Got up feeling a bit burnt, so I stayed in shade for most of the morning. Fortunately, there were several huts in which one could enjoy the view without the burn:
After some relaxing, I boarded the 10.30 launch to take the cat north to my next island. There, the reception was a little more elaborate: Fijians playing guitars and singing, with a freshly opened coconut (complete with straw and flower) offered to each new visitor. Plus, we made it just in time for lunch. Bonus!
Following lunch, I had a nice chat with Pam and George, siblings from Melbourne and Perth, respectively. Both were very interesting and I spent probably an hour or so with them before wading out into the ocean for a little swim.
Contrary to the popular view, Fiji is not really a swimmer’s paradise. Many of the beaches have coral quite close in, and this plays havoc on bare feet. In addition, the water can be quite shallow for quite a bit out. On the other hand, this makes for some great snorkeling, as I learned after I picked my way out to a good depth and found a friendly Fijian accountant who offered me her mask and snorkel to take a look.
That was an interesting experience, made all the more so by my chat with the woman, whose name I have sadly forgotten. Our conversation ranged from Fijian politics (the most recent coup being just a few years ago) through to psychology (Fiji has no clinical psychology), patriarchy (there are woman chiefs, but few female politicians) and various other subjects. I loved her accent, and her English was flawless, even when it came to slang (“I have all brothers,” she said. “That makes me a tomboy, not a dyke.”)
After the swim, it was time for a shower to watch that salt right out of my hair. The regular showers had very low ceilings, so I chose an option a bit nearer the beach, where I could look up and see more than the showerhead: