Reflections from the Field – Tavarua: Moce! “mo-they” (Goodbye)

Thursday I finished my work for the guest book and then I celebrated Australia Day with some of the Australians here on the island before the kava ceremony.

Some guests playing ladderball before the ceremony.

Thursday’s Fiji Night was the best yet. I presented my sevusevu (gift), which was kava, and thanked all the staff and management for all their help with my work. One of the guests asked if we could re-open the New Year’s Eve ceremony of throwing people in the pool and dumping baby powder on everyone. Chief Druku said no, but baby powder was allowed so everyone was covered in it by the end of the night.

Jan got me pretty good.

Friday was spent in the office with Dylan and Jan going over the additions I had made to the guest book that is placed in every bure (room).  I drafted pages for interpretation of Tavarua’s sustainability initiatives, support for the local community, reef conservation, and a cultural code of conduct for kava ceremonies and church visits. Then we worked with Weiss to go over the cultural code of conduct section and to create some interpretive tours of the island and villages for Tavarua’s guests. Weiss is from Yako village and he provides interpretation for guests on Fiji Night so he has been really great to work with.

Friday night I was moved to the tree house that’s on the other side of the island, which was such an awesome experience for my last night.


Everyone was telling me about the nitus “ghosts” on the island (Ratu Kini is buried there along with a couple other graves– and their personal experiences: turning lights on/off and closing/opening doors; waking up and feeling like a 250 pound Fijian man was sitting on their chest because they couldn’t breathe or move. Dylan’s story was the creepiest—back when Dylan was a boatmen in the boatmen’s shack/bure, he woke up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom, he came back and saw a hooded figure in the dark (looked like it was wearing one of Tavarua’s huge rain jackets), he wiped his eyes a couple times, and then eventually turned on the light, when the light went on, the rain jacket fell to the ground with no one there! Anyways, those stories kind of got to me and I was a little nervous going to sleep that night, but I didn’t see anything, which is good and bad. There were heaps of geckos in the tree house moving around and talking to each other throughout the night, plus you hear a lot of noises when you’re living in a tree, so there were a few times I thought there was a nitu, but it was probably just my imagination.

Saw this guy on my walk back that night. Glad I didn’t step on him. Some sort of freak hermit crab.

The section of beach near the tree house-low tide.

The bathroom was outdoors, which was cool because I’ve never used a completely outdoor bathroom/shower.


Saturday was my last day and the surf was flat everywhere, so I took a stand-up paddle board around the island with Jan and then I went snorkeling before I started packing everything up. Dylan was busy with the pool renovations which started that day, so after I packed I had one last beer at the Kulu bar on the beach with Dani (one of the kitchen staff who is so funny-always giggling; it was her birthday as well).

View from the Kulu bar.

The boat left at 4pm, and saying goodbye was really hard. I met so many wonderful people and I learned so much through my work and interactions with the staff and management.

Thank you Center for Surf Research and Tavarua Island Resort!

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