Sunday, September 23, 2012

The journey to the hidden Naselesele Waterfall (on the road to Bua)

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On Sunday we decided to ‘find a waterfall’, so we hopped in the hire car and headed through the hills towards to top left area of the island of Vanua Levu. 

(We are based at the bottom centre right coast).

We needed a break as all week long we have been buying up clothes for the village donation trip we do this coming Saturday.  It has been hard work hauling it by foot the 2 km each way up to our house.  Sometimes I do 3 trips a day, so that is 12 km.  Any secondhand clothes I have all washed too.

So here is our adventure.
We pass many people walking to church, and love the way these two guys stand as I take their photo – dressed in their sulu’s. 

The next guy we stop and ask if we can take his photo is the teacher / preacher – he is on his way to the meeting but needs for some reason to bring along his beast. 

We stop to give a couple a ride and he works at our friend’s farm.  

We first met Marilyn and Dave back on the other island at Pacific Harbour – they were visiting the church at Deuba Inn where we stayed also. We seem to run into Marilyn nearly every day and enjoy their company. 
They are now living in Australia and have a farm in Fiji, and are 3rd generation Fijians. 
Anyway, we somehow manage to meet their workers, so we give them a lift for about 10 km. 
Their farm is amidst a coconut plantation.

Along the way, we meet many more walkers, like this man. 

As you enter towns, you can here the churches sing in gorgeous harmony – usually hymns of years gone by. Most Fijians are dressed in their best today. 

 The terrain changes, and we head over the mountains.

We hope to first go to the Waisali Waterfall, which is right in the hilltops at the centre of the island, but it is Sunday and it is a locked National Park. 

So we head on, and the villagers change from Fijian, to mainly Indian. 

We pass this interesting mother and son – how different our Sundays are to theirs. 

Not knowing if we can find another waterfall, we head for Batiri village.

People are bathing, and clothes washing – it is quiet as most are in church. He has a lot of fun. 

My son is invited for a swim in the river. 

We give them kids DVD’s to watch (they have electricity and TV’s here), and also give them so toiletries to share amongst the ladies. 

We leave and continue the search for a waterfall. 

A policeman stops us and tells us to go up a track. 
It is so rough and rocky that the 4WD starts to slip up the steep hills and my son is screaming, but we find a fork in the road and turn around. 
My son prays, and says he sees angels holding the car as we head down the embankment on an angle. 
This is a flat smooth part of the track where we stop and gather our nerves.

Alas, we give that waterfall a miss, and head back to the main road where we meet Enochi, who I think tells us he is working for a geology company?

He says his mothers village is near the waterfall and will come and show us.

He leaves his daughters by the roadside and jumps in, and says it is ’30 minutes drive’.

After a while it looks more like we are in the middle of Australia. 

It is red and orange soil and very hot and dry and barren. 

I am shocked. Where has Fiji gone? 

We drive past many types of groups of animals and the vegetation continually changes. 

After about an hour he tells me I do not drive Fijian, and it will take much longer than the 30 minutes. 
I am having a hard time keeping the little car on the road. 
The rocks and potholes are not as bad as when it changes to slippery gravel patches. 
My arms ache as I clutch the wheel. 

 Finally one and a half hours later we arrive. It is right off the beaten track, and there lies before us a plateau of rocks and drifting water. It is just lovely.

Not a rushing waterfall; as the locals have discovered irrigation and are diverting the water at the top, but still a lovely spot.

As we wander around, Enochi explains many things to my son and I. 

How the irrigation works, and the Indians are planting rice fields nearby.

They wander around - man and boy - black and white - teacher and student.
They search and find things together, and I am pleased that learning is fun.

It is like a field trip.

Enochi explains how the volcanic rock was formed from the lava hitting the water.

 Then as we walk over the rock ledge, we find a great pool to swim in.

 It is cool, as we sit and enjoy the force of the water.

 We have a great time, and Enochi helps my son into the cool water for a swim.

Well a good time - apart from me falling on the rocks at the end as I slip on slime – I am bruised and battered in a few spots and missing some skin, but the water then cooled it quickly. 

It is hard to end the day but we have to head back before dark and drop Enochi back to his family near the Dreketi River – the widest river on the island. 

It is nearly dark when we get back via the hills - as we stop and enjoy the new foal at the side of the road.

We quickly head home for a shower, then off to the Copra Marina Yacht Club for a great $5 AU dinner, and to meet our cruising yacht friends and local ex-pats.

As we tell folk that evening where we went, they are pretty impressed – few Fijians have been there.

We really are exploring Fiji.

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