Saturday, 1 February 2014
01.02.2014 - 01.02.2014
Calm seas and a gentle breeze made my waiting on deck for the sunrise very pleasant. Right on schedule the sun popped over the horizon and there was a beautiful honey colour to the sky. Had our breakfast and prepared for our Ship's Shore Excursion. We reported to the theatre a good 20 minutes ahead of schedule and to our surprise were processed almost immediately finding us aboard the tender by 08:00. A short smooth trip to the floating pontoon ashore at Savusavu and although it was still early the heat and humidity were already oppressive.
Boarded the bus for the 30 minute ride to the copra plantation, reputed to be the only one surviving on the island. The bus trip was a bit rough but the countryside incredibly beautiful. I was impressed by the very tall and very slender palm trees that grew in various places. We arrived at the plantation where we were met by the owner and members of his staff. We'd been warned that the facilities were 'rustic', perfect description.
The complete process from planting to harvesting and extracting the copra was explained with examples of each stage on display. The very tall trees are the 'Fijian Tall' while the shorter trees were various cultivars introduced from other parts of the world. Yields and longevity were the two main criteria used in the selection of seeds selected for planting.
The plantation is located on a beautiful little bay and looks to be an idyllic spot. The owner told us his 500 acre farm is up for sale, his children don't want to take it on and the return on his crop only just covers costs. Stage two of the visit consisted of demonstrations and tastings of the many products that can be derived from the coconut palm. We tasted the flesh of a sprouting coconut, the fresh flesh of a green and a mature nut. There was also some 'millionaire’s salad' made from the inner core of a tree. We drank the coconut milk made by squeezing the grated flesh and the fresh liquid of a green nut which had been topped with a machete and a straw inserted.
For me the highlight was when Thomas - the boss boy - shed his sandals and proceeded to climb a tree and bring down one of the green nuts.
It was a most relaxing morning and with a gentle breeze it made the heat quite bearable. All good things come to an end and we boarded the bus back to town and the tender. Wandered through some of the local shops and bought me a shirt with tribal patterns.
Back to the ship and up to Deck 14 for lunch, couldn't resist the crumbed prawns so had two goes at them. After lunch to the theatre and watched "Now You See Me". A movie with a complex plot and incredible action scenes. Back to the cabin to start this text and look at the 172 images for today. I have to select ONE !!
Excellent dinner and afterwards showtime in the theatre starring Violinist Patrick Roberts. The violin work was quite amazing but occasionally drowned out by the backing music. At the end of the show, the Cruise Director provided a 10 minute impromptu comedy show, not bad for a one-time Pommy Copper.
The ship feels as if it is on an ocean as smooth as silk as we make our way to Port Denarau tomorrow, another tendered port and we will go ashore even if just to look around..
This link should take you to today's image on my 365 Project http://365project.org/tonydebont/365/2014-02-01
Cheers .. Tony