We woke up in Fiji and were anchored off Dravuni Island. By the time we arrived I was so tired and exhausted from a combination of self-inflicted issues including too many late nights, too much sun and too many cocktails (probably the biggest issue) that I thought about not leaving the ship and just lying on a day-bed and viewing Dravuni from a distance.
But that would be a very poor effort as you don’t come this far to just be an onlooker so after a rejuvenating buffet breakfast we climbed into a tender boat (one of the ship’s lifeboats) and went across to Dravuni.
Dravuni Island is south of Suva, the largest city in Fiji. There is just one village on the island with 100 residents. There are no roads and no cars so you have to walk everywhere. But that’s not a hardship as it’s not a large island.
First we wandered through the village where we saw the houses the residents live in and the local primary school and the meeting house. The locals had set up stalls where you could have your hair braided or have a massage or drink from a fresh coconut or buy a soft drink. A cool drink in all that heat would have been very welcome but there wasn’t any cooling mechanism like refrigeration or ice and so the drinks were put in a container of water to try and keep them cold but that wasn’t working too well.
The currency is Fijian dollars and they were charging FJ$20.00 for a massage, FJ$5.00 for hair braiding, FJ$3.00 for a can of coke or FJ$2.00 to have a parrot put on your shoulder or head. If you don’t have Fijian dollars they will take Australian currency but they prefer notes, not coins, and in terms of currency conversion, you won’t be given a discount from the Fijian prices advertised.
You will need plenty of sunscreen, drinks and reef shoes for this island, as it’s hot beyond belief and the sun is scorching. With all the humidity you will perspire copiously where it just runs off your body and protecting your feet from the coral is very necessary as the reef runs all the way around the island.
We found a shady place to lay out our towels and then thought we’d go snorkelling. However, the water is extremely shallow for a long way from the shore and the reef runs all the way to the beach so Carl thought his stomach would become hari-kari if he went snorkelling so he refrained and I took the little guy. (Miss Arabella was sleeping off a VERY late night back on the ship – by now she had a close circle of friends!)
The snorkelling, (once you’ve managed to get passed the weed and the shallow water) is amazing. The water is crystal clear and luke warm, the coral is there in every colour of the rainbow and the fish life is full of variety. We saw too many species to count and there were so many schools of fish in colours of green, yellow, white, blue and orange or striped, multi-coloured, tiny or substantial. It was a visual feast for the eyes to be sure.
We came out of the water and heard you can walk to the top of the island where there is an incredible view so we left our things on the beach (there’s no problem with theft) and started to walk towards the summit. It’s a walk that’s easy to do even if you’re wearing thongs (as we were) however it’s hot. Have I mentioned that Fiji is hot? It’s hot, especially in the summer which is when we were there. As we struggled for breath on our way to the top we passed many people descending the hill who all, without fail said, ‘It’s worth it once you get up there’ and with that encouragement we kept going.
It took about 20-minutes from where we were on the beach to walk to the highest point of the island. I certainly would have regretted it if we hadn’t have made the effort as the view from the top of Dravuni Island is amazing and we stood in all the heat in awe of our surroundings. All the photos were taken on my i-phone and none have had any post-production so the colours you see are exactly what we experienced.
It’s an incredible island and Carl asked a local if we could move there! ‘Of course’, he said, very welcomingly.
But that is not to be and we had to leave the island to the one hundred fortunate souls who can call this special place ‘home’.
I’m not sure if you would ever visit Dravuni unless you are on a cruise ship and it’s so good that the cruise ships do visit as they provide income for the village that calls Dravuni home.
Once we descended the summit we had another swim in the beautiful water then had a warm soft drink while floating in the water and then all too soon it was time to be back on the ship. We caught the very last tender and had we missed that one, perhaps as Carl wished, we’d still be there now!
I loved visiting Dravuni Island as it gave us a true experience of how the beautiful Fijian people live. We were able to see how their village operates, see how welcoming they are to visitors, and of course, listen to their harmonious voices singing to us as we toured their island home.
I would be ever so grateful if I had the opportunity to visit Dravuni Island and its people again.
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