Date: 9 May 2010 to 13 May 2010
Where I’ve Been: Nadi, Nacula and Naviti in Fiji
Where I’ve Stayed: Bluewater Lodge on Nadi, Oarsmans Lodge on Nacula and Botaira Beach Resort on Naviti
Ok so Fiji is amazing! I remember when I marvelled at the beauty of Gili Trawangan months ago that Ben said to me, if you think this island is amazing wait until you get to Fiji, I now know what he was talking about.
How a simple twist of fate can change the course of your travels
I left Auckland at 11am on Sunday (9 May) to enter country number nine, arriving in Fiji at about 2pm. I hopped off the plane and pretty much straight on the transfer to my hostel, which was lovely. In fact calling it a hostel was probably a disservice – it is called Bluewater Lodge – and whilst I was staying in a small dorm with Faye and Lucy, it had a lovely pool, bar and restaurant all for just over £10 a night!
It was great to see Faye and Lucy and another reminder of the chance meetings that can change the course of your travels. When I had got on my coach to Abel Tasman National Park just under a month ago I had no idea that I would meet three people who would go on to become some of my best traveling friends and whom I would spent the best part of the next six weeks traveling with. First I spent almost four weeks with Rachel and now I have almost three weeks with Faye and Lucy. I feel lucky to have met them all.
Anyway as I mentioned in my previous blog, Faye and Lucy had arrived in Fiji two days before me, so the plan was for us to spend one more night in Nadi on the mainland and then get out to the islands, which everyone who had been said were amazing. So the three of us headed across the road for some food and to watch a Fijian dancing and musical show, when then had a drink at our own bar and listen to a Fijian man playing his acoustic guitar and headed to bed.
All aboard the Yasawa Flyer
The next morning we were up bright and early at 6am to get to Denarau Port in Nadi and then get the boat to the Yasawa Islands – an archipelago of about 20 gorgeous islands that make up Fiji’s western border. We had purchased the Bula Pass – essentially a hop-on, hop-off boat pass valid for the Yasawa Flyer, allowing you to get on and off at whichever of the beautiful Fijian islands you want.
For our first stop we had chosen to head to Nacula, to stay at Oarsman Lodge – it had been recommended by Ben and Mary and was also the second most northernly of all the islands so from there we could work our way down the islands back to the mainland.
Arriving on Nacula
My first impression of the Yasawas and Nacula is – wow! The journey alone was mindblowing, but then we stepped off the boat onto crisp white sands whilst the islanders serenaded us with beautiful harmonies and gorgeous acoustic guitar.
We are staying in a dorm, which is basic but perfectly adequate. It is fairly quiet and I have been told I need to operate on ‘Fiji Time’ which basically means things get done when they need to and there is no rush.
There are no roads, no phone signal, no internet, very few people, but an abundance of beaches, amazing clear seas, blue skies and the most amazing sunsets and star filled night skies I have ever seen. The beauty of this place is truly breathtaking. Faye, Lucy and I get on really well and this looks set to be an amazing couple of weeks.
We haven’t done too much since we have been here, we have wandered around part of the island, sat in hammocks and chatted and read, had the odd dip in the sea, then when the evening comes we have eaten delicious home cooked food and drunk.
I also sampled Kava – a drink that plays a huge part in Fijian culture – on our second evening there. Kava comes from the root of the yaqona – a variety of the pepper plant. The root is ground up, then strained with water into a large wooden communal bowl, which is then passed around for everyone to drink from.
Kava has a mildly sedative effect and drinking a large amount apparently makes you feel relaxed and sleepy. I had heard stories of how is it was unpleasant to drink and tasty like muddy water and whilst I can kind of see where people are coming from when they say that I certainly didn’t dislike it, in fact I found it strangely enjoyable.
A couple of cups was enough, and I did feel my face going ever so slightly numb, which is a side effect, but that soon disappeared. In fact it was a great evening as we all tried a traditional Fijian drink with our hosts and told stories and jokes.
Today (Thursday 13 May) I had to rouse myself from two days of doing near enough nothing as Lucy, myself and Adam and Fiona – an English couple who were staying at the same resort as us climbed to the top of the main hill in Naviti.
When we got to the top we had great views across the island and the ocean, but it had taken us a bit longer than expected and we had to rush back as we were getting on the Yasawa Flyer at 12.30pm to take us to our next stop!
Things just keep getting better
So an hour later just after 1.30pm we arrived on Naviti to stay at Botaira Beach Resort. Now I thought Nacula was beautiful and sleepy and welcoming (and it was, incredibly so!) but Naviti takes up another notch. The place is even more gorgeous, there are even fewer people around and it is even more chilled out. On top of that Kirsten and Matt, a couple who were on Nacula at the same time we were, are also here so we have spent a lot of time chatting to them this evening.
The lovely thing about Fiji (and there are many) is just how welcoming and friendly the locals are. Again we were serenaded off of the boat and presented with a garland of flowers each. It isn’t a forced congeniality either – it is completely genuine and immediately we felt at home and welcomed.
Anyway we have just had another delicious gorgeous meal and watched another near perfect sunset. It is a hard life being a backpacker.