Legend has it that over 500 years ago the men of Beqa Island were given the gift of being able to walk on fire by an eel in exchange for its life. Today, the descendants of these warriors carry on the tradition, observing the same strict rules of tabu as the ancestors. Men are chosen as representatives from different villages. Ten days prior to the ceremony, they segregate themselves from females and are not allowed to eat coconut. The fire pit is dug out 12 to 15 feet in diameter and 3 to 4 feet deep. Large river stones are then collected and placed in the pit, filling it up. Six to eight hours before the ceremony a log fire is built over the top of the stones, heating them up. The Firewalkers are led to the arena accompanied by dances and chants. Leaves and vines are grazed across the stones to prepare the pit. The men then proceed to walk across the stones in a few different phases. Finally, a bundle of grass is thrown onto the pit and the group huddles in the center while chanting a song. Bands around the ankle of each participant, which are made of tree ferns that do not burn, are thrown into the pit. The pit is finally covered with earth, and days later, the ankle bands are recovered and ground up, mixed with water, and eaten by the Firewalkers.
A tender boat will transfer you from the ship to the beach on Beqa Island. From the beach landing area, you will walk approximately 20-25 minutes to the village along an uneven, rough dirt path. Upon your arrival in the village, you will be greeted and welcomed by the fearsome Fijian warriors in traditional costumes. Villagers serenade and escort you to the village green where a traditional kava ceremony will take place. You will then be seated in a covered area to watch the ceremony and the Meke, a special dance performed by the dancers normally only for their Paramount Chief. The highlight of the village visit is the Firewalking! After all the excitement, you will walk back to the beach for your transfer back to the ship.
Please note: CULTURAL REQUIREMENT: It is mandatory for guests to wear long pants and long-sleeve shirts. No guest will be allowed on the tour without covered arms and legs. Not suitable for guests with mobility and walking difficulties.