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Finding the heart of fiji Fiji week 3

For our final week in Fiji we stayed on Kadavu (pronounced KanDAvu). We were two of only four passengers on the flight - pretty amazing service especially when you consider the total cost for the two of us was US$200! Landing at at Vulisea “airport” - a tarmac strip just off the beach - was incredible and then we literally walked a few feet across an unpaved road before wading to our boat (fittingly called “Victoria”). If you’ ve never tried an airport transfer by boat I can highly recommend it; we were pinching ourselves thinking perhaps we were dreaming!

The only way to do an airport transfer

Once we arrived at our resort there was a certain amount of adjusting to be done and on our second day we wondered if we should move somewhere else. Due to its situation (essentially in the middle of the rainforest), the only power comes from solar, any human creature comforts you need to use or sleep on come by barge from Suva, and food comes mostly from the sea and environment around. Fuel can be scarce, critters are everywhere and it’s hot and humid....

Beauty and the beasts: Critters, critters everywhere!

About the creatures.. Literally thousands of crabs that scuttle into their foreboding holes littering the ground like little land mines, fearsome looking mega bugs, geckos, ants, cockroaches, beetles, large semi-like wasps with long legs (they don’t sting apparently) and “mice” (large black ones). The latter like to bang about the place squeaking loudly, usually from their stronghold in the kitchen while we’re eating dinner. Our dog would go crazy at the sound of squeaky toys running around in angry discourse with each other! And, of course, the mosquitoes. Clearly we are a new and highly exotic flavor, and the word has gone around the mosquito community. Unusually it wasn’t just Victoria plagued by mosquito bites; my legs looked like I’d got measles despite copious quantities of bug spray being applied. Whilst none of these critters are dangerous, the sheer quantity has been intimidating.. we are in their home and the flimsy man-made defenses we have do not hold them back from infiltrating every aspect of the day.

Marie, Ethany, Meeta

One of the defining characteristics of Fiji at all the places we’ve visited has been it’s people. The guide books speak of warmth and friendliness but the reality is even more pronounced. Our resort is situated right next to the village and all the staff here, with the exception of the manager, come from there. And what amazingly friendly, welcoming people! Everybody knows us and addresses us by name and has been incredibly kind, thoughtful, polite. We can learn a lot and will take away the importance of names and the values of unconditionally helping people out in small and big ways. The people really are the heart of Fiji.

Maria busy about her work in her home near the waterfall

One afternoon we took a trip by boat through a mangrove swamp to visit another beautiful waterfall.

In search of waterfalls
Captain Lai and Dive Master Mika

This time we were entertained by Billy, a local teacher who came along as a guide and wowed us with his jumping and diving. We both had a swim in our own private piece of Paradise.

Fearless Billy
Unnamed waterfall

Diving was certainly one of the attractions of this place due to it’s proximity to the Astrolabe Reef. We got to visit a couple of dive sites including the Purple Wall and Filipe’s Corner. The sea life and soft coral were both amazing. Once again dead GoPro == no pix, unfortunately.

Thx to the Oleta Resort for helping out with O2

As part of our surface interval stops we visited a couple of interesting places nearby: MyDive Resort (aka Uncle Joe’s) and Albert’s Place (aka The Canteen). Uncle Josephe was a personality: he told us a story that has stuck with us (and caused great amusement with the locals who we’ve shared it with) about how cows and dogs got their Fijian names. To cut a long story short, when cows first appeared in Fiji a local asked what they were and was told “that’s a bull and that’s a cow”.. and from then on a cow has been known as a Bulumakau. Based on the laughter we thought this was a wind-up until we checked a Fijian dictionary. The generic word for dog is Koli (“Collie”) for a similar reason....

The word according to Uncle Joe

Either a boat being repaired or used for a greater purpose.. unclear which

“The Canteen”. Clearly they are expecting a run on hair products

We were woken most mornings by the squark of the local obnoxious but very beautiful parrot who had a knack of avoiding being photographed by the bird paparazzi. Here is another tame one, Marie’s pet.. she brought him to meet us on our village trip.

Tame stand-in for the elusive resort parot
Teather, Village nurse

We were nervous about going to the village to meet the Chief - having been told not to wear hats or sunglasses on our heads (in case it caused offense), and that a gift was expected. In the event, the Chief was busy on his farm so we never met him, but there were hushed whispers as the “Kaipalagi” (white skinned tourists) entered the village. The children warmed to us when they realized we came bearing candy left over from my birthday! We visited the school which accepts weekly boarders from villages too far away to make the daily commute. I mentioned that I had also been to Boarding School from the age of 8 -but it didn’t really compare somehow.

Making Kava in the village

I celebrated my birthday whilst we were staying and I had the privilege of sharing the experience with Meeta’s father who was visiting the resort and celebrating his 75th Birthday. The dinner was special and there was a delightful carrot and pineapple cake with lemon icing to mark the occasion.. I was presented with a garland of candy and Happy Birthday was sung Fijian-style with all three verses to both me and separately to Steven. This was one of the most special birthday celebrations I can remember.

Fiji style birthday celebration (and yes, I’m old as f***)

So we say farewell to Fiji...we’ve had an amazing time here making new friends and being entranced by the beautiful scenery (above and below the water)... as well as learning lessons that we’ll take with us.

A few of our memories, we’ll be back
Goodbye Fiji. Thx for an amazing stay
Created By
James Clarke
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(C) James E Clarke 2018 All Rights Reserved

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