Today is a 5am wakeup call; we had to be at our pick up point at 6.15am. We are off on a jet boat ride up the Navua River; our last trip up the same river was on the Jewel of Fiji day trip which was in the much slower and quite long, long-boat ride. Today we are going to have an exciting ride up the Navua River in a 23 foot long alloy jet boat that was professionally made in the mighty USA, and guaranteed not to leak like the wooden long boats. The jet boat is powered by twin OptiMax 200Hp, V6 SportJet Mercury motors, a lot faster than the trusty Yamaha 40 outboard motor.
We still had to put up with the uncomfortable bus seats with very little leg room and the long three hour ride to Navua Town. There was one very short comfort stop at the Sigatoka petrol station, which everyone agreed was the dirtiest toilet we have all seen for a long time, although time before last they were really clean.
Our final stop for the day was at the adventure depot on the banks of the Navua River in Navua Town. There was hot coffee and biscuits to nibble on while we filled in the disclaimer form, got fitted up for a life jacket, and last of all, we tried to slide our backpack into black plastic rubbish bags supplied to us to keep our gear dry, are we going to get wet?
By 10.20am we were on the new jet boat and zooming up the Navua River with the cool wind in our faces. As you can see in the photos there is no cover on the boat so you will need a large tube of sun screen to protect you from the hot sun and don’t try to wear a hat, it will end up in the river miles behind you.
William is an excellent driver I felt very safe with him at the wheel, he knows where every rock and log is hiding under the water, not once did the boat hit bottom, we had a very smooth, exhilarating and incident free ride up the Navua river, thanks to William.
The river must have dropped by a foot or more compared to our last trip, so William could only get the jet boat a few minutes up river past the waterfall. Even the long boat had to drop their passengers off at the bottom of the big rapid and get them to walk to the top of the rapids where they could be picked up. As for the river we were lucky the water was clean, we could see the river bottom most of the way up to the falls. We were told if we had picked a week day to be on the river, the first twenty minutes of the river would have been extremely muddy and the river is contaminated with some diesel fuel and engine oil. This is because the Chinese are digging up the river gravel with excavators. They are trying to stop them but money is more important than tourism and the environment so it would seem.
We spent almost an hour at the falls which are always beautiful and relaxing, until the long boats arrive, so the trick is to go by jet boat and get there before the mob arrive. From the waterfalls, the boys had the inflatable rafts ready for us to paddle down the river; now this part of the trip was very peaceful and relaxing for the mind but not easy on the arms, where is that jet boat?
After the upper body exercise you would expect to be sitting back in the jet boat and relaxing, not so. You will be hanging on tight for the 360° coming up and make sure you put on the rain coat the minute you get back into the boat after rafting or you will get wet.
Because we did the river rafting, we arrived back
at the village well after the long boats so we had our lunch in another meeting
hall. You could say, that was a little disappointing because you miss out on
the dancing etc, but we had a quick lunch, only nine people on the jet boat
today and then we were escorted outside for a interesting lesson on Fijian
herbal medicine, if you are game you could even try eating some of the plants,
I’m still alive?
From the village, the smooth cruse back to Navua village in the jet boat took just under ten minutes by the time we got off the jetboat and on to the bus, again took just a few minutes.
But I cannot say the same for the nonstop bus ride back to Nadi, it was long and uncomfortable. We were so pleased to step off the bus at 6.45pm and walk the ten minutes back to our house in Namaka.
Bus Transfer: Three uncomfortable hours on a cramped bus with no break on the
way home. We left from Nadi but only 45mins from Pacific Harbour.
Jet Boat: The jet boat was new, clean and vey safe. A little noisy if you sit at the back of the boat. You will get wet on the 360°spins so wear the rain coats provided
Waterfall: Even with the river level low the falls were still spectacular. The pool was cold and deep, excellent swimming
Lunch: just a standard BBQ, with basic salads and flavoured sugar water to drink - tasty and plenty of it though. No tea or coffee.
Activities: River rafting. The only time to enjoy the peace and quite of the river. You don’t get wet in the very tame rapids
Downside: The Chinese contaminating the river while digging up the river gravel
Value for money: Yes
Would we go again: Yes
If you click on this link it will take you to the page where you can book your jet boat & rafting tour on the Navua River.