Monday, July 23, 2012

Captain Cook Cruise - Drawaqa Island

That  is the Reef Endeavour in the distance.  The ship uses tenders to take the passengers ashore.  In some cases you need to be prepared to get your feet a little wet, but honestly, if you don't enjoy the water, I am not sure Fiji is the vacation for you.  I felt like a mermaid by the end of the trip!   

Guess what this is?

  It is the school bus...I mean school boat!  It takes the children to school on the other islands.

While I was shopping at the village market, Camera Guy was following the local fishing dog...but his owner called him away before he caught anything.

A village tour - notice everyone wearing the Sulus - everyone including men, need to cover their knees to show respect in the village.

Here is the sea snake. These creatures are very poisonous but people are not often bitten as they have small mouths and their fangs are set deep in their jaws. Nevertheless, we gave it a lot of room!

The islands are close together so you can always see some island.  Most of the inhabited islands have fresh water.  After lunch we set off to Drawaqa Island.  Camera Guy and I decided to pass on snorkelling this afternoon and take a walk instead.  The Barefoot Island Resort is here.  Backpackers can enjoy budget accommodations (dorm style) in a fantastic setting.  Some bures share a washroom, but the picture below is one of the deluxe units, featuring a 'floating bed'.

This beach front bure  was recently built and is really quite nice with an ensuite. Make sure to ask for one with a washroom!   The doorway and some sides zipped up like a tent and was very interesting. The resort was just bought by a South African Company and they are refurbishing many of the bures. They actually had a carpenter building the furniture at the resort!

This is the outdoor shower in the beachfront bure.  I love outdoor showers!
This is the closest island to the famous Manta Ray feeding channel.

Annette and Rosie on board the Reef Endeavour.

It was Island Night on our last night on board the Captain Cook Cruise.  Camera Guy wore his turtle sulu...we all danced together and had so much fun!

The crew enjoyed themselves as well.  They even did a Bollywood number that had everyone laughing!

What a great time we had on the Reef Endeavour....

And another stunning sunset....

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Visit to The Blue Lagoon

The Blue Lagoon... I remember watching this romantic Brooke Shields movie as a kid.  The movie  was filmed in a few locations, but some of it was done right here...

Annette and Rosie from Australia.

The caves of the Blue Lagoon are actually located on Sawa-I-Lau Island. The island is imposing, rising 1000 feet above sea level and is the object of many legends. 

Every place we visited, beautiful Sulus were displayed.

We loved spending time with Gail and Hilary from New Zealand.

Paul, one of the dive instructors...

Swimming in the cave was so amazing!

Camera Guy in his South Pacific bula shirt....and a Fiji Bitter! It's five o'clock somewhere!

And of course another fabulous sunset...

Tomorrow is our last full day aboard the Reef Endeavour.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Visit to Yasawa Island & A Fiji School

We went to school Fiji! We expected to visit the Ratu Namasi School on Yasawa Island and just get a tour, so I was very surprised and simply filled with joy when the children lined up in rows in front of us with big smiles and sang so incredibly! There were no shortage of smiles throughout our entire visit.

Check out our video!

One of the young girls came over to me, shook my hand  and offered to show me her school.  It was very organized and she was so proud of it. She was our tour guide for the rest of our visit. 

Modern Fiji's national dress is the sulu which resembles a skirt. It is commonly worn by both men and women. The boys at the school wore sulus and the girls wore dresses.

Some of the students  gathered to get into the picture.  They were fascinated by Camera Guy's camera, and couldn't decide if they wanted in the picture or to look through the lens at the picture he was setting up!

They don't have dependable internet service but they do go online occasionally. There was a computer & printer in the Head Teachers office.   

We had a quick swim before returning to the Reef Endeavor for a reef talk with Noah, the Marine Biologist, lunch and then off to the Blue Lagoon to swim in the cave!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

A Fijian Village & Kava Ceremony

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

This visit to the Fijian village was a highlight of our trip and an experience you shouldn't miss.  The village Chief was presented with a Kava root as a gift from the ship. The Chief then allowed us into the village and participate in a Kava ceremony. When drinking kava it is customary to give a hollow clap once, hold up the bowl, say "bula" and drink. You then hand the bowl back, and do three more hollow claps.

There are etiquette rules when visiting a village.Women should  keep their shoulders covered and having your knees exposed whether your are a man or woman is a sign of disrespect.  Long pants or Fijian sulus (wraps) should be worn.  There are so many beautiful ones sold you will probably want to buy one anyhow!  And both men and women wear them.
We had a great dinner that was cooked in a lovo or earth oven in the ground.  When the sun went down and it got increasingly darker, a generator kicked to life and some lights came on in the area where we were eating.  Otherwise they don't have electricity...and it gets dark early in Fiji!
Henrique, the Cruise Director with the kava root.

Walking towards the village at low tide...


Village life (above and below) 

The market

Tomorrow we visit a Fijian school on Yasawa Island. The students will be our tour guides.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Our First Scuba Dive In Fiji!

Tuesday June 26, 2012 

Bula everyone!  In case you didn't know, that is a warm hello in Fijian. We have learned some other Fijian words - Vinaka means thank you and thank you very much is Vinaka Vakalevu. Boat is Waqa (pronounced wonga) and the city Nadi is pronounced Nandi - actually anything with a "d" is pronounced nd!

This morning we set off to Tivua Island.  Here is our second video blog but keep reading below.

Tivua Island, a gem in the South Pacific, where we enjoyed snorkeling in the beautiful water. 

I was in heaven here...Tom our driver on the mainland said you need to keep one eye open  to make sure you are really on earth...

Camera Guy finally let me take a picture of him...his blue eyes matched the ocean... (and his Blue Jays Hat hahaha).

Our new friends from New Zealand - Hilary and Gail.

Everything about the place is romantic!

When the light touches the blue water or the green hills, everything just bursts with colour!

Camera Guy and I about to go scuba diving with Will, the dive master.  It was fun!

Will leading us into the deep blue sea...YIKES!!! I didn't let go of his hand the entire time. We actually went to a depth of 30 feet and were under for about 40 minutes. 

Everything is magical...Camera Guy was loving his new underwater Panasonic Lumix camera, but I think he was more concerned about breathing & equalizing than he was about taking dozens of pictures. Even so, the underwater pictures look pretty good.

Tonight is the Captain's dinner and tomorrow Drawaqa Island and the Gunu village...

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Leaving on Captain Cook Cruise from Port Denarau, Fiji

We decided to try using video for some of our Fiji blog posts. Camera guy has just bought a new Nikon D-4 and is anxious to give it a thorough field test. We'd love to hear your thoughts, add your comments below. But be kind, I'm new at this!

Friday, July 6, 2012

We finally make it to Fiji!

June 23,2012

The past couple of days took a toll on us. We were exhausted so decided to sleep in a little this morning and go to the airport early. With Dan's AMEX card we got into the Admiral Lounge.  We flew American Airlines to Honolulu and arrived quite late but were determined to have dinner on Waikiki Beach so after checking into an airport hotel, we hopped in a cab and headed to Dukes, a popular beachside restaurant.

After a casual dinner, we walked along the beach and explored some of the shops that were still open downtown.

We got back to the hotel at 1:00 AM and set our alarms for 4:00 AM.  

This Air Pacific flight was not going to leave without us!!!!  We were the first in line at the Air Pacific Counter and the plane was only half full,so we had space to relax....

We finally arrived in Nadi (pronounced Nan-dee), Fiji and we were so happy to be greeted with our very first Bulas (warm hellos) and shell necklaces by Pacific Destinationz.  

Tom, our driver guide, took us to the Radisson Blu for the night. The Radisson is a very nice resort on Denarau Island. It is modern but has a warm Fijian feel to it.

It was great to finally be in Fiji. We just took it easy and went into Port Denarau for the afternoon (5 Fiji dollar cab ride), had lunch at Lulus and watched the boats and ferries come and go.  It is a major terminal for ferries going to the islands.  This is where we will board our Captain Cook Cruise tomorrow. 

We got back to the Radisson just in time for the torch lighting ceremony and Happy Hour. 

I ordered a margarita, thinking it meant half price...but instead got 2...YIKES!!! Camera guy had no problem with his two mojitos.
He guided me to the restaurant for a lovely dinner...goodnight!


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