Well, we made it to the ferry landing at Buca Bay, but just barely. About 1.5 hours into the ride, the taxi driver realized we were still some distance out. He turned to me and said, “Um… would you mind if I sped up the car? It’ll be quite bumpy, but if we don’t speed up, you’ll miss the boat.”
“By all means, speed up!”
At around 10:10 we showed up in Buca Bay, 5 minutes before the scheduled ferry. The taxi driver drove me around the grounds of the Mission at Natewa Creek, but as time was limited, I could not drop in to say, “Bula!”
Buca Bay is beautiful. The water is glass flat and the setting presents large, densely foliated hills, cascading into the sea. At the pier – which is just a spit of land extending out into the bay, there was a large collection of folk waiting for the ferry. A bus from Savusavu was also there waiting for the folk coming from Taveuni. Off in the distance, I saw a speck on the water heading our way.
“That’s your ferry,” my taxi driver noted.
“It’s small.” I remarked, as I climbed back into the taxi. The tropical sun was bearing down full strength and I was starting to feel my skin burn. I reached into my suitcase, grabbed the sunscreen, and applied a liberal swathe over my arms and face.
“Agggh!” The sun screen dripped into my eyes from the beading sweat. Buca Bay is extraordinarily humid with little breeze. Everyone was sweating.
Getting onto the ferry boat required a certain degree of balance. Three 2X4’s were nailed together to create a “walkable” plank from the shore to the boat. There were no guide ropes to hold onto as I walked down – I had to solely rely upon my tight-rope balancing skills that I developed at age 5 when I joined the circus (hah, hah). I’d like to say that it was no big deal, in hind-sight, but I could’ve easily fallen. Luckily, I didn’t have my bags to carry: being a foreigner, the ferry staff all carried my luggage on board.
Once we got started, I noticed how slow we were going. If I could've walked, I’d have beaten this boat. I asked the captain, in a nice tone, if this was the fastest we could go. He smiled. “No, but I save gas at this speed.” I couldn’t argue with the reasoning.
I reached into my camera bag to get my video camera and DSLR, but as I did so, my bag fell off my lap and onto the throttle control (I was sitting right next to the captain). The ferry lurched as one of the two engines went into idle. I quickly picked up the bag off the controls as everyone on-board regained their balance. Oh, how freaking embarrassing. I profusely apologized.