Friday, 18 November 2011
Days 227 & 228: Fiji
Dravuni Island, Fiji
Dravuni is a paradisaical tropical island in Fiji with about 125 residents. You can walk all round it in about an hour. We arrived with our own 'little' community of over 2000 people (including crew). This is not what I would consider a 100% ideal situation. We tendered to the island and were greeted by a man with the aura of 'leader of the Parish Council' to put it in English terms, and he is clearly quite pleased to see us. Behind him, everyone is lined up under the palm trees with little stands selling coconuts and sarongs. I am so not together on the 'visiting' part of this cruise that I was astonished to discover everyone looking very African, but we have now left Polynesia behind and entered Melanesia and I am just being useless. I suppose this village makes lots of money from what Holland America pays them just to rent the use of their island for a day. Obviously, there are pros and cons for everyone and I'm not sure what they all are. I know I spent about an hour of the afternoon picking up trash which various members of our group had left strewn around their beach. The weather got stormy and by 2.30pm, most of us had retreated to the ship, cold and wet, so the cultural performance team came on board. They want to raise money to travel internationally, and I think this actually worked out well for them. Without the competition of the beach, they had a full house in the ship's theatre and a basketful of donations at the end.
Lautoka is a medium sized town with a real port, and I decided to spend the day on a photography project around the ship and port area. It's a good choice of place because there's a sugar cane factory and a paper mill right outside the port, plus they're tearing up the road. When I got back, I ruined one of the ship's flannels by trying to wash my face with it, but that's OK. We all systematically ruin the pool towels which they give us to take to the beach. I feel sorry for whoever does the laundry on this ship.