Fiji is an amazing South Pacific island country, full of friendly people, beautiful beaches, and more. We spent a few months there, dodging the rain, arguing with biosecurity, and buying a new boat. We also explored major islands and minor, witnessed music and dancing, and partied with the Fijians. Read on to learn about our Fiji favorites.
Visiting Fiji Villages
Our delayed cruising permit kept us from leaving Savusavu, and buying a new boat meant we didn’t get to explore Fiji much. Still, one of our highlights was visiting a village and experiencing their ceremonies.
The custom when you visit a village in Fiji is called sevusevu. The protocol when arriving is to introduce yourself to the chief of the village and present a gift of kava. All the markets sell both kava powder and root, packaged nicely in ribbon for presenting to the chief. The giving of sevusevu is a longstanding tradition and shows respect for the people whose land we visit. Once we perform this gesture, the chief will welcome us into his village.
Since we’ll be in Bonaire for a while, we want to give back while we are here. I researched volunteer opportunities and found a way to help revitalize the reefs. I especially liked that it combined scuba diving and volunteering! We enrolled in a course and are now volunteering in coral reef renewal in Bonaire.
why coral reef renewal
Around the world, the reefs are in peril due to a multitude of causes like pollution, bleaching, hurricanes and diseases. Coral reefs are very important not only to the 4,000 species of fish who live there, but to humans by providing multiple medicines, and, for tourism. In Bonaire the reefs are the main source of tourism, with the protected marine preserve a lure for divers around the globe.
The good news is marine biologists have developed a way to regenerate the reefs. It requires constant maintenance and volunteers to help with it. We learned all about it last week in our course on coral reef renewal. The 2 day course included classroom lectures, videos and 3 dives.
In the class, we learned about building and caring for coral nurseries. Bonaire has several of these nurseries and now that we’ve passed the course, Brian and I can help maintain and nurture the reef nurseries.
Brian, Domino and I have been anchored in Great Bird Island, Antigua for a month. We moved here as the island was going into lockdown, quarantine et al due to Coronavirus.
A month is a long time for us! In fact, this is the longest we have stayed in one anchorage since we moved on board Sava. Since this is Sava’s new home, here’s a rundown of the anchorage, with lots of photos.
Where is Great Bird Island?
Located in the northeast of Antigua, Great Bird Island is a tiny uninhabited islet with other even smaller islets surrounding it. While uninhabited, during tourist season it can be busy in the daytime when power boats bring locals and tour groups to the beaches and for snorkeling.
One of the requirements of UDC’s Divemaster program is to participate in a beach clean-up, which is a great way to ensure all the students are aware of the environmental problems with our oceans. Last Monday, I participated in my first beach clean-up with Utila Dive Center. It was enlightening and a little bit depressing but ultimately rewarding.
Getting to the beach clean-up
We met at UDC and drove in a van to the beach at the southeast end of the island, where I had never been. From Google Maps, I guess it is Iron Shore Beach. There’s no road across the island, so we went all the way south and then back up the east side.
One of the UDC instructors, T, led the group and she organized everything, providing gloves, garbage bags, rakes, and trays to put special types of refuse on, like glass bottles (of which there were few) and bottle caps (many). We were prepared and we needed to be. The amount of trash that washes onto that island from the ocean has to be seen to be believed.
Organized into teams, we competed with each other a bit: for most trash, and most of each type of trash. It was just one element to keep people involved, but most of us didn’t need the game.