After clearing Customs on board ahead of our first stop in Fiji, National Geographic Orion guests were treated to a very special afternoon at the rarely visited village of Waitabu on the island of Taveuni. This is the third largest island in Fiji, and it is known as the garden island thanks to its lush and extensive forestation. Villagers conducted a ritual kava ceremony for us, and we were told that the schoolchildren practiced for three months ahead of their exuberant performances today. There was time to stretch our legs on the walk to a photogenic waterfall in Bouma National Heritage Park for a refreshing swim in the river.
National Geographic Orion
Fiji, “the island of smiles,” and Beqa certainly lived up to the name today. We have had incredible weather on our journey so far. The sun was shining today, but the winds were picking up. Fortunately, we were able to get ashore and meet some incredibly friendly locals. We were fortunate enough to be presented with kava. This was followed by a traditional dance performance. The island is famous for its fire walkers. We were told of the history of how individuals are believed to be given the gift of walking on fire, and we observed the incredible feat as they walked barefoot across boiling hot rocks. We strolled around the area and spent time with locals before returning to the ship for lunch. In the afternoon, some of us chose to go on a challenging hike from one side of the island to the other, and all returned with smiles from ear to ear. Our day finished with the captain’s farewell drinks; it was a wonderful finish to an incredible journey that started in French Polynesia and ended in Fiji.