Edit Blog Post
Published: November 25th 2008
Ready for our boat transfer to the island
After our leisurely three days aboard Pelorus Jack we decided to bus it to the other side of the main island of Viti Levu to an island called Nananu-i-ra. During our stay in Auckland we visited a kite shop in Takapuna where we picked up a leaflet about a kitesurfing centre in Fiji at Safari Lodge on Nananu-i-ra. With the promise of endless prevailing winds and aqua blue lagoons we hopped on a local bus to Lautoka, followed by a second express bus to the town of Rakiraki. The buses were fairly basic, not a patch on the luxury of the Argentinian coaches but a damn sight better than the Bolivian death traps. In an attempt to curb her travel sickness, Pol opted for the front seat next to an over talkative schoolgirl destined for a career in cosmetics. After a four hour journey we were accosted by a taxi driver at the Rakiraki bus station for the short transfer to Ellington Wharf, where a 20-minute boat transfer finally delivered us to the shores of Nananu-i-ra.
The Safari Lodge resort is located on the eastern shore of the island and consists of a main building and two double
bures (beach hut apartments) in the shade of palm trees next to the beach, along with a family apartment and two dorms further up the hill. Apart from two other guests we had the whole resort to ourselves and were moved into the empty Mango dorm with a massive kitchen diner and great views over the bay. The area near the beach was littered with windsurfing and kitesurfing equipment so we'd definitely found the right place.
The staff at the lodge were very hospitable. Apparently the boss, Warren, was away on business so the resort was being handled by local girls Ima and Resh-mi with Ozzie Guido and local boatman Damian handling the kitesurfing.
We had taken the initiative to bring our own food supplies with us to the island in an attempt to keep costs down, and with the extensive kitchen facilities we managed to self-cater fully for our three night stay. The island has no electricity other than that supplied by a diesel generator which runs between the hours of 8am and 10pm 'Fiji' time, and water is pumped from a well to holding tanks at the top of the hill during this time.
Our exclusive Safari Lodge dorm
Fingers crossed nobody else turns up!
dinner and acquainting ourselves with the other two guests; David, a lawyer from New Zealand, and (another!) Emil from Sweden, we made our excuses and crashed out for the evening, taking note of the size of the fruit bats migrating to the mainland for the night whilst trudging back up the hill to our dorm.
The following morning I was raring to go, chomping at the bit to get out on the water. A lack of wind out front and the need for Guido to check that I knew what I was doing meant that we jumped in the safety boat and made a sort trip to Kite Point, a sand bank on the edge of a channel where the wind was whistling through. After launching the 11m Royal Solo hybrid I was up and cruising in the 20 knot winds. After a few runs I strayed into the lee of the point and the kite inverted before plummeting to the sea. Glad to see the rescue boat coming, and with increasing winds Guido suggested swapping for the 9m F-One Impact, a much more responsive C-style kite. With a longer board it was easy to stay upwind until the
Our massive kitchen...
...with Pol at the helm
wind dropped off a few hours later - it’s so nice to kitesurf in boardies instead of a 5mm wetsuit! That afternoon, happy with my upwind ability Guido let me loose on the 16m Eclipse Thruster in the lagoon out the front of the lodge whilst Pol went off in a tandem kayak with Emil to explore Dolphin Island, a recent holiday hotspot for the US popstar, Pink! After a good day in the water and after Polly had indulged in a good hour and a half massage courtesy of Resh-mi, we retreated to our digs for some dinner, before hitting the hay.
The following morning, after a brief attempt in the low winds in the lagoon, we jumped aboard the launch again and returned to Kite Point, this time with Pol in tow as official camera girl. After a couple of hours zipping around in the increasing swell we returned to base for lunch. The wind dropped off in the afternoon giving as a bit of a break for some snorkeling off the reef. A couple of German girls had turned up at the resort to do some windsurfing but the staff allocated them beds in the other
The gardens at Safari Lodge
The main building is at the back on the left
dorm, meaning that we were still the only occupants in ours. That evening, after dinner I had a stroll to the other side of the island before sitting down for a few farewell drinks with everyone.
The following morning, Pol, Emil and myself packed our gear ready to return to Nadi. After a brief lunch we said our goodbyes to the Safari Lodge team and hopped aboard the boat for the return transfer to Ellington Wharf, and minivan to Rakiraki bus station. Upon arriving at the bus station we were approached by an Indian taxi driver called Sushil who, after some bartering, agreed to drive us all the way back to Nadi. Turns out old Sushil was a bit of a pervert and was having his own personal dilemma over the cheap fare he’d agreed with us, evident by the endless protestations he made during the journey, remedied only mildly by the numerous additional fares he picked up along the way. He also had the cheek to threaten to drop us off about 20 miles short unless we paid him more - we just ignored him though I think Emil was ready to rip his head off. Upon arrival
at Horizons Hostel, Wailoaloa Beach, Nadi, we kindly educated Sushil in the importance of customer service - he might’ve got a tip if he hadn’t moaned at us all the way - before he drove off in a huff. Idiot!
After a night in the 14-bed dorm at Horizons we were up early the next morning for the Awesome Adventures coach transfer to the Yasawa Flyer ferry at Denarau Port.
Tot: 0.524s; Tpl: 0.052s; cc: 14; qc: 68; dbt: 0.0534s; 1; m:saturn w:www (184.108.40.206); sld: 1;
; mem: 1.4mb