Sunday drive

Lars Alfredson
Wed 19 Jun 2013 03:10

Pos 17:16.52S 177:06.23E

Octopus Resort Waya Island



20130616 Sunday


After yesterdays excitement it's decided to take a quite drive into the countryside in search of the Momi Battery. This WW2 installation protected the only entry through the reef to access the town of Nadi and its airport.


As this was the passage we had taken to get to Port Denarau we thought it would be interesting to see it from the landward side.


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                            The Hindu temple


Driving from the marina to Nadi we turn left at the Hindu temple, a land mark you most certainly couldn’t miss and headed, through town. According to the map we should follow this “Yellow” major road for some 15 kilometres when it forked, taking the right-hand arm some 5k to Momi and the battery.


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Fifteen K later we still hadn’t spotted a major (Tarmaced?) turn off though by now we had reached the point where the road we were looking for which ran down the coast rejoined this road.


Back tracking we saw a small sign for a beach resort pointing up a dirt track where our turnoff should be. Also as the only other bit of intelligence on our destination is that it had a “Budget” car rental office it seemed like a reasonable decision to take it.


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                      Countryside buildings


The track (Major road!) was marginally better than yesterday’s experience. It was relatively smooth, less pot holes and didn’t have a ridge of rock down the middle. As we were on a coast road the altitude remained below 100 metres and more often that not we we’re driving though the mangrove swamps.


Soon we were encountering a large river. The crossing consisted of a diversion onto a cane railway bridge, of dubious maintenance, that had planks nailed alongside the track for motorised vehicles.


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                 Rickety bridge


Advancing fearlessly we continued onward. To our surprise when we turn off, the road suddenly turns into a super highway of tarmac and takes us past a massive golf course and resort before returning to a dusty track. A fine example of “Planning Gain”


Several K later we end up in the “Seashell” resort at Momi, the guns are around the next bay were informed. As it lunchtime we take advantage of their bar and restaurant before proceeding.


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                           Seashell Resort


Off we go again, back onto the road then turn off onto another somewhat washed out track until we arrive at our destination high on a hill overlooking the sea.


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                 view from the battery


This evocative WWII Battery was built to defend Fiji against the Japanese Imperial Army who had already swept through Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Is. and parts of what is now Vanuatu. As we clamber up on the guns a quick scan of the horizon reveals why this spot was chosen. The guns have unrestricted views to Malolo Barrier Reef, the Mamanuca Islands and most importantly the only gap in the reef, Navula Passage.


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Though supposedly closed on Sundays the custodian suddenly arrives After giving us the compulsory tour he is thwarted when trying to relieve us of $10 each for the privilege and is informed we only have $50 notes. Not to be outdone he says he will guide us to the village shop and we can get change there. Bah humbug, foiled.


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                   Failed its MOT                                                                                     Detail about the Guns


Arriving back at port we do some shopping for our departure tomorrow and as the rental office is open, hand back the car now instead of in the morning.

The lady comes out to check its condition as we assure her that the thick layer of red dust will come off in the wash and it will be like new while praying she doesn’t check underneath.


Business concluded, a quiet contemplative time and happy hour before going ashore for dinner.


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