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Published: November 4th 2009
Suva Motor Inn
At Navua Jetty, we caught the local bus with no windows into Suva. We booked into the Suva Motor Inn again, and it was sheer luxury to have a warm shower and bathroom to ourselves.
After the shower it was time to find our favourite coffee place for an iced coffee. The Republic of Cappuccino had changed its name to Esquires Coffee House, but the coffee and food was still the same. The street hassling was more noticeable this time and Phil had to almost shout at the hawkers who were trying to sell us stuff. All part of the experience! After a quick dip in the pool when we got back, it was dinner time again, and we ate in the restaurant at the hotel.
First thing in the morning it was time for coffee and a muffin from the coffee shop and fresh fruit from the market. We caught on of the local buses from the market which was the main depot, to go to Colo-i-Suva National Park. The forest was as beautiful as we remembered it, and after a long walk we swam in the waterfall pool, blissfully unaware that the whole
Colo-i Suva Rock pools
of Suva was being evacuated only 20km.away. Phil found a mobile phone and a wedding ring at the bottom of the pool while he was snorkeling.
It was then that we got a text message from Phil Wyatt, warning us of an impending tsunami about 30 mins away. Shane and Sam were holidaying on the side of Fiji where the tsunami was supposed to hit first. That finished any relaxing time, and we started our walk back to the road where we could catch a bus back to Suva. We listened to Phil’s radio on his mobile on the walk back, and then found out that the warning was cancelled again. – Whew!
As we were almost to the main road, it wasn’t worth going back so we returned to Suva. We were amazed to find that the whole of Suva had shut all their shops and had evacuated to higher ground. As we got into town half of the shop owners has returned and were reopening their doors again, however the schools were finished for the day and there were kids everywhere. We made our way back to the hotel, and went for a swim in the
Markets - flower shop
pool as if it was any other normal day, until dinner time.
We managed to get a late checkout as the taxi driver was booked to take us to Waidalice Landing at 12.00pm, where the next boat would meet us to take us to Caqalai Island. Before we left Suva and civilization again we headed down for another great coffee and were amazed at the photos in the local paper about the mass evacuation of the whole country.
Everything seemed to be back to normal again and Suva was gearing up for their big celebrations of Fiji day on the following day. There were street parades and tents put up in the parks and music playing everywhere. We hoped Shane and Sam were having a good time, as we couldn’t get in contact with them. We spent the last couple of hours walking around the markets and wharf area. We were back in time to catch the taxi at 12.00pm.
When we got to Waidalice Landing, the boat was still waiting for a couple of locals, so we sat for about an hour watching a couple of local boys jumping off the high bridge. After
Our bure on Caqalai
the locals arrived we all piled into the small boat and the trip took about an hour. Even though the sea was calm, when you sit on the floor of a little fiberglass boat, the old kidneys still take a pounding, and your hair is crunchy from the salt spray.
Caqalai was stunning when we arrived; it looked just like a postcard. There were several Bures on the island and three other couples staying there. There was also a volunteer from Switzerland to help implement a better waste disposal system for the Eco friendly Resort. The food was good and they played music while we ate – what more could we ask for!
I had unfortunately lost my phone that morning and we spent ages looking for it, retracing all our steps but it was gone for good. The wind picked up and it wasn’t good for snorkeling. We watched one boat come in from another island. It was totally overloaded, and because the sea was choppy, it started filling up with water, and 8 men jumped out quickly so that the women, children and supplies didn’t sink. They were all laughing at what could have
been a disaster – Sega Nalega (No worries in Fijian) it was hilarious, and unfortunately we didn’t have the camera handy as usual. We drank our warm beer on the beach as we were getting blown away in the afternoon. It started to rain and it was tea time. The rain and wind stopped soon after.
The next morning was still, and the water was calm. We met another English couple at breakfast and had a long chat. We went for a snorkel later and it was still overcast, so the sun didn’t bring out the colours of the lovely soft coral and beautiful fish as much as we had hoped.
As it was Sunday, we had a Lovo for lunch with lots of traditional Fijian food – yum! One of the dishes was a huge fish which had jumped into the boat on the previous day and hit a girl on the head. She thought that the roof was caving in – not funny at the time but comical now. Luckily it is not sunny now because Phil and I are both a little red. We finally heard that Shane and Sam were safely back
in Oz so I could relax again.
After breakfast, it was time to pack again and get ready for the boat back to the mainland. One of the girls (Pauline) who was having a holiday on the island offered us a lift back to Suva as she was actually living there. She was a Lebanese graphic designer and had a tiny 4 week old baby with her. We have been very lucky with all our transport so far. We managed to catch a mini bus back to Suva straight away which took 3 ½ hrs and cost us $17 each – bargain! It rained all the way.
We booked back into Nadi Skylodge as we had 2 years earlier and had a warm shower and headed straight for a cold beer followed by dinner as we had missed lunch with all our rushed travelling. We walked up the road to a restaurant called Outer Reef Seafood and got drenched, but who cares in this beautiful warm climate. The food was excellent and we got drenched on the way back too.
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