Beqa Island complements the Pacific Harbour adventure capital of Fiji with its world-renowned diving, surfing breaks, and sport fishing, as well as the cultural practise of Firewalking from the Fearless Fijian Goliaths. Known for its soft coral and shark diving, there are several well-established dive wrecks that have become home to many varieties of marine fauna and flora. Beqa Island has become a staple all-year-round Sport Fishing destination for the professional fishing community. With many resorts and private charters providing state-of-the-art vessels and exceptional fishing equipment. With renowned surfing breaks en pau with the world-class Cloudbreak but without the crowds, this island stands tall as a destination of high pedigree.
Table of Beqa Island Shipwrecks
|1||Tasu II||1998||100 Foot||Youtube|
|2||Carpet Cove||1996||100 Foot||Youtube|
|3||Rusi Pinnacle||2000||140 Foot||Youtube|
Getting to and around Pacific Harbour & Beqa Island
GETTING TO AND AROUND PACIFIC HARBOUR
|Pacific Harbour to:||Pacific Harbour to:|
|Suva - 45 km||Korotoga - 73 km|
|Nausori - 48 km||Sigatoka - 80 km|
|Sanasana - 112 km|
|Nadi - 145 km|
|Denarau - 147 km|
|Lautoka - 170 km|
|Ba - 206 km|
|Rakiraki - 277|
The above table displays the distances in Kilometers from Pacific Harbour and major towns and cities distributed around Viti Levu, Fiji. (1 mile is equivalent to 1.6 kilometers)
There are four main ways of GETTING TO AND FROM the Pacific Harbout, catering to everyone’s needs:
- The first option is to hire a car for a few days; this will allow you to explore the whole of the pacific Harbour at your own pace. We have written an in-depth, step-by-step guide providing you with all the car rental companies and specific requirements.
- The second option is to take a Pacific Transport or Sunbeam air-conditioned coach. These run continuously every day; the ‘stopping bus’ does exactly what it says, picking up whoever waves them down from the side of the road. Although there are also express services available, these stop only at the major towns and Tourism hubs, allowing them to keep to a tight schedule, and the final option is,
- If you like adventure, then give the Viti Mini Buses a whirl. A fast and furious ride from the Pacific Harbour to Suva will cost you between $10.00 one way, or the trip to Nadi is around $20 FJD. You can flag these down at the roadside if they have space left, and they always seem to manage to jam another person in.
- There is a Domestic Airport at Pacific Harbour / Deuba (NFND | PHR) and Seaplane Base, enabling a short domestic flight or helicopter transfer to your residence.
As mentioned above, the best way to GET AROUND THE PACIFIC HARBOUR is by private rental car, with a very close second place going to hiring a Local Taxi or taxi guide for the day. The services are very economical and provide you with an opportunity to speak to a local Fijian, enriching your journey with a lot of local knowledge as you transverse the different roads. If you ask at your reception desk, they normally have a list of established and respected companies that take pride in their profession. When you become accustomed to the area, you could also try the local bus system that operates. You will need to acquire a Bus card, which can normally be done at reception or a local convenience shop. More details on this can be found here. The bus companies across the coral coast consist of smaller coaches that provide first-class, frequent service to the different areas on a fixed timetable.
GETTING TO BEQA ISLAND
There are several ways to GET TO AND FROM Navua (Pacific Harbour) to Beqa Island:
- Charter Pickup: If you have booked your stay at one of the resorts on Beqa Island, they normally provide a Charter service to collect you from the mainland. The charter price from Navua to your residence can cost anywhere from 100 to 250 FJD for the first 1-2 people, with an additional 50 FJD for each additional person. Each boat journey can take between 45 and 75 minutes one way and can normally carry up to six people. If you are carrying your luggage, dive equipment, or personnel possessions for your vacation, I would always recommend taking the Charter Pickup from the Resort, as the service has been developed around providing an efficient, client-oriented tourism perspective. They are designed to pick you up at a time that is dictated by the client.
- Village Boat (Travel Like a Local): The Village Boat can be used to navigate between the islands, as it is a nimble and cost-effective way to get to and from the mainland. They are on a fixed timetable, and they normally depart early in the morning around 6-7 a.m. and return between 11.00 hrs. and 15:00 hrs. The service runs from Monday to Saturday (No Sunday Service). The price is around 50 FJD per person, one way.
We must stress that the boats only operate weather permitting, so always converse with your resort to find out what the weather will be like for the day before setting out on your adventures; this is not normally a cause for concern.
Historical Snapshot – Beqa Firewalking Ceremony
Preparation of the Walking Participants
The firewalking skill is possessed by the Sawau tribesmen living in the four villages on the windward, or Southern side of the island of Beqa. In special cases, however, members of the other tribes who have been adopted by the Sawau tribe, have successfully performed the ceremony. The main village is known as Dakuibeqa where the chief of the tribe known as Tui Sawau lives.
When the ceremony is to be performed, several representatives are chosen from each village, the total usually being from the immediate family of the Bete. For two weeks before the event, the participants segregate themselves from all females and have no contact with them whatsoever; they also must not eat any coconut. Failure to observe the tabu renders the culprit liable to severe burns during the ceremony.
Preparation of the firepit
A large circular pit is dug, some twelve to fifteen feet in diameter and three to four feet in depth. This pit is lined with large river stones, twelve to fifteen inches in diameter, and a huge log fire is built over them some six to eight hours before the ceremony.
Preparation of the Arena
When the time arrives, the men of the village in gay regalia are led by the Bete to prepare the arena for the fire walkers. Armed with long green poles, some of which have loops or strong green vines (walai) lashed to their ends, the young men clear the burning logs from the stones. As they heave on the vines, they chant in unison, “O-vulo-vulo”!
A long tree fern called waqa-bala-bala, said to contain the Spirit of God, is then laid across the pit in the direction of the Bete. A large vine, some 1.5 inches in diameter, is then dragged across the stones, levelling them and preparing them for the firewalkers.
When the stones are finally in position, the Bete jumps on to them, takes a few trial steps to test their firmness, and when satisfied, calls for bundles of leaves (drau-ni-ba) and bundles of long swamp grass (sila); these are placed around the edge of the pit.
When all is ready, the position of the waqa-bala-bala is adjusted at the command of the Bete, and the base is pointed in the direction from which the firewalkers will approach.
The village men who have prepared the pit now surround the circle, leaving only a gap for the entry of the firewalkers.
Commencement of the Firewalking Ceremony
The Bete looks around and, when satisfied that the time has arrived, gives a great shout of Vuto-O,” which is the signal for the firewalkers to burst from their place of concealment and, in a single file at a brisk trot, approach the pit.
The waqa-bala-bala is quickly removed, and the firewalkers enter the pit and walk briskly in single file on the white, hot stones around the circumference of the pit. They appear to suffer no harm from the heat. As the audience is hushed in silence, a sudden shout goes up, the bundles of grass and leaves are thrown on the stones, and the group huddles in the centre of the pit, chanting a song associated with the occasion.
Burial of Special Baskets of Roots
Around the ankle of each is a band of tinder-dry tree fern leaves called drau-ni-bala-bala, and it is significant that although a handkerchief tossed onto the stones will burst into flames, this band of fern does not ignite. These bands are carefully taken off and buried in the oven together with four special baskets of roots called vasili, which are said to take the place of the performers in the oven.
The whole pit is then covered with earth and left for four days. After four days, the oven, or lovo, is opened by the firewalkers, and the baked roots are taken out, ground, and mixed with water. Dalo (taro) roots are then cooked in the liquid and eaten by the firewalkers.
This completes the firewalking ceremony. Legend – The Firewalkers Of Fiji