Friday, October 26, 2007

Leaving Taveuni and Fiji

Our ferry was delayed a day because some rich people chartered it and we had to spend an extra night on Taveuni. We took advantage of the time to find the Natural Waterslide and take a dip.
We fnally shoved off on Friday afternoon. Colleen has taught Ambiana how to play Go Fish and they amused themselves for awhile this way. We spent the night once again on the Ferry arriving back at Veni Levu at 5am to catch a bus that took us back to Suva!

Back in Suva


At 7am in Suva we stashed our bags in a cubby at the local outdoor swimming pool and then went in search of breakfast and internet cafes. I read in the paper that my beloved red Sox were up 2 games to 0 in the World Series!! I updated the blog and then we went to the Fiji Museum which was a big disappontment. There was not much there but the big oceangoing canoe was cool.
We found a park for Yaya to swing in then we caught the bus back to Nadi and spent the night at an overpriced backpackers close to the airport. Our flightto New Zealand leaves at 7:30am tomorrow! Colleen says she could live in Fiji forever, she loved the laid back pace in the villages and the friendlyness of the people. I loved the Yasawas and the sea but the 2 bigger islands did not do much for me. The cities too crowded and ramshackle trying to be 21st century global and too much litter. The People were very nice but there is an under current of conflict between the Fijiand and the Indi-Fijians. Civilization has laid waste to Fiji as it has to most of the planet.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Vuna

We left Lavena and travelled back north and then down the west side of the island to reach the village of Vuna and the Vuna Lagoon Lodge. We though the bus trip to Lavena was sweet but the ride to Vuna was even sweeter! The bus winded up the mountainside along the coast with big cascades falling down to the sea at every switchback! We stayed in style at the lodge which was right on the sea so I could get up in the AM and put on my mask and snorkle for a wake up swim!
Sunset at Vuna!


The next day we hiked 5km along the road to the famous blowhole! The coast here reminded me of the Red Road coast on the island of Hawai'i. We timed our walk perfectly and caught the local bus back to Vuna!
After a week of rain we finally got a west coast sunset!!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

The Road to Lavena


We headed South on the local bus towards Lavena where we had heard there was a nice village and a great hike. It rained and rained as we threaded narrow dirt roads and I have never seen a place as lush as the east side of Taveuni. Our bus ride was cut short by a rain swollen river which had flooded the ford in the river 2 feet deep.


We waited on the bus for 5 hours for the water to go down a bit and then the bus driver hired a pick up to take us the rest of the way. I was crowded in the back of the truck (Yaya and Mama got a seat in the cab) sitting on a bunch of Kava roots with 5 other people as we made a mad dash through the still formidable rain swollen river. It was pretty exciting. We had 3 more rivers to cross in this way but they weren't as flooded and finally at 10pm we arrived in Lavena and got a room at the local lodge.


The flooded river

Lavena Coastal Walk


Lavena is a small village at the head of the Lavena Costal Walk Trail. There is a small lodge for guests but most people make the trip from the resorts on the North end of Taveuni and back in the same day arriving by taxi or local bus. It was very windy in Lavena which made it cool and pleasant and kept the mosquitos away. There were lots of kids in the village and they didn't have school because the road was still flooded over and they all converged on the beach and surrounded Yaya and us. Unlike the kids on Waya these kids were a bit feral and relentless in their desire to pick and poke at our darling child.

Colleen decided to take a sea kayak trip while Yaya and I walked the Coastal Trail. She was keen to go on her own but they would not rent her a kayak without her agreeing to take the guide. I was in full agreement as I had read the journals and people kept thanking the guide for saving their life. So Colleen and carlo headed out to sea and Ambiana and I headed up the coast. We could see Mommy for awhile but then they went outside the reef and were lost beneath the swells. Colleen later told me she had never seen seas so big!

The trail is 5km one way and hugs the coast the entire way passing through the lushets forests I have ever seen. Was passed through 2 villages and several coconut plantations, and crossed several streams.


We met Mommy and Carlos at the mouth of the river that leads up to the waterfalls. Colleen told me that Carlos did indeed save her when the kayak upset as they made their way back out to sea after stopping to see another waterfall further down the coast. We had been waiting for them and Yaya collected rocks in her pocket from the beach to give to mommy. She was really excited to see Mommy and Carlos surf the kayak into shore.


Mommy Kayaking off the shores of Taveuni

We stopped for lunch at a picnic table next to the river. Carlos's sister lived near by and he went to visit her and returned with some rast wild pig and kassava root to add to our lunch!
The only way to approach the waterfall was by swimming up the river and into the small gorge before it. I went first, the river was refreshingly cool and crystal clear with lots of small trout in it. I made it into the gorge before the waterfall but could not progress much further due to the volume of the flow. When it has not been raining for a week it is possible to swim right up to the falss and climb up beside them to jump off. When I swam back Yaya was excited and told me that she went pee pee poo poo in the water and the fish came and ate it all.


Colleen swam up next and found the current to be too strong for her as well. Carlos took this picture of us. He was a great guide, very friendly and informative.
Here he is standing behind Colleen on the suspension bridge on the hike back.