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Greetings from Fiji

Perfect Paradise

sunny 29 °C

Bula from Nacula Island in the Yasawas, Fiji! Today is 29th July 2010….

First I will back track a couple of days before telling you how AMAZING this place is!

Our last few days in Auckland were mostly involved in packing and saying goodbye! We had our leaving drinks in Ponsonby on the Saturday night, a goodbye brunch with some of Gs family in Parnell on the Sunday before spending the rest if the day cleaning and moving out. We had an amazing day on Monday at the zoo thanks to Kirsten. While we waited for her to have her break we fed some rainbow lorikeets in the Aussie Encounter area, they were so cute, sitting on our hands eating some kind of liquid that the keepers gave us to hold. While we were doing this Kirsten was arranging for us to have an animal encounter. We ended up feeding the hippos – a bit like playing netball! We each had half a cabbage and had to aim it into the wide-open hippo’s mouth! They then proceeded to chomp it up noisily (sounded like a washing machine swooshing around) and show us inside their mouths as if to say ‘More!’ Next we got to feed the rhinos and give their tough, rough skin and good pat. Amazingly they do have little soft areas on them too which feel so squidgey after feeling the rest if them.
Our favourite encounter though was feeding the lemurs banana. They are so cute! They were running up and putting their little paws on our hands to take the banana gently out of our fingers and once all the banana had gone they licked our fingers to get every last bit! A great day so THANK YOU Kirsten!

We left New Zealand on Tuesday, waved off by G’s mum and dad at the airport. We arrived in Nadi and were met by the driver who was taking us to Blue Water Lodge our accommodation for the night. Nadi is nothing special (as we had heard) we went for a wander along the beach and watched the sun set before heading back to the lodge. We were pleased that it totally lived up to the great reviews it had had on Tripadvisor, the food was especially good and the staff were lovely.

We had an early start the next morning to catch the Yasawa Flyer (a big yellow catamaran) to the Yasawa Islands. It was a 4 ½ hour journey through calm, turquoise waters, stopping at most of the little islands along the way to drop people off at their various resorts. As the journey continued the islands seemed to get prettier and the waters even more turquoise. When we finally arrived at the top of the islands we were met by a little boat from our resort (Blue Lagoon) to take us to shore and as we got off were greeted by a group of Fijians singing us a welcome song and handing out drinks of fruit cocktail.
We were shown to our room which can only be described as PERFECT! We can see the sea from our garden veranda (which also has a double hammock to lounge around in!), the sea breeze comes in through the shutters keeping the room lovely and cool in the 30 degree heat and the bathroom is gorgeous with our private outdoor shower. There were flowers on the bed and it seemed as though every little detail had been carefully thought out. The food is delicious and plentiful with lots of choice and neither of us can think of a single negative thing to say about the place, it is just stunning.
As this area was the setting for the film The Blue Lagoon and that was the film they chose to screen in the outdoor ‘cinema’ as we sat under the stars.

A few days later – August 2nd 2010….

Our time here so far has been fantastic, easily the best location we have ever been to, we cannot find fault in anything!

On our second night here we took part in a team quiz and winning the first round were presented with a bottle of champagne, the scores were close between our team and another throughout but in the last round our team managed to secure the win by just 5 points and our prize was a delicious breakfast feast all set up on a table on the beach. There was a huge amount of food ranging from bacon and eggs to pancakes and fruit and of course more champagne!

The weather has been beautiful everyday, hot and sunny but always with a lovely sea breeze so you never get too hot. We have hired ourselves snorkelling gear for the duration of our stay as the resort is in front of a huge coral reef that goes on and on. Every time we go out we see something different….So far we have seen fish in every colour imaginable and varying in size from tadpole sized to over a metre in length (with teeth to match – quite scary!), a moray eel, a ray, lots of huge blue starfish, barracuda, box fish, a banded snake eel and 10 squid swimming in a perfect line! The best experience so far was a sizeable octopus who scared the life out of me when it wrapped it’s tentacles around my ankle, I quickly yanked my leg away which terrified the octopus and made him squirt me with ink!!! He produced loads of black, viscousy liquid which stayed in the water long after he had sped off!

Along with movie nights and team quizzes we have also had a bonfire night, been entertained by the local choir and had a Meke night with traditional food cooked under the ground and a visit from the locals to teach us some dances and sing – something which they are very good at. Tonight is International Crab Racing!

Gerald’s turn

It’s now day 9 I think, and its my turn to write. We’re relaxing in our Bure after a tiring day full of lounging on our sun loungers, wallowing in the sea, reading books and eating. Newton Faulkner is on the ipod’s speakers and the setting sun is streaming through the semi closed window shutters. It’s a hard life.

Having said that, not all is perfect in paradise! We had some rain a couple of days ago, making the temperature a bit cooler and making us retreat inside for the afternoon. That was the same day we climbed up the almost tallest peak on the island. It wasn’t a hard or complex climb, and the views were stunning, over the island, the sea and the surrounding islands.

And there is another problem with this paradisical place on the planet… we were planning on doing some diving while we were here, but that has not happened yet. Mainly because I’ve managed to get an ear infection! Really very annoying. On Monday night I went night snorkelling with a few other guests and a guide. It was an interesting snorkel, just around the edge of the same reef that we had been snorkelling along every day, but being night time there are always different things to be seen. A few green and pink crayfish came out to be seen (we’d found the empty shell of one a few days earlier!) as well as some rather large puffer or box fish (don’t ask me, I’m pretty useless at knowing what fish I am looking at, other than parrot fish, banner fish, angel fish and nemo fish – also called clown fish - and now I know what a unicorn fish looks like, although we had named it a dickhead fish) and lots of sleeping fish, until you shine your light on them! There were two major highlights though!
The first: I was off by myself when I noticed the other 5 were all pointing their torches at the same point on the reef, about 10 meters away from me. On my way to go see what they were looking at, a turtle swam underneath me and out of sight! I was gobsmacked! Such graceful creatures!
The second highlight was on the way back in. Steve and I had hung back a bit from the group, looking at different bits of the coral when I noticed he was shining his torch at me while shaking it about – the signal that he had found something to look at. So I turned towards him and watched as a four foot long black tip reef shark swam towards him, under him (he was over the reef in about 1.5 meters of water, so not-very-deep, especially when there is a shark there), turned around and swam under him a couple of more times and then swam off into the distance! If I thought I was gobsmacked by seeing the turtle, then I don’t know what state I was in seeing the shark! (I know what state Steve was in, as he was videoing the shark, and on the video you can hear him screaming through his snorkel, just like a little girl ha ha!). The only thoughts I remember having were “Stop shining your torch on the shark” and “Don’t swim after the shark” but since Steve was videoing it, I guess he needed the light or the video would have been of nothing but darkness. Now, reef sharks are generally not something you have to worry about, but when you are in the dark and thus you don’t know what is around you, they are very impressive. And they have the genuine shark shape, sleek and menacing! Such awe inspiring creatures!

But the upshot of that snorkelling was I woke up the next day with an ear infection. We were set to go for a dive on Wednesday but that didn’t happen. Boo. I’ve got some antibiotics off the owners of the resort as well as some pain killers – they stock a few different things for occasions like this. The nearest doctor or chemist is a few hours boat trip away! So my ear is almost better now, still some pain and discomfort and it is pretty much blocked all the time. We had postponed our dive until Saturday, but it looks as though I won’t be 100% by then (tomorrow morning) so I will have to pass, I’m not able to equalise the pressure in that ear. Anita is going to do it though, as it is a shark feeding dive! You simply drop down to about 20 meters and hold onto a rope. Then the drop in a wheelie bin (yes a rubbish collection from the side of the road wheelie bin) of fish off-cuts and other things into the sea and the sharks eat! Above you! I am gutted that I will be missing it, and it is a good example of how you should do things when you can, as we decided against it last Saturday because we had our champagne breakfast from winning the quiz. Silly us. Or silly me.

It’s been interesting staying here for 12 days, as most people are only here for three or four days, at most a week or 10 days at a long stretch. So we’ve made lots of friends and then waved them all goodbye as they leave! It’s the people arriving about now that are the ones that will be on our boat back to Nadi on Monday. Which means that we do not have long to go on our year long trip out of England! This must be week 51 (Anita will have to consult her diary and let me know for certain!) as we are out of the country for a little under a year. Left on the 15th and will arrive back on the 11th. And today is the 6th. Five days and then it’s unpacking the house, spoiling Pepper and seeing friends and family for the first time in a year.

It’s going to be fun!

8th August
Today has not been the best day ever. The tide was really low so G and I decided to go for a snorkel along the reef, unfortunately there was a big wave which pushed me over some coral and as the water was so shallow I got attacked by the coral on my legs and chest. As I was bleeding we thought it best not to stay in the water as we know sharks like these waters! I have spent the day applying iodine to make sure it doesn’t get infected etc. Gerald’s ear is now much better but instead he felt a bit nauseous in the afternoon and then to top it all I got stung on the foot by some horrid creature!

Yesterday was a much different story though….I went ahead and did the shark feeding even though Gerald wasn’t able to. The boat ride out to the site was very choppy and my dive buddy was feeling quite sea sick, I had taken sea sickness tablets as at breakfast I had noticed it looked a bit rough far out and didn’t want to risk feeling ill. We went down a drop line to about 12m and then watched as the dive instructor emptied the wheelie bin of fish off-cuts onto the sea bed. There was a frenzy of fish feeding, fish of all colours and sizes including a couple of enormous grouper. We also had the company of a HUGE moray eel with a head the same size as mine! He grabbed a massive fish and took it back into his hiding hole. Suddenly 2 white tip reef sharks appeared. After some time they were joined by 2 black tip reef sharks that were a little bigger than the white tips. People’s air started to get low and 2 of our group had to surface and just as they got out the sharks we had been waiting for appeared. Two 3m long lemon sharks arrived and completely took over the feeding area. They were much bigger than the reef sharks and circled around the whole area passing just metres away from us. They were very impressive looking creatures. A great experience.
So now the travels are over, tomorrow we get our plane back home – wow a year has gone quickly!

Posted by bumblebum 02:33

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Amazing. Wish I was there. Might have to add it to one of our trips when I retire! Looking forward to seeing you on Saturday!
annika xxx

by Annika C Blight

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