After a long night of being anchored off the west coast of Taveuni Island during a lightning storm and wondering whether not Dragonsbane would be lit up like a bug zapper. I woke to the slow rolling motion of Dragonsbane rocking it out to the northern swell kissing the west coast of Taveuni. My mind on the shore a few hundred feet behind us I chose to free dive the anchor chain and my favorite anchor the “MASON”. I dove to make my mined at ease because today the 4 crazy sailors will walk the Jungles of Taveuni in search of the 3 famous waterfalls that are fresh with Fiji water. But first, the adventure of holding my breath to 47 feet to see if the anchor is dug into a sandy rocky bottom. I put on my bright shark attracting green fins, black mask and jumped off the bow into the warm Fiji ocean swell. I followed the anchor chain until I lost its view in the depths of the ocean. Dive man, dive, to 47 feet and swim 140 feet to the end of that chain. From left to right I see sandy bottom but Dragonsbane chain tongue is making a 90 degree turn around a coral head the size of a VW bug car and then lays straight back through a maze of stones and coral with the anchor hooked to her crown in the sand. Now some old timers say being wrapped on a coral head is a bad thing. Well I think it is good anchoring tactics when on a windward shore getting ready to hike for a day through the jungle like jolly green giants in a field of sweet corn. So knowing that Dragonsbane will not be dragging her steel tongue across the sand bottom to the coral riddled shore we jumped into the dinghy and landed on the black sandy shore. Carried the ugly dock up to a tree and tied her off. The local school children were out for recess next to the beach and as soon as we left I looked back as the ugly dock was being used as a Fiji trampoline, good thing there were young children not Fiji Giants.
We walked the road to the north in search of a hitch ride or something to the waterfalls of Taveuni. Based on my inner stress of Dragonsbane being on a windward shore I decided to pay for a ride and stopped the first local taxi man. His name was Sammy and he had a diesel powered 4 wheel drive van that could take us were we wanted for a few bucks. We jumped into his rock tuned out van and stopped for fuel and snacks. After getting fuel, roti wraps, and spicy cookies we were off on a rough, pot holed road to the Taveuni. On October 31, 2013 a group of 4 named Dragonsbane signed in at the park HQ and ascended up into the Jungle Mountains looking for a waterfall to jump off of. Being the smart folks that we are we refrained from jumping into the first magic clear, blue fresh water swimming hole we came to. No the 100 foot white waterfall did not coax us into its misty froth. We continued up the mountain side to the second smaller water fall and still did not give into Taveuni’s little gems. We frog hopped over the greasy moss covered stones and up into the muggy misty goat trial to the pristine roaring waterfall called the 3rd one. The 3rd was heard from a far and when we dropped down from the mossy covered trail we looked up to see a waterfall spilt into two with white water drowning out the voices of others. In the crotch of the two falls was a perch that hung out over the blue water hole 30 feet below. I dove in and tested the depths below the perch and could not touch bottom so I waved Ben off the perch and flying he went into the air. He disappeared into the roaring pool and then popped up smiling, go for it man. I climbed up the moss covered rocks and hopped over the waterfall that had carved a stream deep and narrow through the rock into mid air.
As I stood on the preach I thought about how the out come of hitting rock would play out I leapt to my water catch and submerged my fears into the cool, clean fresh water. After some time Jess and Jade took there leap of faith and dived off the cliff between roaring white water. After a few hours of playing in the water and eating P&J cracker sandwiches we hiked back to the 1st waterfall. I stripped my cloths off and ran into the receded cavern behind the waterfall and ran as fast as I cold off the 20 foot drop into the waterfall white roar. I submerged into the energy of the water pounding the pools surface hitting my face like a 40 knot ocean storm. The misty spray was intense and I swam hard and fast for the middle of the falling water. I made it to the middle and waterfall pushed my head and body down deep. I just told myself to swim forward and go with the flow of energy. I was spit out in front of the great frothing beast and swam to the warm shore full of perfect round black pebbles and relaxed as Ben, Jess, and Jade followed suit.
After an hour of play we tromped back wet and happy with delight. We jumped back into Sammie’s Van and asked to be dropped off at the famous 200 foot rock water slid. A two hour van rid over bumps, pot holes, and a million hand waves to locals later we turn onto another mud, pot hole road. The road took us past the Fiji prison and locals homes to a small mud trail that leads up into the hill. We paid Sammy, he told us to hike ten minutes up the trail and we would be at the rock slid. Sam was right, 10 minutes later I looked up the stream and saw a perfect tube slid that was carved out of rock. Like a kid I ran up to the top and slide in. As I started being forced down the shoots I thought about rock raking up my back but the good news is that it did not happen. I shot down the rock slid and laughed all the way down. Ben followed by Jade, and Jess to the end were we went back up 10 more times.
We dressed and hiked back to the main road put out our thumbs and had a ride in five minutes back to town. We picked up ice, bread, walked back to the ugly duck dinghy were the kids helped us put it into the water. I pulled on the pull cord several times to start the outboard but it would not run. I then notice that the emergency kill switch was removed and I looked at the shore to see 10 kids laughing. I put the cord back on and pointed at the kids as they ran off laughing and the ugly duck started up and took off. We enjoyed the evening with fresh caught yellow tuna cooked up and gin & tonics.
Another great day!