A long time ago I did my first stint of solo travel. It was a road trip from Sydney across to Adelaide and then back along the iconic Great Ocean Road to Melbourne and back to Sydney. The Great Ocean Road isn't an accurate term, as it's a whole lot better than Great. Back then I didn't own a camera and it was way before camera phones. It was the history of the coast line that intrigued me back then. The coastline was the main transport route for ships coming from the old world to the new one in the southern Pacific. Being a very wild coast, there had been hundreds of shipwrecks and it was these stories, very well documented along the road that grabbed my attention. I even naively expected to see images of shipwrecked tall ships sticking out of the ocean.
Move forward 19 years and I found myself traveling back and fourth along the road hugging Suva Harbour on Fiji. A very busy port, there were many fishing vessels mixed in with transport ships and tankers. A quick head count and I was able to spot about 6 ships that had sunk, been abandoned or capsized in the wide open harbour. My mind floated back to that road trip in 1998.
Once work was completed I hired a boat and a local driver called Apisane to take me out for a closer look. The first boat he took me to was actually two boats I wasn't aware of as they were tucked behind a gaggle of fishing vessels moored together. They were two Japanese boats that had been damaged, and with repairs being impossible, towed to a far corner of the harbour & laid to rest. One was submerged, the other laying in the water on its side. Rain and accumulated dirt had turned the top of the ship, high out of the water, into a wild garden.
Apisane circled the boats for me several time as I tried to get the shots I wanted. The vision of nature slowly reclaiming what man had made and forgotten had me mesmerised. I tried to get every possible angle to fully capture natures victory. It was simply stunning and without my boatman I wouldn't have even known it was here.
After about 10minutes we headed across the bay where another abandoned ship lay semi-submerged dramatically a few hundred metres from the centre of town.
To be continued