BULA! and welcome to this special blog edition all about my adventure to the tropical island paradise that is Fiji!
First off im going to start with a general sum up my week in paradise then i will break down each of the six island we went to. From the looks of the pictures, my expectations of Fiji were set quite high as it looks exactly like the most relaxing place on earth and a place you would never want to leave. If there is one thing i am certain off it is exactly that. I was not disappointed and i discovered that my expectations were not set high enough. I am pretty sure that, although i have been to some pretty special places over the years, nothing has ever lived up the pictures quite as well as fiji did. You know when you see a picture of a white sandy beach in a brochure and it looks amazing but somehow in reality it just isn't quite right? Well Fiji is exactly the opposite, the pictures, as amazing as they are, do not do the place justice! It really is a place you have to see to believe in its beauty. It was like spending a week in a place you never thought could exist. Well done mother nature, truly well done.
We arrived into Nadi at around 7pm so couldn't really see much of the surroundings as we drove to our hostel for the night because obviously it was dark. On the drive to Horizon Backpackers, our hostel, i tried to get a feel for Fiji and try to get a sense of how my week would be, now considering Fiji is just three hours north of New Zealand, the cultural difference is completely astounding and the locals drive like absolute nutters, full speed in the pitch black with no headlights, on the way back to the airport at the end of the trip i definitely was like 100% sure i was going to die, thankfully i did not. We woke up pretty early the next day as we had to catch our coach to Port Denaru to be able to board the Yasawa Flyer boat that would be
daily transport to each island in the Yasawas. Me and Scotty definitely had delusions of grander many times throughout our trip, the first example of this was our first morning in fiji, the night before, we were each handed a voucher for a free breakfast at Horizon before we set off on our adventure, me and Scotty both got a little excited about this and were looking forward to a nice breakfast before we left, even discussing how much/little we should eat in order not to get sick on the boat in the morning. Lets just say we were more than a little surprised the next morning, we both eagerly headed to the breakfast bar, only to be shocked
by what we saw, there were two fijians standing in front of a toaster and a box of bread and some butter, yes thats right our breakfast voucher entitled us to three slices of toast and some butter, and low and behold we weren't aloud to eat this unless we handed in our extremely precious voucher. This was the first of many funny things to happen whilst in fiji. Shortly after breakfast we boarded our coach and set off to Port Denaru to begin our Island Hopping adventure.
Our first stop in the Yasawa islands was Beachcomber Island, alternatively known as the party island! As the YF stopped just a short distance away from the island we hopped onto a smaller boat (the name of them escapes me) and sailed towards the island, but hold on? where were our bags? before we boarded the smaller boat the man on the P.A told everyone to identify their luggage to the crew so that they could put them on the boat with us, so as we made our way to the back of the boat with this as our intention it seemed like complete chaos that only fijians could pull off as organisation, we were frantically trying to find our bags with different people pointing us in different directions before one guy told us that our bags were coming on a different boat... we were like say what? so reluctantly, and without our bags, we hopped on the smaller boat all the while thinking we would never see our bags again, we were off to a good start. When we pulled up to the island, it was just me and scotty arriving, there was a welcoming band on the beach with guitars and ukuleles singing what we would soon discover was the fijian welcoming song. We were completely overwhelmed and were thinking what an earth is going on, but after a few more islands we would become
used to it and start to embrace and enjoy this unique experience. After checking in ad getting settle in our massive 80/90 bed dorm, luckily we had a balcony bit to ourselves, we took a stroll back down to the waterfront and with a sigh of relief we saw a guy carrying our bags, HOORAY!! So with that worry out of the way we started to enjoy ourselves. We hired a couple snorkels and set about finding a good spot to start, the water was amazingly warm, like getting into a bath, now coming from a snowy Queenstown this was just insane, it was sooo hot! This first snorkel was the start of many, im pretty sure we did it every day for at least a few hours, the fish were like something i have never seen before, so many colours and shapes and sizes it was simply incredible, something that will stay with me for a lifetime and perhaps even longer. Beachcomber being one of the smaller islands in the Yasawas only took a tiny seven minuets to walk around, it really put some perspective on things, it was seriously like being stranded somewhere in the middle of the pacific ocean, scary and amazing! As night time hit the island, we expected the party to break out
and although compared to the other islands we would visit it was pretty lively it wasn't as mad as i was expecting it to be, but this was only because it was the quiet season and there wasn't very many people on the island at all, however, there was the classic english chavs being typically english and offending the locals, classic. We did meet some cool people there, who we would run into in different places around the islands throughout the week. It was an awesome island, and i couldn't wait to experience some different ones.
NL was defiantly an experience to remember, coming from beachcomber and going past lots of Islands that were catering alot of people, it was a little odd stepping onto the island finding out there was only 6 of us staying on the whole resort! 'This is it' i thought, i was finally going to experience the real fiji, non comercialised fiji, and that is exactly what it was. We were greeted by the family who owned the lodge with this usual song and dance and shown into our dorm to drop our bags, which came with us on the same boat this time, then we had time to explore before lunch. A small resort with only 3 dorms and the main communal area placed in the shadow of the grassy mountain behind it and just in front of an idilic beach. Me and scotty set of walking down the beach and climbing on the rocks, which were home to many many crabs, which was awesome! after deciding that if we carried on climbing over these rocks we were pretty much going to die, which brought back bad memories for Mr Homer :) we headed back to the beach with snorkels in hand to socialise with our roomies for the night. After Lunch, which was traditional fijian food, although i had no idea what it was, with the family playing music to us whilst we ate which was a little weird but cool at the same time, we headed back to the beach to snorkel. We didn't stay in for too long as there was alot of reeds and what we though at the time some kind of water snake.. turns out it wasn't a snake but it scared us not to go in again ha-ha! Later on Scotty and the others went on a guided tour of the mountain, leaving me alone with the locals so i took a long nap as apparently fiji makes you tired! After dinner that night we got to watch the locals make banana leaf bracelets, which are pretty cool and Scotty made his own one too, but the best was yet to come... in the morning we were going to swim with sharks... yes thats right, sharks! before we could enjoy that we had to capture and kill a gigantic wasp, which was managed with bug spray and a light.
We boarded the boat the next morning, all a little nervous but excited at the same time, and set off for about 15-20 mins into the middle of the ocean with not a life jacket or first aid kit in site. At the location we jumped into the sea following our guide who was doing some awesome spear fishing in order to give the sharks a little snack .. :/ so im swimming along, looking at all the awesome fish when i look down and i see one, a shark, albeit only a reef shark but still it was a damn shark... im not going to lie i got a bit scared but the more they swam with us the cooler it became, after a little while we stopped in an open area and the fijians were feeding the sharks and being absolutely mental and swimming down to grab the sharks and wave them out the water... that was it... time to get back in the boat. We headed back hitting some rain in our speed boat, which hurt, and got all our stuff sorted to head back to the YF!.. NL was one of my Favorite islands because i did something amazing, something i had never done before, swam along side one of natures most feared creatures.
Manta Ray island
So still buzzing from the shark experience we boarded the big yellow Mothership and headed to our next destination - Manta Ray Resort - called so because a nearby spot just offshore is where the Manta Rays come to breed i do believe. So we were pretty siked that we might go from swimming with Sharks to swimming with Manta Rays all in the same day, sadly, this was not the case. The Manta Rays decided not to pay a visit to the island whilst we were there, which was a bit of a shame but life goes on. Before we got to MR we had heard many people talking about its amazing reef life and how good the snorkeling was there, some had even said it was better than the Great Barrier Reef. Now, i have never been to the GBR so i cant compare but if it is better than MR i will be amazed beyond belief, because i have never seen anything so naturally beautiful, i was just in complete awe the whole time we were snorkeling there, which was for about three and a half hours! - A truly incredible experience i will never forget for as long as i shall live. The resort itself was really nice, the dorms and all the communal areas apart from the main communal area on the beach, were set back in the canopy so from the beach the island look pretty much deserted, which was pretty awesome! The food here was also amazing! three course meals with service time that Western Europe would do well to learn from! Again we met some cool people here, and met up with some familiar faces from previous islands, which is the beautiful thing about Fiji. We also Hired Kyaks and rowed across to a deserted island which we proceeded to name AMOTT ISLAND - home to the hermit crab clan.
Blue Lagoon Resort
Well where on earth do i start with this island. From the moment we stepped onto the beach it was like being transported into my own heaven on earth, a little slice of paradise. Kiwi owned, so naturally they are bound to be a bit more up-market than the islands owned by Fijians. We stayed in the dorm rooms which is standard for us backpackers, but even in there we felt a bit out of place, the island was insanely posh, we each had our own bed as opposed to the traditional bunk bed situation which we have become so accustomed to, and laid our on our bed were two of our own towels, which would be replaced each day if we wished them to be, highly decorated with pretty freshly picked flowers, it was a pleasant change from a bunk bed. The rooms were also air-conditioned and everyone had their own bedside table complete with lamp. Now these may seem like trivial things to you but when you have been living in hostels for many months, the small things really do make a huge difference. So after we got over the initial excitement of how amazing everything was, we headed down to the restaurant, which sat nicely on the beach front, and sat down and ordered lunch. The menu was filled with all the nice things you like to eat at lunch after a hard morning of soaking up the rays, Pizza, Burgers, Fish etc etc. I ordered a BBQ Chicken pizza which was out of this world, totally incredible, one of the best pizzas i have ever eaten! Upon arrival we were told that it was Fijian night on the island so we would get to sample the delights of fijian food cooked in the fijian way, in an underground oven, and we would also get to take part in a Kava Ceremony, so we were looking forward to the evening. The food that nice was insanely good so much flavour! they definitely know how to live over there thats for sure. At the Kava ceremony i was chosen to be the Chief and Scotty my Spokesperson, so as expected i got to have the first swig of Kava, which was interesting to say the least. Basically Kava is a root found in the ground and in order to make the drink favourited by the locals they place the root in a bag and crush the root up in some water, creating what looks essentially like muddy water and to be perfectly honest that is what it feels like when you drink it too. It has some cool effects including numbing of the mouth which was a bit strange but awesome at the same time. In between each round of Kava the guys in the ceremony played us some traditional Fijian music. After dinner the locals from the village came to the resort and put on a fijian show for us which involved singing dancing and of course a conga line! It was a pretty cool night on that island, i enjoyed it thoroughly. The next morning before we set of to our next destination, we decided to go on a snorkeling trip, and although i didn't personally see them, the guide on the front on the boat said some dolphins were swimming along side the boat. The snorkeling was pretty cool but at the same time really disappointing compared to MR and i remember thinking that it would take alot to top that from now on, and nothing ever did. On to the next Island.... oh before i forget about him, Blue Lagoon Resort is home to my Adopted dog Charlie, he was a lovely boy who loves to play in the sand, sunbathe and receive lots of love and cuddles :)
Bay of Plenty Lodge
... Tumble weeds rolling by...
a bit of a strange night was spent on this island thats for sure. We hop off the mothership as normal and its just me and scotty on the boat and as we start speeding towards the island, i get this strange feeling washing over me, sort of an uncomfortable feeling and one i wasn't fond of. As we pulled up to the beach (if you can call it that?) i realised why i had this feeling, there was no other people on the island apart from the guy who owned it and me and Scott, this will be interesting i thought. After we payed the guy with the remainder of our cash he proceeded to tell us that we would need to pay the guy who drives the boat and extra 40 fijian dollars before we got back on the mothership... Shit, we don't have any more money apart from card, and low and behold they don't take card on this island, luckily he said we wold be taken to another island where we could get money from the card to give the boat driver... right thats sorted, time to be taken to our dorm. We were led up unto this hill which, to be fair had amazing views over the island and out to sea, and we came to a group of about four huts which we couldn't help compare to Dharma from lost. We were led into ours and at first everything was fine and it stayed that way until dark. With no one else on the island we were a bit apprehensive to do anything so the rest of the day and all the next morning until we left, we sat outside our hut reading, that was until it got pitch black and there was no light to help us read anymore. At a measly 8 o'clock that night we decided to hit they hay, just to try and pass the time, but we couldn't even do that peacefully, trouble was afoot in the form of one of gods most shambollick creations... a Cockroach! after scrambling around the room, moving beds and jumping off the floor, we eventually killed the creepy thing and crawled into bed hoping none of his mate would come to avenge his death - thankfully they didn't. I think this night was the longest night in my entire life, im not going to lie to you, I was pretty scared that night I was definitely sure we were going to get murdered that night... it was something right out of a horror movie, creaky windows, gale force winds and silence. We were up pretty early the next day eager to set off. However, the drama wasn't over yet! We were dropped onto this other island, which to our relief inhabited real life people, back to civilisation! Only one problem, it was Sunday and on a sunday we couldn't get money from the card as none of the banks were open, so after about an hour of talking to different people and trying to convince them to change up Scotty's HK dollars to no avail, he eventually convinced the boat driver he knew the exchange rate into Fijian dollars from HK dollars, which he didn't, and we later worked out he completely screwed the boat driver over!... Sorry fijian dude! We made it! We were back on the Mothership headed towards our final Island... Octopus Resort! Overall not the best night of the week, but im not sure I would change it if I had the chance because it was an experience in itself and to be fair to the owner of the resort he was a really nice guy and cooked us nice food whilst we were there! So Thanks!
A sister company to Blue Lagoon Resort, so our expectations were set pretty high, and we were not disappointed! No shock stories to be told from this island. It was one of my favourites though just because it was the only one we visited that had a swimming pool, which was a nice change from the salty sea! Speaking of the sea i do have a story to tell from here, and it involves snorkeling and a mean little fish. By this point as you could have probably guessed by now we were pretty much used to going snorkeling and being surrounding by incredible wildlife, but at octopus, something was different, the fish seemed ...different, and i wasn't wrong. I was just swimming along minding my own business looking, not touching, the fish when i look down and i see him coming for me, attacking my feet, this was new, this hadn't happened on the previous island so naturally it freaked me out and that was the last time i went in the sea in fiji! Thanks for nothing mr fish. Dinner was incredible once again that night and me and scotty both ended up getting pretty smashed on cocktails, so that was funny. The event for the evening was movie under the stars, which sounded pretty cool, and if we weren't so drunk we might have been able to last the whole movie but after our free popcorn was demolished and we got comfy laying in front of the screen, sleep began to set in, and so we said goodnight to our last night we would spend on the fijian islands. The great Lobby the Lobster found a new home by the pool on octopus islands and i hope he is still loving life there and entertaining all of the children who grace his presence. Later that day we boarded the mothership for the last time and with goodbyes in our hearts we headed back towards port Denaru, where we got into the crazy drivers taxi and drove back to where it all started, Nadi international Airport.
Fiji was an experience i will never forget, and i wont ramble on for much longer cause im sure you are sick of me by now, if you even made it this far that is! If you did, i congratulate you whole heartedly :) thanks for reading about my amazing week in Fiji and i hope it doesn't make you too jealous, actually i hope it does because then maybe you would think about visiting and i tell you it is definitely worth a visit at least once in your life otherwise you are missing out on something incredible! Thanks to Scotty Homer for making my week in paradise even more amazing! :) Until next time people!
Peace and Love. XOXO
P.S. Flying back into QT was pretty special too.
For this blog entry there is nothing else it can be apart from this...
CHELSEA FC ARE CHAMPIONS OF EUROPE 2012... Suck it!
An incredible moment in history that i will never forget, i am only sorry i wasn't back home to see the mighty boys in blue bring home the trophy.. to where it truly belongs. :)