With our book deliveries completed it was time to return to civilization again and do some provisioning. So, off we went to Savusavu. It was just a six hour sail from Navatu Island and it is known for being a cruiser friendly place with the ability to find good provisions.
We actually checked into country here in 2019 so we already knew what to expect. Interestingly enough the day we arrived it looked almost exactly like it did on the morning of 2019. It was overcast with light rain and the seas were calm. A light fog was hanging over the mountains and the steam from the hot water springs along the beach was rising into the air.
Coming into Savusavu you have to have somewhat of a plan. You see you are actually entering a small bay that is narrow and filled with yachts. The Savusavu Yacht Club has a few spaces available at their docks and several moorings available as well. Just across the way is Nawi Island where they are currently building another marina that will be able to host much bigger yachts but for now…your options are the Copra Shed Marina, Waitui Marina (moorings only) and much further up into the shallow bay there is Savusavu Marina which does have limited docks but mostly moorings. We stayed there on a mooring in 2019 and found it quite adequate but we prefer to be near the Savusavu Yacht Club as we feel the boat is a bit safer there when we are at shore. Sadly there has been an uptick in crime in the area in recent years.
On this trip we were fortunate enough to be able to secure one of their moorings for the entire duration of our stay. We spent ten nights in Savusavu and enjoyed it as much as we did in 2019. Our mooring was directly across from the open air market and just a short jaunt to the SYC. And, on our first day in port we had the wonderful pleasure of meeting up with Sereana. She’s the sister of our dear friend Va from Nadi. The women we laid eyes on Sereana we knew she was Va’s sister. She works at the bar at SYC. Not long after we began to enjoy our first beer Sereana introduced us Vilomena…their mother. We instantly felt like we had family here.
This stop for us was more about provisioning and taking a short rest from our book deliveries. During the days we relaxed on Dazzler and tackled a project or two on board. Then we’d go into town to do the standard hunter gatherer thing that you have to do in places like this. You know…going from store to store where you find a few items here and a few there? It’s all part of the adventure in third world countries.
In Savusavu there is a great little place called Sea Lovers Wine & Spirits that sells some American products so we always have to hit that up. And, we do love the open air market where we pick up fresh veggies and kava root for sevusevu ceremonies. For meats there are two butchers that can supply some good quality meat for your cold stores. All in all, you can find just about everything you need.
After our chores were done in the mornings we’d usually stop by the SYC for a couple of cold beers in the afternoon. The view is nice and there are always cruisers here ready to chat about whatever project they are working on at the moment. And, on Sunday evenings they have live music on the lawn. We enjoyed one evening ashore listening to a great little band but honestly we didn’t even need to come to shore for that as we could hear it all from Dazzler. That’s how close our mooring was to the yacht club.
There is another reason to stop in Savusavu…..the Surf and Turf Restaurant owned by a dear friend, Veejay. Veejay used to be the chef for the Jean-Michel Cousteau Resort located just a few kilometers from the city center. He was there for fifteen years before starting his own restaurant. And, while his restaurant may not be as posh as the one at the resort you can rest assured that his food is equally brilliant.
In the nine days we were there we ate at his place four times. We’d have been there a fifth but on that day he was out fishing to catch fresh fish for his signature dishes. Believe me when I say that this place is THE place to eat in Savusavu! He uses only beef tenderloin in the beef dishes and even makes his pasta fresh. Yep…gained a few stones here to be sure.
The most wonderful treat we had…aside from Veejay’s food…was the night before we were leaving. We’d just come back to Dazzler and put Sparkle on the foredeck when I received a text message from our friend Va. She was actually here in Savusavu at the yacht club. I explained that we were unable to come in as the tender was loaded on deck and before we knew it she’d hired a longboat to come out to Dazzler to see us. Yes….I think it’s safe to say we’ve amassed a few very good friends here in Fiji.
On To Makogai & The Giant Clam
After nine days in Savusavu we headed to another of our favorite islands…Makogai. Makogai is the island that was once a leper colony. We were here in 2019 and found the entire place quite enchanting. This time was no different.
The trip here meant an overnight stay at Koro Island. We’d also stayed here in 2019. There’s a resort and many upscale houses near the resort as well. Everything looked quite abandoned this time though. As there was no village here we did not need to do sevusevu so we anchored in a nice spot and enjoyed the evening on the hook without going to shore.
It was actually raining here when we arrived and we were rewarded with a beautiful rainbow that stayed about for quite sometime. At one point it was even a double rainbow. And, we enjoyed a nice grilled steak that evening as we watched the ocean, reef and mountains from the cockpit.
The following morning it was off to Makogai. If memory serves it was about a six hour trip there. On the way were were lucky enough to catch a nice Dorado (Mahi Mahi) so with dinner on board we were all set for a beautiful afternoon and evening.
As we were approaching we could see that the super yacht, MV Suri was in the bay. If you’ve followed us at all you probably know I particularly think this is a pretty yacht. In fact, I think it is actually one of the more unattractive boats in the world but, hey, that’s just my opinion. I’m sure the owners think otherwise. LOL It is rumored that Tom Cruise name his daughter after the yacht. Sounds exactly like something that whacko would do. No…I’m not a Tom Cruise fan either.
There were just a couple of other boats in the anchorage when we arrived and dropped the hook. It was a gorgeous, sunny afternoon and we were looking forward to going to shore. I think I may have misspoke in my last post saying that our last Faces of Fiji book was given at Nasonisoni. The last one was actually given here.
After a few anchor down beers we were off to do sevusevu and what a treat it was for us. Our first contact on the island was with Enoki. He’s an elder on the island and was so sweet to us. He asked us to sit on the grass and chat after we presented our sevusevu to him. When we showed him the Faces of Fiji book his smile widened and he reached to touch my hand. It was obvious how special he thought it was that we’d taken the time to create something like this for them.
Then Dan told him we’d brought one more gift and it was for the children. At that he pulled out the brand new rugby ball. The youngsters that were stirring about suddenly became very interested in the kaivalagi sitting there on the grass. One young man in particular took a hold of that ball and I’m not sure I ever saw it leave his hands. Needless to say rugby is a big thing for these kids. They learn to play it almost the moment they can walk. If they don’t have a ball they play with a plastic soda bottle or whatever they can find to use as a substitute so yes, a new ball was a real treat.
After spending some time with Enoki and the kids we were invited to share kava with some of the elders in a small hut/shack they had recently built on the island. The fun thing is that some of the men here remember sharing kava with us in 2019 under the huge mango tree near the community kitchen.
This was sort of a special day there as people from the other villages on the island were there and involved in a seminar of sorts that was teaching them about ways to protect the environment. Our kava ceremony was one that included some of the other villages. One of the old women who was there told me she’d lived on this island her entire life and had never once left it. I didn’t ask her age but I’d guess she was in her sixties. Imagine that…never leaving a piece of land that sits in the middle of the ocean and is just a little over 4 km long and 2 km wide.
Learning Fijian Customs
We sat with our friends for an hour or so drinking kava and discussing their interesting traditions. For example, in Fiji, in many villages, it is forbidden for a father-in-law to speak to his son-in-law. If things need to be said between them it is said through a family member or friend. In fact, they cannot even sit in the same place together nor drink from the same kava bowl. We’ve heard and witnessed this before and it is always quite serious. They don’t take their traditions lightly.
On this day a man named Sampson was sitting next to Dan. His son-in-law sat outside the door as he was not supposed to be involved in the same circle as Sampson. But, since we were here Sampson agreed to allow his son-in-law to sit inside in the circle with us. The caveats were he was unable to speak at all and he must drink his kava from a different coconut shell than Sampson.
The following day we did some snorkeling and found one of the famous giant clams that are here at Makogai. Sadly we found that the two we saw in 2019 just off the main beach were dead but another quite a distance from the village was alive and thriving. There’s just something awe inspiring about snorkeling around a clam that is about half the size of a VW bug.
From snorkeling we went to shore to take some drone images. We’d asked for permission the day before and were told it would be fine. And, after that we took a walk along the beach. Makogai is a stunning places and we enjoyed every second there with the people we’d met before and those who are new to us.
I even got a chance to see my little friend, Emma. In 2019 she was just three years old. Now she’s a grown up six year old and just as beautiful and sweet as she was three years ago. Aside from her silky brown skin and perfect face, what I remember most about Emma is that when we were here in 2019 she was at the shore helping the kids clean the fish. She was holding a very large butcher knife and when we arrived on shore she was in the water cleaning it. Yep…it was a shock to my system.
We all know that if this happened in the USA the parents would be jailed for child endangerment but here…it’s perfectly normal. And, you know what? She cleaned fish and cleaned the knife and never had a nick on her body. The helicopters parents of today could surely learn something from the Fijians.
Our stay here at Makogai…much like in all the other villages, was too short. There were hugs and, of course for me, tears as we said more goodbyes to wonderful friends. Sadly we have to keep moving if we want to see everyone and everything we hope to see before leaving the country for the last time.
I don’t know how I’m going to cope with our final goodbye but I do know this…I hope and pray that the lessons I’ve learned from these incredible people are ones that I carry with me for the rest of my life.
Until Next Time,