Dravuni from the ship

Never believe that there is nothing to see or do at any place when you travel. It is a time to explore.

Dravuni from the shipDravuni Island from the ship

The morning after visiting Suva we arrined at Dravuni Island, one of the many islands which form part of the Fijian Archepelago. We had been told by the Excursions Director, who gave daily updates and information on planned excursions, that no excursions had been planned for Dravuni as there was nothing to do on the Island except sit on the beach. There were a number of people who chose not to get off the ship based on this information. When we told them what we had seen and done, they regretted their decision. The more we have travelled the more we have learnt that there is always something different to see or learn and we probably won’t be there again so must definitely go and see for ourselves.

Before we left the ship to go to the Island by tender we were reminded a number of times about Fiji’s strict quarantine laws. At the pier the majority of people caught the shuttle bus to the best known beach of the Island while others remained on the beach where we arrived. We, not being great beach people, walked towards the village which we were told had just 200 people. On the way there were small groups and some individuals offering neck and back massages as well as hair braiding. We felt a bit sorry for them as they rely on the cruise ships for customers and here we had a Cruise Director who had told us nothing of them.

Hair braidng signHair brading sign (spelt brading)

As we climbed up the gentle slope to the village we realised that there were definitely more than 200 residents even if not 1000. There was a Primary School which had been built in 2002 and originally staffed by Australians. Local teachers were trained so that it is now the full responsibility of the Dravuni people. The children were so excited to see us and sang songs that they had rehearsed for our visit.

The Primary SchoolPrimary School

The village was created with a number of different, mainly blue, homes according to what one could afford. All the people were very inviting and pleased to see us. At dinner, one gentleman told how he had been invited into a home and had tea, biscuits and a long chat with the owner who was born on the island over 80 years ago. 

simple homesA few simple homes

Upmarket home 2An upmarket home in a slightly more open setting

There was a small path which led deep into what I referred to as a coconut grove. There were hundreds of coconut trees as well as many of the tropical fruit trees – banana, mango, avocado, mulberry etc. An American fellow behind me became quite excited when he saw a mango tree.

Pumpkin plantsPumpkin plants in ‘Coconut Grove’

At a point the path divided into 2 with one path going straight and the other going uphill. We met some people who had been up the hill, which was a small mountain, and they said that the views were spectacular. Trevor chose to climb the mountain while I stayed on the straight and (genuinely) narrow path but, within a few metres, there were 3 young men sitting across the path. They told us that an episode of the TV Programme, Survivor, was in the process of being filmed and no one could go any further. They were very pleasant and we had quite a chat about Dravuni and their aspirations. Living on the Island was all they know and they were very happy there. One of them said that the only thing he didn’t like doing was climbing the trees to pick the coconuts.

Survivor boatView from on  top of the mountain with the Survivor Boat to the left

When Trevor returned he too had been amazed at the wonderful view but it was a steep climb to get to the top.

Path up the mountainThe path up the Mountain

Altogether we had discovered a number of special ‘treasures’ to add to other memories. Even if one is unable to climb the mountain there was lots to see and the people were so friendly. The mountain

The top of the mountain

We walked along the beach to return to the pier to get a tender to the ship.

The beach 2The beach. A local man offered boat trips to the reef for Aus$10

Trevor in the PacificAnd we each ensured we paddled in the Pacific

Vicky in Pacific 2It was lovely and warm