After a very enjoyable sail through the Yasawas, we took up residence in Denarau to have a new bimini built.
We anchored off Lami Bay, but this time, at the Novetel rather than on Amandla. It was a good change of pace to view the ships from the shore, sleep in a stationary bed, and take long, hot showers.
While in Suva, we visited the Botanic Gardens, Fiji Museum, Grand Pacific Hotel (a landmark) and the Suva Royal Yacht Club. But my favorite bits were walking the streets of Suva and watching a parade celebrating 160 years of Chinese in Fiji.
According to a placard at the Fiji Museum, Moy Bak Ling from Duang Feng was the first Chinese businessman in Fiji:
Moy Bak Ling went to Australia as a 17 year old to dig for gold in Ballarat along with 10,000 other Chinese, but the conditions at the mines were so bad that he took off to Fiji. He sailed solo as a 20 year old from Ballarat, Australia to Levuka in 1855. A carpenter by profession, Moy Bak Ling’s shop in Levuka was the first Chinese business to set up in Fiji.
The population of Chinese in Fiji remains small (1 % of the overall ) but given the turnout for and participation in this parade, they are clearly an integral part of society here.
For me, one of the best aspects of the parade was seeing historically divided ethnic groups (Indigenous Fijians and Indo-Fijians) marching happily together with the Chinese in celebration of the anniversary. What’s driving this societal transformation?
I think that the Grand Marshall put it best when he said to me at the end of the parade ‘Fiji’s Youth Is Change’.
Before we knew it, we were headed back to Denarau to install the new bimini and make final preparations for our passage to New Caledonia.