I just stood and drank in the views – is it any wonder Maureen & I loved our short stop in Savusavu, and that the Americans are buying property in the area.?

 

 

 

 

Dravuni Island

DSC06007rSunrise as we approached the island.

Dravuni Island is part of the Kadavu Group of islands, which are part of Fiji. It is a small island of about 0.8 sq km (0.3 sq miles) and the population is about 200 living in one village. It is one of the smallest populated islands in the Fijian archipelago.

There aren’t any vehicles, cinemas, shops, internet connection, but they do have peace and quiet, friendship, colourful plants, golden beaches, clear sea water and the sound of the sea as it ripples up the beach.

Ruby Princess anchored well off the shore and tender boats ran a shuttle service to and from the small island pier.

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Treasure Island perhaps  . . . . did Robert Louis Stevenson visit??

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Not everyone came ashore, but for those of us who did it was worth the effort, not that it was much of an effort.

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For me, the feeling of sand between my toes and to be able to just paddle in warm salt water is pure pleasure.

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Stepping off the beach and we were in the village. The green roofed building is the local primary school.

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School noticeboard – and two plaques are below.

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We were allowed inside, and we listened to the children singing.

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The above two photographs are thanks to Ken.

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We decided to walk to the peak, which can be seen on the right side of the map.

The walk to the peak looked easy so we set off along a dirt path.

DSC06021rThe local ladies were selling various items strung between palm trees and bushes. There wasn’t any ‘hard sell’, just a polite ‘Bula’ (a Fijian greeting) as we looked over the items for sale.

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We passed four guys (2% of the population when you think of it) who had the right idea of life. They didn’t make any effort to sell us a coconut drink, so perhaps they didn’t want to . . . after all they most probably thought that this is my island in the sun.
For those who can remember 1957. The above picture is thanks to Ken.

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Even a small island in the Pacific can have bush fires similar to the larger island in the Pacific – Australia.

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We reached part way up the hill, and looked at the climb to reach the top, and I decided that there comes a time when my pacemaker tells me ‘no more’, so I quit.

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Even from only being part way up the hill, the views were great.

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The path that we walked up . . .

Some people found a path that took them to the opposite side of the island, because they wanted a less ‘crowded’ beach –

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The above pic is the village beach – crowded??

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I took the photograph from the tender as we returned to the ship – Ruby Princess had to anchor far out because the island has a research station for the university of the South Pacific to study the Great Astrolabe Reef and the surrounding coral.

They say life is full of coincidences –

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If we were to sail from Dravuni Island 325 miles southwest, we would come across a reef and a small island called Ceva-I-Ra Reef, which until 1976, was called Conway Reef.

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HMS Conway

In 1838 Captain Charles Bethune of HMS Conway, first came across the reef and recorded it, but it was not mapped for several years, and remained a danger to ships.

Check this Conway Reef link and it is obvious that the reef is still a danger to shipping today.

In 1859 HMS Conway later became the first ship to be loaned by the British Government to the Mercantile Marine Association of Liverpool to be used as a training establishment to train young men to become officers in the British merchant navy.
I was fortunate to win a place to the Conway in 1960, before going to sea in 1962 – hence the coincidence.
When I attended HMS Conway she was a land based training ‘ship’ until 1974 when she was closed down.

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Even a visit to a quiet island like Dravuni, demands a cold beer on our return.

May I wish my readers a very Happy Christmas and a safe and healthy 2020.