Yet more mosquito bites! Aaaaah! It took us hours to repack our bags to get ready to move on. The guys thought we'd dissapeared! We went round taking lots of pictures of silly things like the shower block and all the dogs! We faffed on around writing in the sand and general silliness! Most of the people had gone on a cave trip so we sat around reading our books and doing our journals until lunch. We had to get onto the the little boat to catch the Yasawa Flyer. The ladyfrom Sunrise gave us all a hug and wished us well. She gave us a traditional Fijian flower to wear behind our ear. The side you wear it on depends on whether you're single or not. As there were lots of us going out they took two little boats and we raced the last bit of the way to the big boat which was really funny, although I was I bit worried when we collided with the big boat! It took about an hour and a quarter to get to our rendezvous point with the 'cruise' boat - the Wanna Taki. (I put cruise boat in inverted comas as it didn't really move at all so we didn't really cruise!) We stepped straight from one boat to the other. The Wanna Taki is a bit bright yellow boat. The sleeping arrangements were just one big room with lots of bunks on the lower deck. The upper deck had a bar and chairs and tables. Emma and Sanna, and the guys all came to the Wanna Taki as well and we met up with Gareth, who we had met at Sunrise. After meeting and catching up with people we went below deck for a WARM shower with a CLOSING door! It was probably the best shower in my entire life! It felt like such luxury in comparison to Sunrise! The downstairs is air-conditioned and pretty much mosquito free - does life get any better!! We went back up top feeling mch refreshed and played cards with lots of people. We sampled a can of 'rum and coke'. (Wierd - ready mixed in a can?!) It's quite potent stuff but not the greatest tasting drink I've ever had! The dinner was served in a buffet which was really nice. You could be a bit more sparing on the spicy stuff and pile up the plate with fresh pineapple and watermelon! Mmmm! After dinner we were wised and ducked out of a repeat of the kava ceremony and had a glass of wine instead! Much better! We spent the whole evening playing cards. I have neer played so many games of cards in my life! Being on a boat (e3specially with a glass of wine) is very disorientating. The boat was really noticeably rocking from side to side. It can be hard to distinguish if it's you or the boat!!
For breakfast they made scrambled egg! Yay! I had to put it on bread rather than toast but it was great! (It's the small things that make life good!) We did a bit of sunbathing and read our books. Even at half eight in the morning it was boiling hot! People were all diving into the sea off of the sides of the boat! After lunch a group of us went out in the two-people kayaks (wearing lifejackets). I was a bit scared but was persuaded to join in! (For those who don't know - I can't swim and am very scared of the whole deep sea and drowning thing!!) It was very fun. We rowed out from the boat to the closest island (Mantaray I think), had a wander on the beach, and rowed back again. It was a lot easier than in Cornwall as the sea was a lot calmer. Everyone on the boat was really sweet and were encouraging me to try to swim with everone else off of the back of the boat. (I remind you that the boat was anchored in the middle of the sea!! Aah!) Eventually I gave in. I very slowly slid on the back off the boat (don't worry... I was still wearing the lifejacket). Holding on to Fi and a guy called Alan from Glasgow we swimmed a few metres away from the boat!!!!!! I managed to swim back to the boat on my own! Whoopee! (Dad, are you proud! Those hours of tryng to teach me to swim might not have been in vain!) Everyone on the boat was very impressed with my bravery! Afterwards we went back upstairs to dry off. People were diving off the sides again. Fi was brave and had a go. I got a fab action shot of it! Gareth tried to do a fancy move and ended up landing kind of side on and got a blood blister under his eye/black eye! He ended up using a ltex glove filled with ice and cold water as an ice pack which had much comedy value! Before the Yasawa Flyer turned up to pick up and drop off the crew of the boat sang a traditional farewell song. Gareth and Alan were leaving. The big coming and going of people is a big event in the day and is a bit sad waving goodbye to new friends! After a bit more reading (in the shade) we went off the back of the boat for ANOTHER swim! :-) We then had tea and these really yummy strawberry flavour biscuits! After our buffet dinnner we played yet more cards. We did a full version of the Swedish card game 'plump'! Some of the girls on the boat had a very excessive amount to drink and were being ill and falling over so we headed downstairs. We watched the film 'I am legend' as some of the others had just put it on. It was pretty bad! Before I could get into my bed I had to get rid of a big beetle thing that thought it looked like a cosy place to sleep!
I had my first vegemite experience for breakfast - I think marmite is better! This morning we went out on a little boat on a village visit. Only about eight of us went. We had to wear clothes covering our shoulders and knees out of respect so it was VERY hot. After the captain had the chief's approval he took us on a tour around the village. We saw all the main buildings including the little church which is the centrepiece of the village. The children were really sweet and ran around shouting 'Bula, bula' (Hello). Lots of women and children in the villade displayed hand made jewellery for us to buy. We felt bad as there were far more of them selling things than there was of us to buy! Then a group of locals performed songs and dances for us. The men were wearing costumes made of dry grass. It was being portrayed as traditional but I couldn't help but be cynical as the songs were accompanied on guitar! There was a little ethnomusicologist inside me analyzing the performance and wanting to ask questions! Henry would be proud!! Towards the end of the performance they made us join in the dances (sound familiar Andean band folkies?). It wouldn't have too bad except we were all sweating like hell and dieing from the heat in too much clothes! In the last dance we had to join in a conga line with the local men (we were all girls). They put there hands on our bottoms and one man hit me on the bottom! I found this a bit offensive considering we had gone to an effort to show respect to them! Luckily I wasn't permanently traumatised!! The locals were all laughing but you had the unsettling feeling that you weren't sure whether they were laughing with us or at us! It was a very strange feeling that they'd put on all this for just eight of us. We went back to the Wanna Taki. It moved round the corner of the island. When we were stopped again we went out for a swim off the back of the boat. When we were in the water it started raining quite heavily which was really fun! It was a great way to cool down. After our swim we had our lunch and packed up our bags. We met up with the Yasawa Flyer at a quarter to three and said to goodbye to the guys. Emma and Sanna were also going the same place as us. Our next destination was South Sea island. It's the smallest of the islands and the closest to the mainland. If you stand in the centre of the island you can see sea all around you! We had another mini boat transfer onto the island. We got checked in and then walked on the sea's edge in a circle around the outside of the whole island. We walked very slowly and looked for shells but it still only took a grand total of ten minutes! We then went with Emma and Sanna for a dip in the fresh water swimming pool! lovely! We had alovely dinner, although there was much discussion around the table as to whether the meat was fish of chicken!! It turned out to be Spanish Mackerel! After dinner the lady in charge organised a crab race with little hermit crabs collected on the beach! Needless to say our little crab was useless. He started off well but then stopped an inch from the line and gave up! She also organised some other games afterwards. Before we went to bed me and Fi took a walk onto the beach. The stars were really bright in the sky.
We were woken up at 7 for breakfast by someone playing on a Fijian drum! We had a quick dip in the pool and then said goodbye to Emma and Sanna who were off on a sailing trip. It was sad to say goodbye after we'd been together for so long! We sat in the sunshine for a bit. As the island is the closest to the mainland it fills up with at least 60 daytrippers. It's a lot of people on a very little island. Being there over night you see a totally different side to it as there were only about 15 of us there. It was more 'resort' like during the day and lost it's peacefulness. We went out in the semi-submersible boat to see the fishies and some coral. We went for a dip in the sea and even in the shallow you can see some fish so we went and got some snorkelling gear. I also got a lifejacket! We swam out a bit deeper and saw some starfish and more little fish. Lunch was a really yummy barbecue - more Spanish mackerel. We soon abandoned our sun loungers in the afternoon as it was unbearably hot. We headed for the best bit of shade on the island! This really creepy Fijian man came and talked to us and asked us suspicious questions so we made in escape up to the house guests only area! I hid up there for the rest of the afternoon while Fi went for a swim! (I'm a bit overly paranoid!) We got the boat to the main island around 5 and then got a connecting coach to the Nomads skylodge. We passed a drive-thru McDonalds on the way which was the funniest thing ever considering it's jungle and corregated iron hut surroundings! The skylodge was very smart. We got dinner in the restaurant with one of the girls from our room then headed straight for the internet. It was so good to see messages from home again! We had an early night due to an early flight the next day. One of the girls in our room snored really loudly and another talked in her sleep. This was not the night we wanted to get kept awake!