Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Nov 27, 2012 – Blue Lagoon Resort to Nadi

Today starts off as usual with my view of the beautiful lagoon and coral reef right outside the front to my villa.  I go down to the restaurant to have some coffee and some yummy toasted homemade bread and a coconut muffin. Before I pack this morning, I go for my last snorkel in the lagoon.  I think the fish know I’m leaving today, because they all crowd around me, and I spot two angelfish for the first time.  I take some underwater photos, after not expecting to see anything new this morning. After having a shower, I pack and check out.

The Turtle Island Airways seaplane flight doesn’t leave Turtle Island until 4PM, so I have some time to kill before the launch takes me over there at 3:30PM.  Judith and Garth invited me to stay at their villa until I have to leave, so after lunch I take them up on their offer.  It’s great to sit back on their front porch and snooze for a while until it is time to begin my journey home.

The launch ride to Turtle Island is a bit rough, but we arrive with perfect timing. I spot the seaplane coming over the ridge of the neigbouring island and landing no more than 10 minutes after our arrival at the dock. The flight down to Nadi is uneventful, but the view over the ocean and islands is not as good as when I flew up a week ago, since the Sun is reflecting off the water much of the time.  I do get a good photo of First Landing’s foot island on our approach.  The dock is out of commission at the seaplane terminal, so we have to make a wet landing on the beach.

My first inkling that something is wrong is when the passengers from the seaplane finally have time to talk with each other.  Apparently some received email messages from Air Pacific airline that the flight is delayed until 7AM the following morning. They were instructed to go directly to a hotel to check in, but I didn’t get an email notification since my email server at home is down.  The airline didn’t call me, despite them having my cellphone number, and it being on the whole week I was at Blue Lagoon Resort.

Here I sit at 8:30PM still in Nadi and the Grand West Villas, a Best Western hotel near the Nadi airport.  I should be in the waiting lounge at Nadi airport, about to board the 10PM flight to Los Angeles, however Air Pacific canceled the flight due to mechanical breakdown of their only 747-400 in Sydney, Australia. Apparently they are housing passengers in Sydney who will be boarding this originating flight, and then they will stop in Nadi to pick us up, and finally fly onward to LA.

I have heard there are passengers who have been waiting in Nadi for almost two days to leave on flights to LA, so I expect the worst when I show up tomorrow morning to check in for my flight.  It is scheduled to depart Nadi at 7AM, with check-in starting at 3:30AM, so I plan to be at the airport at 2:45AM in order to get to the front of the line. I want to be on my way home tomorrow, not waiting around in a Nadi hotel for something to happen.

When I am at the airport this afternoon around 5:30PM, there is only one check-in clerk, and she is simply telling passengers to line up at another station in order to get a coupon to stay at a local hotel. I spend an hour waiting in those lines, to essentially go nowhere.  Needless to say, I’m very pissed off with Air Pacific, and will avoid flying with them in future.  I’m not too happy with Air New Zealand either. As the ticketing airline for my flights, they have dropped the ball big time by trusting their passengers to an airline partner who is obviously unreliable.

The Grand West Villas is no prize of a hotel. The restaurant is open until 10PM to serve dinner to all the unexpected guests they are getting from the airline, but the food is dreadful. Grilled frozen fish and chips, pop or water, and zero service.  This is the worst meal I have eaten in Fiji, and the meals in Fiji have been first rate everywhere else I have stayed until now. The rooms are very basic, but clean, and at least they are air-conditioned.

I will sleep for a few hours, and then see what tomorrow brings…

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