Published: June 25th 2012June 8th 2012
When I left school MANY moons ago, my total achievements in foreign languages I am ashamed to say amounted to a CSE Grade 4 in French. I could blame this on the fact that my French teacher, Mr. H, was an alcoholic, had been banned from most of the pubs in Cowes and later I was told sadly died of liver Schlerosis. However, the truth was that for someone whose childhood travel highlights extended to a very unsuccessful coach trip to Scotland with their mother and school field trips to Newtown and Bembridge, I naively failed to see the point of what foreign language and travel could possibly have to do with me! Not sure what has happened lately, but bring it on!!
Friday 8th June. Yesterday I was presented with a snorkel, mask and flippers, but still no idea of where we were going for my early birthday surprise except - temperature max 26º/ min20º, beachy and not too smart. Only on arrival at the airport did I find our destination was the FIJI!!!!!!! So excited and only a 4 hour flight from Oz. . Downloaded film for flight, ‘Oranges & Sunshine' brilliant and a 'must watch' based on
true story involving Uk&Oz!!!
Arrived in Nadi, mainland Fiji, to the sound of a beautiful Fijian band. High humidity, heat and you guessed it – rain, but warm rain so it didn’t matter. Purchased bottle of Bombay Sapphire in the airport and with mozzie spray at the ready, let holiday commence.
Hotel room info slightly alarming including emergency procedures for Tsunami, earthquakes and cyclones. I had been looking at Fiji earlier in year and next 2 weeks everything I would have chosen and more. Leaving the mainland tomorrow for the supposedly unspoilt Yasawa islands, staying on 3 different islands. Aware it's Manta Ray season so snorkels at the ready!!!! Being nearly 50 is seeming ok.
(Beer bottle fact of the day (Fiji Premium) – “Fiji islands are made up of 322 islands, many of which are mountainous peaks covered with tropical forests.)”
June 2012 - Alarm went off at 6am (really 4am still) for an early start. The Yasawa Flyer is a small ferry that once a day travels up and back through the Mamanuca & Yasawa islands. We board for the 5 hour last stop to Nanuya resort on Nanuya Lailai Island, so
a great chance to see other islands on the way. A big surfing contest happening in area at the moment but not good to watch as out to sea and islands too small to cater for many visitors!
The islands changed from low lying coral atolls to more mountainous and volcanic. Some with resorts were really TINY, but all looked like paradise complete with turquoise clear waters.
Taken ashore at Nanuya by a smaller transfer boat, walking up the softest white sandy beach to be greeted with fruit coctails and shell necklaces (Julians really suits him). When shown to our beachfront Bure complete with palm trees, hammocks, blah, blah, blah (only 12 bures in total at resort), I knew I had arrived in paradise . A ‘beware falling coconuts’ sign is outside and by gosh, I heard one fall and would NOT want to be underneath. The 1980 film Blue Lagoon starring Brooke Shields was filmed in the adjacent Blue Lagoon. The only place to eat is at the resort which offers just 4 starters ad 4 main courses daily, but after our first night, we realized that is no hardship. Fresh local fish and their own grown
fruit & vegetables beautifully cooked. Yum.
Couldnt unlock room safe with our belongings (including passports) stuck inside. Thought we might get stuck in Fiji for good, but this was sadly mended the next day.
June 2012. Breakfast included a variety of fresh tropical fruits from the garden and home made buns.
The resort has been ‘growing’ its own reef just 100m off the beach so christened our gear and spent the rest of the morning totally awe struck. The reef wasn't on the Barrier Reef scale, but still very good with a fantastic array of fish and colours. Saw so much just snorkelling including quite a big black & white striped sea snake (1-1.5 mtrs) like something out of a Tim Burton film and eerily checking out nooks and crannies for tasty morsels.
Then did the stated 1.5hr round the island walk along the beach, but had to make a quick retreat across the middle when we realized it was getting dark and still a way to go. Think we did too much looking and stopping at Los’s teahouse! Los had actually popped out, so tea was made by here lovely old Dad, which
sent him into a real panic and yes, his tea making skills weren’t that great, but hey, he was a great character. Added to this, we have to drop the money round to him as he had no change and wouldn’t accept more, so must do that before we leave. Found another sea snake and saw then how their tail is actually flattened and shaped like a flipper. We found loads of beautiful red coral washed ashore which I am tempted to try and sneak out!
We watched two lovely little kids playing by the beach. They showed us the nuts/seeds they had gathered and bashed some open for us to try. They tasted good - a bit like the kernel of a plum stone if you’ve ever tried one?
The people here live very simply, with the kids on many of the islands including this one having to travel each day by boat to an island nearby big enough to have a school. I am sure they have very little money or possessions, but seem very happy, relaxed, content and genuine. Think we may have a thing or two to learn from this. Slept the best last
night that I have for agesJ
Slow start today. Woke to the sound of the birds and the waves lapping on the shore. Julian slept in. We were late for breakfast but no one seemed to mind. Sat outside the Bure writing my blog with no desire to move. It is warm with just enough breeze passing through. We have paid for one of us to have internet, so chose Julians iphone with the idea of using this as a hotspot, but at the moment this doesn’t seem to be working. I am enjoying my book and Julian has started his -‘The Fat Paddler”!
A boat has just gone by with a man waving a red flag off the top. ‘Maybe there’s a military coup and we have to stay here for ever?’ has been the suggestion from my hubby? In the interim, it is now cave trip time.
PM returned from a brilliant snorkeling trip to another area nearby where the fish were not a lot different but the corals better. Snorkelled past another huge sea snake and have now learn that they are twice as deadly
as a King Cobra, but not aggressive to humans, so that was reassuring. With the mask on you only have a sort of tunnel vision so bit weird when you’re not sure were it was around you!
Early start for boat trip to another island to do some caving today. Small group of six plus our guide, Moses and his friend. All got soaked with spray on the boat but so warm. Swam in the first cave, and then had to dive down through a tunnel to get through to the next bit. Surfaced in the dark and then with just torches swam through tunnel until it opened out and in the light again. Much easier going back. Apparently there is a third cave that they found lots of human bones in dating back to when cannibalism was still practiced here, which only stopped about 100 years ago! Livestock unusual on the islands, so apart from fish, think a nice human provided a lot of protein.
Did a spot of shopping at the end from local group of women and children selling their wares on the beach.
to one of the Tree-top Bures when we got back for our last night at Nanuya. Bit of a climb and had to dodge huge, fat toads on the path at night, but a fantastic view.
Can’t seem to go wrong with the fish and the Red Emperor on tonights menu was fantastic (whatever it was).
There are more photos below