After spending all night in Auckland airport we arrived in Fiji at 10.30 with plenty of time to catch our 12.45 flight from Nadi to Suva, and then a taxi to Wadalice where we had a boat waiting for us at 14.00 or so we thought. When we were looking on the board for the domestic flights, the flight we had booked didn't seem to be there so we went up to the Air Fiji desk and enquired about the flight, we were told that the flight had been cancelled and we had been moved to the 11.00 flight (which we obviously missed as we didn't arrive until 10.30). The only flight that was left was one leaving at 14.00 and arriving in Nusouri at 14.30. After a few phone called the man at Air Fiji had managed to tell the people who were on the boat waiting for us that we would be an hour late and to wait for us, we were happy with that as we saved ourselves some money on the flight.
The flight arrived in Nusouri on time so we got in a taxi with an Indian mad driving and showed him from an email where we wanted to go, we expected it to be a half hour journey north of the airport. After about 25 minutes i saw a sign for Suva which was the wrong direction, so Matthew started asking him if he knew where he was taking us, he kept insisting he did so we kept quiet, anyway he took us to the wrong place and had to ask 3 other taxi drivers where the place we wanted to go to was! In the end instead of being in the taxi half an hour we were sat in it for 90 minutes, we were both very tired and stressed by this point and Matthew had to shout at the guy before he admitted it was his mistake. Anyway we eventually got to where the boat was waiting for us but we where over 2 hours late, we felt really bad, but the people from the Island were ok about it.
The boat ride was very bumpy but once we saw Calaqui Island we knew all the hassle had been worth it, it was just what we wanted. We were staying in a traditional 'bure' which is basically a wooden hut with a bed in it. It wasn't as basic as we thought it was going to be however as they had flush toilets and a proper shower although it was cold. It was back to basics really and we loved it. The food was great and so were the people. The only down side was that we didn't get as much sun as we would have liked, but we had a few really sunny days and even when it was cloudy it was still warm enough to go snorkelling or fishing in Matthews case.
The snorkelling was amazing, it was as good if not better than the great barrier reef as you could walk from the beach straight onto the reef, it was so colourful with so many fish that we had seen before but also some different ones. People on the island also took us out on the boat to the edge of the reef which was completely different and had a lot bigger fish. I saw a huge groper, it actually scared me it was that big, there were also sea snakes around snake island (surprise surprise) which was possible to walk to from our island when the tide was out. I spent most of my time in the water while Matthew tried his luck at fishing. He managed to catch a fairly big thumb print emperor on our 3rd day which was delicious. He didn't have much luck after that with his fishing rod, but on our last day he went fishing early in the morning and decided to fish the Fijian way which is just with a hand line trailing in the water. He had a really successful day catching 4 very big fish, bigger than he had caught before, he then also helped catch a 15kg fish that was bloody huge. He left Calaqui feeling very happy as he had ended his fishing on a high. We had the fish for lunch before we left, which was gorgeous.
We visited Levuka which is the old capital and it looked like a street out of a western, there wasn't much there apart from around 4 churches in the space of a 5 minute walk, veg stalls like in India and people chatting all over the streets, it brought some good memories back. Apart from that we had a great week of relaxation, the average night would be us eating to music and singing by the locals and then end up with us having cava, which is the root of a certain tree that has been crushed and is then mixed with water. It tastes of exactly what it is, and on the first bowl full i didn't like it at all, it tasted of wood and then made your mouth numb for a while, but i got used to the taste by the end of the week. The Fijians around where we were staying were all strict methodists and didn't drink so this is what they did instead after dinner. We even experienced a fund raiser so a child from the villiage could go to school, and all that consisted of was people drinking cava but donating money as they walked into the room, very strange but everyone seemed to love the stuff and it seemed to effect them more than us, it was a bit like the effect of alcohol on the aboriginies!
Sunday was the best day as we experienced their sunday lunch. It was cooked in the ground as the Hangi was, but it was chicken, fish and root vegetables that we had never heard of. It was a feast and all delicious. To cook the fish they wrapped it in banana leaves and put in onto red hot coals after they had marinated it. It was gorgeous and one of the best meals i've had. On our last night it was also Wendy's last night on the island. Wendy had been living in Fiji for 3 years and went to Calaqui most weekends to escape Suva so she was well liked. They did a BBQ for her which was unusual as their diet always consisted of fish only, it was a great night and they had made her a mat she had wanted, and not to leave me out they had weaved me a fan, it was really sweet of them.
We really didn't want to leave the island as we had had such a good time and had really got to know the locals. On the boat back to Wadalice there were 11 people as well as our bags, anyway about 3/4 of the way across the boat just stopped, we gathered they had run out of fuel, we were beginning to worry when a boat from another island nearby came up to us, so me, Matthew and 2 other guests transferred boats as we had a flight to catch. We arrived at the airport just in time for check in, but it seemed that both our journeys were jinxed although it did work out in the end.
Overall we really enjoyed our time on Calaqui and would definately go back as well as wanting to visit more of Fiji as this is a place that has a lot to offer.