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Saturday, August 8, 2009

Fire Walkers! Robinson Crusoe Island - home of the best entertainment in Fiji and the best prices for everything - July 25 - 30, 2009

We stuck around Vuda point for a few more days before leaving for RCI…Robinson Crusoe Island. We hoped to catch up to James but never did and will probably see him down the way in Vanuatu. Anyway, we heard two important tidbits about RCI; it is so cruiser friendly that we would probably want to stay for a while and that although it's bay is stunningly beautiful, the reefs surrounding it have claimed many a yacht. We decided this was a must-do. Sadly we left TDM at Vuda while they awaited the arrival of their generator, autopilot and a goody package from home, as we trailed Baraka out and away for the 5-hour trip. It was a beautiful day with the wind on our nose - not so nice for sailing. That's OK; it was a pretty day and a fair journey. Upon arrival at the reef we hailed the resort - as is the prudent thing to do, but which some not so smart cruisers before us had not done and hence ended up either bumping into or landing squarely on the reef. The resort sent a guy out in a small boat to guide us in and show us exactly where to drop the hook. We took a look around and liked what we saw! Our friends, Tom and Colleen on Mokisha were there and had kindly made us all a reservation for dinner and the Saturday night show. Perfect! We got cleaned up in time to go ashore to get our yacht club membership which is really just a discount card for resort goods and services and then they clanged the bell announcing happy hour had officially begun. This truly is a great place. Dinner and the show(s) both pre and post meal cost us F$10 per person because we were official members. Prior to the dinner bell, they gathered everyone around the Lovo pit (earthen oven) where the meal was ceremonially uncovered. After all of the food was removed from the fiery stone-filled pit, the head entertainment guy told us that we were about to witness something very special. Sidenote: Fijian Firewalkers are a very special breed of men, descended from sacred ancestors. They come from the island of Beqa. They are the ONLY people in Fiji who can literally walk on hot coals without getting burned. We had read about them and were sad that we would probably not get an opportunity to visit Beqa. Well, RCI happened to have 3 young men present from the island of Beqa, who came out and danced into, stood in and wriggled their feet down into these red-hot stones. And not just for a few seconds did they perform, rather this went on for several minutes each. We the audience stood agape and sickened as we watched the display. We would cringe and gasp and react very loudly and shudderingly as these young men smiled and danced and walked and buried their feet. When it was all done, the emcee asked if we all believed that the coals were really, really hot. Most of us exclaimed in the affirmative, but a few doubting Thomases were not so convinced, so to prove that these coals were scorching hot, he poured some water on them and they sizzled and smoked and coughed up sparks! Wow. We gasped again as we stood around stunned for a few minutes and then went to the buffet. The food was excellent! Afterward the show began with singing and dancing like we had never seen - all the way across the South Pacific the entertainment wasn't even a close second to this. The choreography was professionally done and the dancers professionally trained. They used every prop imaginable; swords, fire batons, fire spears, clubs, rings of fire. Some of them swallowed fire. Once again I wished for a video camera that would shoot at night. They performed for well over 2 hours. All of this for $5 US per person!

We spent the next two days at RCI doing absolutely nothing. I had a F$30, 45-minute massage (are you kidding me?), and we walked around a little but mostly just enjoyed the view and the tranquility and the quiet of being away from civilization again. On Wednesday, along with Baraka we took the river ride through the mangroves in our dinghies. At the end of the lone we anchored and walked over to the Intercontinental Hotel. Another WOW! It sits in a pretty bay with more hues of blue than the eye can behold. The hotel itself is fairly new and just perfect. We so wanted to stay! We browed the shops, took photos and had a lunch that made our taste buds tingle. For dessert (had to have that) we ordered the banana tempura sundae. Bliss in a flute! It was so good we wanted to lick the bottom of the sundae glass. Frank and I inquired at the desk about rooms and rates and were so impressed that we are thinking of taking a long weekend trip here from Australia early next year.

Thursday morning we returned to Vuda because our friends Jaime and Christine had returned that morning from a month long trip back to CA, and we had some birthdays to celebrate. Christine's is July 31, Frank's is August 2nd and Jan's will be August 10th. Frank called ahead and asked Glen and Sally to make a reservation at the yacht club for dinner and to gather everyone there that we knew to join us. Dinner was a great celebration, and we were joined by friends from Scarlett O'hara and Toketie as well. It was so nice to see everyone again. We didn't stay long because we had to be back at Musket Cove by August 1 to join up with the rally group headed to Vanuatu. I had a really difficult time saying goodbye to Sally. She and I had become very close and seem to be so much alike one another that I felt part of me was being ripped away. She and Glen have become very precious to both Frank and I over these past few months, so when it was time to go I got pretty teary. We vowed to see them again and know that we will because they live in our very favorite US city: San Diego. They will be leaving Fiji soon to make their way back to California, via Hawaii. We send them our prayers and our love.

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