|A damp & humid morning as we sailed in about 06.30. The weather forecast showery, sunny intervals & 26 - 30c. As we docked a band were playing & marching up & down.
The weather forecast was a bit optimistic! It's poured with rain most of the day. Our tour today 'Fiji Spices & Nature Gardens'. The spice plantation was started by Dr Ronald Gatty in the 1970s & this tour is new. As we disembarked we were greeted by various Fijians in traditional dress including a couple of very tall guys wearing grass skirts. Our tour guide Samu talked about local history, culture, politics etc. on the way to & from the gardens. Suva is a port city rather than a tourist destination so it was good to get out into the countryside. We travelled along a main road, through several villages. The houses are mostly wooden with metal roofs & the vegetation lush & green. This is the rainy season & there is a cyclone building in the area - not sure what that means for our weather tonight. At the village we were able to see the spices, hear all about them, taste tropical fruits & different vegetables & chicken cooked traditionally in hollowed out bamboo tubes put in the fire. When the rain eased off some of us went for a walk around the beautiful gardens with George (who runs the farm). On our return we were treated to some traditional dances. Spices were for sale & I bought vanilla pods. On our way back Samu told us more about the islands. We stopped briefly in town. Enough time to buy a couple of things & then back to the ship. Raining ++ after lunch so we didn't bother to go ashore again. Queen Victoria docked with the starboard side (our side), to the dock so we sat (undercover) on our balcony watching the goings on in the town. We left on time - what a difference a few hours makes! The sea in the lagoon which was calm this morning had become quite choppy & the waves were crashing onto the reef as we exited the harbour. The Pilot boat was bouncing around in the waves & the Pilot had a difficult disembarkation! Not an evening to sit on our balcony sipping champagne!
Later....... The Captain has announced all open decks are on 'lock down' because of high winds.... The ship moving a bit but not too bad.