One of the first things we did after getting in at Maravu on Saturday was to go and talk with Dominic at Swiss Fiji Divers. We had previously emailed them and verified our desire to pursue our PADI Advanced Open Water Certification could be successfully arranged via them. After a short been of discussion, we arranged to start our dives on Monday, beginning with some recreational dives to get us used to our equipment and be sure of our weighting. This gave us the opportunity to relax and also to try some of the other activities offered by Maravu. In our case, this meant going on a guided tour of the Bouma Falls. Let me back track and for a short bit and give you some idea of the physical beauty we found ourselves in at Maravu.
As I said earlier, we were told on more than one occasion that the staff of Maravu was there for us. And the physical layout of Maravu was there to ease body and mind. In the eight days we were there we did not see a television screen, a newspaper or a hint of what was happening beyond the beauty of Fiji. And did I mention the food. Whether it was a traditional Fijian lovo feast or a wide range of other entrees and desserts, the food was always excellent. In particular, I took away a love for a particular rather simple dish known as Kokoda, (pronounced Kokonda) a recipe made of raw fish and bell peppers and Coconut cream. A truly tradition dish, I will likely retain it as one of my favorites and one I will endeavor to make myself on frequent occasions.
The actual accommodations for us and the other guests at Maravu were in individual bures that dotted to landscape of the resort, surrounded, as we said before, by many and plentiful coconut trees and other beautiful flora and fauna. At every moment there was another bird to ponder and enjoy.
first true encounter with the wider aspects of Fiji came with our visit to the
Bouma Falls. These are three falls entailing a rather strenuous and sometimes
slippery and sometimes steep trail to reach all three. Given this was our first
day and we were still a bit on the tired side, we stated from the outset that
we would be satisfied with reaching the second falls. We brought our swim suits
along since we were informed that we could swim in the falls. Note that this
first day was very warm and humid and quite sunny. So we were in shorts and
comfortable shirts. Fran was delighted when we got to the entrance to the Bouma
Park, since the attendant there that took our $10 Fijian was a retired nurse
and they had a great time commiserating and talking about their respective experiences
as nurses. And then, it was on to the Park.
I would like to note that our tour of the Bouma Park was led by David. One of the elements of the Fijian trip was to discover the personal tours with guided
help from various people. David proved a great resource of information both about Bouma falls, flowers, birds and the people in the area. The fact that he was born and grew up in the village of Bouma that borders the park did not hurt things. And, as he noted, he grew up spending almost every day swimming in the falls, climbing the trails and learning about all aspects of this wonderful environment. I will have to say that given we were still adapting from the long 10 hour flight from the states and were suffering from edema in our legs (a common aspect of such long flights), it was a somewhat strenuous trip. Still, we took it all in with great pleasure and an occasional stop to catch our breath.
The first falls is one you encounter very shortly after starting up the trail. It is also the one where you swim if you so desire. There is a shelf of rock behind the falls itself that you can climb onto and jump into the water, as we watched some of the local children and adults do on more than one occasion. I did get video of this, but unfortunately misplaced the cassette before leaving Fiji. Still, the following pictures will give you a taste of this site and hopefully give you a desire to be among those swimming.
As I mentioned, the first falls was a short trip from the entrance of the park. The second falls and the farthest we reached was a considerable distance up steep trails and across a rocky stream bed that was bridged by hanging on tightly to a rope strung across the stream. There is little more in words that I have to say here other than that we were met with one surprise and delight after another as we worked our way up the trail, across the stream and to the second falls. David found the feather of a gold dove that Fran cherishes as one of her special gifts from Fiji. It is also the one organic item we spaced out mentioning as we came back into the US. The rest of our trip up and back from the falls are shown in the pictures below.
After returning down the trail and back to the outskirts of Bouma Village, we had occasion to meet many ascending. Always we were met with a friendly smile and a happy greeting of bula. On our way back we were honored to meet David's wife, also a Frances, who was walking across one of the bridges. We were happy, tired and ready for the days of diving that would lie ahead.