Bula* from Fiji! :)
(*Bula is the traditional fijian greeting, it means hello, welcome, and a lot more, that just expresses their kind nature and warm hospitality)
I am sitting around in the Nadi Bay Resort with a few hours to kill before I make my way to the airport and back to oz, and seeing as it is raining (the first rain i have seen in fiji!) I thought to myself what better to do than update my blog and tell you a bit of what i've been up to..
so, after a lovely week in a 4 star hotel in sydney and a tearful goodbye to dan at 5 in the morning last saturday (4th july), i made my way to the airport to board a plane to fiji.
3h40 min later i was greeted by hot weather, sunshine, and friendly people sayiing Bula - a phrase i was going to hear and say a lot for the next week!
after one night in nadi on the main island, i started my 7 day island hopping tour with awesome adventures fiji. that day i spent 5 hours on the boat cruising up through the yasawas (an island chain with 20 ancient, mostly volcanic islands), until i got to mi first destination, coral view. the islands all have fijian names as well, but are more commonly known by the resort name. easy enough seeing as there is only one resort per island. some islands will have a fijian village population on the other side of the island, but not all. and some islands are not inhabited at all. the fiji islands comprise a total of 333 islands, but not all of these are populated.
anyway, my first destination was coral view, where we spent 2 nights.
when we came ashore we were greeted by all the staff with a big friendly smile, a handshake, and of course a "Bula"!
i had met some nice english girls on the boat, and was fortunate enough to be told that the dorm was full, and did we mind sharing a double bed? seeing as that meant 4 people in the bure (the fijian word for hut) instead of 30 in the dorm, and an ensuite bathroom as well, sophie and i obviously said yes!
the next day i joined a trip that took us to the sawailau caves (only form of transport by the way were small motor boats. from the big boat you also had to transfer to a small motor boat that took you to the shore, so we got used to it quickly). the scenery on the way to the caves (and also up to coral view) was amazing, beuatiful white beaches, so clear turquoise water, and green islands with mountains, some of them rising up to 1000m. other islands can be flatter. we were able to swim in the caves, and then, from the main cave, we had to swim underwater to get to a smaller cave, which was pitchdark inside, without the guide's torch we wouldnt have been able to see anything, but it was really exciting! that trip was well worth it!
in the afternoon we got a small motor boat over to the famous blue lagoon (a beautiful beach - seriously, thats how paradise must look like-) for some snorkelling and sunbathing. the snorkelling there was unbelievable. the coral start in such shallow water you sometimes have to be careful to have enough room to swim over them! the visibility was absolutely amazing, have never seen such clear water in the ocean in my life!
the following day, after having said goodbye to all the staff on the beach, who gave each of us a hug as we left (they consider their guests as part of the family and make a big deal of welcoming them warmly and singing them a goodbye song as well) we transferred to the next island and resort, korovou. the food there was by bar the best (all the other islands had basic food, you could eat it if you were hungry, but it wasnt great). sophie had met an australian family on the main island who we met at korovou. the guy, a retired scuba instructor, knew the reef in the region and took us on a guided snorkelling trip, which was amazing! the resorts always have some nightly entertainment, which often consists of the staff singing a fijian song, doing a fijian dance, and then wanting us to join in for the last bit, which was always fun! at coral view the first night (a sunday) the local school children came in and sang and performed for us.
unfortunately we only had one night there, and the next afternoon, i was seperated from all the girls i had got to know, as they were staying at wayalailai, and me on the island opposite, at kuata. unfortunaetley i couldnt change that. i decided to have a full day of not being in a boat, and just chilled out in a hammock, reading my book and enjoying the views. the next morning i had arranged to go diving, but the wind that had struck up in the afternoon had gottten worse, so i cancelled the dive, which left me with nothing to do, having finished my book, and no internet and no mobile phone reception (the other islands always had one of the two options) until the late afternoon, where i met up with the girls on the boat again.
one very rough crossing later, having lfet the yasawa region, we arrived at our last island, south sea island, which is part of the mamanuca island chain. it was a very small island but unbelievably cute. we had a nice dinner (fish, which wasnt as common as i though it would be, and potatoes instead of rice, thank god, as i had had rice every day with both lunch and dinner). after dinner there was a crabrace which sounded fun so i decided to enter.
they were miniture crabs in shells which had numbers on them, it was 3fijian dollars a crab to enter, so i picked crab number 7. in 2 exciting first rounds my number 7 qualified for the final and won that easily as well, leaving me to collect a nice ice cold bottle of white wine from the bar as a prize! :)
we shared that then in the evening, and then retired to our 30bed dorm (pretty common on the islands). the next morning i had arranged to go diving. unfortunately the wind had followed us down, but after talking to the instructor i decided to go anyway, as i hadnt been diving at all yet in fiji. i had done a good bit of snorkelling though, which was always amazing. one morning at korovou i joined a snorkelling with the mantarays trip, and i saw a massive one just 5 meters below us, it must have been about 3 meters in diameter, absolutely amazing!
anyway, me, another girl and the diving instructor went diving then (challenging for the motor boat to drop us off at the buoy in those high waves, but once you're underwater, no more of those troubles). we descended then, and explored a sunk shipwreck which was awesome, i had only ever been coral reef diving before. the shipwreck was really cool, and we dived along the bottom of the ocean a bit, looking around, until i stupidly stupidly didnt see the anemone (nemo's home for those who've seen the movie, and poisonous to everyone but him. clownfish are immune to the anemone's venom and are safe from predators if they stay in the anemone. the anemone's poison numbs other fish and thats how they get their food). anyway i stupidly didnt see the anemone, turned around, and brushed my whole leg up against it, which instantly started stinging like hell. jellyfish stings are nothing against that! obviously being underwater it is harder to communicated, so jason the dive instructor first thought i had a cramp, but when i made him understand that my leg had touched the anemone and that i was in pain, he took my hand and i held my leg with the other hand, and we ascended to the surface then. by the time we had reached land my left leg (from my shin up to above the knee) had red spots and big bubbles on it, pretty disgusting, but some first aid with vinegar and hot water made the bubbles go away thank god. i had been planning on spending the whole day on the island going back to the main island with the last boat at 5, but they told me i had better get on the first boat at 11.30 (i still had to wait 2 hours) to go to a doctor. so i did that. with constant vinegar and hot water the pain had got a lot less though! the diving company arranged for me to be picked up at the marina by one of their staff members. this girl had organised a doctors appointment for me and put me in a taxi so i could get there. taxis are confusing here because not all cars have taxi written on them, so i was glad she did that. she said it was a good doctor she was sending me to, so i was a little relieved. bit freaky not knowing how this sting will affect you, and being sent to dr. ram raju in a strange country, but luckily everyone speaks english as its their official language. the taxi driver waited for me while i was at the doctors, who gave me a prrescription for antihistamine tablets and a cream, and told me i'd be fine. the taxi driver also waited for me while i was at the pharmacy (everything is in fiji time over here which means no one is in a hurry) and then drove me to the nadi bay resort where i was staying, and only took a pittance for the whole journey, which was amazing!
my leg still has red spots on it, but hardly stings anymore, so i am on the mend! nothing like a bit of excitement on your last day, eh? ;) anyway, no need to worry, i am absolutely fine!
that was my awesome adventure in fiji anyway, i am flying to melbourne via sydney later today, and am looking forward to spending another couple of days in oz, before i have to head back home.
hope you are all well, i will upload photos as soon as i have time.