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Old 20-02-2017, 15:57   #1
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Pirates in Fiji

While anchored in Walu Bay, Suva Harbor, Fiji on the night of 23 Jan, 2017,
I was boarded, attacked and robbed by two thugs armed
with a cane knife.


The thugs who attacked me were practiced and knew what they were doing,
repeatedly asking me where the "big money was hidden",
while torturing me. BTW, my big money" is in Westpac Bank.
A heads up,. parts of Fiji are not as safe as they one were.

I am a resident of Fiji with a Fiji registered yacht.
I love Fiji and see this as a troubling aberration,
hopefully limited to 3-4 bigger cities.

Jim Van Cleve
SY Kalokalo, 1968, P35
Fiji
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Old 20-02-2017, 16:49   #2
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Re: Pirates in Fiji

Im sorry to hear this.

Sent from my vivo Y35 using Cruisers Sailing Forum mobile app
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Old 20-02-2017, 16:53   #3
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Re: Pirates in Fiji

I saw your story on FB, so glad you're recovering. Fair winds...
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Old 20-02-2017, 17:29   #4
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pirate Re: Pirates in Fiji

To much internet chatter about hidden safes on boats.. similar thing happened in Panama 2012.. crew went ashore leaving owner on board.. some guys swam out to the boat and beat the crap out of him demanding to know where the safe was..
Glad you survived the incident.. Best wishes..
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Old 20-02-2017, 21:21   #5
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Re: Pirates in Fiji

Saw your boat in Vuda Marina a few years back. Always wondered who the fellow Pearson 35 owner was who sailed their Pearson all that way. Glad you weren't seriously hurt. One swipe with a cane knife could seriously change your life. Believe your experience has happened a couple of times on the major islands recently Hope the authorities get a handle on the assault and thievery before it gets out of hand.
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Old 20-02-2017, 21:36   #6
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Re: Pirates in Fiji

roverhi,

Fiji is still pretty tribal. I'd go to the chiefs. But then, we always made a point of doing sevusevu, so that we'd be under their protection. I understand the custom is fading with the years, but we never met a chief who failed to follow through on his responsibility, because if he didn't, he'd lose face. When in Rome......

It's a long time ago, now, but some nationalities really have difficulty with the sevusevu concept. It is really simple. You're a stranger. The expected behavior for strangers is that they make a ritual gift in the kava house, of kava, for the chief. This is practical for him because he has countless obligations to tribal members that also demand the ritual gift of kava. It is practical for the yachtie because it (a) it is one way of showing respect for the chief, the elders of the village, and the people of the village and (b) if the chief accepts your gift, you are then under his protection. Otherwise you are as welcome as a stranger of different color who decides to park in your driveway overnight and help himself from fruit from your trees.

This is also about leaving a clean wake. Now, I am glad Mr. Van Cleve was not worse injured, and I am informed he is a real good guy to yachties, so I am not saying he brought this on himself, at all, 'cause I know s**t happens, and as far as I know, he has done nothing to cause this horrid event. But what I am trying to do is help strangers to understand some of the not so obvious expectations of the villages. Furthermore, it is a good idea to buy the best kava you can, because the more chiefly the gift is, the more it is respected.

Ann
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Old 20-02-2017, 21:58   #7
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Re: Pirates in Fiji

Quote:
Originally Posted by boatman61 View Post
To much internet chatter about hidden safes on boats.. similar thing happened in Panama 2012.. crew went ashore leaving owner on board.. some guys swam out to the boat and beat the crap out of him demanding to know where the safe was..
Glad you survived the incident.. Best wishes..
Time to implement the decoy safe with inkjet printed currencies.
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Old 20-02-2017, 22:58   #8
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Re: Pirates in Fiji

The kava for the chief is well known by any backpacker who has walked about the islands. Bula bula.
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Old 20-02-2017, 23:39   #9
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Re: Pirates in Fiji

Suva is a big city, the national capital of Fiji.
Unlike small rural settlements there is no Savusavu in Suva.
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Old 21-02-2017, 01:08   #10
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Re: Pirates in Fiji

I really hate to say it as I loved the diving and cruising in Fiji and cruised there a few times, but compared to many other Western Pacific nations... I found the Fijians in general both aggressive and quite rude to foreigners, while holding their hand out for charitable donations, which we were in a position to do

Dependant but despising of the hard working Indian population, wrapped up in drugs and drink, the men stagger around at night with a macho rugby attitude.

Sort of reminded me of Chuuk Lagoon with a warrier mindset, fueled by booze and drugs.

No interest in returning to either place.
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Old 21-02-2017, 02:20   #11
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Re: Pirates in Fiji

Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, Jim.

Jim Van Cleve attacked in Suva
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Old 21-02-2017, 23:18   #12
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Re: Pirates in Fiji

There may be no sevusevu in Suva any more. And I don't really think you brought this attack on yourself, Jim, not at all. My point was more that westerners generally, should be sensitive to the requirements of the cultures they visit, for they are perceived as wealthy. That wealth may be an inspiration or a cause of jealousy. Furthermore, the Polynesian and Melanesian cultures have standards of generosity that would make any Westerner quail!

I once saw a Fijian man wearing a T-shirt which said on it in bold letters, " Instant A$$xxxx*: just add alcohol". This seems to me to have arisen from drinking alcohol as they do kava. I also knew a young man of chiefly lineage who, having slain a man in a drunken brawl, completed his time in the jail in Suva, and went on to be turanga ni koro in a village we visited. This "drunken savage" was not interested in our crime novels, he asked for "literature!"

On a different issue, never was an ethnic Fijian threatening to us, nor for that matter, a Fijian of Indian decent. In some villages, a Fijian man had taken a Fijian Indian woman to wife. Mostly, those were not totally openly accepted.

Fiji is a nation in process of change, as is every place we visit, and every place we leave. We, as cruisers, can only do what we can to try and respect, ---or move on-- when we visit somewhere we don't understand at all. [We briefly visited the island of Kioa. Bad vibes. We left.]

Ann

on edit: what I am thinking these days is that as the old, in-built ways of conflict avoidance and resolution break down, most probably power gaining takes over... sad to say...
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