[Worldtrippers home] [World Cruise home]

February 18, 2020
Lautoka, Fiji: Thermal Mud Pool and Hot Springs (Russell)

Russell writes…


After four days at sea, we arrived today in Lautoka, Fiji. Lautoka is on the western side of Viti Levu, the largest island in Fiji. Fiji’s first European sighting was in 1643 by Abel Tasman (whom “Tasmania” is named for). Lautoka’s first European sighting was in 1789 by Captain Bligh (of “Mutiny on the Bounty” fame).

(“Lau-Toka” literally means “spear-hit.” According to legend, the name resulted from a fight between two warring tribal chiefs for control of the island.)

Sunrise this morning

Though we arrived early in the morning, we weren’t due to be cleared for disembarking until the afternoon. Anyone who had joined the cruise in Papeete had to submit to a medical examination at 6:00 am. As it turned out, the port authorities cleared us by 9:00 am.

With no tender, we were able to walk right off the ship. We took a shuttle bus to downtown, where we went to the local market. Gail found a second mobile! We walked the one mile back to the ship, where Gail did some more shopping at the souvenir stands on the pier.

The market

Gail’s new mobile

Everywhere we went, we heard the friendly cry of “Bula!” This Fijian word means “life” or “health.” It is the standard greeting, akin to “Live long and prosper.” Just about every local would smile and say “Bula” to us. They weren’t just vendors trying to attract our attention; they were natives welcoming us to their land.

It’s a good thing we were able to go into town this morning, because our entire afternoon was taken up by our excursion. Due to the cancellations of Pago Pago (American Samoa) and Apia (Samoa), we missed a village tour and a beach resort & cultural show. But today we got to experience… a Fijian natural thermal mud bath!

The Sabeto Thermal Mud Pool and Hot Springs are naturally heated by an underground volcanic source. The sulphur in the mud supposedly provides therapeutic properties. Three thermal springs each have a different temperature. The excursion took place in a traditional village, where we had to show respect by dressing conservatively and shedding sunglasses and hats. Following a blessing ceremony by Fijian elders, we were each given a 15-minute massage before hitting the mud.

We were told to cover ourselves in thick mud from head to toe – “not too much and not too little.” After the mud dried, we submerged twice – first in a cool pool to wash off all the mud, then in a hot pool to relax.

Three Fijian elders conducted an opening ceremony of drinking Kava

Gail gets a massage

Pool no. 1 is not for bathing in, as its temperature is near boiling

The mud was in containers around the field. You dug in and slathered on!

Pool no. 2 was for rinsing off all of your mud after it dried

Pool no. 3 was just about as warm as a hot tub

It was a fun and unique experience, and we got back to the ship just before setting sail. A terrific dinner (at the Prime 7 premium restaurant) and a terrific show (an encore by The Leading Men) made this another amazing day.

Vinaka! Moce!

[Worldtrippers home] [World Cruise home]