Our EXC In-Depth Voyage is still in the South Pacific, weaving among picturesque islands that look right out of a postcard or movie! EXC In-Depth Onboard Exploration Leader Mark Read sent some Field Notes and excellent photos from gorgeous Savusavu and Dravuni Island, Fiji. Enjoy this installment, and stay tuned as the ship continues its exploration in the Pacific Ocean.
As guests disembarked the tenders at the main pier in Savusavu, they were met with a cacophony of sights and sounds as the markets were in full force, full of colour, noise and big smiles from the locals as they welcomed you with the customary ‘bula’. One of the EXC shore excursions in Savusavu was the Urata Waterfall and Village tour. Four volunteers from Maasdam represented the group by taking part in the traditional kava ceremony, seated on the floor facing the chief and senior village men.
The chief welcomes people onto his land by sharing the local drink, kava, with them. The drink, which tastes a little like muddy water with a mild peppermint flavour, causes a mild tingling of the lips and can make the mouth go numb. Fun fact: In the South Pacific, kava is a popular social drink, similar to alcohol in Western societies.
The volunteers performed the ceremony with the chief, at which stage the villagers broke into song and presented everyone with a lei, meaning we were welcomed onto their country. The overcast weather, which had been threatening all morning, finally broke, and amid rain and thunder hardy explorers headed off to walk to Urata waterfall. After a muddy and slippery walk through the forest, a beautiful waterfall was our reward. After a refreshing cool down, we headed back to the village for some local fruit and more singing. An amazing insight into village life in Savusavu.
Dravuni Island, Fiji
Under a broken sky, Maasdam rode at anchor offshore beautiful Dravuni Island, south of the main island of Fiji. Guests embarked on the tenders to spend time ashore, exploring the island and snorkelling in the clear waters.
Others embarked the Zodiacs for an EXC In-Depth exploration of nearby Namata Island, a tiny uninhabited island to the south of Dravuni Island. As the Zodiacs approached the island we were greeted by fruit bats flying amongst the lush trees and frigate birds riding the wind currents. At the island, guests stepped onto a tropical paradise, complete with coconut palms and coral reefs bathed in crystal-clear waters. The driver-naturalist team led guests on guided snorkelling trips, Zodiac trips using the viewing cones and a walk on the island to explore the local flora and fauna.
Some of the reefs surrounding Namata Island were extraordinary, some of the best the naturalist team had ever seen. After two hours playing Robinson Crusoe, everyone boarded the Zodiacs for a short transfer back to Maasdam, stealing a last look at Fijian paradise.
If you’d like to join one of these amazing adventures, check out our EXC In-Depth itineraries. Stay tuned to the EXC In-Depth Field Notes as Maasdam heads for Alaska!
All photos in this post were taken by Mark Read.