We dinghied to shore of Dravuni Island and were met by a local man. We asked to whom we should do our “sevusevu” (offer our yagona root). Another man who appeared to be in charge of such matters accepted our root bundle, recited a few words for the “sevusevu”, in Fijian, and then welcomed us to enjoy Dravuni and make ourselves at home, in English. The chief was on another island so we were told that concluded our formal obligations. Easy-peazy.
We heard about the village gearing up for the cruise ship visits. Large posts had been driven into the shore and were awaiting the installation of a long floating pier.
Numerous little stands had been set up for selling crafts and massage treatments, right next to the beach.
Pandanus leaves were drying in the yards. These would be used for weaving mats and baskets to sell to the cruisers.
They said about 21 ships were on the schedule to stop at the island in the next season. This business would bring a lot of money to the village. We tried to picture 2000 passengers descending on this tiny village!
We mentioned we would like to hike to the top of the hill and were given directions. We wandered through the village and passed a Kindergarten school.
The trail through the forest of palms and pandanus was well maintained and ready for the many day-trekkers who would be arriving on the cruise ships.
Along the way, pigs were being kept in pens with the young ones running free.
We got to the top of the hill and soaked in the views of the islands and surrounding turquoise water and reefs.
We took a walk along the beach at a very low tide and met some locals fishing and collecting shells.
I enjoyed looking at the variety of life along the shore when the tide was out. Monty patiently waited.
Back on the boat that afternoon, we were approached by some fishermen and asked if we would like to buy a lobster. We agreed. $10 for a nice meal. How can a Nova Scotian turn down lobster? It was a change from the tuna and mahimahi!
One of them asked if we had anything for ear infections. I had some swimmer’s ear medication, which we gave them, but probably not effective for his problem. These fishermen free dive to great depths like 60 feet and lower, to collect sea cucumbers which are dried and sold to the Chinese. I asked how big the sea cucumbers were and they showed me by motioning the size of a large man’s arm. These organisms perform an important function in the ocean similar to an earthworm on land, but are being over-harvested all over the world to supply the insatiable Chinese market.
With lobster on the menu, we had a lovely evening in the cockpit. I should not point fingers!
The next morning I got up around 545 to catch the glow of the sunrise silhouetting the island.
I wanted one more walk on the beach before we left the island. Monty and I went ashore and turned left. We walked on the soft sand and along the granite and limestone shore where the sand had worn away. There were numerous giant clam shells on the beach and some had even become like fossils in the rocky shoreline from the waves wearing them away.
At the end of the beach was a small path that lead to a gravesite. It was interesting to see how the graves were decorated, complete with tea pots and jars of food.