Savusavu, life in Fiji

Savusavu, life in Fiji

We arrived early morning after a bit of a bumpy crossing and made our way into Savusavu. The town borders a long waterway formed by the main island and a small mangrove lined smaller island making a very protected anchorage. We are directed to a mooring by the chap from the Coprashed Marina. He later brings all the various government officials to the boat; customs, immigration, health and quarantine. All are very friendly, courteous and easy to work with yet it is clear they take this process seriously. Again good preparation is essential and I have all the needed forms ready to present to them.

We venture into the town and find a unique combination of native and Indian culture and people. The streets are bustling with shoppers, cabbies and just people hanging out. We do some shopping and hit the huge public market. The produce selection is super. Quickly we notice that the prices and very cheap. It is puzzling how prices vary from country to country. I have established the CCPI, can of coke pricing index. I have seen the cost of coke go from $.50 to $200 in stores in the South Pacific. The Fijian exchange rate is 1.8 to the USD.. more good news!

We quickly find that the restaurants are great and cheap—cheaper than we can fix at home, and Lucka needs a break so we dine out most of the time we are in Savusavu. I am a real wimp when it comes to hot food but if you like hot curry this is your place!

Sunday roles around and we head for a local church. We can hear music coming from above the town and we head up to find the Bethany Assembly of God Church about to start. We have attended Catholic and main stream Protestant services but not an Evangelical one so I suggest we do. We are greeted by the Pastor; it seems they do not get many visitors at least not white ones. One young Fijian commented on us attending “White people do not go to church in Fiji, they only know God the day they marry and the day they die”.

The service could have been in any African American rural American church. The people jumped up and danced to the great gospel music coming from the small band. Hands in the air, and voices turned to God, the place rocked. A long and non English—sermon followed taxing Lucka’s endurance but I figured we should stay. They had us introduce ourselves and tell where we were from—I’ll bet they had never had a visitor from Slovanijia before!

After the service the Pastor came over, seems he had heard about the boat from his friend, the bass player in the church band, and our customs official—small town. He asked if we would like to have the boat blessed and I quickly agreed.

The next day Pastor Napoleon and his son met me at the dock and we brought them to the boat. What a charming man and the kid is a total hoot, inquisitive yet very well behaved. South Pacific kids are like that, no shortage of curiosity and gumption but a clear view of the borders of life—instilled by loving parents who do not spare the rod I am told. I had a good time doing my balloon tricks for him.

With a heartfelt Fijian blessing for Furthur and crew, and a warm thanks we take them back to shore and bid them farewell. Later while having lunch I was trying feebly to explain the various American churches when a couple of strapping Mormon missionaries sat down. We had a great talk as they explained yet another church to Lucka. I asked them the tough questions, polygamy, and the racial distinctions made by the LDS church until recently. I also praised them for the family support their church delivers. I have had more contact with more American churches in the South Pacific than I ever did at home.

A pesky high pressure system had set in the day before we arrived, causing the bumpy ending to our passage. It sat stationary and made for persistent winds for several days. The forecast for Monday was 40 KM/h with a slight dropping on Tuesday but staying moderate for the week. With pending crew changes we had to go so after checking out on Monday we left Savusavu at day break on Tuesday.

As expected the beginning of the passage was lumpy and I had to make a few course changes to provide some level of comfort. We made our way windward for 30miles then turned to a more appealing sea as we headed for the main island. By day’s end we found a splendid anchorage in a remote bay, threw a few pieces of tuna on the barbie, and enjoyed the unspoiled night sky.

The next day we headed around the island inside the huge outer reef. This made for some tricky navigation but very calm seas and spectacular scenery. The terrain took a sharp change as we left the jungle like eastern islands and rounded to the “dry side” and dry it is. The bare mountains plummet into the sea reminding me of Baja. This remote area supports a few very small villages but mostly barren and empty and not a cloud in the sky.