PEARL FARM TOURS – SAVUSAVU BAY
While pearls have been revered through the ages for their natural beauty and simple elegance, their appearance belies an often-intricate process involved in producing them, one that requires the careful nurturing of oysters in a susceptible ocean environment.
J. Hunter Pearl’s offers educational tours of the pearl farm allowing visitors to Savusavu an insight into the history of pearling in Fiji and Justin Hunter’s own journey in creating the first successful commercial pearl farm in Fiji that produces the world’s rarest pearls coveted by pearl connoisseurs around the world for their distinctive earthy colours.
Located in the scenic bay town of Savusavu on the Fiji’s second main island, Vanua Levu, the pearl farm is a short boat ride away from the thriving small-town community. The tour begins in the showroom with a brief overview of the pearl culturing process and how Justin Hunter has adapted pearling to suit the Fiji environment through his partnership with the local community. Following the presentation visitors are taken on a guided tour around picturesque Savusavu Bay to see first hand the day to day operations of a Fijian pearl farm. The tour of the farm is based on the daily operations so please note that farm site locations and experiences will vary dependent on what dive and cleaning crews are doing during certain times of the year.
During the cruise, guests will view pearl oysters at different stages of growth, suspended on 200 metre long lines that run 3 to 5 metres below the ocean’s surface. The boat will also comes alongside one of the cleaning platforms where guests can observe farm workers from nearby villages cleaning and checking on the health of juvenile and adult oysters.
Snorkelling the farm sites is optional dependent on weather conditions and visitors must bring their own snorkelling gear. Apon request the tour also includes a visit to a giant clam site allowing visitors an amazing experience to snorkel over several different species of the world’s largest and endangered bivalve mollusk.
During the seeding season visitors are able to observe the highly experienced Japanese pearl technicians perform the skilled surgical operations on the pearl oysters that start the culturing process of creating a Fiji Pearl. The pearl harvest follows immediately after and is a special time for all as we anxiously watch pearl after pearl being carefully removed from their host oysters. Seeding and harvesting is done twice a year from April to May and October to November. A must see if you happen to be in Savusavu during these months!
The tour ends back in the air-conditioned showroom, where guests can view and purchase loose pearls of all grades, shapes and sizes along with the J. Hunter’s casual and fine jewellery collections that feature pearls set in silver, leather, steel and 14 -18 karat gold.
Farm tours are available Monday to Friday at 9.30am . To avoid missing out we recommend you book a day or two in advance through your resort or directly via this website or phone. Please note farm tours are not be available over the Christmas holiday period (23rd December 2015 – 4th January 2016) and gazetted Fiji Public Holidays.
Tour duration: 1.5 – 2 hours. Dependent on weather conditions and option to snorkel.
VISIT THE J. HUNTER SHOWROOM IN SAVUSAVU
Located on the main street of Savusavu Town, the J. Hunter Showroom is open Monday to Friday from 8.30am to 5.00pm, Saturday from 9.00am – 2.00pm. Private viewings may be arranged during and outside of this time but must be confirmed two days in advance. Buying from the source allows visitors the added opportunity to have pieces custom made to your desire, ready for collection or delivery the same or next day.
The J. Hunter showroom is registered under the VAT Tourist Refund Scheme whereby purchases over the total value of $500 Fijian are eligible for a 9% tax refund collected upon departure from Nadi International Airport. Please bring your passport along if you plan to shop and would like to claim your VAT refund on leaving the country.
J. Hunter Showroom: (+679) 8850-821
Savusavu is a convenient flight or sail from Fiji’s main island Viti Levu. There are connecting flights from Nadi International Airport and from Nausori outside the capital city of Suva or by one of the several ferry services that service Vanua Levu, Fiji’s second largest island.