- Part 1: Getting ready to be gone
- Part 2: Fuji: First week in Paradise
- Part 3: Paradise Taveuni: Reefs and Waterfalls
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!
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....
One afternoon we took a trip by boat through a mangrove swamp to visit another beautiful waterfall.
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.
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.
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....
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.
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.
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.