Today I’m back to my normal Monday-Wednesday-Friday blog schedule, and I’ve returned to the topic of our Sydney-to-Seattle cruise earlier this year. But in keeping with this week’s holiday spirit I’m also running repeats on Tuesday and Thursday of my ever-popular holiday humor tales. Tuesday I’ll bring to you If Edgar Allan Poe had ‘Written A Christmas Carol.’ Thursday you’ll find here a repeat of the sequel to that tale with my follow-up A Spillane Christmas Carol.
Lautoka Sugar Mill
Our ship made two stops of the Fiji island of Viti Levu. The first was the sugar mill town of Lautoka, also known locally as “Sugar City.” The mill you see above was founded in 1903.
Ursula and I had been to Fiji before, but the previous time back in the 1990s we arrived into Nadi International Airport and spent most of our time at various resorts. The research on this previous trip formed the basis for the fictional island resort of Vai Kai in my mystery novel Decisions. But, I digress. Nearby our dock was this island, which I believe is Vio:
Vio Island . . . I think!
Once off the ship we made our way to the massive Lautoka Market. Here you can buy everything from fresh produce to souvenirs to local island crafts.
After the market it was time to snag a bus and head downtown. Lautoka is a very colorful little city with many neat little shops and other sights.
Lautoka Jame Masjid (Mosque)
Street life and people watching are also fun here.
Lautoka Street Scene
And here are a few more sights in and around Lautoku:
We ended the day with a beautiful Fijian sunset as we made our way to the other side of the island:
Viti Levu Sunset
Rainy Day in Port Vila
The MS Oosterdam continued to make her way along the Vanuatu archipelago after we departed Mystery Island. Our next stop was Port Vila on the island of Efate. Port Vila is the capital of Republic of Vanuatu, and it was not named after Bob. Unfortunately we were greeted with overcast skies and light rains throughout our brief stay there. Ursula and I made it downtown, but I didn’t really want to take the camera out in those conditions. So, the pictures you see here of Port Vila are taken mostly from the ship.
Our port of call following Port Vila was another Vanuatu destination —Luganville on the island of Espiritu Santo. And while Efate is more populous, it is Espiritu Santo which holds the distinction as Vanuatu’s largest island.
MS Oosterdam in Luganville
On Espiritu Santo the clouds had given way, so there was much more to do, see, and photograph during our brief stay here. Indeed Ursula and I spent little time in Luganville. Instead we hired transportation and headed well into the island for some spectacular scenery. We’ll take a look at these sights beginning Wednesday, but here’s a glimpse of the welcoming committee to Luganville:
The Luganville Ladies Welcome Wagon Committee
Until Wednesday I’ll just leave you with this gallery of Port Vila shots:
Here’s my favorite shots of our stop on Mystery Island, Vanuatu:
Tree Meets Boat
Framing the Beach
The Sun Peeks Through