After two days at sea we arrived at Savusavu, Fiji. The city of Savusavu is located on Vanua Levu, one of two large islands in the island nation of Fiji. There are dozens of other islands in the group of islands that make up Fiji. At Savusavu, we had a tour to Wiasali Rainforest Reserve. Billed as a strenuous hike, this lived up to its billing. There were 15 people on this shore excursion. Eleven members of our group fit into a van and the remainder of us rode to the reserve by taxi. Louise and I had the first taxi, the remaining two people had the last taxi. We arrived before the van which had stopped to fuel up on the way to the reserve. The rainforest reserve was about a 40 minute ride from the town of Savusavu where our ship was anchored offshore.
Once the rest of the group arrived we were welcomed by our guide. The official language of Fiji is French and our guide was partially fluent in English. He had some difficulty translating names of plants into English. As we started down the trail we were going down into a deep valley in the rainforest. Our guide walked ahead of us pointing out orchids, palms and other plants along the trail. Unfortunately the trail was a narrow single file trail. That meant that the group was strung out for some distance. Louise and I were the second and third people in line and if we walked quickly we could hear what he was saying to the first person behind him. We asked him to stop repeatedly so others in the group could hear what he was saying but it was no use, he wanted to keep going. We tried asking questions which would allow the group to catch up and that worked sometimes.
We saw a number of different kinds of orchids on the walk and heard a Barking Pigeon but never saw it. Actually I may have seen it flying but at a distance it is hard to get enough details from a flying bird to truly identify the bird to its species. The bird I saw was a pigeon and was the correct color but never having seen one before and not having a guide book to consult, I can’t claim to have seen a Barking Pigeon. Hearing it was enough to be able to say that this bird had an appropriate name, it really did sound like a barking animal.
Reaching the bottom of the valley we paused for a few minutes along a small stream and enjoyed the view and the cool air near the water. Our guide lifted a long leaf submerged in the water and stirred up a crawdad-like animal in a pool in the stream. Then we began our climb back to the top of the hill. The trail was a loop trail so this was new territory. The trail was as steep as the trail down with many steps, some normal size and others being twice as high as a normal step even a few that were larger. They were at least constructed steps and we weren’t climbing up rock steps which can have uneven surfaces and be a challenge to find the best place to step on each step. Since we were trying to keep up with our guide we didn’t have much time to look around as we climbed the hill. Again we managed to stop him with a few questions.
Louise and I decided that we would think seriously about just doing these explorations on our own. This particular shore activity was fairly pricey and we could have easily hired a cab and taken our time exploring rather than getting the trip that we did. So we put that in our memories. We aren’t the kind of people who like tours. I like having the freedom of not being on a schedule and having to rush through things. Likewise I like to be able to pause and look at things that interest me, take some pictures and then continue on the trail.
When we returned to the town we had some time to walk around and explore some shops and vendor booths before we returned to the ship. The theme for the night was dressing as Fijians so we both got a good warm shower and put on our finest souvenir Polynesian clothes for dinner. We skipped the show for the evening and went to our room for some rest after a stressful day on shore.