Four weeks after returning from Fiji I finally decide to find time to write this blog. A blogger supreme. So here it is……..
Day 0 : Auckland to Nadi
After leaving Auckland behind to it’s wetness it was marvellous to step of the plane in Nadi to warmth. finding our way to the tour office proved interesting but after picking up our tour vouchers-everything is run on vouchers, we set off to find our ride.
Welcome to Fiji time – 25 minutes later our ride appeared and took us through the dust of road works to Aquarius on the Beach. Drinks time, the holiday had started.
Day 1 : South Sea Island
Coffee and headache remedies were the first order of business ( dehydration on the plane of course, nothing to do with alcohol ) followed closely by breakfast and repacking for the adventure. We had started the way we meant to continue.
After a quick trip to Denerau and a queue to handover the first of our vouchers and pick up our baggage labels we boarded the Yellow boat for the first of what would be many trips.
We were deposited, 25 minutes later, at our first destination – South Sea Island resort, a postage stamp sized coral island. When I say “postage stamp sized” I mean small. So small in fact I could walk around it in 10 minutes at a dawdle. Oh what to do with ones self????? Nothing maybe. The holiday had started.
There was a bit more to this trip than just idly sitting around drinking you know, we had some side trips to take part in. So back in the tender we went to meet the white boat, this time, for a trip out to Mana Island where we boarded the Seaspray (an 83 foot ketch). the Seaspray makes daily trips out to Monriki Island (the island made famous by Tom Hanks, in the movie Castaway). Tom Hanks wasn’t there but his rescue sign was.
We snorkelled around the lagoon in front of the beach and I made my first attempt at underwater photography. The camera survived but I found that I had a lot to learn about setting up the camera.
After lunch back aboard we visited the local village for a kava ceremony and the customary trinket buying session. The wind had gotten up by this time and the trip proved to be a bit rough, there were a number of green faces scattered about. THANK GOD FOR SEALEGS!!!!!
We arrived back at South Sea Island after the day trippers had left to find that there were only 7 of us staying on the island over night. More staff than guests. The oldies out lasted the young ones.
Old people 1 – young people 0
Day 3 : Waya Lailai Island Resort
We were back on the yellow boat and off to the Yasawa’s proper. It was a beautiful, glass calm day and after a pleasant hour long trip we were deposited in a tender and blasted off to the resort.
Waya Lailai is a village owned resort with it’s own rustic charm. Accommodation was in a six bed villa that we shared with Kat, who was from Germany via Australia. so much for relaxing, there was an organised walk to the top of the mountain!!! Patricia went and learned how to weave while Steve and I did manage to find our way to the beach and the bar though.
Day 4 : Waya Lailai Island Resort
So this was a holiday day, It was determined that there would be no exercise for some of us , other than the walk from the beach to the bar. Life was tough. In the evening we were treated to a large amount of Kava with the staff. I still don’t know whether it was the Gin or the Kava that affected me more.
Day 5 : Mantaray Island Resort
After a slightly slow start but no hangover we packed and sat on the beach to await the yellow boat. After saying our goodbyes we headed off for a bumpy, spray covered trip up through the Islands to Mantaray island Resort.
Mantaray island resort had more of a resort feel to it and felt less relaxed as there were more people there, drawn by the desire to swim with the Manta rays. The weather had taken a turn for the worse and the wind had come up meaning all the proposed activities for the day were cancelled. A typhoon in the Solomon’s was affecting us and was apparently settling in for a few days.
There was the evening games of “push the stone” to amuse us.
Day 6: Mantaray Island Resort
The halfway point. It was still windy, the weather had set in. There were no Mantas and none of the on-water activities. The snorkelling turned out to be as good as promised and the water was still very warm. Overall the resort was a good place to stay. it was well mainained and the food was great. Also the beer was always cold.
Day 7: Coral view Island Resort
A bumpy trip to the top of the Yasawas. The weather had well and truly set in as the Cyclone did it’s worst. Coral view turned out to be not what it was advertised to be in the brochure – promoted as one of the more modern resorts, it was infact one of the oldest. The brochure was in bad need of an update. It had a look of disrepair about it.
Entry to was through a narrow cutting through the clam bed to a narrow beach in a small relatively sheltered inlet.
Run by Niko whose family owned the Island (or part of it) and many other holdings in and around Fiji.
The afternoon was spent drinking, playing cards and sheltering from the rain. We met Nyree ( Ngaire) and Claire from Scotland who had been taking the bad weather with them on their travels and Stracy and Nicky from England.
Day 8: Coral view Island Resort
It was still raining and very windy so there was no small amount of discussion about whether we would take part in the activities on offer today (Sawailau cave trip and Blue Lagoon snorkelling). After much toing an froing we decided to brave the sea and headed off to the caves. It was a bit rough ( understatement) and we were buffeted about in the boat as we headed into the wind for a 40 minute trip only to find the caves locked and no one there to let us in. On enquiring with the cave “owners’ we were told that no one was expected today-too rough, you must be mad, someone would be over to let us in. Fiji time be buggered, after another 40 minutes of waiting some people got impatient and broke in. We got our swim. The r trip back was equally as rough but I’m glad we did it, all part of the adventure.
The afternoon was spent at the Blue Lagoon which looked decidedly grey, unfortunately but the snorkelling was ok. All of this was topped off with a cold shower – luxury!!!
Day 9-10: Barefoot Manta Resort
We headed back down the Yasawas to Barefoot Manta, hoping the weather would calm enough for the Manta’s to come back and allow us to swim with us. Barefoot Manta Resort was my personal favourite of the trip. A lot of work has been done to blend the resort into the surrounding area and it had a really a good feel to the place. Bugger the wind -no Mantas still but at least the sun was out. more sunbathing in order.
Day 11: Beachcomber Resort
We got on the White boat, the Yellow one had broken down further up in the islands, and sailed to our final destination- Beachcomber Island resort. Beachcomber has the reputation of being the party island and has become a rite of passage for some. It was my least favourite stay but having said that there was actually nothing wrong with the place. It’s centrepiece was the sand filled dance floor. no mistaking what the purpose of this place was.
One bonus, hot water!!!!!! We managed to finish off our final bottle of spirits, all was good in the world.
Day 12: Back home again
Our final day. breakfast and a sit in the sun before boarding the early boat to Denerau via the Mamanucas. We arrived at Denerau with plenty of time to spare before the flight so we spent a pleasant afternoon at lulu’s bar and restaurant before heading to the airport and home.
Reality and a wet Auckland awaited us but at least there was the weekend between us and work. It had been a fantastic holiday.