February 14, 2017
I am writing this on February 15 and we are now 18 hours ahead of Eastern time. Confusing to say the least!
Our excursion yesterday in Lautoka was a trip on an old wooden sailboat to a private island, Tivua Island.
First, a bit about Lautoka. This town is on the northwest coast of the island of Vito in Fiji. It is the second largest city after Suva. This is the area of the sugar cane industry and is the country’s leading sugar export port. Legend has it that there were two tribes in the town and as a result of an argument one day, a fight broke out between the two chiefs. One speared the other and screamed out “LAU-TOKA” meaning “spear hit” or “hit to win”. And so, the town acquired its name.
We boarded our sailing vessel right from the wharf where our ship was docked. We had a wonderful friendly crew who greeted us with fresh fruit and mango juice. They entertained with songs on the way to the island, and one even had a box with what looked like a clothesline attached to a stick. He made sounds like a bass with it!
They did a kava ceremony on board and this time Norm was the chief and had to drink the kava first.
The island was beautiful. It is a sand fringed coral island surrounded by 500 acres of coral reefs. We had a choice of lots of activities, including snorkeling, paddle boarding, glass bottom boat, swimming or just relaxing in our own hut. We chose to snorkel. and while the coral has been pretty damaged by cyclones, the fish were spectacular. We saw lots of bright blue starfish which are plentiful here and not anything we have seen before. I did take video and pictures with my new go pro camera but haven’t figured out how to get them on the blog. We have other snorkeling trips scheduled, so I may do a post of just those pictures when I figure it out! And may have to post from a place with fast Wi-Fi.
Some people arrived by helicopter!
I did some beachcombing for shells and unusual coral pieces. We were happy to see the protection of turtle nests here. We also saw the island where Tom Hanks filmed Castaway but we didn’t spot Wilson!
One of the crew also took us on a nature walk and pointed out all of the trees that have medicinal uses here. Papaya is used for asthma, Palm root for toothache and they use the leaf of the hibiscus as toilet paper in the rural areas. Thankfully not here on the island!
After a really wonderful day, we sailed back to the Insignia and got all cleaned up in time for the Valentines party on the deck. I had a special drink called Kissed on the Lips which was vodka, peach schnapps and champagne. Lovely! Dancing and chatting with friends before dinner, a valentines cake and a spectacular sunset.