Sunrise 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.
Treasure Island perhaps . . . . did Robert Louis Stevenson visit??
Not everyone came ashore, but for those of us who did it was worth the effort, not that it was much of an effort.
For me, the feeling of sand between my toes and to be able to just paddle in warm salt water is pure pleasure.
Stepping off the beach and we were in the village. The green roofed building is the local primary school.
School noticeboard – and two plaques are below.
We were allowed inside, and we listened to the children singing.
The above two photographs are thanks to Ken.
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.
The 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.
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.
Even a small island in the Pacific can have bush fires similar to the larger island in the Pacific – Australia.
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.
Even from only being part way up the hill, the views were great.
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 –
The above pic is the village beach – crowded??
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 –
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.
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.
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.