Friday was a grey rainy day a little on the cool side. I spent most of the day on a mission to send out the last big email to all of you and upload photos to the Smugmug photo album. I write the emails on my laptop on the boat and transfer the text and photos to a flash drive which I then take into town in search of an internet café with a fast enough connection to handle the photographs. There were three or four “quote-unquote” internet cafés in town but all with only a few computers, maximum of four, and usually half of those inoperative. All were in use and we had to wait in line for our turn. An additional complication was the intermittent town-wide power shortages which seem to be a fact of life in Savusavu, possibly (just a guess) because the town is run by generator and someone has to fill up the diesel tank?
Half the photos were uploaded by lunchtime, at which time a power outage delayed sending the rest for a few hours. So if you happened to check the website and only saw 15-20 photos – check back as I uploaded nearly 40 by the time the day had ended. Don’t expect any more photos until the end of the trip as I don’t think we will see another internet connection until perhaps our last night in the Sheraton Resort in Denarau.
We had curry for lunch at an Indian café, and then Mike and I went on a guided tour of the local black pearl farm. There are two pearl farms in Savusavu, one run by the Fijian government and the other owned by a wealthy American who lives in Fiji. Wild oysters are harvested from nearby and relocated to underwater grids of rope lines where they are monitored. Each is implanted with a seed pearl from Mississippi by technicians flown in from Japan. It was our good fortune that on the day of our visit the technicians were in town for the annual seeding of oysters so we got to watch them at their job. It takes 8-9 years for a pearl technician to learn his craft in Japan!
After the pearl farm tour it was back to the email mission. The power was out again, but we waited it out by ordering cappuccino and lemon-passion fruit pie (South Beach cheat) – a ploy that works as well as reading a magazine in the doctor’s office (dad!) in that the power came on just as the pie was served!
For dinner we made a reservation at the only restaurant in Savusavu that cooks on a gas stove (instead of electric) – sure enough by dinnertime the power was out again but we had a really lovely dinner by candlelight on a veranda hanging out over the harbor – an outstanding Japanese menu beautifully cooked, and bring your own bottle of wine. We passed on the home-grown eel as a main course.
Saturday morning the sun was back out and Elize and I walked down to the busy Saturday market to stock up on fresh produce. The market is lively and colorful, piles and piles of fresh fruit and vegetables, including strange items I’ve never seen before. Also a corner with freezers full of fish, a handicrafts section, and in one corner a few old guys drinking kava out of a plastic bowl at a picnic table in the vicinity of a prominent “No Spitting” sign in several languages! Also, of course, another power outage which unfortunately knocked out the live musical entertainment. We hired a taxi to haul our fruit and veggies back to the boat. Taxis are cheap and a common form of transportation here – it cost us one Fijian dollar and the driver helped load and unload the groceries!
After winding up our affairs in Savusavu, we departed the harbor and moved Raven to the mouth of the inlet where we dropped anchor next to the Cousteau Resort. We went ashore to inquire about dinner reservations (unfortunately they were booked and couldn’t fit us in) and admired the beautiful facilities and perfectly manicured grounds. Hotel beach towels were available for guests by poolside, each rolled up with a hibiscus flower tucked into a fold. Pricing there is between $850 to $1150/night. Dinner would have been $75/head, so we saved ourselves considerable cash and instead enjoyed a scrumptious dinner prepared by Elize and served in Raven’s cockpit.
Sunday morning we woke at five in the morning to depart Savusavu under the stars on the second leg of our trip across to Taveuni…the idea being to reach our destination anchorage and thread through the tricky coral reefs when the light is good for coral-spotting.