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Fiji, Levuka / Ovalau island

November 17, 2013

5th of Nov., 8am, 25 miles southeast of Levuka, great breeze, then squalls, then no wind. Damned. At 6pm we give up and use the engine for the last 5 miles. We arrive in Levuka on Ovalau island at sunset. Good thing we’ve been here before.
Levuka town

Next morning we move towards the pier, anchor close by, and wait for the officials. They come in our dinghy. In most other places in Fiji you have to pay somebody for their transportation. Quarantine first, health, customs. Everything else we can do ashore. What a great place! Everybody’s friendly and very relaxed. We can pay the fees after changing money and lunch. A part we have to pay in the hospital. The good thing about Levuka is that it’s very small, in 10 minutes you can walk through the whole town, population is something about 2.000, spread out over some valleys and hills.

Hey, we’re back to Fiji, we love the cheap lunches! And we find the first place ever that serves traditional Fijian food. Fish in coconut milk with greens and roots. What a treat! For 1,50$US! And it’s enough to share.

The first days we’re very slow because we’re still tired after sailing for 5 days. We meet friends who stay in the ‘Royal Hotel’. This was the first hotel in the South Pacific, opened in the 1860s. In Levuka there are many ‘firsts’ as it was Fiji’s first capital.
Since June 2013 it’s an UNESCO world heritage site. Most buildings are open to the public. And everything is newly renovated, signs with explanations, guestbooks to sign and nice brochures. It feels a bit like an open air museum. And it looks like a sleepy old western movie town.

We just love the place! The only drawback is the huge generator that’s right in the middle of town. It makes noisy energy for the whole island. Beside it there’s the huge tuna processing factory. We are a bit unlucky and the wind always shifts to bring us the smells. We move the boat, the wind moves as well. Well, we eat some more fish.

Our friends on ‘SY Suvarov’ arrive, another Austrian boat to clear in. It seems that we are the 15th boat for clearance this year. Not many people come here as the anchorage is not very good protected with most wind directions, but it’s definitely worth it! We have a good time swimming in a freshwater pool we find up the river.

On Saturday morning we’re up for a big surprise: a cruise ship! We head for the market, it’s weird, we get treated very different than normally, funny!

After shopping we escape towards Leleuvia. A small island 15nm to the South.
Next surprise: the cruise ship has the same idea, it overtakes us in the middle of the pass into the huge lagoon. And anchors close to the island. We take one of the free moorings that are provided by the resort. To keep the corals alive. And watch the excitement. Boat by boat people come to the island, we have to go and watch it. It’s a great place, one small resort, a walk around the island takes about 20 minutes. And so relaxed, even with all those people! It must be a highlight of their cruise. Great snorkeling, swimming, sandy beach, exactly how you imagine a South Pacific paradise.

Sadly it starts raining late afternoon, and it keeps raining for two whole days. And very windy, on the 9th we take the chance and sail to Suva.

photo by SY Suvarov

photo by SY Suvarov

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