Off Duty Pharmacist

Qualified pharmacist sharing travel experiences and adventures with boyfriend B along for the ride. Australian based, living in Queensland.
  • Day14

    Sand cays and sunsets

    May 16 in Fiji

    Today after breakfast we went on the morning trip to a sand cay for snorkelling. The sand cay itself was quite cool, just a small sandy island in the middle of the ocean with nothing around it. The snorkelling was not the best but there were some super friendly zebra fish who came right up to you. We got back just after 11 and read before lunch. After lunch and a snooze for B, we went down to the beach to hang out a bit - B played volleyball. We walked around to watch the sun set one last time. At 6:30pm we had drinks and listened to the Navini band before dinner. We had one last delicious dinner before heading to bed. I’ll be doing one last post once we are home, an in-depth comparison between the resorts, mainly for my benefit but might be of use if you are planning to visit Fiji sometime!Read more

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  • Day13

    Today we had breakfast and got ready for the morning trip - a boat ride to look for dolphins with snorkelling on the way back. We went nearly all the way out to cloudbreak where all the pro surfers go in Fiji to surf. We looked for dolphins but there was nothing - there were two other boats looking also. Then all of a sudden they appeared, swimming alongside the boat, flipping out of the water, usually in pairs. It was amazing! There had to be about 40 dolphins all around us. At one point they even got in the boat’s wake and were riding the wave - truly amazing. We then ventured a little further out to check out the surfing - there were quite a few out but the water was relatively flat. I had never seen a wave break without land, it was a bit weird! There was also a tall wooden structure, like a wooden lookout in the middle of the ocean - our driver told us it was the judges platform - they come out by boat and can see from the tower. After that we stopped for snorkelling on the way back - the reef was amazing and there were heaps of zebra fish everywhere. We got back, had lunch and then snoozed and read until about 3:30pm when I went for a snorkel just off the island and B came out on kayak. The reef here is phenomenal! It has a big drop off about 50-100m from the shore, so I swam to that then swam along the drop off, seeing two angelfish that were almost a meter long, huge black clownfish, and so many other fish id never seen before. On the way back in I saw a black tipped reef shark (eeek!!) in the shallow water. It was only a baby, maybe a meter long. They don’t bite humans but it still scared me to see one in person. Back on dry land it, B stared in volleyball once again. We then went and relaxed before dinner - we had our special candlelit beach dinner tonight. It was just us, by candlelight, under the stars (which are very visible here). It was lovely. Tired, we went to bed soon after getting back from dinner.Read more

  • Day12

    Cycling the sea

    May 14 in Fiji

    We are settling into a nice rhythm here - B had pancakes for breakfast (super good!) and I had bacon and eggs with sausage. We went on the excursion today to a few other resorts - Plantation Island Resort and Muscat Cove Resort. They are on the same island so we walked from one to the other before a dip in the pool and a drink. We are pretty happy with our choices - they really didn’t appeal to us at all but it was still great to see them and their set up. We were back in time for a quick read before lunch. The afternoon brought a snooze followed by a sea cycle, a two seat watercraft you pedal. It comes with a rudder to steer also. We saw a turtle while out - it was a little smaller than the one the other day - maybe about a 40cm diameter across the shell. It poked its head up right next to the sea cycle - it was seriously amazing! B then played in the afternoon volleyball game (quite well, too). Then we got ready for dinner and relaxed for a little bit before dinner. For dinner B had salmon mousse with toast, salt and pepper squid and chocolate brownie. I had dhal soup, corn fritters with grilled veggies and the brownie. All once again really good!Read more

  • Day11

    Finding more fish

    May 13 in Fiji

    Today we had breakfast then headed out on the snorkelling trip to “honeymoon island”. There was just 4 of us on the trip (all day trips are complementary here). We saw a turtle on the way out, it was huge, about 70cm diameter across the shell at least. At the snorkelling spot we saw heaps of new fish including a needlefish (almost looked like an eel to begin with), a parrotfish and a grouper. We got back to the island with about an hour to spare before lunch. After lunch we did some more reading and I finished my third book and B finished his second. Loving all this reading! Soon enough dinner rolled around and we finished it with a delicious date, coconut and apple cake (lumberjack cake). Off to bed early tonight after our “late” night last night.Read more

  • Day10

    Finding Navini

    May 12 in Fiji

    Today we sadly departed Matamanoa bound for Navini island. While waiting for the boat, we saw a small dingy and hoped that would not be the boat to take us to Navini. Another larger boat came along and we relieved it would be that boat. However, the waters are too shallow to board straight on the boat so we had to use a smaller boat to get to the larger boat and then board the larger boat while both were getting flung up and down in the really choppy seas. After nearly falling in, we were away and Brenton took a seat up front with the captain. It was a bumpy but nice 30ish minute ride to Navini, where we were met with a dingy to make it to land. The transfer was better than expected and we checked in and got the run down from one of the lovely staff members. Our Bure is recently renovated and comes with veranda, daybed, sun loungers under a thatched umbrella and outdoor shower. It’s actually much nicer than I anticipated which is always good! After a lay down on the day bed (reading for B and a really solid nap for me - umm I am not sure how I will make it through a work day on my return!) we heard the drum call for lunch (all meals are announced with a drum call here). Steak sandwich and cassava chips for B and chicken pilaf for me - we also met a few other people on the island. At the moment there are
    13 others on this small island - there are only 11 bures here. After lunch we went for a beach stroll before another reading session. The drum sounded at about 6:15pm and it was Fijian night so we got dressed in our sulus and headed for pre dinner drinks and a traditional lovo buffet with lots of veggies, fish, chicken, pork all cooked in the underground lovo oven. They also had a stuffed eggplant which was awesome! Dessert was a delicious coconut cake and fruit salad.
    Then we had a kava ceremony and Fijian dancing before getting back to our Bure around 10pm.
    Read more

  • Day10

    Island time

    May 12, South Pacific Ocean

    Today we followed a pretty similar routine we’ve had for the last few days - breakfast at 8am, chilled by the pool after that and watched the departees leave and the arrivals arrive. We had about 8 people leave and 4 arrive, boosting the total number of guests to around 15 - it’s low season here but it’s been nice to get to know some of the other guests. We then watched a hat being made out of palm leaves then shared fish and chips for lunch then had a siesta till coconut drinking at 3pm. The days just flow so easily here, with the perfect amount of down time. We had our coconuts, did some reading by the pool then went to our final massage, a bamboo massage. Then we got ready for dinner which was again delicious and accompanied by a few cocktails. The staff sang their farewell song and then serenaded as at our seat. Tomorrow we are off to our next island by speedboat (really, no tricks this time, B).Read more

  • Day9

    Snorkelling and sulus

    May 11, South Pacific Ocean

    Today we had breakfast then checked out what was on for the day and decided on the short snorkelling trip at 11:30am. After breakfast we headed back to our Bure to read and get ready for snorkelling, after a quick game of chess. We really need to buy a nice set for home. Snorkelling was us and another couple from China who told Sai our snorkel guide they couldn’t swim well at all. Just as well the water is super salty here so you are really buoyant. Bill, our boat captain looked at me and said - “ah, from yesterday, fishing girl”. Snorkelling was great and Sai had an awesome time diving down to get some great pictures for me on the go pro. We went out to what they call “the drop off” which is where the reef literally drops off, so far you can’t see the bottom. We saw some starfish and lots of beautifully coloured fish. The reef itself is a bit monotone but thats not surprising considering the amount of cyclones that have been through Fiji in the last few years. After snorkelling we went to Sulu tying where we learnt how to tie a sulu (sarong) a few different ways. We then had a cocktail and did some reading. At 4pm I had a massage and Brenton had a few drinks. When I got back, we had a glass of champagne while the sun set. Dinner for B was a crab cake, baked mahi-mahi with kumala and sticky date pudding and I had the crab cake, sun dried tomato and bean risotto and a poached pear. Yum! When they sat outside near the pool area listening to the boys playing guitar.Read more

  • Day8

    Finding relaxation

    May 10, South Pacific Ocean

    Today we lazily woke up, the room we are in stays nice and dark which is awesome for us as we usually wake up early at home. We had breakfast and then relaxed by the pool while we waited for our 10am massage appointment. We had a one hour massage each, overlooking the beach. It was super relaxing and we both loved it. Definitely getting some more of those before we leave. We then did some basket weaving from palm fronds - we both agree this could be a useful venture considering Queensland’s plastic bag ban which starts in July. My basket was very stylish 😂 we then had some cocktails by the pool and read before lunch. After lunch we went back to the room to relax some more before venturing out on our first snorkelling adventure. We swam right off the beach outside our Bure and saw some awesome fish. We fell asleep on our sun loungers while drying off then did some more reading before dinner. B had Soy beef skewers, prawn and lobster risotto and a pavlova roulade and I had carrot soup, pork chop and lime tart. Still all really good. I’ll have to take some pictures tomorrow!Read more

  • Day7

    Finding Dory

    May 9, South Pacific Ocean

    Today we lazily woke up and strolled to breakfast - it is a mix of buffet and menu, you pick an item from the menu and help yourself to a continental style breakfast - everything was really good quality. At 11, we watched a coconut being knocked from a tree, then husked, cracked and cut for eating. We also got to try it deep fried with salt (pretty good in case you were wondering!). We went shark hunting in the little resort buggie with Seko but didn’t find anything. We then played some chess and got ready for our fishing adventure. Now, fishing wasn’t my idea but you only go on your honeymoon once and it was handreel fishing so I thought it wouldnt be too bad. We hopped on the boat with one other couple and drove out just past the island. It was super rocky and we both felt sick but we struggled through. I caught two fish! A trigger fish about 30cm long and super fat and a little fish, about 20cm long. I was pretty stoked considering I’ve never caught a fish before! We then did some reading and went for a sunset stroll along the beach before dinner where B showcased his skipping rock talent, some rocks skipping 5 times! Dinner was mushroom and bacon risotto for us both, the best rack of lamb we have ever had for B, mustard chicken for me. Dessert was pineapple pudding for B and Eton Mess for me. We then relaxed near the pool with the music guys for an hour or so before the wind picked up and we were freezing!Read more

  • Day6

    Finding paradise

    May 8, South Pacific Ocean

    Today we left Brisbane bound for Fiji for our much anticipated honeymoon! We decided to stay at two island resorts for 5 nights each, Matamanoa and Navini. On our flights we discussed our upcoming transfer to Matamanoa. Brenton thought we were going by boat but I had secretly organised a helicopter transfer. When we arrived in Nadi, he still had no idea. I even had to ask the info desk where to go for the transfer, but he didn’t hear me. We got to the domestic terminal, and were greeted by a girl who was expecting us, I said “Brenton thinks we are going to be on a boat transfer” and she replied “because you are, right this way!” She was extremely quick, helpful and efficient. After weighing our bags (and ourselves) we waiting for approx 20 minutes for our transfer. I had to tell Brenton, I couldnt wait any longer. He looked a bit scared but also excited and laughed at all the times I’ve played up the boat transfer in the last year or so. The helicopter was a 5 seater plus captain but it was just us! The captain, a fellow Aussie, was friendly, easy going and thorough. In no time we were off! The flight was approx 20 minutes and we saw some fantastic views, it was also good to get a general idea of where many of the islands in the Mamanuca’s are situated. We were greeted when we touched down with a shell lei, welcome song and drink and were taken to our room. Our room is a traditional Bure (Fijian hut style accommodation), with bedroom, living room, outside deck, pool, daybed and sun lounges overlooking the beach. We are so happy with it and can’t wait to make use of it all! We lounged for a bit, read the info booklet, went for a sunset stroll then had two cocktails at the bar (FJD$29.50 each). We are looking forward to making our way through the menu! For dinner I had bruschetta, sweet and sour fish and crepes Suzette made at the table. Brenton had chicken soup, surf and turf and black forest cake. We were both really impressed with the food but we are happy we didn’t get lunch included in our meal plan!Read more

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