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  • Day94

    Excuse the silence on the blog for the last few days but I've been enjoying doing nothing and pure relaxation on this incredible island. We've stepped off the traveller path for now to fully embrace the resort tourist way. In the airport we were welcomed with a big Bula (Hello!) and a trio playing ukeleles as we shuffled through security. The welcome and friendliness has not stopped since.

    Our shelter for the day was The Bamboo hostel, a lively hostel full of backpackers and locals. I hung out in a hammock until our room became available to pass out for a few hours. On awaking we met our room mate Kansas who was here on an exchange from uni. A great place for a semester! She was barely functioning too after a night celebrating the crusaders rugby game.

    Next day we took a boat out to the nearest island to try and see some good snorkeling. We were greeted by the staff onto a picturesque little island that takes less than 5 minutes to walk around. One buidling was surrounded by soft sand and palm trees. We sat and sunned ourselves, helping outselves to the free beer and soft drinks. I had the most amazing massage for the equivelent of £12.

    At 10 fiji time we were taken a few hundred meters off shore to snorkel. Following a guide we saw Nemo a feat I hadn't managed in the great barrier reef. We also saw a Eel that loved to he tickled! While the coral is bleached the fish are every colour under the sun. My favourite being the zebra patterned little ones that pop in and out of the coral.

    Next day we arrived in the big treat for myself for doing the W trek and the Andes trek, 5 days in a resort. From the moment we arrived we knew we'd hit gold. The staff are obviously invested, saying Bula at every turn and truly try to get to know you, and make your stay special. We're a novelty here as they don't often have Brits. Its nice, no towels on sun beds, no pushing in at the buffet. Aussies and Kiwis behave themselves in resorts.

    While our first two days were rain and wind, we busied ourselves playing air hockey, pool and squash, between planning New Zealand and having a look around. The evenings we joined the Kava ceremony enjoying high tide glasses. Leaving with a feeling of calm the stuff gives you a fantastic nights sleep!

    We had an unforgettable meal at the Sazanumi Japanese restaraunt. The staff sang for us and we danced along to the songs, getting up at one point to dance the conga! We had teppanyaki which is the style of cooking where the chef cooks in front of you and truly puts on a show of his skills. He chopped at the speed of light and would flick food onto your plate. The food was mouthwatering, and as another guest on our table had her birthday we enjoyed some yummy free choclate cake!

    By our third day glorious blue skies greeted us and we rushed out to the sunbeds overlooking the sea. The landscaping team were climbing the palm trees to knock down the coconuts. Soko a friendly groundsman used his machette to cut open one of the coconuts and we got to enjoy the lovely milk. Snorkling suprised us with the amount of fish around, watching baracudas hunt through the sand, all done while trying to avoid the creepy looking sea snakes at the bottom! The bars at night have amazing singers to relax too after supper.

    We will leave the hotel with a heavy heart after an amazing time, a night in the hostel awaits before a morning flight to Auckland. Our last leg of the journey begins in the land of the long white cloud.
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  • Day92

    Today marked the start of our holiday from our holiday. It was an early start as we were being picked up at 7am to head to Port Denarau to catch the first boat out to the islands. Around 8:30am we boarded the Ocean Dreaming, a white catamaran and our 9 days of island hopping commenced.

    Our first stop was Beachcomber Island and this place is incredible. The sea is the clearest sea I have ever swam in and the weather is perfect. It's the middle of their winter here so it's only around 28 degrees. We were greeted on to the island with more singing, clapping and a whole hearted Bula (which means Hello)! Everyone here is so friendly and happy. I mean I would be too if my office was an island in paradise. Their jobs must really suck! We walked up the beach and we were given a delicious welcoming drink before checking into our room.

    We spent the rest of the morning reading and sunbathing, interrupted every now and then by a dip in the crystal clear ocean. We could even see bright blue starfish. Tough day!

    All of our meals are included here and are of buffet style. The food is pretty good though and you can eat as much as you like. For lunch there were lamb chops, lamb sausages, seafood pasta, some Fijian vegetables and so much more.

    There are a number of activities on offer throughout the day, some are included and others you have to pay extra for. One of the included activities was turtle viewing which sounded awesome. We met at the main reception and the lady took us across to the back of the island to see the turtles. Now we were thinking that they'd be in the sea and maybe we could swim with them but that wasn't quite it. Instead we walked up to a pool (a rather small pool at that) with 3 turtles swimming around in it. I felt pretty bad for the little fellas however apparently they were born as a result of a breeding programme from a neighbouring island and they will be released back into the wild when they reach 3 years old.

    The rest of our afternoon consisted of more sunbathing followed by afternoon tea and cake and a walk around the island. To give you an idea of the size of the island, the walk took around 20 minutes and that was because we kept stopping to take pictures and I had no shoes on so had to walk ridiculously slowly across the coral. I reckon you could jog around it in less than 5 minutes.

    Dinner consisted of spaghetti, chicken, roast potatoes and salad with pineapple pie for dessert. It was pretty yummy.
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  • Day91

    We completely missed 1st July due to an 11 hour flight across the date line. We joked that it would be unfortunate if your birthday was on 1st and then we met an Irish girl on the transfer to our hotel whose birthday was on 1st. She's Irish though so I'm sure she will make up for it today!

    We arrived at Nadi in the early hours just as the sun was coming up and were greeted by 3 men in Hawaiian shirts playing guitars and singing. Everyone is very happy in Fiji, even at 6am! Once we made our way through immigration we headed to our hotel, the Smugglers Cove. As our flight landed at 6am we arrived at our hotel before 8am and couldn't check in until 2pm. This wasn't too much of a problem though as the hotel overlooked the beach.

    In the evening, we met David and Julia for dinner as after following in their footsteps for the last 3 months we were in the same place for one day which was great! Such an unexpected surprise! It was also David's 30th! We went to an incredible restaurant called Tu's Place where the food was delicious.
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  • Day96

    We were greeted at White Sandy by the traditional music, singing and a big Bula! We were shown to our accommodation which has to be the worst yet. Our bathroom smells like a public toilet and doesn't even have a sink. It's gross! After dropping our bags we sat down for a tasty lunch of rice and vegetables. The portions aren't very big here so I think Simon may be hungry.

    We decided to save our snorkelling trip till the next day so we had a lazy afternoon on the beach.

    Dinner was another Fiji themed night like the one in Wayalailai. This time however they went one step further and not only did we eat with our fingers but also on the floor. The food was again lovo cooked (underground) but it was very tasty. There were a few things however that weren't quite to my taste. The first of which were the sea grapes. They are green slimy seaweed type things that you can see when you go snorkelling as they grow on the reef. It's quite an acquired taste almost like pickles but with salt water filled bubbles when you bite into them. I also wasn't particularly keen on the muscles, if that was even what they were.

    Dinner was followed by some good old Fijian entertainment. To start with, the staff performed a selection of dances and songs for us and then we had to join in. The dance was similar to the Macarena style dance we did on Wayalailai with a twist. After the dances we played games. The second one was a bit strange. You had two circles of people, one inside the other and you had to walk around in opposite directions until the music stopped. When the music stopped, someone shouted out two body parts, for example nose to bum (yes that actually happened) and the person in the inside circle had to put their nose on someone in the outside circles bum. They were like an extreme type of getting to know you games. I did manage to win this one though!
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  • Day94

    Feeling rather refreshed after 11 hours sleep we both woke up and started to pack our bags to move islands. We headed to breakfast a bit earlier too as we missed out on baked beans yesterday!

    After breakfast we waited for the Yasawa Flyer which acts as a giant taxi between the islands. About an hour later we had landed on Wayalailai where we were greeted with more guitars and singing. After our introduction and welcome orange juice we were led up to our room which was unfortunately not as nice as we had been used to on Beachcomber. I think we may have been slightly spoilt there.

    We got changed and headed down to the area that has some sun loungers for an hour of tanning before lunch was served. We had breaded chicken, chips, salad and fruit. It all tasted really nice but was by no means hot. We then made our way down to the beach for some more tanning and a little swim.

    One of our activities on Wayalailai was a summit walk so we opted for the sunset walk as opposed to the sunrise walk which started at 4:30am. We left the village around 4:10pm when the sun was still beaming and made our way pretty quickly uphill. It wasn't long before we were wet through with sweat and panting out of breath. I thought this was supposed to be the holiday from all the trekking in South America! About an hour later and we had made it to the top. Needless to say it was well worth the trip! The views and the sunset were amazing and the new camera has lots of settings we could play with. Like all good things that go up we too had to come down however now the sun had gone and it was rapidly getting dark. We had our head torches and phone lights but it was a bit tricky in places. Luckily there were no major falls.

    We only had 15 minutes or so before dinner so we quickly jumped in the shower. It was made even quicker by the fact the shower was BALTIC. Tonight was a traditional Fiji night so on the menu was some lovo cooked food (which is a way of cooking it underground) with some nice salad and other bits. We sat down and couldn't locate any cutlery, we then looked around and realised everyone was eating with their hands. It was at this point I wished I hadn't put so much coleslaw on my plate!

    After dinner we were taught some dance moves similar to the Macarena but Fiji style and then we went on to play musical statues. It was all a bit strange but we went with it! After Blake fell for a trick to get us to move we were the first out. Normally I hate losing but it was only dancing and it meant we could sit down!
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  • Day93

    Breakfast this morning contained hash browns and bacon so you can imagine how happy Simon was! After devouring 4 hash browns and lots of bacon we got ready for our Seaspray Sailing day.

    There was a slight panic in the morning when I realised that we had forgotten our voucher for the sailing and the guys on the boat said that we may not be able to go without it and couldn't go back for it. They did however let us on so all was well. Phew!

    Our sailing boat for the day was called the Jolly Bula and we were greeted with bubbles, fruits and cakes. This was going to be a good day. We also had a free bar all day so we wasted (well mainly Simon) no time in getting started on that. Our first stop on the boat was the Castaway island where they filmed Castaway staring Tom Hanks where you could find HELP ME written in the sand with coconut shells. It is an uninhabited island (except for Wilson) as there is no source of freshwater here. We had an hour on the island to explore and go snorkelling. We saw all kinds of amazing, colourful fish. The water is so clear here!

    After around an hour we went back to the boat for a BBQ lunch. There was so much food, including chicken skewers, sausages and fish! Delicious! Our next stop on the boat was an island which contained a village on which around 600 people live. It even has a medical centre and a primary school. After they told us a little bit about island life, we experienced our first kava ceremony. Kava is a special drink that Fijians drink made from the root of a plant. They do some singing and then hand you a bowl of kava which is nothing like the delicious alcohol and looks a lot like muddy water. Before you accept the bowl you have to clap once. You then drink the kava , hand back the bowl and say vinaka which means thank you followed by three claps. It was disgusting! It was nothing like I expected and had an almost spicy flavour, which left your mouth a little numb afterwards. Needless to say we didn't have anymore.

    The men on the island work on neighbouring islands, go fishing, or farm the island whilst the women earn money at the shell market where they sell all kinds of tourist tat to us tourists. We bought a fridge magnet for our collection and then went on our way. Before getting back on the boat we walked through the village so we could see the houses and the primary school and observe the island way of life.

    Back on the boat we had more cakes and then headed back to the island. On the way the crew played the guitar and sang lots of songs, some of which were quite funny!

    Back on Beachcomber we were completely shattered after a day of drinking in the sun and Simon fell asleep before dinner. I think he would of stayed like that until morning if I hadn't woken him. We definitely headed straight back to bed after dinner though! Rock and roll!
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  • Day97

    At the sound of the mornings drum roll we woke up and headed to breakfast.

    After breakfast we were meant to be swimming with manta rays, an activity we had both been looking forward to, however the mantas hadn't been seen for over a month. We heard a few stories as to why they weren't there, one being the warm water stream they followed not being here yet and another that Australian scientists had disturbed them whilst trying to electronically tag them. Mantas are supposedly very sensitive and intelligent animals so if they feel threatened they will leave an area and not come back. Because of this we just drove out to a nearby reef and snorkelled there. It was incredible to see all the life and fish down there. Our guide at one point just handed Blake a giant blue starfish and we were even face to face with some unwanted jellyfish at some points!

    We had no time limit (Fiji time) on this activity so we were in the reef for quite a while before hopping in the boat and driving back to our island. We got back shortly before lunch where we had vegetable fried rice. It was super yummy but the portion size here is disappointing.

    For the afternoon we did a mixture of sunbathing, hammock chilling and reading/listening to podcasts.

    Dinner was a bit more chilled and we were able to use cutlery to eat our three courses tonight. There is no TV in this resort so after dinner I headed over to the neighbouring resort with a few others to watch the last Lions test. Disappointing result but a tie is better than a loss!
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  • Day100

    Today started with more breakfast at the sound of the drum but not before packing our bags. I may have set the alarm a tad too early as we were packed and ready about 30-40 minutes before.

    After breakfast we checked out and waited for the boat to take us on our Blue Lagoon snorkelling trip. We had heard a lot about the Blue Lagoon and how beautiful is was so we had high expectations. It wasn't long before we started to pull up by the coral and already we could see hundreds of colourful fish! We geared up with our snorkels and dropped off the side of the boat with some bread (fish food) in hand. This was instantly the BEST snorkelling we had ever done. The fish came from every direction feeding from our hands.

    After swimming around and seeing many different kinds of fish including a cute family of nemos in an anemone, we made our way towards the shallows. We waited for a while as our guide was nowhere to been seen and started to get a bit nervous that we may miss our boat back to the mainland and more importantly lunch. After around 45 minutes he appeared out from under a tree where he had fallen asleep in the shade! On the way back to Nabua we stopped at a 'ship wreck' but I'm not sure if you could really call it that. It was less Titanic and more of a little boat wreck. But still, it was something I had never seen before and lots of fish had made their home in it.

    Back on Nabua we had our final supper with all the gang and waited for the Yasawa Flyer that would take us back to the main land. We were joined on the Yasawa Flyer by Valerie and Luig, Caroline and Matt and Lena and Camilla. Only Valerie, Luig and us were going all the way back to the mainland however which was a slow and bumpy 5 hour journey. We decided to sit up on the sun deck to catch the last of the sun before we headed to New Zealand. The further South we headed, the bumpier it got and at some points the water was splashing us on the top. The crew also stated handing out sick bags!

    Back on the mainland we headed back to Smugglers Cove where we showered and then went down for dinner with Valerie and Luig before our last sleep in Fiji.
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  • Day98

    Fiji is very Christian so Sundays are traditionally a day of rest. There were therefore no activities planned on White Sandy except for a church service in the morning so we had a lazy morning chatting to Valerie and Luig, a Belgian couple that have had the same itinerary as us so we have been together from the beginning of our trip.

    The boat arrived around midday to take us to our next island, Nabua Lodge. From the moment we stepped off the boat we knew it was going to be a lot nicer here. All I wanted was a bathroom that didn't smell like a public toilet and we got that and so much more. The room is huge and very clean. We get electricity 3 times a day and we even have hot water and a sink! At first it didn't look like we had a bathroom at all but then the lady opened the wardrobe and revealed our secret ensuite. It's like Narnia! We feel so much more comfortable here. We spent 2 days on White Sandy with another couple from the UK and they have also moved across to Nabua so there is a little gang of us now which is really nice.

    After lunch we pottered around taking photos until it was time for afternoon tea. A few minutes down the beach there is a small lodge where they serve afternoon tea and cake for $6 so we tucked into an enormous slice of chocolate cake which was delicious!

    We then spent the rest of the afternoon chilling. Simon befriended a little ginger kitten who fell asleep on his lap for ages until we realised that he had fleas and was evicted!

    For dinner we had our first meal without rice since we arrived on the islands. They love rice and serve it with every meal! Today however we had mashed potato and battered fish. It was cold but a much welcomed change from white rice. Sundays are apparently international night so we all had to sing the national anthem from our home country. There were 6 people from the UK so fortunately we didn't have to sing it by ourselves. Two of them did make a sneaky exit though so it was down to the remaining 4 to sing God Save the Queen in our best voices. There were also people representing the US, Australia, Denmark, Germany, France, Switzerland and of course Fiji. We thing we did learn is that ours is by far the shortest. The Fijans, never passing up the opportunity to play a game, played a game which involved flipping two coins and guessing whether they were going to be heads or tails. The winner got a free beer! Simons eyes lit up at this point and he was determined to win. He did and thoroughly enjoyed his free can of Fiji Gold.
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  • Day99

    We woke up and headed over for breakfast at (you guessed it) the sound of the drum.

    After breakfast we had a cave trip which was included in our package. We were a bit dubious about this one as we had to sign a waiver to do it. After a ridiculously bumpy journey there, we pulled up to the caves with very sore bottoms. After a short briefing we made our way up some steps and into the cave. The ladder at the bottom dropped us into a rather cold pool and we swam into the middle of the cave. It was quite impressive but also pretty full of other people. We had an option to swim underwater into a second cave but this required a mask which our resort refused to provide us. After some negotiation we arranged to pass masks back through to other people that wanted to swim through.

    It was only me that made it through. Blake was a bit nervous as they described it as you had to swim 1 meter down and 2.5 meters across for 3-5 seconds underwater. To say it was an anti-climax is an understatement. The second cave was pitch black, pretty tiny, super cramped when we made it in and the story the guide told was missed due it being so echoey. We swam back through to the main cave and made our way out. The journey back to our island was another bottom breaking ride. Some people paid 85 Fijian dollars for the trip and it definitely wasn't worth it. We would have been very disappointed if we had paid that.

    We had lunch shortly after returning which wasn't rice! Instead we had pasta in a sauce with cheese. After lunch we just topped up the tan on the beach.

    At 3pm we made our way to the tea lodge for our daily dose of tea and cake. Another great chocolate cake this time with raspberry sauce on top. It was delicious! There were also so almost newborn kittens that kept us all entertained.

    Not wanting to spend the rest of the afternoon in the sun, we introduced Matt and Caroline to Phase 10.
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You might also know this place by the following names:

Republic of Fiji, Fidschi, Fiji, Fidji, Figyi, ፊጂ, Fichi, فيجي, Fici, Фіджы, Фиджи, ফিজি, ཕི་ཇི།, Fidži, Fidzi nutome, Φίτζι, Fiĝioj, Fiyi, FidĪi, فیجی, Fijji, Viti, Fidj·i, Fidsí, Fìdi, Fixi, ફીજી, פיגי, फ़िजी, Fidzsi-szigetek, Ֆիջի, Fídjieyjar, Figi, フィジー, ფიჯი, ហ្វ៉ីហ្ស៉ី, ಫಿಜಿ, 피지, फिजी, Insulae Vitienses, Fidzi, ຟິຈິ, Fidžis, Fuji, Фиџи, ഫിജി, Fiġi, ဖီဂျီ, Bidji, ଫିଜି, Fidżi, فېجي, Figgi, Fiži, Fidyïi, ෆීජී, Fixhi, ஃபிஜி, ఫిజి, ฟิจิ, Piyi, Fisi, فىجى, Фіджі, فجی, Phi-gi, Ficiyuäns, Orílẹ́ède Fiji, 斐濟, i-Fiji

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