Today we arrived at one of the most beautiful islands of Fiji…Dravuni. There were no cars, no resorts and less than 200 people living on the island. There was only one village and the rest of the island was full of coconut trees, pineapple plants and bunches of bananas. The beaches were white sand and the water was turquoise with a reef along much of the island. Does it get any better than this? We first saw the small village made of mainly simple shacks with locals selling coconuts and sarong’s to the tourists. We saw a path and ventured into the rainforest to see where it would lead us. The forest was so lush and green. The coconut trees stood tall and the leaves on some of the plants were about three times the size of my head. There were little baby piglet’s rustling around in the dirt and the larger pigs were being kept in cages. One tourist made reference to the pigs as the bank account of the locals.
We came to a point in the path where we could go up or straight, we decided to climb to the top and check out the view. The walk was fairly steep but gave us a good work-out and gorgeous views! Once at the top…we saw we were at one end looking over the length of the island, and in the clear blue water other small islets dotted the ocean. We enjoyed the breeze and the picturesque scenery for a bit before heading back down the path.
At the bottom of the hill, we got back on the path to see if we would end up on the other side of the island. We saw more banana trees and other fruits/veggies growing amongst the wild which were being grown by the locals. The path ended at the ocean on the other side of the island. There were almost no people in sight…it was like being on our own, stranded on a lost island in the pacific. We climbed over a rocky area watching little snails move out of our way, and found a perfect spot to set up our towels on the white sand. With coconut trees towering above our heads, sand between our toes and the rhythmic sound of the waves crashing on shore…we found ourselves in the picture-perfect Fiji scene (it would have been a great Corona commercial).
After our abandoned island experience, we walked back through the island on the dirt path used by the locals. The colors inland were so vibrant…bright greens and lush fauna in every direction. We saw men with machetes hacking away on green coconuts…we couldn’t resist. We asked for a couple and sat down to drink its juice straight from the coconut itself. The juice was sweet and the meat was delicious…only $1.00 each. We looked at some of the local goods being sold and saw several people getting massages for only $6 per half hour! Why didn’t we do that too?
As we walked through the village, we heard a loud clanking sound…then saw two young muscular men holding a big metal bar taller than themselves and ramming it down into a small metal bucket. After slamming it down a few times, the first local would hand it over to the next guy to take a turn. We were told they were making Kava (a local root with medicinal effects…a natural alternative to alcohol). We asked to take a picture and they asked if Giff wanted to give it a try. Giff picked up the metal bar and after only a few times of lifting the heavy bar and whacking it against the metal bucket, started to sweat. The bar itself was extremely heavy. We peeked in at the Kava inside, instead of the long stringy roots, it was now a chunky powder. If only they had a grinder…it would make it a whole lot easier!.
We continued walking and saw about 30 of the locals all sitting under a Fijian hut singing and playing instruments. The large Kava bowl was in the middle and the pot of crushed Kava Giff had just helped grind was brought over to the group. They continued grinding it with what looked like an over-sized mortar. We took a picture and one of the men asked Giff if he wanted a drink…he declined being worried about the safety of the drinking water it was made from. Later we had wished we had joined…drinking kava with locals is something you can only do if you’re invited.
We walked back onto the beach and went swimming again…it is really hard to resist the water here. We were both starting to feel a bit sunburned and hungry so after cooling off, took a tender back to the ship. We grabbed some food from the buffet on-board just in time before they closed.
After our late lunch, we had some down time before getting ready for the evening. The sunset was a vibrant hot pink…and very romantic. For dinner. We ate in the formal dining room and had our three course menu with a bottle of wine. After dinner, we people watched a bit as crowds gathered upstairs on the deck dancing and listening to the live band. There was a dessert buffet set up with all kinds of sweets. It was pretty funny and heart warming to watch all the older couples busting a move to the oldies on the dance floor.
We were tired from the long day of relaxing on the beach (it’s hard work but someone has to do it) and settled in for a movie before bed.