With Kuta, native of Navola Village, the Swiss family, Norman, Sabine, Julia and Till, plus Veronica, Ty and myself, headed literally for the hills on a jungle trek to the Navola waterfall.
We made our way uphill through the dense forest next to the Beachouse, down the road past the village, into the Methodist Church School compound, and from there off-roading into the jungle.
We passed Kuta’s niece’s small bamboo hut on a cleared patch of jungle before heading up and up through the trees along a red, muddy, clay path that took us to the stream along which we’d travel to reach the Navola waterfall.
Because Veronica has a disability which makes walking difficult, Kuta kept an eye on her and helped her navigate the tougher patches, including retrieving her cane’s rubber tip from the deep mud when it became dislodged, and hoisting her up when necessary.
The Swiss kids managed well, although the boy Till became a bit tired towards the end of the trek. I, too, was glad to see the waterfall after about two and a half hours of walking, since I’ve had a bit of a headache and queasy stomach since arriving in Fiji.
Snaky tree ropes, jungle fruit, ferns, coconut palms, and other foliage hugged the streambed through which we travelled, picking our way carefully over large roots, rocks, and through deep muddy patches. Thankfully, there were not too many biting beasts; I did stop several times for Deep Woods application since I was being attacked by large, slow-moving mosquitoes. Finally reaching the waterfall, we rested for a bit on the rocks at the stream mouth while the kids, Sabine, and Veronica had a swim in the crisp, cold water.
Picking our way back again through the forest to Kuta’s niece’s house we paused for a bit for a roti and tuna curry wrap which she’d prepared in her jungle hut. After negotiating our way back to the village again we arrived tired at the Beachouse at 4, just in time for afternoon tea – eight miles in six hours later.
Later that night, Kuta performed a kava ceremony, a traditional way of welcoming new comers to the village. This involved powdered kava root, a large wooden bowl of water, several incantations, clapping and chugging down bowls full of a slightly narcotic liquid, welcoming us just as we’re about to leave – Fiji time!
See more pictures here.