So, what is Fiji Day? Fiji Day is on the 10th of October each year to celebrate Fiji gaining its independence from the UK when its colonial status was removed in 1970. Interestingly enough, it is actually a double anniversary as on the same day in 1874, King Seru Epenisa Cakobau signed the deed of cession which started British rule in Fiji. Fiji Day is celebrated in nearly every town, village and city and includes things like military parades, speeches, performances and street parties.
We have been in a very small, isolated area of Viani Bay for the past week, where there are no roads and the only way to reach it is by walking, horseback or boat. A German lady, Marina, runs the dive academy in the bay with direct access to the Rainbow Reef and employs a lot of locals from the area in her business. Marina hosted a Fiji Day celebration for the locals and cruisers.
The day began at 9 am, at a new reef area being established. Locals (including some very cute kids) as well as cruisers met at a buoy where Johnny, Marina’s Fijian partner, instructed everyone on how to plant coral. Johnny would find a rock away from other coral, brush off the sand and algae, place a piece of coral on the rock and then put a cement ball on top of it. I think it had sand, cement and water which you keep held out of the water until the final step. It’s really a two person job.
Brushes were quickly distributed and groups formed. Johnny brought around a piece of coral to each group and it was time to start. The local adults and kids participated in the coral planting. Max, Ava and Tristan all planted a piece each, Ava two. This little area of reef has been protected and is an area that you are asked to steer clear of to let it get established. Each year on Fiji Day more coral is added to the reef and participants are given the chance to have a snorkel on it while planting.
The video below is of us planting coral. The music accompanying the video was produced last year to commemorate Fiji’s 50th year since independence, and is called ‘Children of Fiji and is sung in English, Hindi, iTaukei and Rotuman.
There was much excitement when everyone returned to the boats, with flag flapping, excited shouts and big smiles.
Marina and Johnny organised a beach BBQ with cruisers bringing potluck. We had a delicious meal, some enjoyed cava, music, laughter, dogs and even a couple of horses joined the festivities. Thank you Olivia for entertaining us all with your country/hip-hop music selection and horse riding.
Photos clockwise: photo 1: Everyone relaxing after our meal Photo 2: The cava chief, photo 3: Tristan and Ava sharing a private joke?
More flag flying photos, led by Olivia.
Tristan and Ava enjoyed hugging the dogs, they don’t replace our favourite Portuguese waterdog Willie. Miss you Love and Luck.
Thank you Marina and Johnny from Dive Academy for organising the day, we loved it.