Published: August 7th 2012July 23rd 2012
Fiji continued, this entry is based on the trip report I wrote for the 4wd club. Adrenaline junkie
A nice easy start to the day, everyone being a little tired from the long day of travel yesterday. A hearty breakfast was taken in the open air tropical surrounds of our environment, but it was soon time to get down to the business of the day and that was to find sunbeds for 10, the biggest decision being which pool to sit next to as the choices were endless, the final decision was based on the one with the least number of children.
It was clear that not having access to a 4wd over here was not going to deter anyone’s fun, investigations took place into some of the activities on hand and it was not long before we had our first contender for the adrenaline rush - Tammy and Elaine had decided to do a parasailing and with no time to spare they were straight off into it! Rather them than me, I was happy to stand and watch on the sidelines, I am no adrenaline junkie and happy
to admit that.
The rest of us sat and watched from the comfort of the sunbeds, it became a very difficult morning when the waiting staff started to ask if we wanted cocktails. It would have been rude not to, so we obliged with an order of piña colada's and the special of the day which had something to do with coral, but I cannot remember what was in it.
At some point I wandered off down the beach to take some photos and explore this beautiful environment, at the very end of the beach, there is a beautiful wedding chapel, but sadly no wedding in progress, a very idyllic environment for a wedding.
Elaine and Tammy eventually returned from their arduous journey grinning like Cheshire Cats and could barely contain their excitement, which seemed to spread enthusiasm for activities amongst everyone. Investigations followed into jet skiing and within the half hour, Jan, Elaine, Sharon, Karen and oddly enough me, hit the waves with enthusiasm. The water started out relatively calm, but the tide seemed to change which made the predefined course somewhat choppier, we were supposed to have 15
minutes but they let us have half hour as there were no bookings following ours.
Lunch back at the villa, followed by a bit of shopping and a late decision to hit the cocktail bar next to the swimming pool, ending up at the golf club for our evening meal.
While we were swimming in the pool with the cocktail bar, the barman advised us not to give any alcohol to children, we pondered that thought and wondered why you would want to! Also we pondered that perhaps the swimming pool with the cocktail bar should be for adults only, still not our decision and we of course were happy to oblige with the rules, especially as none of us had children with us!
Of course we had a nightcap before bedtime. Whale tail cruise
An early breakfast for everyone as today is the day for the Whale Tale cruise of the Fijian islands.
The bus collected our group and we headed to Port Denarau to catch our boat and a very friendly crew eagerly awaited our arrival. More importantly as soon as we were on board we found
ourselves clutching glasses of champagne, it would have been rude to refuse and it helped wash down brunch of scones and jam.
The sun was already up and everyone was vying for the best spot to catch some shade even before the boat left the dock. As we headed away from port we took a leisurely sail on calm waters toward our private island paradise.
Upon arrival there were various methods of disembarkation, some sedate taking the steps down to the tender and others jumped off the side of the boat and swam the 400metres or so to shore, however one person was aiming for the wrong island and thus elongated the journey, hmmm maybe another contender for the golden shackle? I chose the easy route by taking the steps and watched the others arriving at the island from the comfort of the tender.
We all congregated under a thatched roof whilst the islanders briefed us on the events to follow, but more importantly we had to go through a traditional ceremony and appointed a chief for the day who also had to savour the local delights of Kava, a non alcoholic drink which seems to have
some qualities of reducing one's motor skills if drinking too much, although it is stated that the drink has sedative and anaesthetic properties. Kava (Piper methysticum) – the drink is created using the roots of the plant and is consumed throughout the Pacific Ocean and is not meant to reduce mental clarity, but certainly tied a few tongues.
Karen was appointed chief and did well to savour the Kava, despite pulling a funny face we were assured that it was actually ok.
Soon after we hit the reefs for some snorkelling, it was my first time and I very eagerly prepared my flippers and snorkel down on the beach and waded into the water, which to start with felt cool, but it did not take long to feel warm once submerged. I was very excited but a little nervous at the prospect and I wasn’t even thinking about sharks!
Taking some advice from friends on the trip, I put my head into the water and started to swim toward the rest of the group, it was not long before I spotted my first colourful fish, which was a beautiful bright blue, excitedly I raised my head to
A very important part of our cruise!
try and point it out to someone but there was no one there so just carried on, the coral was sadly not very colourful, however the fish were pretty amazing including the bright blue starfish, some even saw Nemo (clown fish I believe)!
Lunch was superb and cooked by the chef on the boat, served on the island, the afternoon followed with a succession of activities including volleyball, fishing and more snorkelling, which of course I really had to do as it was the only other opportunity I was going to get for a while.
The tender arrived to take us back to the boat, as it had to make a couple of trips there was time for a little swim next to the boat and some, the brave members of our team chose to dive from the top of the boat into the clear turquoise waters below. It was a long jump and well done to those who did it, we have photographic evidence! One person was supposed to jump with a Kiwi who befriended us on the boat, there is a great photo of the hands parting as the Kiwi jumped.
It is worth mentioning
that one of our group needed winching out of the ocean as she struggled to get back on board the boat, but the crew duly obliged only to find that a second jump was in order! Some people never learn, another winching session took place. (the winching part was a joke aimed at the 4wd club, but said person did struggle to get out of the water and back onto the boat, a couple of obliging tourists helped).
In the meantime the tender returned with the remaining people from the island and once again we set sail on calm waters and headed back to the mainland. Alcohol flowed a plenty, there were a few people on board with one too many, not from our group of course!
Lively chatter took place as we basked in the fading sun and enjoyed the breeze as the boat carved its way through the water, in no time at all we were back on the mainland.
Exhausted from our day some chose to have the famous "happy hour" back in the villa and the remainder headed out for Japanese. As I don’t eat fish or seafood, I stayed back at the
Villa for a night in of cheese, crackers and salami, we were still fairly full from all the food we ate on the boat.
It was an early night for all! It’s Pouring!
In the wee hours of the morning I awoke to torrential rain and high winds, others never heard a thing, but it was still raining at breakfast time. Nothing damped our enthusiasm though and decided it was a good day to head into town.
Split into smaller groups we took the bus for $1 Fijian and headed into downtown Nadi for some shopping. The town unfortunately suffered with recent flooding and many of the shops were empty and looking dilapidated. We did our bit to assist the economy. If there was only one complaint around this part of the trip it would be that the locals try too hard to sell their wares, however they are open to a bit of bargaining.
Tammy and Elaine and I headed up to the temple, with a $3.50 Fijian entry fee, shoes off and shoulders covered wandered around the brightly coloured temple that was in fact only around 18 years old.
Some headed to Port
Denarau for lunch and a look in the shops, tourist trinkets in abundance, prices varied but there were some pretty amazing wooden sculptures made out of the local wood.
Back at the resort, there was time for a swim and of course another cocktail was required (rude not to). Competitions were being held into floating glass races, but I think there was some cheating going on. Another member of the group kept a "close eye" on things from the sidelines!
Just before the evening hours we headed to Port Denarau and the Hard Rock cafe for "happy hour" where some very flirty staff awaited and vied for our attention, impressed with the abundance of young ladies that had appeared. After a brief look at the menu 7 of us were served with "one night stands". One particular waiter was more than impressed with my accent and kept asking me to speak to him.
I mentioned that the cocktail "made my ears laugh" (because it was so cold) at which point everyone fell about laughing trying to work out how! No one had heard of that saying before.
Dancing on the tables followed and by that we
are talking about the waiting staff not us! Though I am sure that with a few more cocktails we possibly would have obliged.
Dinner that night was traditional Fijian in Port Denarau, however we had to savour the local tradition of taking the Kava from a bowl. Some of us obliged and thus followed some very "tumb nungers!" loosely translated into numb tongues.
We all enjoyed our Fijian cuisine and after a little bit more shopping headed back to the villas for a nightcap.
I am not sure if I should mention that at around 10.15 security knocked on the door of one of the villa's because he thought we were being too loud, not us surely! No one had complained. It perhaps it was just as well that he heard before someone did complain.
Still we were having fun, and could blame the Golfing ladies for any misdemeanours after all, everyone thought we were with the golfing ladies, indignantly we would quickly put them right though "No! We are the 4 wheel drive club ladies!"
Just in case I did not mention earlier, but there were 120 ladies staying at the resort from various
The local drink
different countries to play in a golfing competition.
A sound night's sleep was had by some and maybe not so for others. More adrenaline!
Thursday morning brought a few tired faces, but we all headed to breakfast eager to have a good day as it would be our last one and we wanted to make the most of it.
Plans abandoned for a drive into the mountains for a day in the natural artesian spas and mud, most wanted to take things easy, swim, pack and sort the final bill out.
By 9.30 our first two adrenaline junkies were wearing life jackets and awaiting the boat for a parasailing session. The usual jokes deployed such as "can I have your seat on the plane? or, did you hear that you have been delayed because they spotted a shark? etc." Undeterred Sharon and Lindy headed into the waves only to be seen a short time later high in the sky floating around underneath a brightly coloured parachute before being dunked in the oceans below.
Whilst sipping a cocktail, lazing around our loungers watching the world go past is in the ocean in front of us, Robyn
The guy in the background kept appearing in our photos, we have no idea who he is, but he seemed to have fun!
appeared with an offer that some could refuse (me), a spin in the Jet Boat, the eager contenders signed up for the afternoon session.
A while later we chose to move to a different swimming pool as we wanted a few less children and a warmer pool. That turned out to be a mistake as the pool that was warmer yesterday actually turned out to be freezing cold, still not to be deterred several of us went in, gradually everyone got out and retreated to their sun loungers with the exception of me as I decided to work off the calories from the cocktails and kept swimming circuits around the island until the cold water got the better of me, still the colder the water the more calories burned.
Following a light lunch, our eager adrenaline junkies, Tammy, Elaine, Robyn and Rosemary headed off to another resort to catch their Jet boat.
The rest of us dispersed for packing, swimming and working out the hotel bill, which just required a little bit of calculation to ensure that we all paid correctly for activities, meals and various cocktails.
A while later the others rejoined us looking slightly
damp with very excited faces. I am assured that they all enjoyed the trip, and very keenly they all told the captain of the jet boat not to tell them when they would spin as they wanted it to be a surprise! The captain eventually got the hang of it, but he did tell them before they started that it was his first time "yeah right!"
For the last night a few people wanted to eat in a different place so some went to the "Flying Fish" and others went to the "Wet Edge" for seafood platters. As it was our last night, the waiting staff duly obliged those of us at the Flying Fish with the traditional Fijian farewell song. The serenade was lovely and everyone in the restaurants seems to appreciate the sentiment.
I just have to mention the mash potato, some of the best I have ever eaten! (but don’t tell Andy that, he is very competitive with his mash potato)
While some of us settled our final room account, a few of the others accidentally walked into the night club, were the music was pumping and no one was dancing - for long
Eventually the group were reunited after a plea for help was received, so a rescue mission was put into action, however that failed miserably when everyone joined on the dance floor for some good moves and photo's.
Eventually with the realisation that packing needed to be finished and champagne needed to be drunk, we departed.
By 11.30 the party dispersed for some valuable sleep before the early start tomorrow. Home Time
An early start to the day with a 5.30am alarm, most of the packing done it was just to put the toiletries in, zip up the cases and leave them outside for the bell hop to collect in his little golf buggy.
At 6.15 we all headed off choosing to walk for the final time back to reception, through the lush tropical gardens surrounding the swimming pools.
Our bus arrived at 6.30, boarding in virtual silence; a final check to ensure that there were still 10 of us, as we cannot leave a man down, we were soon on our way to the airport in time for check in.
Passing the now familiar terrain of the resort over the bridge that
Hard Rock Fiji
Had to be done.
separated us from the mainland, through the small villages and towns, we watched the locals start their days heading to work and school. the bus driver explained some of the problems that occurred in the recent floods.
At the airport, the check in queue was already busy, but Jan (trip leader) easily got us checked in, including the non-Australian amongst us whose passport clearly stood out from the rest! Rosemary even bumped into someone she knew!
Our final water crossing of the trip was with a 747 – 400, the pilot did ok flying the plane until we landed in Sydney with a huge bump, the plane tilted to the left and started to slew down the runway, most of the passengers shrieked until the pilot’s faux pas was corrected. Eventually we were advised by cabin crew that we could remove seat belts, however to be careful as we left the plane as the concourse was 2 inches short of the plane, one bright spark passenger commented that it was because the “chassis was bent”. Phew, a pilot making an error with 6 4wd ladies on board is not a good plan ”don’t make us come up there
and tell you how to fly this thing!”
In summary, we all had a fabulous time, it was a tough trip with the long water crossings and a few tricky winching sessions removing people from the oceans and off the sun lounges but someone had to do it and it was quite an achievement!
We had hoped that a freak snow storm would have prevented us from catching the flight home. But no such luck, a huge thank you to Jan for her excellent organisational skills and getting this huge trip off the ground.
Names may have been excluded to protect the innocent and maybe the guilty from the numerous faux pas! However let's see what the Golden Shackle nominations bring!
Perhaps another trip next year? We all decided that we should bring partners next time now that we had scoped the place out. Although, maybe it just needs one more scoping session before we let that happen.
There are more photos below