FitDiver® Magazine June 2016 - Page 44

W e joined another couple to share the taxi ride to the nature center and trail head of the Lavena Coastal Trek. It was a good idea, we thought, to hike with others since the trek was unguided and new to all of us.

The trail is one-person width most of the trek. Starting out on fairly level ground, the sea is on your left and tropical rainforest all around. We stopped at various breaks in the foliage to view the surf which pounds against the rocky shore along this part of the island. We saw wild exotic tropical plants and flowers, banana trees, frogs, crabs and spiders (considerably larger than what we have at home). It rained just before and during our trek so the forest was covered with water droplets. It was warm and the rain was refreshing. The sun was shining and broke through the dense foliage in small clearings or on hillsides where we saw small taro plantings. We passed a fishing village and a school about a half hour into the hike.The children were cleaning their school Donned in matching uniforms they were washing windows, sweeping, picking up trash and raking. We had also seen school children at the Wairiki Mission wearing uniforms. They wore different dress, shorts, shirts and skirts depending on their age (class), The tiniest ones in gingham check and the high school age in simple white blouses and shirts with solid colored skirts and shorts. Most were barefoot and some with flip flops. We crossed a wooden suspension bridge and stopped for a moment at traditional Fijian grave sites. The trek gradually makes its way up and is steep in a few places. Sometimes it is rocky, especially along the gorge nearest to the Wainibau Waterfalls. Wecould hear the falls before seeing them. We wore bathing suits under our hiking shorts and sun shirts, and in just a few minutes of our arrival found ourselves swimming (and crawling over a few rocks) to get to a deep pool at the base of two waterfalls.