Tavenui above water
Trip Start Mar 17, 2007
450Trip End Ongoing
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The reason to go to Tavenui is: it has 2 of the top 100 dive sites!!!!!
The White Wall and The Fish Factory.
We booked ourselves into Tovu Tovu hotel.
It has a dive shop in the hotel, which is run by the legendary Tyrone Valentine. For 1 Euro, we get a taxi to the hotel. Neti is greeting us. We soon find out: she does the reception, books tours and cleans the rooms. Most of the staff is multi-functional. The room is a relieve for me. I expected something like we had in Tofu, Mozambique: a cramp, dirty beach hut. The room is not luxurious at all but it is spacious and clean.
We meet Alan, the owner, in the evening. The food in the resort is delicious, luckily, since there is nothing else in walking distance.
We are told to show up before 8 in the morning (middle of the night) to go diving.
I send Dr T out ;-)
The news is: there is no diving on Sunday: come back tomorrow. No worries: there is free internet, not in the room but in the bar, so a day of writing mails, playing computer games and updating web blog. And a lot of beer, of course.
Monday: diving time. T sniffles and indeed: we are on. I meet THE Tyrone and I am less than impressed. He introduces himself and asks: 'Is that perfume I smell?'
'Do I smell perfume?'
How would I know what he smells? And if so: is he going to shoot me? But I am a nice girl and say:
'Could be insect repellent.'
'Nasty things, insect repellent: I never use it.'
'What do you do to keep the insect away then?' (We get EATEN in Fiji)
'I plug in an electric device in the room.'
What room? You spend 90% of your time outdoors. And in our room, you cannot close any windows, those appliances only work in closed environments.
' I have seen the grass die after a tourist walked on it with insect repellent.'
Anyway, I do not see any connection with my diving, am confused about the message (if any) and Hubby confirms that the insect repellent story is BS.
We are told that the place to go diving is highly depended on the tides. But you will read about our diving stories in another entry.
After 2 days of diving, I need a day off. We go for a hike, take a taxi to a restaurant nearby, discover the nice flowers and the nice people of Fiji and drink the local beer (Fiji Bitter of Dr T, Gold for me) and Kava, also spelled Cava, or Ava, nonalcoholic, euphoria-producing beverage made from the root of the pepper plant, principally Piper methysticum, in most of the South Pacific islands. It is yellow-green in colour and somewhat bitter, and the active ingredient is apparently alkaloidal in nature. A big bowl of it, is set in the middle of a table. With a little cup, some of the drink is scooped and given to you: you can choose if you want a low tide, a high tide or a tsunami. Meaning small, big or huge sip. You clap your hands once when receiving, 3 times after you drunk it. It makes your mouth numb and you feel relaxed, not sleepy. Dr T felt a bit drunk. The first Kava evening, I was ignored: a man drink. Tony asked a couple of days later and I could join then.
I am in two minds about Fiji: there are parts I love and parts I did not like. People are very nice. All the staff of the hotel knew our names! Someone did our laundry. One day, our clothes disappeared to reappear in the evening: clean! Everybody, really everybody shouted 'Bula' from far away: there was no hostility or envy towards those 'rich' people. That was a hard part for me: the poverty and the complete difference in mentality: we saw kids as young as 5 with wood branches in their neck, walking home. An old man with a wheel barrel: full of wood. A woman looking for herbs because her 1 year old grandchild had high fever. Still, they all say bula and welcome to Fiji.
But: women are ignored. During the diving, our diving master ONLY spoke to Tony. Not once, someone asked me a question. A drink, Kava, only offered to the men.
You need an enormous amount of patience in Fiji. I thought I knew the name of the game: I have been around the block a couple of times. But, MORE than an hour before a tuna sandwich arrives or a pizza is a looooooong time.
We DID pay 50 Euro/night for our hotel. We did like it and it has power 24/7, which is rare on this island: most of them have 2, 4 or 6 hours of electricity/day. There is no mains, they work on generators!
The prices of the dives on the web site are no updated since 2006: a bit of a surprise! We paid 100 Euro/day/person for them. Including a lovely lunch on a deserted beach of the island Vanua Levu.
Our pizza experience: nonono, not an Italian, just a local chef, who makes pizzas. Tramonto restaurant, 5 minutes taxi from the hotel. The sunset was great and the pizza OK but be warned: order before you are hungry.
Do NOT count on your hotel or restaurant to book a taxi. Better negotiate yourself and even go and stand on the road, to flag one down. On check out, I went to the reception at 08h30. I asked the girl to make to bill and call us a taxi for 10h. I asked again at 09h30-40-50. To make a long story short: there was NO taxi at 10, nor the bill.
Count on extremely slow and things you do not understand. Pay your bill the day before, do not count on calling taxis or booking tours: they do not care! Do not ask why. They do wash your clothes for free and REALLY ask how you are.
Despite all the advantages: I would not recommend Fiji to none divers. Maybe I am wrong: if you are a passionate hiker, you like little unspoiled islands, if you can afford it: rent a yacht, it is an ideal destination.
I'll tell you about the diving soon.