So on Andrews Birthday on 20th Jan we headed off from Nadi to the Mamanuca Islands. We chose 'Mana' Island as it had a backpackers accomodation option and so was more affordable! We got the wee speed boat from the beach across the hour ride to mana Island where we had a great Fiji welcome - signing from the locals to welcome us onto the island and a welcoming drink and local flower for our hair haha! Was a really lovely way to be welcomed.
On the boat ride over to Mana we stopped off at 'Bounty Island' to let some people off, that is where they filmed Celebrity Love Island, was good to see! Looked beautiful and very peaceful, but there is only one resort there and so we were glad to be going somewhere with a little more going on.
We ended up spending 4 nights on Mana Island and really enjoyed our time there. We were really lucky and ended up in one of the only beach front huts for the same price, so we opened our door and could see the beach the sea, hammocks, palm trees - exactly what you would picture for Fiji! The accommodation was lovely and our cost included three meals a day which was great, at first we loved the food but by the third and forth day realised it was repeated often and so we were ready for a change by the end!
Our first night on Mana was Andrews birthday and so we celebrated his birthday in style! The entertainment guy for the resort 'King David' made sure everyone knew it was And's birthday and he got a birthday song from everyone too which was great! Lots of 'Fiji Gold' beers were enjoyed that night!
Mana has some beautiful beaches which we explored; sunset beach and castaway beach (where they filmed the show castaway). Really stunning places. We met some great people on Mana island; Simon and Kirsty from Brighton and a hilarious guy from Canada who had a different Hard Rock Café t shirt for every day of the week! The 4 of us went on a few shark hunts; Fiji is known for its shark waters, but mostly black tip sharks, so not dangerous. And and I were determined to swim with a shark and headed for the most popular shark spots, hoping for a glimpse, unfortunately we weren't successful and left having not swam with any!
While on Mana a storm / cyclone / hurricane hit and the weather took a really bad turn for the worse. Boats were being cancelled and the rain and wind was quite scary. It meant we spent a few days by the bar (could have been worse!) and ended up leaving Mana a day early as Andrew had a flight to catch on the 26th Jan and so we didn't want to risk missing boats etc and him missing his flight. So on Mon 23 Jan And and I checked out of Mana Island and got the rocky boat back over to the mainland. Arriving at the mainland we realized the severity of the flooding here. Lots of the roads were completely under water and many people's houses were completely flooded. We managed to make our way back to our little place we had stayed in before 'Horizon Backpackers' in Nadi (Nadi town was under water but this was a bit out of the town and was ok) and it was safe from the flooding. It was late at night so we headed out for food straight away, rain pelting down. We were only in the restaurant down the road for 45 mins or so, came out and the wee wooden bridge we had walked across to the restaurant had completely gone - under water! The rain had taken a turn for the worse and we literally had to wade home, trousers up, flip flops off - go! Unfortunately we had a ground floor room that night, we got back, dried off and then debated whether to move upstairs to another room. As we were deciding we were in the bathroom and the shower plug hole started bubbling and gurgling with water - so we took that a sign and asked to be moved to a higher room! Thankfully when morning came the rain had eased and the flooding along our road had died down. Was quite a scary experience and we really felt for the people of Fiji who had lost a lot. And and I had a few more days then just around our hotel, we didn't venture far due to the rain and flooding and then Thursday 26th Jan came, the date we had been dreading; And left on a flight back to Bangkok and I waited in Fiji for my flight to South America in a few days, knowing it would be 9 months before we would see each other again.