Friday Field Trips: Navua River Trip

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9/19/2008 Navua River Trip

Ok. So the majority of folks decided their post-conference experience would be the snorkeling on Beqa island, once more leaving via Uprising Resort, but a few of the hardier souls chose the Navua River trip to see a native village and scenic waterfalls as we floated up the Navua River.

After dropping off the undersea adventurers, the final 5 motored to Navua town to catch our boats for the ride up the Navua River. We were joined by the bus driver and 3 more scheduled to be on the trip with us. We set off slowly as a couple of groups joining the tour arrived late. The sun was shining, breeze was cool and the water was amazingly clear. As we approached the village, we heard the distinct sound of a conch shell being blown. We all gathered on the steps up to the village and chose our temporary chief. Filing into the village bure, we all sat down for the traditional kava ceremony. I was quietly assured by a fellow adventurer of about 8 years of age that kava is not exactly the best tasting concoction. Following the ceremony, we toured the village. We got to see village women weaving floor mats and learned about the paints they use for making tapas as well as how they pound the bark.

They used traditional underground cooking to roast the taro. While we hung out in the cooking area, our guide, William, told us the history of the village and how the residents came by the name Danforth. Lunch was served. YUM. And then we all trooped back out (after a bit of shopping) to the boats. We continued our motor trip upriver in search of scenic waterfalls. The Navua River gorge is absolutely gorgeous. By this time, the sun was playing hide and seek with clouds.

We disembarked at a lovely little falls seen easily from the river. The group ambled up to the falls, where we are informed, we can leave our stuff to be watched while we hike up to the real falls. For those who don’t think they can make the hike (and he’s looking at me), we are welcome to wait for the group to come back down. HA. Poor William had to catch another curve when I asked if I would be ok making the hike up barefoot. Off we set to see a waterfall about 100 feet high with a huge pool for swimming. William was kind enough to carry my camera for me so it didn’t get wet. Of course, he got his revenge by taking my picture as I came back down. Lovely man. We spent another few minutes watching brave folk and small children jump off a platform above the lower falls.

We all trooped back down to the boats for the return trip. A short distance down, folks were invited aboard bamboo rafts to be poled downriver for a few minutes. And the sky fell. Yes, the rain came down in a hissing, pouring torrent that did not let up until we crossed the mountains on the bus back to Suva. The Drowned Rat Society crawled back aboard the bus to the retrieve the Beqa Island group at Uprising Resort. The rest of the Drowned Rat Society came aboard the bus and we all rode back to Suva hoping the sun would make one last appearance on our last day together.

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