Fiji - Vanua Levu


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Philip enjoys the deck of the Savusavu Yacht Club with the Nakama Creek anchorage in the background.

Waitui Marina

Situated just inside Nakama Creek off Savusavu Bay, Waitui Marina hosts a dive shop, restaurant & bar, Bebi Electronics, a Laundry and Fiji Meats. It's a historic building with lots of "character". We rented a mooring from Waitui.

Bamboo Raft

A common sight in Nakama Creek, bamboo rafts outfitted with a platform made of a shipping pallett are paddled around and used for a platform to fish. This, next to moored mega-yachts, seemed incongruous.

Nakama Creek

From our mooring, the last on the western end of the bay, Nakama Creek meanders inland and at high season is cheek-by-jowl with moored yachts.

Coral at Close Range

"Our" mooring was close to the reef at the mouth of Nakama Creek. During calm mornings we could watch the activity on the reef below through the clear water at 15-60 feet. This photo was taken from about 25 feet above the water.

Fijian Sunset

We captured these two boys just at sunset fishing from their bamboo raft.

Transportation Hub

Nakama Creek not only hosts yachts, but also Fijian inter-island ferries and the occasional float plane.

Grog = Kava = Yaqona

A sign of the culture in Fiji

The Raw Material

When visiting a remote village a gift of a quarter kilogram of kava root is given as "sevusevu" to the chief. These are the packets we plan to buy before heading off to more remote locations.

Favorite Vendors

This is "Ben" who is soft spoken and smiles easily. We buy from her almost every day.

Saturday's Abundance

Olivia, a lively lady at the market insisted we must try "lumi" or seaweed. It is mixed with coconut milk and a bit of lime and chili peppers. We haven't tried it, nor the cockles...

Business is Brisk

We caught this lovely lady talking on her cell phone in the public market.

Another Delicacy

Olivia also told us of the smoked fish available at Saturday's market. The vendor is using a taro leaf to keep the flies away from her offering.

Giant Taro

A common site in public markets in the Pacific and generally cooked in an earthen oven along with packets of palusami and tavioka and pork. Things baked in an earthen oven are said to be "vavi".

Saturday Fun

This enthusiastic young man was part of a fleet of sailing dinghies that buzzed Carina one Saturday afternoon.

The Fleet

included Lasers, too and, of course, a chase boat with attentive instructors.

Lasers, Too

The older kids were sailing the lasers and they were having a blast, buzzing each other and the anchored boats.

Fiji Crime-Free Month

Launching the program for the Fiji Crime Free Month was a parade featuring the Fiji National Police Band from Suva. They made an impressive site...until they...

Yucked it up

No, they were still impressive and they were having quite a bit of fun.

Firemen Got in the Act Too

We never did find out the name of the Fire Prevention Parrott but it had to be hotter than hades in his costume.

The Crowd ...

was fun to watch too. Fijians are multi-cultural and a sizeable minority (formerly the majority) of the population are descendents of Indians brought to work in the sugar industry.

Waisali Rainforest Reserve

is in the highlands above Savusavu. Though we stopped on our way to Labasa, we didn't get a chance to hike in the reserve.


Labasa is a bustling farming town (sugarcane drives the economy) and had warrens filled with shops selling all sorts of clothing as well as isles filled with every imaginable doodad. Shops selling lovely saris were everywhere - as were lovely women wearing saris.

Fijian Culture Too

In Labasa's public market there were lovely examples of tapa, called masi here, the richly decorated bark cloth made for centuries and colored with natural dyes.

Labasa - Sugar Town

Cane sugar is THE crop and streams of trucks and a train bring the cut cane to the processing factory. Reportedly, cane cutters earn $0.78 (Fijian dollars) per hour for the brutal and backbreaking work.

Still in Use

This quaint train chugs regular trips hauling sugar cane into the processing plant.

Naag Mandir Temple

This East Indian temple is built over the site of the "growing rock" shaped like the sacred beast of the Hindu religion. The faithful swear the formation grows and have had to raise the roof numerous times to accomodate the growth.

The Cobra

Inside the Naag Mandir Temple is the "cobra" draped with colorful garlands. Incense burns at the base of the rock and offerings of cow's milk are part of the ceremony.

Wasavula Ceremonial Site

is the site of an ancient village (still occupied) and had a number of "rock monoliths" which appeared to us as phallic in nature, though theories abound. A cemetery in the site is where ancient (and not so ancient) bodies are interred.

Wasavula Village

Pandanus mats are woven by many South Pacific island nations. This large mat would take one woman about a month to weave.


When the Island Cruising Association visited Savusavu, the chief of Savusavu and other village men shared kava with the crews of the (mainly) Kiwi boats. Larry of Tribute, a kava fan, was invited to join in.

Atlantia Leaves Savusavu

Will, an experienced ocean racer, and Margaret, left their mooring under sail in crowded Nakama Creek, turned their Formosa 51 smartly around, and sailed off and over the western horizon. They made it look easy.


Check out her website at: She is a beautiful, 29 meter sloop built in 1904 and was recently completely refurbished.

Details, details

As you approach Merrymaid, it's apparent that the attention to detail in her design and upkeep is incredible. Notice the ship's name on the end of the boom.

And Under Sail

Merry Maid passes our anchorage with her sails flying in brisk winds...a beauty to behold


Davide & Elisa, a young Italian couple from the Cinque Terre, became our neighbors. We swapped many tales and shared homemade pasta and bread and made good friends. Nice to have an Italian chef moored next to you!

Fawn Harbor

We were trying to get to the Lau group but left a few days too late and missed a weather window. We waited at Lesiaceva Point before bashing our way to Fawn Harbor, a 35 mile trip that got us only 20 miles closer to the Lau. There we met Brian of Kyogle who was attempting to salvage this Hunter. The careening was an attempt to plug the leaks around the keel; water was pouring into the bilge and pumps were not keeping up.

Hunter Salvaging

The careening did not help and probably made matters worse ; the winds and waves in the harbor continuously flexed the broken keel. A combo of Bondo and Sikaflex made only a small difference.

Tuki and Maya

Tuki is a Fijian friend of Brian's and has been with him on the salvage effort for a month. Maya (right), who was visiting and helping the day of the careening, is the chief of Bagasau, the village at Fawn Harbor.


Jake seemed to like the sunny days and brisk nights of "winter" in Fiji.

Navuni's Gold

After a week of howling winds, calm arrived one night at Fawn Harbor. Dawn broke but storm clouds threatened and the waves on the reef roared. A soft shower gave us this scene to our south of Navuni Island.

Easy Riders

We met Michael and his two boys; the boys riding this "walking horse". The older boy had a knitted brow but smiled when the camera came out. The younger one never stopped scowling.

How do They Dry Copra?

This outdoor "stove" is used to dry copra prior to sale. The market for copra, used for making coconut oil, is down, way down.

Fawn Harbor Hot Springs

Fiji is geologically very active. This hot spring emanated directly from a hillside. The water was pure and soft with no sulfur smell. The temp was like a "just hot enough" bath. Two pools emptied into a third in the middle of a stream.

Laundry Day

We took an opportunity to wash a small amount of laundry in the stream just below the last hot spring pool. Rita was visiting Brian on Kyogle and joined us.