SEA Currents: Robert C. Seamans
October 21, 2015
18° 08.13’S x 178° 25.38’E
Alongside in Suva, Fiji
Wind direction and speed
NE, force 2 beau
First full day in Fiji and I can already tell I'll want to come back one day. After talking to some of my classmates it seems as though everyone had a great day. Half of the class went on a day sail with students from the University of the South Pacific and others. I was part of the crew that got the day to explore what Suva has to offer. I left the ship at 0830 and headed to the market. Right outside of the port, Suva has an expansive open air market selling everything from fresh pineapple to breadfruit. I stocked up on pineapple, mangos, and some oranges. It was then off to the forest.
The ocean has been incredible, but I felt the call of the mountains. We were heading to the Colo-i-Suva Forest Park, a 2.5 square kilometer, that our No.1 bestselling guide to Fiji says is a, "oasis of lush rainforest, teeming with tropical plants and vivid and melodic bird life," or what I like to think of as the complete opposite of the ocean. After an interesting cab ride listening to Hindi radio, we arrived and were greeted by the caretakers of the forest park. We decided to hire the guide for the day, and off we went down the trail to a river we planned to swim in. I had complete sensory overload! Maybe it was the transition from salt soaked clothes and sounds of waves slapping against the hull to an incredibly green and organic atmosphere. The smell of the dense forest and sounds of cicadas, and other insects, was a nice change of environment.
As we descended down to the river, I noticed a lot of large dark barked tree. The guide quickly mentioned they were mahogany trees, non-native to Fiji. They were brought to Fiji by the Europeans in the 1800s for the purpose of logging. Apparently the native hardwoods take up to 100 years to mature to market size, however the mahogany trees take only around 30 years to mature. But the mahogany trees around us were definitely older than 30 years, some of them you couldn't fit your arms around! The forest park has suspended logging to help preserve the quality of water for the villages downstream. The guide mentioned how the Ministry of Forestry and Fisheries is leasing land from the clans to preserve not just the water, but the soil and critters that live in the rainforest. I was eager to see what animals he alluded to. And, not long after our chat on mahogany, we arrived at the river. It was apparent the mission of the Ministry of Forestry and Fisheries was working; the water was clear as the sky. I peered in and saw an odd looking crawfish, instead of the thick claws I've seen in America; this crawfish had long and skinny legs and pinchers. Interesting little critter. I left the guy to scavenge around, and continued down to the swimming pool! Not a quarter of a mile later, we arrived at the highlight of the forest park. A deep, 30 meters in the center, pool with a rushing waterfall cutting into the rock feeding the pool. This was a perfect spot for the tropical lunch I had packed. We all enjoyed this spot, and took in the natural peacefulness of a rainforest waterfall and pool. After a while we left to return to the ship, but I still can't get the sights, smells, and sounds out of my head.
It was a fantastic day, can't wait to continue the jungle adventures. Shout out to everyone back home! Can't wait to tell you guys about everything.