Published: July 7th 2008June 30th 2008
Panoramic View: On The Approach To Mala Mala Island
South Sea Island
We got up early to catch the transfer to the port where we set sail. Our destination was the closest island called South Sea Island, which allowed us for the most time to spend on any island resort. It is the island next to Bounty Island; famous for being the setting of Celebrity Love Island. South Sea Island is one of the smallest islands in Fiji, with one backpackers resort on the island providing overnight packages (much like the other islands). It literally only takes around 2 minutes to walk around the island to give an idea of scale, but it proved to be idyllic.
The weather was very warm, but not roasting and we lazed about the beach while taking advantage of the free bar we had for the day. It really did feel like paradise. The beaches in Fiji aren't the pure silica sand that other places have due to the stormier climate washing a lot of coral and sea shells on the beaches, but this made it a refreshing change as a lot of the washed up coral was intricate, despite being long dead.
We went out in the semi-submersible boat in the morning (it was almost a Yellow Submarine) and got to view some of the underwater life through the specially designed windows.
Unfortunately in Fiji, over the past couple of years these guys
have destroyed much of the coral. It'll take a good number of years to regenerate and it was only 2 years ago that the sea bed was brightly coloured and rivalled even the Great Barrier Reef for beauty. It was still nice to see though and later on we got to do two snorkel trips on the reef which was a lot of fun. We had toyed with the idea of doing more diving and it wasn't particularly expensive but due to the coral, we weren't too bothered at not doing it. On saying that though, the marine life was pretty spectacular including an octopus!
By the time 5pm came, it felt time to go as we were pretty tired from sitting out all day in the sunshine on sun loungers, surrounded by the Pacific Ocean, free booze and palm trees...
In the evening, we were treated to a traditional Fijian show at our resort which
was entertaining although was a bit similar to Thai entertainment on Koh Phi Phi, those many moons ago. Turns out that a lot of Pacific Islanders moved to the Thailand islands hence the similarity.
Mala Mala Island
Our initial trip to "Treasure Island" (not the made up one) and cruise around The Mamanuca Islands was cancelled as the catamaran they use was damaged. This was a bit disappointing as it was a lot more of a cruise than relaxing in an island resort, which we had to do instead. It's a hard life, eh?
So instead, we had a trip to Mala Mala Island. Uninhabited, it covers 6 acres, so a bit bigger than our last island although not huge. Most islands out here aren't though as Fiji itself is an archipelago of over 300 islands, with most being very small. Companies have bought over a lot and built resorts in them, but unlike the Thai islands, they only have one resort on them due to their size. It's cool in a way as you get the whole island to yourself.
It was a far hotter day as we set sail and this trip had a
smaller group size. The resort on the island does not have anyone staying overnight so it was a lot more intimate which was nice. Upon arrival, we again had the beach stretched out in front of us, although sadly there wasn't free alcohol on this trip. The free lunch was a lot tastier than the one on South Sea Island though which was a plus. We again did some snorkelling and went out on the glass bottomed boat, but the coral here had even more damage. It's such a shame as the area is beautiful aside from that.
It was another day lounging about and when we boarded the boat to go back, we weren't too upset as it felt enough. The day itself had been pretty similar to the previous but on a different island. Herein lies the problem with the island hopping packages for us. It really depends how much you love the lazy beach life as to how much you'll enjoy spending 1 to 3 weeks lazing on different islands. Most of the islands are essentially very similar (from what we were told by both tour operators and travellers who have done it) and mainly involve
staying with a different resort on each island offering only slightly varying sea activities.
Aside from the beach, beds and a small bar, the islands don't have any other development or facilities so there's not huge amounts of things to do. We do enjoy lazing on the beach for the short term, but we were actually a bit glad we weren't doing the island hopping. Our two days of paradise lounging actually felt enough, although to be honest it probably wouldn't have taken too much arm twisting to stay a bit longer. Fiji was amazing and certainly lives up to the hype given to it.
After returning to the mainland, we had a shower and caught a taxi to the airport for our overnight flight to LA for a continent and drastic time change. We were in fact emulating Marty McFly and Doc Brown by travelling back
in time. Sadly, the plane isn't quite as classy as a De Lorean...
There are more photos below