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Old 30-03-2015, 03:31   #1
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ITALIAN TOURISTS VISITING ON A YACHT, ABUSED IN FIJI.

ITALIAN TOURISTS VISITING ON A YACHT, ABUSED IN FIJI.

The Italian yacht Parmelia has spent the last 5 months on a mooring of Savusavu Marina in Fiji. The marina has no clear cut rules, regulations or guidelines. And acts the Fijian way of ‘do nothing’ to safeguard the interest of its international yacht clients.

The local youths have big swimming beaches at their village but invade the small marina haulout beach to swim everyday. They occupy the dock. Crash dive over the dinghy that is busy filling up with water. And laugh about it as if it’s the biggest joke. The Fijians speak English until they can see one is upset about their vulgar abusive language and behaviour then switch over to the local language with hard, mocking laughter.

Going to the shower a police officer who was part of the group accused the crew of sv/Parmelia of being lesbians and jeered them. The choir of questions “where’s your husband?” called out from the group. Then one man dropped his pants in front of the crew showing his manhood with “where’s your husband?”

Terrorising women who happen to be single is unasked for in today’s life. The office manager was upset and went to the police. (The police who have not solved one out of ten International tourist involved cases in Savusavu since August 2014.) The marina strung a small chain in front of the dock. Men who need to apply authority, shine in their absence. Jose, involved in the marina, intimidated the group of international yachts people who went on a goodwill meeting with the local chief a few months earlier, saying that was not the time to address the issue. The result – more abuse to more tourists as this report shows.

Verbal sexual abuse was also reported to the Savusavu Marina in November 2014 by sv/Mylady mysaillady.blogspot.com – at the mooring, at night. Verbal abuse was reported twice at the anti-crime meeting of ISACC 26Feb2015 CURLY, in Savusavu, Fiji: ANTI-CRIME by land owning people with police who come to investigate asking ‘where’s you’re husband’ and more. Never asking ‘what was stolen’ or relating questions.

The crew of sv/Parmelia is afraid to lay charges for more ‘where’s your husband’ interrogation - worse – fearing REVENGE by the culprit and unlawful boarding of sv/Parmelia that is also moored at the furthest point of the mooringfield.

In total is Savusavu Marina an unsafe place. Sv/Parmelia will leave Fiji as soon as the rest of the crew arrive. Marzia, captain and owner of sv/Parmelia, a 45ft steel sloop, wish to sell the yacht and can be contacted via https://www.facebook.com/marzia.pietrantonio?fref=ts
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Old 31-03-2015, 14:18   #2
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Re: ITALIAN TOURISTS VISITING ON A YACHT, ABUSED IN FIJI.

Sounds like you need to stop cruising and go home. Such negative experiences and such lack of understanding of the culture of the nation that has graciously allowed to to stay there.
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Old 31-03-2015, 14:38   #3
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Re: ITALIAN TOURISTS VISITING ON A YACHT, ABUSED IN FIJI.

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Originally Posted by NoTies View Post
Sounds like you need to stop cruising and go home. Such negative experiences and such lack of understanding of the culture of the nation that has graciously allowed to to stay there.
So, you're saying verbal abuse, theft, and males exposing their genitals to visitors is what...? a local way of saying hello? Are you saying the OP's account is false, or they are misinterpreting the behaviour of these youth? Are you saying cruisers need to suck it up and accept this kind of reaction from locals b/c, as you say, they are allowing us to stay there?

What are you saying?

All too often those of us from the rich, privileged world bring our biases and our cultural ignorance with us. The ugly Western tourist is a stereotype that is too often true. But from the OP's description, it sounds like there are legitimate concerns. Or do you have more information you'd like to share, instead of just dumping on her/him?
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Old 31-03-2015, 14:46   #4
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Re: ITALIAN TOURISTS VISITING ON A YACHT, ABUSED IN FIJI.

One thing about the Pacific is the next country, the next island, and the next anchorage are not far away.
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Old 31-03-2015, 14:50   #5
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Re: ITALIAN TOURISTS VISITING ON A YACHT, ABUSED IN FIJI.

In my experience living and working in the Pacific the cruisers as a group often invite this sort of negative reaction. Not saying this is the case in Savu Savu but my time there not so many years ago was completely different.
I get annoyed by people posting negative stuff about place when a/ there is no chance for balance from the other side and b/ there is more to life than all the negative stuff.
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Old 31-03-2015, 15:03   #6
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Re: ITALIAN TOURISTS VISITING ON A YACHT, ABUSED IN FIJI.

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Originally Posted by NoTies View Post
In my experience living and working in the Pacific the cruisers as a group often invite this sort of negative reaction. Not saying this is the case in Savu Savu but my time there not so many years ago was completely different.
I understand, but this post of yours is far more useful that simply dumping on the OP. You've been there. Most of us haven't. Your information can provide context, and a counter-narrative. So, thanks .

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I get annoyed by people posting negative stuff about place when a/ there is no chance for balance from the other side and b/ there is more to life than all the negative stuff.
Agreed. Happens all too often. All the more reason to have people like yourself add perspective.
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Old 31-03-2015, 16:01   #7
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Re: ITALIAN TOURISTS VISITING ON A YACHT, ABUSED IN FIJI.

Chill out a second please. In no way do I condone the young men's behavior, but, having spent quite a bit of time in Fiji, I would add this. The local culture is extremely patriarchal, and control of the young men rests with the chiefs. Now, many cruisers do not understand the whole practice of sevusevu, the Fijian ritual for travelers between different chiefdoms, and do not practice it themselves. If those cruisers who stay at the facility in Savusavu, would do sevusevu--the ritual gift of kava (yanggona)-- in the villages, if the chiefs accept them, they will also look after them. Otherwise, they feel done ill by and are resentful of the cash the marina makes, so there is little effort to control the young men, who, of course have to consent to be controlled. AFAIK, offfering the sevusevu is the only way to get the protection of the chief, and without it, the village does nothing whatsoever to help a cruiser.

I feel quite certain these incidents are due to foreigners' expectations of a "civilized" European environment, and what amounts to culture clash. Someone has paid money for a service, and expects respect, but without knowledge of the local dynamics.

If you do not conduct yourself as a similar age & gender person of the local culture, you are open for a lot of surprises. In both Fiji and Tonga, European females' dress standards are scandalous, and this has led to difficulties for the cruisers for years. The local men feel the women are "asking for it".

The US exportation of pornography to the islands has also caused some feeling like this: a blonde woman was raped in French Polynesia some years back, and the young man said, if "they'll have sex with a donkey, why not me?" So this kind of thinking is out there, too. Paradise lost through interaction with the West.

Each island is a little different, but if you teach yourself to consider the local chiefs as equivalents to the little kingships of the dark ages, you'll see they will require respect. If you do a little research, you can find out what kind of consideration you need to have for their culture to smooth the way. The responsibility here is of the visitor. You're not in North America nor the European Community any more!

Ann

on edit: I do not mean, in any way to be bashing MY LADY, this comment is based on years of learning and observing. I do not feel the Italians intentionally aggravated the locals. It is just culture clash and lack of respect for the profound differences between their culture and the local one.
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Old 31-03-2015, 19:49   #8
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Re: ITALIAN TOURISTS VISITING ON A YACHT, ABUSED IN FIJI.

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Originally Posted by Ann T. Cate View Post
Chill out a second please. In no way do I condone the young men's behavior, but, having spent quite a bit of time in Fiji, I would add this. The local culture is extremely patriarchal, and control of the young men rests with the chiefs. Now, many cruisers do not understand the whole practice of sevusevu, the Fijian ritual for travelers between different chiefdoms, and do not practice it themselves. If those cruisers who stay at the facility in Savusavu, would do sevusevu--the ritual gift of kava (yanggona)-- in the villages, if the chiefs accept them, they will also look after them. Otherwise, they feel done ill by and are resentful of the cash the marina makes, so there is little effort to control the young men, who, of course have to consent to be controlled. AFAIK, offfering the sevusevu is the only way to get the protection of the chief, and without it, the village does nothing whatsoever to help a cruiser....
See, now this is an excellent response. I just learned a whole bunch, and hopefully the OP did too. Thanks Ann
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Old 31-03-2015, 21:04   #9
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Re: ITALIAN TOURISTS VISITING ON A YACHT, ABUSED IN FIJI.

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See, now this is an excellent response. I just learned a whole bunch, and hopefully the OP did too. Thanks Ann
Yes, an excellent response BUT.....the harassment of women to the extent of having MEN actually exposing themselves because one didn't do the sevusevu thing is outrageous.

YES, learn and respect the culture of the country you're visiting....by all means. Just think this particular example is WAY over the top.
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Old 31-03-2015, 21:56   #10
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Re: ITALIAN TOURISTS VISITING ON A YACHT, ABUSED IN FIJI.

I´m in Fiji since October last year, i was crusing the islands but also spend several weeks in Savusavu.

To blame the unacceptable behaviour of a few on a whole community or even marina is childish. You will always have in soceties people which behave out of the norm.

Fijians are so friendly and open and they generally follow a very traditional lifestyle.

To get your attention a Fijian makes a "kissing sound". It was very strange in the beginning for us to get used to that. In Italy this would definitly mean something else, but this is just meaning, stop, hey man or whatever.

They have a patriachat here. But we have seen more mans dressed as woman in the villages then everywhere else. This is very usual here in Fiji.

The situation explained before, that a proper sevusevu to the local villagechief directly after arriving would have helped here is right. But nobody does that in Savusavu. Chiefs and elders are highly respected.

Blaming kids having fun jumping of a dock in Fiji is ........ That´s there playground......

It sounds like you should have gone out a little bit. Savusavu Marina is a nice place to keep the boat with very good moorings and finish.
But if you want a little bit western style marina, then go to Copra Shed, you have no kids jumping, the only locals you see in the marina is the stuff. But you will spend 50 US$ per month more on your mooring.

And it would be also interesting to know if maybe the local dresscode was respected in the incidents. For example if you visit a chief you should wear a sulu which covers your legs nearly to the bottom.

You will rarly or never see a fijian woman in Hotpants or even a bikini on the beach.

Not understand local customs doesn´t mean that there are some. This is no excuse for the described behavior but in the end we are the guests here and have to follow their rules!!!!!

But in the end such reports are good for the cruisers, this will keep Savusavu the "hidden paradise" for a longer time for those who can see beyond single personal experiences.
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Old 31-03-2015, 22:10   #11
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Re: ITALIAN TOURISTS VISITING ON A YACHT, ABUSED IN FIJI.

Have things changed that much in 7 years. When I last sailed there all cruisers required to do the Fiji cultural class prior to receiving your permit. Just a day but everything was explained and your visits where enjoyable and hassle free. Don't write a place off because of the odd bad experience.

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Old 31-03-2015, 23:37   #12
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Re: ITALIAN TOURISTS VISITING ON A YACHT, ABUSED IN FIJI.

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Yes, an excellent response BUT.....the harassment of women to the extent of having MEN actually exposing themselves because one didn't do the sevusevu thing is outrageous.
Perhaps. We do not know whether the women visitors did something offensive to Fijian culture. Although they may have felt frightened, in fact, none were harmed. Honestly, a little willy-waving is rather pathetic, don't you think?

YES, learn and respect the culture of the country you're visiting....by all means. Just think this particular example is WAY over the top.
I agree the boys or young men shouldn't behave that way, but I suspect there's a lot more to the incident than we know. I'm also pretty sure that it is partly due to what the Westerners have taught the Fijians about ourselves. Were you aware that the dress standard for adult females in the villages is a 3/4 length dress. No skin showing, no shoulders (considered pretty erotic there, and absolutely never *GASP!* thighs.) Different standard for men, and also different on the island resorts. Halter tops and shorts would have been asking for trouble. Normal attire for the West.

Another poster suggested that sevusevu is not done at Savusavu. Well, that is what they used to say, but in fact, the chiefs LIKE it, both if you buy good yanggona (not the powdered stuff, and preferably root from Kandavu) and if you tell them you want to show respect for their culture. If you try and they're not interested, you will be told. In Fiji, if a cruiser wants any kind of help from a village, from anchoring, swimming, fishing on their tribal waters, or your boat drags onto reef, that help is only forthcoming where the chief has accepted your yanggona, and you into the village. To Fijians, the ocean waters are part of their tribal land, "matangali", and since they are basically horticultural and fishing, your visit to them is one where you accept their hospitality, but that hospitality is gained through the mechanism of the sevusevu ceremony. So, if an enterprising yachtie had sought out the chiefs whose tribes own the water and land there in Savusavu,, they would have had the mechanism in place for some form of redress.

Incidentally, it is not only Fiji where custom demands a ritual gift to the chief of the village, this is also done in Vanuatu and New Caledonia, too. Capt. Cook wasn't far off with his gifts to locals. To the locals, if we do not do that it would be like a stranger parking his campervan on your property without your permission, and proceeding to harvest your oranges, chickens and whatever--you're in the position of using up their resources, and haven't even asked!

Our views, that the waters belong to all, are not relevant, and in fact sometimes lead to what they think of as our poaching, which they take seriously and negatively.

Anyhow, till I learn more about the background to this particular incident, I shall view it as the product of culture clash, and therefore, possibly avoidable.

Ann

What I wrote above is based on only 3 seasons in Fiji, and it is possible that there is more resentment of Westerners there than before, but based on bsturm's post, it still sounds wonderful.
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Old 01-04-2015, 05:03   #13
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Re: ITALIAN TOURISTS VISITING ON A YACHT, ABUSED IN FIJI.

Having visited some remote Fiji islands what Ann is Describing is pretty accurate. In fact, the village we visited accepted the fact that our "tribe" had elected my wife as our chief. She offered kava root to chief which he gladly accepted and a great time was had by all.

In Savusavu I would have no idea where to find the local "chief" though. I can understand a visitor not thinking this ritual would be useful there. But as Ann said, there is probably more to this story than we know.
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Old 01-04-2015, 15:19   #14
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Re: ITALIAN TOURISTS VISITING ON A YACHT, ABUSED IN FIJI.

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Having visited some remote Fiji islands what Ann is Describing is pretty accurate. In fact, the village we visited accepted the fact that our "tribe" had elected my wife as our chief. She offered kava root to chief which he gladly accepted and a great time was had by all.

In Savusavu I would have no idea where to find the local "chief" though. I can understand a visitor not thinking this ritual would be useful there. But as Ann said, there is probably more to this story than we know.
Method:

After 3 in the afternoon, go there, ask any child to take you to the chief. He will be back from the garden soon, if not already.
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Old 01-04-2015, 15:54   #15
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Re: ITALIAN TOURISTS VISITING ON A YACHT, ABUSED IN FIJI.

This is a great discussion and insights by everyone, especially Ann's observations, which are very astute. All interactions, no matter where you are in the world, can always be made better when you have cultural understanding and are respectful, as well as having the ability to recognize that a single bad experience should not reflect poorly on the whole.
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