Maandelijks archief: oktober 2017

The return of the Taveuni Princess.

Because we were not allowed to move our boat till the insurance inspector came, we decided to go to Taveuni by bus and ferry. We got our tickets and made reservations at a small resort for 2 nights to return just in time for our meeting with the insurance inspector and the marina.

While we were waiting for the bus to arrive I got local oranges, 80Eurcents for a bag of 4. They do not look perfect but they are very juicy and the vendor sooo proud :-).
The bus was full at 7am. One Fijan got up and insisted I take his seat for the 2hour ride….
The Taveuni Princess 2…all new after cyclone Winston (catagory 5) destroyed her predecessor in February 2016. The boat was built by the captain’s 75 year old father at a cost of about 1Million Fiji Dollar (400.000EUR). It took 3months to build with 6 people.
Stefan enjoying a seat in the Taveuni Princess 2.
Arriving in Taveuni, the garden island of Fiji. We definitely picked a good weekend to go, no rain and lots of sunshine.

Because we only had 2 days on Taveuni island we decided, after some discussion, to limit ourselves to hiking the 2 top walks on the island:The Lavena Coastal Walk and Tavoro Falls Walk. Although there are many opportunities for beautiful snorkeling (rainbow reef) we unfortunately did not do this (captains orders). When we arrived on Taveuni we immediately put on our walking shoes, bought roti for lunch (indian wrap) and got a taxi to take us to Lavena to start the coastal walk.

Lavena beach. The start of the Lavena Coastal Walk (5km one way).
The walk starts along Lavena village. This woman is preparing the pandanus leaves to be dried so they can be used to weave baskets or mats.
There used to be a swing bridge here but cyclone Winston (2016) took it with him…
Apparently a lot of the spots here were also used for the movie “Blue Lagoon” with Brooke Shields.
The vegetation and bird sounds were really beautiful, so peaceful, we did not see any other tourist. They recommended using a guide for this walk but we never had a problem finding the path.
Taveuni is definitely a “garden island”.  Part of the trail goes through the Bouma National Park.
At the end of the walk one arrives at Wainibau Falls. The water was very refreshing and again no other tourists there….
Returning along the coast, it was a gorgeous afternoon walk.
Lavena village is a typical Fiji village with houses made from corrugated sheet metal and wood. The traditional “buré”, made from pandanus and bamboo is near impossible to still find.

We left early on saturday to hike to the Tavoro Falls, which are a series of three waterfalls within Bouma National Heritage Park. A lot of people only make it to the middle falls because it is fairly steep to get to the 3rd one.

Just before we arrived at the entrance of the park I noticed the very blue Collared Kingfisher sitting in the sun to warm up.
We had to borrow money from our taxi driver to pay the entrance fee of the park as we did not have enough cash…We paid our admission fee to a beautiful proud gatekeeper and were on our way.
The first sight of Bouma National Park. The park protects rainforest and coastal forest and covers 80% of Taveuni.
After 10min walking we reached the lower falls, The fall is 24m high and is an ideal spot for local children and families to play and spend their WE’s. There was even a facility to shower and change.
Local children having a good time.
We slowly climbed to the next fall and had a beautfull view of the ocean fronted with palm trees and Qamea island in the back.
Can you spot the frog?
Somewhere along the path we missed the turn for the middle waterfall and we arrived immediately at the top one…We were there all alone just at lunch time and had a wonderful time under blue skies in a perfect scenery with birds singing along.
The water temperature was perfect.
I even got Stefan into the water :-).
We could not have picked a better day !
On our way back we found the middle falls.
The middle falls are hidden by the rainforest.
View while returning to our starting point.
Playing and adventure with a home made raft.
In Ecuador we stood on the “equator”, latitude zero and in Taveuni we stood on the “international date line”, being the 180 degrees longitude north-south line. Stefan stands in today, Ilse in yesterday. My geography knowledge has never been better after visiting all these places :-).
The Wairiki Catholic church in Taveuni was built in 1907 in honour of a French missionary who advised Taveuni warriors on how to defeat Tongan invaders. No chairs, people sit on the floor for mass on Sunday.
A tree filled with fruit bats. Fruit bats rest in trees, not in caves. They are also called “flying foxes” and they are the only mammals that can fly (together with microbats). They eat fruits and nectar.
Early sunday morning we left beautiful Taveuni with the Taveuni Princess 2. We were both happy we had a chance to visit this beautiful island.