Levuka was situated in a beautiful setting, a backing of a high amphitheatre of jungle covered hillside with rocky peaks. It was the original capital of Fiji and was were the secession to England was signed. The capital was transferred to Suva later when limits of space made themselves felt here.
Nowadays it feels like a slightly down at heel township although the Tuna cannery seems to be doing well, there is slight smell of canned fish permeating the town. It was a bit strange to be back in a place with roads, cars shops and resteraunts after my time on the islands.
I walked south down the coast to the place of secession marked by a bronze plaque and the original treaty house, now looking sadly neglected with vast patches of the thatched roof missing. Inland I climbed up the 199 steps of mission hill and carried on up the valley to a small waterfall where the towns water supply comes from. There were nice views over the town from here and many little shacks where everything had to be carried up by back.
After a few days I decided to make the trip to Suva. It was too far to go in daylight hours so late afternoon saw me weigh anchor and sail out through the reef entrance for an overnight passage. The wind was very variable mainly S/SE so to go S meant a lot of tacking. One tack to stand out eastwards from the coast and then a long tack S/SW almost going in the desired direction, gradually closing the coast until a mile away from the reefs then tacking out again. It was a wearisome business but eventually the lie off the coast turned around the corner so to speak and I could lay the desired course. Gradually I could go from hard on the wind to a beam reach then a broad reach and finally a run as I rounded the reefs off the SE corner of the mainland.
Eventually I came into line with the leading marks for passing the reefs to enter Suva harbour and could gybe to sail in. As befits a major harbour used by big ships, the beacons marking the reef edges and the leading marks were good, Once in I made my way across and anchored off the Royal Suva yacht Club by early afternoon. Only 75 miles but it had taken me 22 hours.
Next day I walked into town. Suva is big and bustling and there are a number of department stores where apart from the cliental you could think yourself back in the UK, such a stark contrast to the islands. I shopped at the excellent fruit and veg market, had a nice curry for lunch and caught the bus back to the RSYC.
We had another trough come through when I was anchored here, high winds, plenty of rain and a choppy sea which confined me to the boat for 24 hours.
Another day in town saw a visit to the botanical gardens, which I found a little disapointing.
Much better next day I took a bus out to Colo-i-Suva rainforest reserve. Had a nice walk around here, there were some nice waterfalls and pools including one with a tarzan type rope swing.
The path I took out was steep ‘rooty’ and muddy. Heard lots of birds but they are very hard to spot amongst all the trees.
After several days I felt it time to leave the harbour is busy full of ships, many rustbuckets and wrecks and the water is dirty and polluted. I weighed anchor and headed out one morning, next stop 100 miles along the coral coast.