“The route from Suva to Levuka is, of course by sea, the distance some 55 miles, and the time oocupied by one of the inter- colonial steamers generally about five hours.
Leaving Suva wharf at daylight the reef protecting the the coast line of Viti Levu is followed round, until a dangerous point, known as Nasilai, is reached.
Nasilai a danger spot for wrecks: On this spot several vessels have come to grief, notably the coolie ship Syria, when some 50 lives were lost, the schooner Conflict, and others, but a beacon has now been erected, from which at night a light is exhibited.
After passing Nasilai a course is steered direct for Ovalau, which now becomes visible, surrounded by the picturesque islands of Loma Viti, or tho central group, amongst which are Moturiki, Naucica, Gau, Batiki, Nairai, Wakaya, and Mokongai.
The entrance to the sea reef opposite Levuka is soon reached.
Steamer arrives at noon: The steamer berthed is alongside the Queen’s Wharf before noon.
Levuka harbour in 1886: The harbour of Levuka is not land locked, unlike that of Suva; in fact, It has more the appearance of an open roadstead, being only protected from the weather on one side, i.e., the westward, by the island itself.
Protected harbour: A well-defined sea route of coral runs north and south, however, at about a mile from the shore, and forms an excellent defence against the swell of the Paciflc, and vessels ride, at anchor in all weathers, with perfect safety, except during the most violent hurricanes, which are happily of rare occurrence, there having been none attended with disastrous consequences for many years.
Two ways into the reef: There are two entrances through the reef, one opposite, and one to the northward of, the town, either of which are easy of access, the former being also marked by beacons, as at Suva. The Queen’s Wharf, at the southern end of the town, is a creditable structure, and affords sufficient accommodation for those who requirements of the port. At the opposite end of the town where the Custom house is at present most inconveniently situated, there is another wharf, which was originally in be Government wharf, but, as in – most ‘ Government jobs, ‘ a bungle was made, and when the wharf was nearly completed it was discovered that there was a coral patch at the end of ie, which would prevent any but vessels of very little draught coming alongside. It was, therefore, abandoned for the present structure”.
The Mercury Supplement, (Hobart, Tasmania) Saturday 13 February, 1886. This item appears written by a Levuka resident in early 1886, or late 1885. It encourages tourism to Levuka, as a rest from an overheated Australia. Author uses the name “Tasmanian”. Possibly Frederick Langham Perhaps ship-owner and trader with a long term trading relationship with Levuka and Suva, for at least five years – since 1880.
Filed under: Levuka, Sea journey, Ship wreck, Uncategorized | Tagged: Custom House Levuka, History of Fiji, Levuka 1886, Levuka harbour in 1886, Levuka navigation, Nasilai, Ovalau, Queen's Wharf Levuka, schooner Conflict, Ship Syria, Suva |