Short day in Fiji (arriving 7 AM, departing 2:30 PM) as we have to leave early to make it to Russell, New Zealand our next stop. Mel and I decided to check out the town for an hour since our snorkel tour wasn’t until 9:15.
Suva City is the Fiji commercial center and our ship docked amongst the containers. We got a free shuttle to “Jack’s” souvenir shop which put us in the middle of town. Shop didn’t open until 8 so we walked around the town to get some flavor of the place. Lots of people hustling to get to work by 8 AM. Definitely mulit-cultural as we went by a Catholic Cathedral, Hare Krishna restaurant and a Peri-Peri chicken place. Saw our first McDonalds since we started our voyage and no! we did not stop in……… yet! After shopping, (t-shirt and another pareo), we realized we actually were not far from the ship via side streets, so walked back to the ship. Along the way, we were approached by several people trying to sell us things or get us to go to specific shops. Definitely more aggressive then we have experienced thus far.
Fiji has over 200 islands, several of which are large and have resorts. Suva is on the largest island, Viti Levu, and gets about 70 inches of rain year. It was very lush, with flat lands that flood a lot, hence houses on stilts. Indian slaves were brought in to work the sugar plantations, along with English, Chinese and of course Fijian. Tourism has replaced sugar.
Our snorkel trip included a 1 hour bus ride to a resort to catch a boat out to the Beqa lagoon reef. We snapped a lot of pictures as Jim our tour guide kept our attention on the landscape. As we traveled on the King’s highway, the bus kept slowing down and going over a hump. At first I thought it was bad roads but then realized it happened whenever we approached a small town. Finally figured it out that instead of stop signs, they put in speed bumps when they want you to slow down. I got a picture of the traffic sign.
The reef was out in the open bay and the seas were rough, so Mel did not stay out long. It was the best coral we have seen to this point, with fan, branch and brain corals in various colors. Most of the fish were pretty small but colorful. Several schools of fish also went by in the deeper water, just off the reef. One clump of about 100 little black fish all of a sudden, stopped, attacked a yellow branch coral and then 10 seconds later, reformed their fish cloud and moved on. Looked like something out of Finding Nemo.
On the way back from snorkeling, Jim, our bus guide told us they look forward to seeing Fiji water featured in Hollywood movies and TV shows. Fiji water from a waterfall on the other side of the island and a major export. Waiting in line to get back to get back on the ship, a gal in line passed a bottle around so we could all take a picture with it. We all giggled as we took the pictures.
Wished we had had more time as we missed the Cannibal museum. Rev Thomas Baker was the last known victim of Fiji cannibalism in 1867. We were warned to wear clothes that cover our knees, don’t wear hats or sunglasses indoors and Never, Never touch someone’s head. Apparently, Thomas touched the Chief’s head and all that is left of him is one of his shoes.