Sunday, November 25, 2012

November 21-25, 2012 –Blue Lagoon Resort, Nacula Island, Yasawa Group, Fiji

Nov 21 – Wednesday

I wake up a bit before 7AM, and go to the restaurant for breakfast at 7:30AM. The coffee is ready, so I start with that, and then have some yummy homemade bread toasted, and a cereal cup with fruit. They offer eggs cooked to order, so no doubt I will have some scrambled eggs another morning.

I walk the beach right to the end where there is a point with black and red volcanic rocks. This island is obviously old volcanic, since it has quite high hills, and some have sharp peaks. Later in the morning after the tide comes in, I go for my first snorkel on the reef.  It is nothing short of fantastic, and I only have to swim a few metres from the beach in front of my villa. The reef is very much alive, and there are multitudes of fish.  When I stop and float in the water, they often swarm around me.  There are lots of opportunities for taking good underwater photos, and I even set my camera for macro mode, since the wildlife is so close to me.  This is what I came here for!

The Yasawa Flyer passenger boat arrives at 1:15PM, and a couple of boatloads of people get off. They are greeted with the staff singing them a Fijian song.  It is seafood night for dinner, and what a spread!  There were mussels baked in spicy sauce, breaded whitefish & calamari, snapper baked in coconut sauce, seafood casserole, rice, homemade cheese & onion buns, rice, two salads, and a banana pastry with chocolate sauce for dessert.

Nov 22 – Thursday

I get up with the Sun again this morning, and go to the restaurant a bit after 7AM. I have some scrambled eggs on toast this morning. Then it is time to work off my breakfast, so I walk down the beach to the north, past the other resort (run by the local chief) and around the point to another section of the beach to the north. I meet several Fijians walking down the beach to go to work in our resort.  Everyone is so friendly here.

The wind kicks up at 5PM from an offshore direction (NW), and then the rain starts coming down.  We are hit with 25kmh winds and heavy rain.  I retreat inside my villa and close the shore side shutters. By 5:50PM, the rain stops, the winds subside to 12kmh, and I open the shutters again.

This evening’s dinner menu is a lovely seafood salad served in a big papadam with Romaine leaf as an appetizer, followed by two pork cutlets topped with a mild and creamy chili sauce, served with rice and vegetables. The cutlets are cheap shoulder chops, so they are full of bones and fat.  Otherwise, the meal is good, and a nice cheesecake is served for dessert.  I sit at a table with a young German woman and her South American boyfriend, a very young Scottish woman, and two Chinese couples. The Chinese people speak very little English, so they talk among themselves in their own language.

The young Scottish woman and I have a good conversation.  She was on a camping trip in late summer that took her from New York to Los Angeles, and back to New York in a giant loop. It was a group tour where a driver, van and camping equipment were provided, but the group did the cooking and washing. She also explored Ecuador, Peru and Chile before finding her way to Fiji. After Fiji, she will be traveling in New Zealand for a few weeks on a bus tour before returning home.  She admits to being homesick sometimes, but keeps herself busy to ensure she enjoys wherever she finds herself.

Nov 23 – Friday

The sound of the surf last night kept getting louder as morning approached. Sure enough, when I get up, the waves are crashing on the beach. I have my usual breakfast this morning at 7AM: coffee, toast, and add a piece of homemade cake.  The wind is strong and the seas are rough this morning. After I return to my villa, the wind picks up to 25kmh and the rain comes down. I get out my binoculars to watch the storm, since there are 3-5m waves shooting straight up at the outer reef about a kilometre offshore, and rollers breaking over the inner reef.  I didn’t come to Fiji to storm watch, but there it is!

Lauri Roche arrives this afternoon around 2PM on the Yasawa Flyer. She is ready for solid ground after enduring the rough seas this morning in the catamaran. She felt really sorry for the people who had to endure the rough seas all the way from Lautoka.  Lauri was already at Octopus Resort on an adjacent island, so her trip on board the boat was relatively short.

Since there is no snorkeling today because of the rough seas, my entertainment this afternoon is to watch the unloading of supplies from the small boats that picked up freight from the Yasawa Flyer. They were bobbing in the surf and being tossed around in the crashing waves as they slung bags of produce, beer and other beverages into shore.  The cooks and barmen will have to wash all the salt water and sand off their new supplies before they use them. The fuel barge supplies the other entertainment this afternoon. Since it can’t come in close to shore to unload normally, they simply dump 45-gallon drums of fuel overboard. The resort staff spends most of the afternoon corralling these barrels from the sea, bringing them to shore, and then struggling to roll the 500lb barrels up the beach and onto high ground.

It is Lovo Night at the resort, so a ground oven was heated up this afternoon, and the food was baked against the hot rocks wrapped in palm leaves. They had roasted chicken, pork and Black Snapper, along with Dalo and sweet potato, salads and Kokoda (Ceviche).  Everyone was raving about the Green Papaya soup…it tastes wonderful.  It isn’t sweet, since they use green papaya pulverized, and add chili to spice it up, and coconut milk to make it smooth a creamy. There is a lovely homemade coconut cake with caramel sauce for dessert.

Nov 24 – Saturday

Although the storm has passed today, there are still pretty strong wave surges coming up onto the beach. I don’t accomplish a great deal today, preferring to lounge in the hammock in front of my villa watching the activities as the staff clean up the mess left by yesterday’s storm.  I go for a swim in the sandy part of the lagoon, since swimming too close to the coral when I can’t see exactly where the coral heads are would risk getting coral cuts.  The water is the temperature of bath water, so it is easy swimming, and good exercise for me to work off all the lovely meals I’m eating, and Fiji Bitter I’m drinking.

Nov 25 – Sunday

I go snorkeling twice today, but the water is still cloudy from the storm. I take some underwater photos this morning, just to show the water conditions.  It was fine visually, since there was about 3-4 metres visibility, so I could navigate around the coral heads. This afternoon, the water was cloudier, so I just have fun watching the fish dart in and out of the coral.

There is a tropical rainstorm this afternoon, which the resort desperately needs, since they run on rainwater.  It lasted until dinnertime. Lauri and I join an older Australian couple Judith and her husband Garth for a glass of wine before dinner. We had to dash through the rain to get to Judith and Garth’s villa, but we have a good conversation with them, learning about all their travels through the South Pacific, and they regale us with their close encounter with a Grizzly bear on a wilderness adventure they took to Alaska and the Yukon.

Since it is Sunday, the Nacula Island church choir serenades us with hymns before dinner.  They have fine voices and deliver strong harmonies, as all Fijians seem to have wonderful singing abilities. Dinner this evening is a regular BBQ with ham, grilled fish, and lamb cutlets, along with salads and chocolate cake with chocolate sauce for dessert. Lauri and I talk with a group of young Australians who mostly have just graduated from medical school.  They are here in Fiji for a week or so after finishing their final university term.

Tomorrow is my last full day here at Blue Lagoon Resort before returning home on the 27th. I have really enjoyed this trip, but it is time to leave paradise and return to the family.

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