Published: September 18th 2009September 18th 2009
The pool/beach at Smuggler's Cove.
It’s been nearly a week since I returned from my trip to Fiji, so I figure I should recount the tale of the best trip I’ve ever taken. I went on the trip with 13 of my friends from Sydney. I apologize in advance for how long this entry is.
I arrived in Fiji on Sunday night and promptly hopped on a sketchy bus to the hostel we had a reservation at, the Smugglers Cove. Here we had a late dinner and some drinks while getting our first taste of Fijian culture. By that I mean that we learned how to say "hello" ("Bula") and "Thank You" ("Vinaka"). After a couple of hours wandering the beach and laying around in hammocks, we headed to bed so we could catch the bus to Port Denerau in the morning at 7:00am.
The next morning we made our way to the port where we boarded the Yasawa Flyer. This big yellow boat would be our means of transport between islands during our stay. The ship was aptly named as the group of islands we were visiting was called the "Yasawa Group." We headed north on the Flyer for 5 hours, making our
The type of boats used to take you from the Flyer to the islands
way to the island that was farthest to the north, and home to our first stop, the CoralView Resort. There are no docks in the Yasawa group suitable for docking the Flyer, so we would step off of the Flyer onto small motor boats owned by the individual island resorts. Once inside, these small boats would then take us for about a 20 minute ride to the shore. The boats would stop in about 1-2 feet of water, at which point we were instructed to step off into the water and walk up to shore where the staff would be waiting to greet us.
Our stay at CoralView lasted 2 days an offered the most excursions. The day that we got there, we traveled for ~30 min to the island where the Tom Hanks movie Castaway was filmed. Here we went on caving trip. There was a staircase leading down into a cave that was full of water. We simply walked down the stairs, jumped into the water in the cave and started to swim around and explore. It was not until after I got out of the water (luckily) that I noticed that there were eels in the
The perelous crossing
Either side of that rock is a fall to the death.
water as well. The same day, I decided that I should try snorkeling with my friends. For the first 10 minutes I had a lot of trouble (because my head is oddly shaped), and kept getting water in my goggles. Then I realized that I would just have to use my hands to push my mask against my face and simply swim without my arms.
Later that day, I completed what I would later describe as the best day of my life but hiking up the small mountain that the CoralView resort was at the foot of. Check my photos for pictures from the summit.
On the second island we visited, we stayed at a resort called Coraveau (Oddly similar to the name CoralView…). We stayed on this island for only one night, and the only event of real note that occurred was the sunset fishing trip several of us went on. Once we were out to sea, it was very different than we had all expected, but not disappointingly so. Instead of the fishing rods I was expecting I was handed a spool of line with a hook on the end. I am happy to report that I am
Sunset on Top of the mountain
the only person on the boat who caught a fish (a “Giraffe Fish”). See my photos for a photo of the sunset from the boat.
Our third island resort, Waya Lai Lai, was our home for two nights. Due to a miscalculation in reservations for the two nights by the staff, three of my friends and I stayed in the Samoa Suite. Others might call it a hut, but we choose to call it a suite. I’ve posted a picture for you to be the judge.
Waya Lai Lai offered many fun adventures. The first day we took a boat ride to a reef about half an hour into the ocean. Here we hopped over the edge of the boat to snorkel with the reef sharks. If you are concerned, reef sharks are rather small, and have no real interest in humans. It was rough seas, however, and every time I would put my head in the water, a wave would crash over me getting water in my snorkel. I was able to remain under the surface for several minutes, however, and saw several sharks chasing fish and the general beauty of the reef.
Later that night, back on
South Sea Island
The tiny South Sea Island. Note the boats for scale
the island, we had a local villager guide take us to the peak of a much higher, much more dangerous mountain. It was billed as a mountain “hike,” but it was definitely a climb. The climb up was like a giant staircase with steps that were several feet high. When we were nearly to the top, we had to cross a peak that on either side was an un-survivable fall. After bear-crawling to the other side, we were at the summit until shortly before sunset. The reason we didn’t stay until sunset is because it was going to be took dark to make the difficult and dangerous climb down.
On Waya Lai Lai the generator that powered the island would be turned off sometime between 10:30pm and Midnight. Once the generator was switched off, there was no light anywhere on the island. This meant two things: 1) that I got to use my flashlight (torch) for a real reason; and 2) That I got to see more starts than I have ever seen in my life. I had never before (and possibly will never again) been in such pure darkness at night and I never imagined that you could
Shot of some friends at the front of the Yasawa Flyer.
see so many stars. I wish I could have taken a picture to show everyone, but alas it isn’t so.
The last activity we took part in was drinking cava, which is the traditional drink of Fiji. It is made from the root of a plant…and it tastes like dirt. It’s meant to numb your body when you drink it, but besides numbing our tongues, nothing really happened. We didn’t finish the laundry bucket full of cava that the staff made us…because it was gross.
Our final island, South Sea Island, was the smallest island on our journey. It was so small that if you were to walk down the beach, you would circle the whole island in about two minutes. Unfortunately, the weather was very rainy for the entirety of our stay on South Sea Island. As a result, our prepaid sailing adventure aboard the Sea Spray was cancelled. This was ok by us, though, because we were excited to return to Port Denerau. Our main stop in civilization (after extremely rough seas) was the Hard Rock Café. We were so excited to be eating “normal” food that we spent 3 hours there (also, we had nowhere
A shot of the pools in the cave. Shortly before I took this picture I saw an eel swim behind a rock.
else to go).
After lunch we went back to our hostel and watched the native dances they were putting on. Then to bed early so we could catch a taxi at 7:00am to the airport. After sleeping the entire flight, I reluctantly returned to the “real” world.
There are more photos below