After spending some time on main island learning about their culture and philosophy, we are finally heading towards an island to enjoy some Fijian beautiful beaches! We have decided to splurge on a luxury resort for the next five days on Waya Island. After camping in Australia and New Zealand, we needed a “holiday during traveling” so this island stay is really to help us relax. Many other travelers prefer to do island hopping with this “Bula Pass” where you get to ride on the ferry as many times as you want and hop from island to island, but we have decided that it was not something for us. After a transfer to a port near Lautoka and a 1.5hour speed boat ride, we arrived at Octopus Resort! Several staff and the resort manager were at beach to welcome us with a “Bula” song when we arrived. The beach and water in front of resort looked amazing, we were just excited as we arrived. We had our welcome drink on our balcony at our Bure (traditional houses), this must be paradise!
The next days were simply heavenly for us- most of the time weather was good, good food and friendly people. Our Bure was spacious, beautiful and even had an outdoor shower. We arrived on Friday, spent the first two days snorkeling at water in front of the resort. We took our snorkel equipment, walked to the beach, snorkel out, and swam into schools of fishes multiple times! The resort was one of the best that we have had (most expensive too) with a good selection of food for every meal, friendly staff, and even prepared different activities each day
for guests. On Sunday we joined the Sunday Service at the local village, where most staff come from. After a 15minute uphill-downhill climb we arrived at the local village. Though it was not that poor, it was nowhere near the standards we are used to. Mosquito net and two mattresses outside, there was their bedroom. Nonetheless, the villagers were still happy. The church service was in Fijian so we did not understand anything, but we did enjoy their lovely choir. When we were there it was school holiday so all the kids were at the village. We learnt that the children in village have to go to boarding school since primary school as there is no school other than a kindergarten in their village. So the resort would pay for the kids’ education and their expenses as they board at another island nearby. Imagine going away from home at the age of 7 for five days a week- that must be hard!
On Monday we got up soo early at 6.45am as we were going on a hiking trip to the summit on the island. The weather did not look so friendly and it started raining shortly after we started our hike. At first we were pretty happy with the cloudy weather as cloudy weather should be better for us than sunny weather as it could really “grill” us. Soon we realize neither sunny nor rainy weather do us good- try hiking up rocky trail on this rainy weather! It was slippery as a slide at some parts. The tour guide was a local who does this hike twice a week. He was really fast and Yinru was really pissed. After struggling to keep up with the pace, at halfway Yinru decided it was nothing for her and decided to wait whilst the others continue their hike. Roman, the gentleman, stayed back and accompanied Yinru and another lady. During the 1.5hour wait, the weather was just changing every few minutes, rainy and cloudy and sunny all at once. It rained for some time and we looked pathetic waiting for the other hikers. After some time the others finally came down, looking like they have just came out of a jungle. Some covered with mud and leaves on face, they said it was very slippery and they did not have a good view of the island because of the weather. Rain did make uphill climb challenging, it also made downhill climb “exciting”. Some parts were so slippery that you hear “oh are you alright” as some of us lost our grip and slipped. After some 3hours we were happy to be back at the resort again. The weather remained bad the whole day, sea was so rough and waves so huge that nobody was allowed to swim or snorkel. It had something to do with full moon so we heard. But well, we relaxed at the pool anyways. Yeah, that was more the YinRu thing (apart food) and we were happy about it. We still burned some calories with the difficult one hour hike 😉
Cool thing about this resort is that you never get bored – there is always something you can do. Some activities are free such as weaving local jewelries with leaves, visiting church; some activities are charged such as the hike, or dive. Since we have not dived for a long time, we decided it was time to maybe try diving on this beautiful island. Hence on Tuesday diving was on our schedule. Cookie, a big macho man whose name did not fit so well, is dive master with 23years of dive experience. We felt like we were in
good hands to dive together with him. However, as easy going and relayed as Fijians are, they are also pretty relaxed when it comes to quality control. We were told not to worry about the dive equipment at all as they would take care of it. When we hit the water, Roman realized that his mouth piece was broken (read: NO good as you breathe under water with it). What did the Fijians do? Use the mouth piece of the (emergency). Anyways, we survived and are writing this blog so ya, everything sort of went well. We had some problems equalizing our ear pressure so going down to bottom took a pretty long time. We saw walls of corals (there was also a magician coral that changed its color from brown to white when it was touched), some beautiful fishes, but nothing spectacular. We both agreed that the dives at Sabah were much better, personal opinion though. This dive was pretty short, before you knew it you were breathing with your nose (and not mouth as in underwater) again. The same was applicable to our stay at Octopus, good times always end too soon. After a 5-night stay and burning a hole in the pocket, we were leaving this beautiful island and resort already.
After a luxurious 5Star resort stay, we were going back to Bamboo backpackers again! You must be able to tell how flexible we are – we do everything from camping to hostel/backpackers to all-inclusive resorts. We enjoyed all the different experiences that come together with it, the different people you meet etc etc. At Bamboo Backpackers, where we first stayed when we arrived at Fiji, we felt like we were a part of the family. The staff still remembered us when we came back from the island getaway after 5 days and all greeted us with a genuine smile. At Octopus sometimes we had the impression that the staff are a bit tired of meeting tourists all the time, singing the same welcome song few times a day, asking same questions multiple times a day… Packing and getting ready to fly the next day was all we did at Bamboos, besides frequent toilet visits for Roman as poor boy was down with diarrhea at the moment. We hope that it would be alright to fly tomorrow!
All in all Fiji was a beautiful experience and a lesson for us – to learn to be contended with what we have, be happy, and live more consciously. It is good to have money (to afford a trip like this for example), but money can’t buy happiness. Next time when we are pissed when the train in Switzerland has a 2minutes delay, we will remind ourselves how blessed we are, and how the Fijians would take it with cool. Fiji Time – why hurry? Fiji was a good half-time rest for us during our traveling and we did feel more energetic to continue our travel. The next stamp on passport- Samoa, another island in the South Pacific.