In Fiji, Machete-Wielding Locals Spook Tourists and Investors


A DJ by the name of Bar’el Wachtel (who, full disclosure, is a friend of mine) gave up a dream job spinning tunes at a luxury resort in the Maldives and moved to Fiji to set up a beautifully sybaritic hangout that he called Cloud 9. Part tiki-themed floating restaurant and part buoyant day club, Club 9 is a large designer pontoon moored in the gin-clear waters of a tropical lagoon not far from the tourist hub of Nadi on Viti Levu, the largest of Fiji’s 322 sun-kissed islands. Better yet, it floats only 800 m from Cloudbreak, the reef break described by surfing deity Kelly Slater as “the best wave on earth.”

Cloud 9 proved a hit with surfers when it launched in June in time for the Volcom Fiji Pro, Cloudbreak’s annual surfing contest. Since then, its patrons have hailed predominantly from the…

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