Day 24

Late last night, I tried one more time to view the lunar phenomenon. The clouds only thickened and eliminated any chance of seeing the moon.

We arrived at Suva, Fiji shortly after 9:00 a.m. Suva is the capital and second largest municipality in Fiji and is located on the southeast coast of the island of Viti Levu. Our six hour excursion began at 10:45 a.m. and took a one hour bus ride to the start of our Long Boat ride up the Navua River. There were six in our longboat along with a guide and motorman. The 45 minute scenic ride went through small rapids and bends along the river, while viewing gorges, tropical rain forest, and cascading waterfalls. Once we exited the longboat and walked about 100 yards beside the river while the motorman navigated upstream against some strong rapids. We continued up river until we came to a small tributary feeding into the Navua River.

We exited the longboat and walked along a narrow path, beside the stream, past a small waterfall, for less than 10 minutes, until we reached the main attraction, the 50-foot Magic Waterfall. There was a thunderous noise and blowing mist from the cascading water, which gently settled in a large pool at the base. Everybody got into the water for a refreshing cool dip. I was adventurous and swam against the current and approached the falling water near the base, holding on to the rock wall to keep from being pulled away. Eventually, we had to begin our return journey walking back down the gorge and into the longboat for a visit to the Raiwaqa Village, partway back down the river.

Our excursion group was welcomed into their ceremonial hut by the chiefs and villagers. One of the chiefs explained their customs and beliefs, especially the importance of the traditional Fijian Kava Ceremony, during which chiefs drank a peppery liquid. A male from each of our buses was made temporary chief and participated in the kava ceremony with the tribal chief. This was followed by local chants and dancing.

A nice lunch of Fijian food was served. We had some time to shop for native crafts. The Fijian dollar is worth about $.50 US, so prices seemed quite reasonable. We arrived back at the port about 5 p.m., just in time to shower and get ready for dinner.

We ate tonight with Danny Elliott, the talented entertainer who played so many instruments. He was on our excursion today, so we had met him earlier. He is flying back to Sydney tomorrow and, in a few days, he begins his next job on another cruise ship. He leads a very hectic life, trying to balance his job and family. He has 3 children, all of whom sing and play instruments.

Emily Garth sang again this evening. She sang selections from Verdi, and some wonderful songs from Phantom of the Opera. She also flies home tomorrow. New performers will come aboard for the next part of our journey. Tomorrow we will be on the other side of this island in Lautoka, Fiji.

Yours in travel,

Pat & Mac