Bula from Fiji!
Disclaimer: This post is about to get very smug. Stop reading now if you are of an envious disposition.
So here we are, back in Fiji. We got engaged here 4 years ago and we’re really excited to be back because it was just the most fantastic place. We’re going to spend a month here- 2 weeks around the Yasawa Islands, then who knows??
We had a surprisingly fab journey here- Auckland airport is without a doubt the most efficient place I’ve been in a long time, it makes HK airport look pre historic, which I didn’t think was possible. We checked in and through security in around 5 minutes- managed to make it to duty free to pick up necessary cheap rum in plenty of time. We flew with Fiji Airways- again, this was great and would definitely recommend them.
After arriving in Nadi, we were whisked away to our hotel, ‘Aquarius on the Beach.’ Super cheap, super friendly, it did everything we needed with a smile. We spent 2 nights here and then were up bright and early to take the Yasawa Flyer- a massive water taxi that weaves through the Mamanuca Islands and then onto the Yasawa group of islands.
We’ve bought a 15 day pass which will let us take as many journeys as we want- our first was a lovely 2 hour journey to a tiny speedboat which was waiting to take us to island #1, ‘Naqalia Lodge.’ We were welcomed with a song sung by staff and taken to meet Aku #1, who seems to be charge (we later found out there are 5 Akus, so it’s easier to refer to them by number.) This is a family run resort, with everyone who works there being related either by blood or marriage. And I say ‘resort’ in the loosest of terms- only 5 bures (Fijian huts/cottages) and a dorm with 6 beds in it. Nothing was too much trouble for them- always chatting to us, helping us, refilling our water. So great. I think there was maybe 14 people staying there.
The bure was…..basic. That’s the best word I can use. Our shower didn’t work (during the 1 hour a day the water was turned on) and so we had some Laos style bucket showers, which weren’t actually too bad. The room was big, right on the rock edge, looking out to sea. So pretty.
View from our bure
Food is all included on all of our islands- we had to buy a compulsory meal plan, but the food so far has been excellent. It’s a little tricky for Sam with his ‘no seafood’ and me with my ‘no meat on the bone’ but we’re getting there and people are being really accommodating. All meals are served at a certain time and it’s communal style dining which means you get to chat to loads of different people you might not normally talk to. We ended up spending quite a bit of time with an older Kiwi couple who were so interesting and full of advice for South/Central America.
I went out with some other people on a fishing trip- naively I was expecting to catch something HUGE, but, alas, I came back with nothing. 3 hours of sitting in a boat. I don’t really understand what is so appealing about it but I’m glad I’ve tried. Patience was never my virtue (I fully expect my family to be nodding their heads round about now.)
This morning we walked up part of a mountain to see the sunrise- it only took around 20 mins each way, so Sam could cope with that. Just.
We then caught the boat going north and spent 3 hours on it to get to ‘Coconut Beach,’ at the very top of the Yasawas. It’s AMAZING here! We thought island #1 was smalll but island #2 is absolutely minuscule! Only 3 bures, so there’s only 6 of us. It’s a very beautiful place though and we’ve just come back from snorkelling, however we hadn’t anticipated how strong the current was so we drifted quite far out and off route. Not so fun. I’ve tried my hand at basket weaving. My attempt wasn’t even worth a photo.
We’ll stay here for 2 nights and then take a small speedboat over the lagoon to ‘Blue Lagoon Beach,’ which is where we’ll spend Xmas. We’ve heard great things about this next one from others over the past few days, but judging by what we saw today when we sailed past, it’s fairly big so it’ll be interesting to go from here, to that.
Interesting note: Wifi here, out at sea, is sometimes better than in NZ. It’s not great, but at least we can get it, which is more than I can say for some of NZ’s South Island.
Also, everything here runs on Fiji time. It’s like clocks haven’t even been invented. I quite like that.