Published: June 25th 2012June 17th 2012
Tuesday 17th June - So back 2 stops towards Nadi on the Yasawa Flyer to Octopus Island where transferred to smaller fishing boat for Viwa Island Resort as off the main ferry track. The captain handed over to youngest member while he and his mate had smoko break and it was a fun, VERY bumpy ride. Arrived to the now normal greeting of musicians and scented frangipan garlands. Only 11 bure’s here that accommodate 28 maximum guests, but learnt only 2 other couples at the moment so pretty much have the resort to ourselves and the poshest one yet. All bures on the waters edge complete with sunbeds, hammock, white softest sand ever then straight into the sea. Mmmmm. Viwa Island is a very low lying coral atoll that was once below sea level and no great depth of top and subsoil.
June - Guided visit to adjacent village with just one other couple. Tour of its local school (this island has 3), where treated to a concert by the children there. Interesting to see how much is taught in English as well as their own tongue. Our resort is the only one on Viwa and apparently the
kids were scared stiff when the first visit to their village took place when it opened just 4 years ago as had never seen a white person. Luckily, they now seem to love the visits (think it’s a good excuse to break from lessons)!
Guided snorkeling trip by boat to nearby reef was amazing as always, then stayed on the boat with one other guest for a fishing session. Think our guides gave us the dodgy hooks as bait disappeared fast with no catches for us, but both of them hooking a few brightly coloured specimen, though all very small so kept as bait for another day, but great fun. Passed a local boat on way back laden with Fijians. Learnt this was hired by many locals who had moved away, coming back for a massive family re-union celebration at one of the villages. Grannies, parents, children, pets, bags, etc. etc. all jammed into and hanging out of every orifice possible on every floor of the boat. Quite a spectacle and didn’t have cameraL
True interesting fact we learnt today.
One isolated Fijian island was inhabited by a secretive tribe who were rumoured to still be practicing
cannibalism long after it was stopped. However, the local police were very scared of them as known for very powerful witchcraft and also very wealthy and powerful from the growing and selling of cannabis. In the 1970’s, they carried out a raid due to rising pressure from increased reports of the odd missing person. But they found nothing and apparently all those police died without explanation within 2 days of this raid. Nothing more was done for about another 20 years until one of the clan joined the army, fell in love with a girl from another place. When his clan didn’t give permission to this wedding, he spilled the beans on them. The army went in and rescued several captives from a hidden cave where they were being kept alive for sacrifices of about 2 a month. This was as recently as 1992!!!!
With so many islands being SO remote, would not be surprised if somewhere this could still be happening.
June - 8am and both out snorkeling from the beach. Really refreshing way to start the day. History trip consisting of 30 minute hike to ancient wall built of coral by slaves in the
School completely stopped for just us and one other couple. Crazy!
1700’s. This provided a fortified large corner of the island, home to an ancient tribe. Not allowed within its bounds now where there are apparently still human bones from cannibalism.
6 new arrivals at the resort today doubling the number of guests! Lazy afternoon – Julian pushing out a load of zzzz’s.
In the Fijian bands, there always seems to be someone playing a Ukulele and also a Tea-chest Bass. Been dying to have a go on the latter and tonight my wishes were answered. Great fun.
Wednesday 20th June - Boat trip to deeper part of reef by resort. Saw first small white tipped shark in Fiji and some pretty large fish. Then went line fishing round other side of island and made up for the other day by catching 3 little fish.
Read my book and sunbathed for rest of day. REALLY lazy. Since our arrival, guests here have included 2 Australians, 2 Canadians, 2 Japanese, 2 germans, 2 Italians, 4 brits (including us) & 1 Argentinian so a real mix.
Thursday 21st June - Fijian cookery lesson today was a very healthy coconut fish salad dish called KOKODA where fish is 'cooked'
Another view of beach
You can just make out boat wreck in distance thats blocked half the channel in to Viwa as waters so shallow.
in citric juices. So especially for Bea, here it is -
1 green pepper, 1/2 carrot, 1 onion all VERY finely chopped. 1 tomato diced small.
Approx 1/3 pint of juice from mix of lemons, limes and oranges. Approx 1.5 kg of freshly caught mixed fish- cut into SMALL chunks(we had tuna & parrot fish).
Milk from 1 coconut (or 1 tin of coconut milk if not available, ha)
Add citic juices to fish, mix well and leave to marinate for about 30 minutes until the acid has 'cooked' the fish enough, then strain and discard juice. Add vegetables to fish, mix, then add coconut milk and mix again. Season to taste and thats it, ready to eat and it was delicious. When the locals go fishing, they will often cut up the freshly caught fish on board and give this a squeeze of lemon before eating almost raw. I guess just a variation on sushi?
Wind picked up from lunchtime getting steadily stronger and stronger through the day. By the evening we were getting a bit concerned, but think all part of a normal day in Viwa as being such a low island, no
Tea Chest Base
Bad photo, but fun!
protection from the weather.
Friday 22nd June - The Italians were in front of us for breakfast and took ALL the croissants (3 each!) so they are off the xmas card list!!! Not so sure about Viwa resort. It was the most expensive and most impressive looking, so should have been the best experience. However, it was Australian, not Fijian run and seemed a bit impersonal. The manager seemed more interested in her cats (we counted 12 at one point) than the guests. The staff were all Fijian but not many from the local villages which being the only resort on Viwa we are sure was not good for the island. With the island so remote, for those from away, this meant working several weeks of often 12hour shifts without days off to save enough holiday to make it worth the trips abck to see family/friends. Several had their leave cancelled at short notice so although good with the guests were not understandably very happy. So despite having had a lovely stay, would probably not be quick to recommend this one. Had the day to chill until catching our boat at 2pm back to Nadi and then bus and
taxi along beachside dirt track to overnight Fiji Club Resort.
Saturday 23rd June - Julian had thoughtfully booked this resort for an overnight stop as they advertised inclusive use of Laser dinghies, knowing how much I'd missed this since leaving the UK. So I got up early to try and book one out, knowing we didnt have to leave for the airport until about 3pm. It turned out they had one very old Laser, with only one standard (large) sail. So their 'watersports manager' (also multi-skilled coconut tree climber etc, etc) called me when he'd got it rigged. Ok, so NO kicker at all, the main sheet was miles too short to even go through the ratchet at all and only through the rear traveller blocks once and as the tiller didnt have the normal extention you had to almost stretch in two to sail it. Dont think it would have passed an RYA inspection! Anyway, determined to get out, managed a fab hour out at sea. Had a rest, then went out again but the wind was much stronger and really difficult to manage everything considered, capsized after another 30 mins at which point the boom popped right
out so had to call it a day. Have some pretty impressive bruises from trying to right it, but great to have had even a little chance to dinghy sail again.
So, 'vinaka' Fiji, that was our amazing little taste of paradise and glimpse of such a different culture which we would fully recommend as a holiday destination. Fijians such lovely people as well as being excellent Rugby players! REALLY pleased we did the island experience of which there are ones suited to all. Didnt see enough of the mainland to give fair comment. Saw only the odd cockroach and being told Fiji has no animals that will kill you which is always a plus. Had such fabulous time and a wonderful experience. Can't believe its over and not looking forward to going back to the cold!!!!
There are more photos below