Holland America Lines Cruise - Auckland to Vancouver - 2017
April 13-15 - Sea Day and Fiji
April 13 - Sea Day
April 14 - Lautoka, Viti Levu, Fiji
Our ship was back on schedule following the planned course after skirting a cyclone near New Caledonia. We arrived in Lautoka during breakfast. Being Good Friday, many of the shore excursions were not running. One of the ones that was available was HAL's Nadi Sightseeing. With the Bensons and Matutes, we boarded a large bus and drove through the countryside to Nadi. We passed fields of sugar cane and tapioca. In the distance was the Sleeping Giant mountain range covered with green foliage. We made a stop at the side of the road so that we could look at the Sri Siva Subramaniya Hindu temple. After that, we drove into Nadi and were unloaded at the front door of a large souvenir tourist store and given an hour to walk around. There were several more busses unloading with tourists there. Ann and I walked through the store and into an adjacent coffee shop where we took advantage of its free wifi and its inexpensive ice cold bottled water. The temperature was hot so the cold water was appreciated.
As an aside, I have a real problem paying for an excursion that takes me for a ride for shopping in a store that obviously gives kickbacks to the tour operator. In the literature for this excursion, I saw what was going to happen. Because it was one of the only tours available, I felt that it would be worth taking just to see the countryside.
After our non-shopping stop, we got on the bus to return to our ship. Our last stop was at Vuda Marina where we were served refreshments of oranges, mango, papaya and pineapple. While sitting at a picnic table, we were given a demonstration on peeling and splitting a coconut.
Back at the ship, we had lunch, lazed around the afternoon, had dinner and went to the evening's entertainment. The ship's cast danced and sang a fairy tale theme called "Ever After".
Peeling a Coconut
Splitting a Coconut
April 15 - Dravuni Island, Fiji
We dropped anchor offshore at Dravuni Island during breakfast. This is a small island "inhabited by approximately 125 people". I took a tender to shore with Ann and Ellen. The rest of our shipmates stayed on the ship. After the previous islands that we visited, I was really happy to finally see the type of tropical island that I had read and dreamed about. Large coconut palms lined the white sand beach. Locals were dressed in loose native clothing and the atmosphere was definitely laid back. There were a few vendors selling fruit and handmade goods, but they were not aggressive.
We stayed onshore long enough to take a short walk and snap some photos. It was hot and humid so we tendered back to the air-conditioned ship. The rest of the day was filled with our standard routine. The exception to the routine was my visit to the ship's doctor. Located in bowels of the ship on the A Deck, there was a clinic with a doctor, nurses, a laboratory, a pharmacy and a storehouse of braces, canes and other implements for the injured. When doctor took me into her office and asked me what I was there for I told her that I wanted to stop coughing. She asked about my symptoms, took my vitals, examined me and told me that I might have had the flu earlier. She prescribed antibiotics and prednisone and had me leave a urine sample so that it could be tested for Legionnaires' disease. The test was negative, fortunately, or else I would have been quarantined.
Paul Martell, an Australian comic, was our evening's entertainer.