Fiji was just awesome. Tom and I took an island hopping ferry around a group of islands called the Yasawas. Stepping off the plane was like stepping into an oven. We were greeted with guitar playing, floral shirts and beaming smiles. We soon got a feeling for how things work here. "fiji time," they call it. Basically there's no rush to do anything. The first island we visited was Nanuya lai lai, a 4hr ferry journey from the mainland. To get from the ferry to the island we had to board a tiny fishing boat as the waters around the island are very shallow in places, with reef - visible through the crystal waters..
The family showed us to our accommodation, which was right on the beach. We had a beautiful tiny thatched Bure (house) all to ourselves. It had a sand floor and fresh flowers and a hanging bed! - Lush, although both Tom and I were feeling a bit sick by the morning! We took a wonder around and met some more of the family members and soon realised we were the only guests there! - apart from one old guy that had been here for 7 weeks, looking for a fijiian honey and they couldnt get him to leave.
We really got to know the family. They were all so unbelievably friendly, we spent the whole time with them. They showed us how to open coconuts and we made bracelets out of the shell. Tom had his rugby ball with them so we had a throw around every afternoon. Every evening after dinner, out came the guitars and the whole team gathered around to play and sing to us.
One day they took us fishing in the tiny wooden boat. One of the guys - Bill - as he looked the spit of Bill Cosby, just came along with the sole purpose to bale out the water that was seeping in. We fished with just a line and a hook. I caught a massive red snapper. Tom caught a small parrot fish!! - It was beautiful tho. He did get rather excited at one point whan something heavy was tugging the line. Only to find he'd caught a huge lump of coral.
We ended up staying for three nights. We didnt want to leave. On the last night we were invited to join them for there friday night celebrations and Kava drinking. (the local drink made from the dried root of a plant) Everyone sat around on a big tarpoline - Me, Tom and about 10 Fijiians. Every time the song finished, the Kava was passed around - and they weren't long songs. Thankfully dinner was called and Tom and I got to have a break from it whilst we ate. We loved it here, it was such a real expierience. It wasn't like being visitors at all, just part of it.
The weather was off and on - literally. We had one day of baking sunshine followed by one of torrential downpours. It all added to the tropical feel. The rain literally trapped you indoors. Although it was still hot even when it was raining. I was suprised at how un-touristy it was. There was no shops/restaurants/internet cafes even phones. The only food we ate was the food provided by our resorts. Drinking water had to be boiled. There was no hot water. At the first resort Tom and I we dying to get in the shower and wash off the salt from the sea - only to find it was a salt water shower!
We went for a summit hike on the third island - Waya. There wasnt even a path. We just scrambled our way through the undergrowth and up and down steep muddy banks. By the end my legs were trashed - on top of the nailing I got by mosquitos the night before. After my 'relaxing break' in Fiji I looked the battered! Our guide was amazing at getting us coconuts tho - he literally climbed up the trunk.
Our final island was Bounty island - The one where celebrity love island was filmed (if that means anything to anyone) It was one of those picture perfect islands - well they all were, but this one you could walk all the way around in just 30mins. The snorkling here was fantastic. We only had to paddle 10-15 metres away from the shore to be in a coral reef, surrounded by star-fish, loads of beautiful fish, manta ray and even jellyfish. (apparently the ones here don't sting - I wasn't gona find out)
Back on the mainland we had a day to Visit the town Nadi. The bus into town was just really a steel frame. There were no windows, just pull-down plastic rain covers. The driver insisted on driving without using the clutch and smoke rose constantly from the front radiator, despite being covered by a dampened towel. We did however make it to the town and found some lovely craft shops and markets to pick up some souveniers. We're gona miss this place and its relaxed vibe.