Paradise Taveuni and on to Matei - 16:41.55S, 179:53.7W
We went to Paradise Resort for water and laundry and ended up staying 5 nights and spending more than we intended! Paradise Taveuni is mainly a dive resort, but they provide half a dozen mooring balls free of charge to yachts. There is a drinking water tap on the quay so you can fill you tanks (for free) and their ‘sailing guests’ are welcome to use the resorts facilities such as the pool and loungers, with a shower available as well. Of course they hope you will also buy their services (diving and land tours, drinks and meals) but there is no obligation. The staff were all genuinely welcoming and saw it as a failure if they didn’t remember your names the second time they met you.
The pool, with a view over the moorings
We booked a tour to the national park and waterfalls for Sunday, and after a lazy day and topping up our water tanks we went ashore for dinner on Saturday night. All of the yachties who were eating with them that night were sat at a long table on the terrace and we had a lovely, social, evening getting to know some new people from boats we hadn’t come across before.
The other guests on our tour weren’t yachtsmen and it was quite nice to be among ‘normal’ people for a while. Our first stop was at the dateline in Somo Somo where you can step from yesterday to today – a novelty for others, but we have already crossed it several times. The island is quite proud of the fact that it is cut in two by the 180 meridian (the whole of Fiji keeps the same time as New Zealand) and there are several shops and hotels called Dateline.
Even the bakery is called dateline
Step back in time to yesterday
After a short stop in the town (no market, or much else, on a Sunday) we drove all the way up the western side of Taveuni, then half way back down the eastern side to reach the Bouma National Park and the waterfall hike. This was a great walk up into the forest past 3 lovely waterfalls. To get to the second waterfall we had to cross the river and as one of our group couldn’t make the crossing our guide left the group to carry on alone while he walked her around. The path appeared to end at the second waterfall, until you looked carefully at the opposite bank where you could see the steps going up the hill. We rolled up our shorts and hopped and waded across, then turned to find the rest of the group still on the bank waiting to see if we made it! We waved them over and then went back to help the two children through the deepest part. The top part of the track was quite rough and muddy, but it was a really enjoyable hike and by the time we had been to the third waterfall and had a swim when we got back to the first, it was 3pm – a late lunch.
The first pool. When we got back local teenagers were spending their Sunday enjoying the cool of the water
Crossing the river to the second waterfall – the second crossing didn’t have a rope to help you
The second fall appears between the trees
Great views across the reef to the neighbouring islands from the trail
The third waterfall – and the end of the trail
On the way back to the resort we stopped at the ‘natural water slides’ – a narrow stretch of river where the water funnels and the bottom is smooth enough that you can slide down with the water. By that time it was getting late and only one of our group had a go. We had already decided we would stay another night because it was late and had been a full day, but when we got back to Serenity we found the wind generator make loud grating sounds, so it was obvious a repair was going to be needed.
A beautiful evening on the way back to the resort
On Monday Phil took the wind generator down and disassembled it to find a circuit board looking as if it was burnt out. We had a spare, but didn’t want to put it back in use until we knew what had caused the problem. Email queries to the manufacture would not be answered until that night at the earliest, so we went snorkelling in the afternoon and prepared for an extra day in Paradise! The water here is probably the clearest we have seen so far and there was pretty coral and lots of fish right in front of the resort. In the end Phil got his answers from a Facebook group called 12 volt boating and the generator is back up working more quietly that it has for a long time. We still haven’t had a response from the manufacturer.
Taveuni is known as the garden of Fiji. It is green because it rains a lot, so this view of the island is rare
Last night we had a final meal ashore at the resort, paid our dues, said our goodbyes and got ready to leave this morning. We have now motored 20 miles north to Matei on the north west corner of Taveuni, where we are anchored in beautifully clear water and so far have the anchorage to ourselves.
On Monday evening the sunset from the resort was beautiful, but we had not taken a camera ashore, so
this photo is courtesy of John from Canada who was on the island tour with us!
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