Adventures on 'Celebrity Love Island'.
09.11.2008 - 23.11.2008 30 °C
Wow, Fiji. What can be said? Not much to be honest, it is just paradise on earth! I know im not eloquent enough to do it justice...but sure ive never been known as a quiet one so I'll try and describe it anyway.
We had been enjoying the New Zealand section of our trip so much that to be honest, we hadn't planned ahead for Fiji at all. So a few days before we left New Zealand we called into a travel agency to see if we could blag a package/transfers etc for the 2 weeks we would be in Fiji and we were in luck. So our Fiji trip was for the most part planned and arranged before we'd even left New Zealand which was very different then the rest of our trip to date. Knowing exactly where we'd be every hour and day for the next 2 weeks seemed strange, we normally dont know where we'd even be staying one night to the next but we planned on doing nothing but relaxing so it was a welcome change.
It was a short flight to the city of Nadi on the main Fijian island where we landed without any hassle at all and were transferred to the hotel where we'd be staying overnight before moving on to the outlying islands the following day. This was the first time we had stayed in a 'proper' hotel in some time, and we immediately felt the difference. We were on a package holiday for 2 weeks now, not so much travelling anymore. It was bitter-sweet!
The course of our stay would have us island hopping between the mainland at Nadi to 2 other islands for approx a week each of extreme laziness before transferring back to Nadi and flying out on the next leg of the trip. We didnt stray far at all from our hotel in Nadi in the few hours we were there so only got our first glimpse of Fijian life whilst on the bus to the ferry, again the package aspect of this trip hit in - we were tourists now and wouldnt get a chance to travel and explore amongst the towns and people....but i suppose we got over all of that as soon as we started cruising on the ferry out into the crystal sea to our first destination.....BOUNTY ISLAND!!
The ferry from Nadi cruised out into the calm blue waters as we burnt in the blazing sunshine on the packed deck, a deck full of backpackers and families alike. The boat slowed to a stop opposite the first island, a dot of sand and palm trees in the middle of a turqoise sea. This wasnt our destination we were due to get off at the next 'stop' but it gave us a preview of what our 2 weeks were going to be like....awesome!
The boat slowed to a halt at our first destination of Bounty Island and a small boat buzzed out to meet us. We threw the bags over and clambered into what turned out to be a glass bottomed boat the size of a small rowboat with an engine strapped on the back. The driver was crazy friendly and we were joined by 2 others as we were ferried from the ferry to the island itself, all the while looking down at the beautiful array of fish swimming below us. The clarity of the water just cannot be described, we could see the sandy seafloor perfectly clear at a good depth below us.
We were welcomed to the island by the owners of the resort singing a lovely traditional Fijian song that would remain stuck in our head the whole week! It was a great welcome as we climbed off the pier and checked into our home for the week, a lovely bungalow (called a bure in Fiji) with our own private patch of beach.
The view from our hammock outside our personal 'bure'.
There are a total of just 22 bures on the entire island, with one restaurant/main building where we would have our breakfast, lunch and dinner as well as night time entertainment and a pool - although we never bothered with that when the sea was so warm. We could walk around the entire beach-rimmed island in half an hour, and felt like we had the whole place to ourselves it was amazing.
The food was beautiful as well and the staff were great craic. We spent the nights after dinner just sitting either on the beach/in the hammock/in the bar with a few 'Fijian Golds" (the local beer) under the stars.
Reflection of the moon on the waters at Bounty Island
And needless to say, the sunsets were incredible as well!
Lynmoo on Bounty beach blazing sunset
Blazing Orange sunset
There was complimentary snorkeling gear and kayaks available which we used to explore the extensive coral around the island. During high tide the sea was beautiful to swim in we just stepped out of the bure and jumped in. During low tide the sea level retreated and just about covered the coral line. The variety of fish and coral we saw was amazing and kept us entertained the whole week, we didnt go an hour without getting back into the water.
Lorraine on Bounty
And of course how could I forget about Bounty Islands' claim to fame?! It was the island where ITV filmed the original "Celebrity Love Island"! It was a terrible horrible show, but you could see from it just how much of a paradise this place is.
Lynmoo sunset at Bounty beach
So our week of bliss on Bounty Island came to an end and we had to leave.........for another island! This is called the 'get jealous' chapter for a reason ya know! Our next stop was 4/5 islands down the line and was called Mana Island. So our ferry turned up, we said a sad farewell to our hosts who played us off from the pier, and we were on our way.
Our second destination was a tad more upmarket from the relatively basic accom we were staying in in Bounty. Mana island is much much bigger, with 2 large hills splitting the island (with spectacular views from the top) and I think possibly a landing strip for small planes. We were staying in the private resort on one side of the island, and on the other side there was a small town with some budget accom/hostels. Normally we wouldve been staying on that side, so we did feel out of place in the proper resort! The resort was huge with a spa, large fancy pool with bar, tennis courts, computer room/library, wi-fi throughout and all the mod-cons. There was a Fijian choir performing in the main bar when we arrived which made the wait for check in a lot easier! There are 152 guestrooms in this resort alone as opposed to the 22 on Bounty. It was different, but just as beautiful. And we made sure to take advantage of all the facilities available.
Mana Island Pier
Our bure this time was much more extravagant with a cool shower that was technically outdoors and a huge bed, but it wasn't on the beach...we had to walk a whole 3 minutes for that privilage! The beach itself was stunning. Spotless clean fringed by palm trees for shade and the all important spots for hanging hammocks.
Hammock on Mana Beach
The water on the North beach of the island was just as clear and warm and clean and perfect as the water on Bounty, if not more so. Again the snorkeling equipment was complimentary, we would swim out a good 50 meters over just plain sand sea floor before you would just hit a HUGE vertical drop of what must be a hundred feet or more as we couldnt see the bottom through the darkness. A steep cliff under the sea surrounding the island that would greet you with a current of cold water rushed up from the deep to meet you. It was here that the coral grew and the amazing species of fish swam around you (fish that always seemed to poo just as you reached them and fly off?!), the place teemed with life. On one of the days a huge Manta Ray breezed by me, I went to swim after it but stopped when I could hear Lorraines muffled underwater screams of objection!
Mana Island North Beach
Ohhhh SAUCY! Lynmoo on Mana beach.
At this stage of our trip I officially ran out of money! Not bad goin when you think about it I was just 20 days shy or so of coming home when I had to make 'that' call! We had to take full advantage of the breakfast and dinners we had already paid for...as lunch was extra and quite pricey, so many a bread roll was smuggled out at breakfast to do us for lunch as well!
It was another beautiful paradise and another amazing week that went by all too fast, despite not really doing much but lazing, swimming, eating and drinking!
We were picked up on our last day by the ferry and whisked back to Nadi for our flight out of Fiji. But we had 8 hours to kill, so we threw our packs into lockers and got a taxi to the nearest golf course for a game to pass the time. We finished that horribly sweaty and were forced to shower in the mosquito ridden showers that were available in the airport, which we shall just describe as an....'experience'!
Our time in Fiji had been glorious, a stunning country (from what little we saw of it) with beautiful people where we had lived like kings in paradise for a fortnight. It was with sadness that we walked to the boarding gates, and with some serious trepidation that I got on the plane! Lets just say it wasnt a new model of plane. In fact it was a rustbucket! And I was bucketing it as we took off, but off we were...to the US of A!