Coconuts with everything. Last day at Daku Resort.

Friday Sept 20

Woke up at 5am today.

I’m an early person.

Birds are getting  out of their nests at the same time as me. And singing.

With a nice cuppa tea I sit outside in the planters chair and watch Savusavu wake for almost the last time this week.

Instead of yoga today its decided we need a class lesson in paint and colour.

It’s easier to cover the core skills together like this than on location.

We are using a chinagraph pencil this morning, with watercolours. Some haven’t had these lessons before so it’s good for everyone to see how well they work on the parts of your sketches where you want light.

Scribble hard then apply paint in the usual way and wow you’ll love the effect.

We still have a chance to visit the huge Copra Mill which is the largest processor of the coconut flesh in Fiji.

Some decide to do the snorkeling trip at a magnificent part of the reef.

Others are keen to see the other end of the process having seen the first part yesterday.

Indeed the place is enormous and Sireen, the very knowledgable man who shows us round explains it all so well.

Copra was once the biggest export, along with sugar cane and is still major. The end product  is an extremely fine oil, in huge demand by the cosmetic industry, particularly in lipstick.

In fact we don’t sketch as we’re so interested in seeing a the big machines and boilers

People are coming in with small truckloads of copra which is weighed and a moisture reading taken. The drier the better. You’ll  get the best price for that.

So the broken down and smoked coconut pieces we saw yesterday is what is  being brought in today.

You need to prepare 6000 coconuts in this way to produce 1 tonne and you’ll be paid a handsome price.

Three of us are with Raj on our return and he takes us to see the Hindu temple which is high above the town, which he knows I’m interested to see.

Ganesha is just one of the pantheon of Hindi gods.

All are represented in the temple and each have different attributes.

For us it is special to be here and have the opportunity to go inside. To learn about other people’s ways and journeys.

 Lunch is another meal we all look forward to, and to see what the others have been up to. We are truly a big family now. We share everything. We talk about everything. We laugh about the funny things we do. This afternoon is free time to do last minute dressmaking pick ups, and buy gifts.Some of the girls go for a massage in a local village house and we laugh at the story of Jack the cab driver trying to find her. They do of course, as everyone always knows everything here.Karen and Jenny M now have henna designs on their feet.

The range of handmade crafts here is  marvellous. You are often talking to the person who makes it.

 All of us love Merione’s and Jessica’s recipes and food creations. We are really going to miss these lovely smiling multi talented people. We want to take them home. We want someone to beat that drum when dinner is ready.We want Carlo, George and the boys to make the dishes disappear at the end of a meal.They are truly there to make your time unforgettable.

Well they’ve achieved that and more.

Tonight is our farewell Lovo dinner.

We are having 6.30p.m. coconut aperitifs on the balcony at the Beachouse.

Everyone arrives wearing something new and special. Pearls were round most necks and wrists. Skin shining with coconut and sandalwood oil.

Milton has plans for everyone to have fresh coconut juice with a dash of raspberry vodka. Or straight. Your choice. Very healthy.

Everyone is there including special guest Martha Haman, with Jacquie.

Toni, a very impressive and empathetic young woman  – and sketcher,  makes a very touching ‘unacustomed as I am’ speech and brings a tear to every eye.

Before long we hear the big drum beat and its time to head back to our farewell Lovo dinner.

It’s been a magical week and we will always remember this time.

Tomorrow will be our leaving day.

But there is still time to sit and chat over a Maitai or Daku-ree.

Saturday Sept 21 2103

Some are leaving quite early to go to Taveuni. Jacquie, Jan and Anne are staying longer till the wedding.

Some will get the afternoon flight to Nadi.

Most of us are on the morning one.

Even early there is still a shopping opportunity!

This is an 18 seater and the best way to see the reefs, islands and towns as you travel the 45 minutes from the island to the mainland.

We all have a huge laugh when we see our sketches of the pilots in the aircraft cabin. All of us with a different but same viewpoint.

We see the captain and assistant entering the airport and they are amazed when they seeing themselves in sketches.

Pilots flying Savusavu flight

We have some hours to wait so leave our bags at ‘left luggage’ and toddle over to Raffles for the day.

Some of the girls go off to Densaru to look around. They enjoyed it they said, but its commercial compared to where we’ve been.

This was a perfect wind down. We sat in the breeze with a cool drink near the swimming pool, bougainvillea tumbling over the orderly walkways.

I did take half an hour or so to discreetly have a nap!

Therese and Jenny C. sketched coffee, with bougainvillea and Raffles drinks coaster. Wrap up sketches after a wonderful week.

We board our flight and go into a zen like state as you do when flying.

At the other end we tiredly hug and farewell each other vowing to return to Daku again sometime.

We will enjoy the week or so till classes start and our last term for the year.

Do hope you’ve enjoyed our journey.



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