Pacific Ocean

Ylang Ylang: in Fiji

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We arrived in the Lau Group, where we couldn’t stop, as we hadn’t cleared into the country. Before leaving Tonga, we had however done some clever calculations, to set off at the right moment to cross a poorly charted group of islands during the day, then to arrive at our destination on a working day and at the right opening time, to avoid the overtime tax. We had sent our dossier beforehand by e-mail, and entered the Levuka lagoon – our timing was good. We were the only sailing boat, and nothing seemed to be really being done for us. We called up the authorities, and they replied that we would have to wait until the next day. However there wasn’t a public holiday on that date, but we learnt the next day that Fiji had just become Rugby 7s world champions, and the government had given the whole population a day off! The next day, we anchored opposite the town. The people are very kind; we began our ‘Bula’ (’hello’ in Fijian) phase. The little town is dilapidated, but neat and tidy, and I found it charming. The local grocery shops are not extraordinary, but since Raiatea I hadn’t seen as much merchandise on the shelves, and I was delighted.

We took a bus to Nadi. The country is quite surprising, through its ethnic mix. At the beginning of the 19th century, a huge number of Indians came to work in Fiji, in the sugar plantations. Hard workers and productive, they prospered, to such a point that they currently hold the country’s economic life and make up 45% of the Fijian population! There is very little intermarrying; English, Melanesian and Hindi are spoken. Beautiful Indian women walk around in saris…

Who: Marie-Paule, Adrien, Martial.

Where: Fiji, Pacific Ocean

Boat: Lagoon 421


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