Fiji, this is the furthest away we can go before we start getting closer to the UK, it literally is the other side of the world. After arriving on the Mainland in the capital of Nadi we were waiting to get a boat over to Waya island in the Yasawa group, a 2 hour trip through the South Pacific. Trust me, once you’re out of the bays and there are no islands for shelter, it gets rough, really rough. 30 minutes in to the trip and one of the outboard motors decided to dump its power steering fluid in to the ocean causing us to turn sharp right, sending us into a circle at 14 knots. In large swell this is an experience! We limped back to the harbour using a teenager to hold the engine inline and differential throttle control to counteract the currents. Another 1 hour wait whilst they fixed the engine and we eventually got to Waya Island sometime after 13:30, instead of 10:30. We now understood the meaning of ‘Fiji time’!! The greeting made the stress and seasickness melt away. A group of Fijians were singing a traditional welcome song on the beach for us, complete with
tiny guitars and little flowers in the hair (It transpires you wear it on the left if you’re taken and on the right of you’re still hunting).....BULA (Hello)!
Octopus resort was to be our home for 6 days and we wished we could have stayed for 6 weeks. It was total paradise, out of all the places in the tropics we’ve been, this is the best. The beach runs up into the resort and into the fringing reefs only meters out in the sea. The coral was more colourful and in better condition than the Great Barrier Reef (and that’s some statement) & the water was clearer and less crowded, in fact sometimes we were the only ones out there. The staff on the resort we’re so kind and helpful they even make the Cambodians look a little rough, right down to the work men building the new beach bar.
We spent the days snorkelling and eating.......it was all inclusive after all! Grilled Fish and fried Cassava was the order of the day for lunch mostly. The Cassava is a root vegetable native to the South Pacific islands, a little like potatoes but is apparently what makes the
islanders massive so I ate it most days, it didn’t work! Then came the Kava Ceremony, a drink also made from the Cassava root. It involved lots of clapping and chanting “Bula, Bula” followed by drinking Kava from half a coconut shell. In bigger doses it’s supposed to be ‘the opposite of the alcohol’, in the end it looked & tasted like dishwater and didn’t do much but the ceremony was nice.
The highlight of the stay was our trip out on the dive boat. We decided against diving as we had burned a small fortune on our diving in the Great Barrier Reef; we opted for snorkelling out on the dive sites and by now we could probably get down pretty deep just with the snorkel and fins. We could see the divers 20 + metres below the water was so clear then Nat saw it and I heard a underwater shout “Gareth, Gareth!”. She was pointing at a huge shark maybe 2.5 meters long, I think it was only a reef shark but still it was the biggest we had ever seen. It was cruising backwards and forwards over a drop off in the reef then it
turned around and momentarily looked like it was coming straight at us. Nat nearly drowned me when she jumped on my back and pushed me in front if her, but then it disappeared. We watched it for about 10 seconds, amazing!
We had both been ill during the week with a bug that was going around, first Nat and then Me on different days, but when we got back off the dive boat Jim the resort manager was waiting for us on the beach. He told us he had prepared a beach front suite (Bure 13) for our final night as we had been ill. Cheers Jim lad!
The boat ride back to the mainland took 4 hours due to the ‘choppy seas’, more like treacherous seas, still at least the engines were ok this time! We stayed on the mainland for a night as our flight back to Auckland was at 10:00 or so we thought. But, 12.5 hours later we were boarding our flight which meant we had missed our connection to Christchurch. An overnight stay in a posh Auckland hotel provided by the flight company wasn’t bad. We got to Christchurch in the end for
our campervan, on Fiji time!
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