Yasawa Islands

P1070789A short flight to the islands, barely enough time to watch a movie, followed by a slow trip in a taxi to the Westin. We later learn that this was the Regent in a bygone time. Only left enough time to have a little explore and dinner at the hotel.

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P1070791Woken early by a cherry picker outside our window with people hacking at the palm trees, taking down coconuts before they fall on anyone. Great start to the day.

Decent breakfast at the very large Westin and a walk around to find the beach, astoundingly there isn't one at the Westin, just a rock sea wall and of course a pool complex.

There's a shuttle bus (the Bula bus) available that takes a circuit around the many hotels to the marina and back. We buy a four day ticket and take a walk to see the rest of the (huge) complex. There is a beach of sorts at the Sheraton, not too appealing.

The Bula bus takes us to the Marina for lunch and a look around and booking the evening meal at Bonefish.

The pool back at the hotel looks great but it's not like Langkawi, quite cold relatively.

Our friends from NZ join us for dinner at the marina.

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IMG 20150616 140432238 HDRMore adventurously we catch the local bus from the Marina into Nadi (actually it goes via all the hotels!) and costs $1 each. Something of an adventure. Not the time for photos.

Mary gets a plug for our kitchen sink ($0.40) and I get a local SIM card and virulent shirt as well as some cash. Nadi has gotten larger but it not a place for a full day

Back to the pool for the afternoon and dinner at the Thai at the Raddision hotel. Great food but patchy service.

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IMG 1538We've pretty much run out of the sights so it's repeat the lunch in the Marina (Lulu's) and then the afternoon at the pool.

The bad news is that in one of the moves to keep in the shade my new phone got lost (stolen?). Not handed in, not to be found, bugger! Good job I did not buy the new duty free iPhone in Auckland.

A lot of anxiety and changing of key passwords. Sadly I'm not able to remote wipe it :( Good job it's encrypted. Strange how you feel naked without the phone these days. What did we do before? If the person who kept it want's to be honest contact me and no questions asked.

An excellent anniversary dinner at the Flying Fish at the Sheraton (including anniversary seranae from the staff and cake!) and the nice concierge took us back to our hotel in his golf buggy. Apparently I was quite loud.

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IMG 0193I slept badly due to a combination of too much to drink and worry about the lost phone. Not handed in.

Anyway the next stage of the trip occupies our attention. Packing up, breakfast, checking out, etc. Our driver picks us up at 10am and we head into Nadi to the vegetable market (stunning), the supermarket (less so), the Vodafone shop for a new phone :( and the butcher.

The Nadi Vodafone people get a five star rating for helpfulness. They even transferred the credit from my lost sim card and I kept the number. Great. (Not quite so good actually, the phone turns out to be locked to Vodafone Fiji and they can't/won't unlock it)

There's a lesson here, make sure that you can secure your phone before you lose it.

Lunch and more shopping (bread, beer, etc) at the Marina and where we board our vessel for the trip around the islands. The boat(?) turns out to be more than stunning. We are impressed.

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Read more: On Board

P1070832Good nights sleep, a tad warm down below but quite manageable.

Today we remain at Musket Cove with a trip in the tender out to a sand bar a way off the coast for snorkelling and the out to a floating man made platform that is full of young people brought for diving/surfing/snorkelling.

The last two members of the party arrive on the ferry from Denerau in the evening about 7pm and dinner on board (barbecue steak).

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P1070894A modestly early start (10:30) and a few hours get us to Waya island and with Octopus Resort. Snorkelling and a drink in the bar (ably served by an island resident, Tom) followed by another barbecue on board.

All very uneventful apart from John taking an early morning unintentional dip while casting off.

Apparently there were dolphins, sadly the kitchen staff (me) was not told about this. I gather it was very exciting. :(

Dinner on the boat again.

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P1070929xA short (an hour or so) trip to Tokatokaunu Pass, a narrow channel where the manta rays come out just before high tide but only if they feel like it. Today they were not in the mood despite there being a lot of other tourists. Frankly it didn't matter as the snorkelling was really great.

After a great start the weather went to rain and wind and we moved on north to a north coast bay on Naviti. The weather is not conducive to getting off the boat with white caps but we did give it a try to get to the local village (we have kava to offer the chief for a dispensation to take a tour of the island).

After a good sluicing heading into wind on the tender we returned to the vessel to dry out. One of the crews silk top and white cotton trousers was no longer presentable to the locals who like their white women coved up modestly.

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Read more: Tokatokaunu Pass

P1070967Much calmer although still fairly windy. The morning's project is a trip to the beach, a walk across the island to the other side where a wartime fighter had crashed in the lagoon. There are an elderly couple we met and the 86 year old lady actually saw the event as a little girl. It's a very isolated spot with great beauty but you wonder how long a couple in their 80's can manage alone there.

I did not get out as far as the plane but the rest of the party did.

The old couple we extremely friendly and we had a pack of biscuits and Weetbix to give them.The man guided us back as we had rather missed the path on the way over.

Tuna kedgeree for lunch and onward to Nacula Island in the afternoon. Add a comment

Read more: Sunken Aircraft

P1080002Mary and I drop back to see the chief in the morning with Mary's spare pharmacy reading glasses. I stop and chat with the Chief who has made it outside to take in the view while mary sees if the glasses are useful. The Chief would like a pair of sun and reading glasses too but is not owning up to that while his wife is there.

Two other ladies join us,one with a baby and the other the preacher. They are Methodists. We have their address now and will send some specs of various sorts on our return.

Life is pretty hard here.

Some snorkelling on the beach and we have an experiment with the local coconut de-husker/cracker (a wooden spike stuck in the ground). We are hopeless and manage to de-husk a couple with great effort. One of the island girls we met earlier passes and shows us how it is done. She makes it look so simple. There is even a shaped stone that we hadn't noticed(!) that is just the job to open them. Add a comment

Read more: Good Deed

P1080111Woken by a local boat puttering around outside. Our captain waves them off but then thinks better of it and follows them back to the village to see what they wanted. They were selling lobster but had sold it to one of the other boats moored here! Bugger.

First stop is to see if the manta rays have come out to play. The channel is a bit rough but even if we don't get into the water everyone is keen so we take a couple of turns around the channel in the tender. Sadly no luck, we'll just have to come back.

The destination for the night is back at Octopus Resort, for a snorkel, actually this is the best we have seen with many many fish and fantastic shapes and colours on the reef.

We've run out of most of the comestibles we purchased but not quite reached the bottom of the barrel but no one is keen to cook. The resort say they can accommodate us for dinner and our Captain is happy to pick us up afterwards, the dark and low tide on the reef combine with a few(!) drinks to make it unwise for us to attempt it.

The manager of the Octopus, Cesare, makes us most welcome as does Tom the bar man, overall an excellent evening with first rate dinner. This place rates a very highly recommended.

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P1080123We wake to the sound of the hydraulic winch lifting the tender out of the water. It has been an uncomfortable night (yes, probably partly the drinks last night) but mostly the roll of the boat wich increased with the wind about 4am.

Up on deck I'm pressed into service still in my dressing gown (I was only planning to make a cuppa) to get the wildly swinging tender into place. All accomplished without incident, including making the tea.

The wind and waves make for some green faces as we head back to Musket Cove and Mary's bedside table gets sluiced by the forward porthole not being properly secured. I have a go at clearing it up but have to head back upstairs before my internal gyro topples.

Everyone is pleased to get back to Musket Cove and a walk/windsurf/paddleboard/book are in order.

Dinner at the resort - avoiding the Mongolian barbecue this time - is pretty good and the local band play well known, sing along hits whist offering kava to one and all. Mary wisely avoids the kava this time, but we have a rendition of happy birthday and a happy anniversary for us.

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P1080139Earlyish start for us and a couple of hours motoring to Denarau. Docked by 10 and the taxi show promptly at 11 for the flight home.

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