The Wandering Tops

The Wandering Tops

11 January, 2014

The Big 60 in Fiji

Well the year, 2013 has gone quickly and all of a sudden we are in 2014 with another Birthday to celebrate. Hels has been telling me that I'm getting old, "as if".  This birthday is another mile stone ..... yep the BIG 60.  As this birthday was special ...... well they are all special but this a special mile stone I thought it would be only fitting to have the family around, a normally simple request but as we are scattered across Oz where should we gather?  We all gathered in Brisbane, Briony flew in from Albury while Todd and Tenelle came up from the Gold Coast after Todd had finished his 2 weeks on the rig out from Chinchilla that morning.

Brisbane airport waiting for the flight, how exciting.

We selected Fiji, this seemed a nice place to celebrate and Briony found us a beach side villa with pool which would make it nice to "just hang out" and enjoy our time together.

The first beer, Fiji Bitter, went down well, the second was even better!!

One oldie and the young wife enjoying the serenity in the pool out the front of the villa.

So much for the serenity, the kiddies had to play ball games in the pool.

Oh well the best thing to do was to move back indoors and put the feet up!!

Our bed was made each day along with a clean up of the villa, living like a king!!
We stayed at Fiji Beach and Spa Resort at Denarau which was a $12 taxi ride from Nadi.  Technically it's Denarau Island but the bridge over to the man made island would be no more than 200m.  Denarau Island consists of several resorts a port and luxury homes.

Breakfast by the main pool
As breakfast was included the plan was to eat as much as we could and this would get us through the day and then we could have a light evening meal.  Good theory, all I did was over eat and put on at least 1kg a day, oh well holidays!!

The next plan was to go into Nadi and get some fresh fruit, have a quick look and back to the pool.  Some of this went to plan, we did get to the market and get our fruit, looovely pineapples, sweet bananas & watermellon. However, we did get cohuerst into a souvenir shop for a traditional welcome and opportunity to buy artefacts "from their village" store. This was our introduction to kava, seemed to also work as a sales technic and Hels managed to buy some souvenirs " to help the local village".

The market with tables of kava for sale.
The traditional greeting with plenty of kava

I was the chief and had the largest cup of kava.

Streets of Nadi
Each afternoon the resort had 2 for 1 cocktails, how could we miss out on this bargain. Even venturing out of the resort to Port Denarau for dinner, cocktails were 15% off - how could we refuse that!!

Cocktail girls

The girls were not the only Cocktail consumers!

It was decided that four of us would take the Jet ski safari, a half day tour which consisted of about an hour ride out to Beachcomber Island then some snorkelling before we returned to the mainland.  This was a great experience, especially as I hadn't driven a jet ski before.  The trip out was relatively flat and was able to reach a maximum speed of around 85kmh. Briony and I were the only ones of the 5 jet skis to come off though and Briony last a pair of sunnies, I never liked them anyway ... he he.  After our snorkelling the trip back was very different, the sea had a swell of 2m at times and we never got over about 50kmh.  For me on the front it was like spending the entire trip underwater, the nose was running and for the rest of the day my eyes were red from the sea spray.

Todd & Tenelle heading out on the Jet ski, didn't stay at that speed for long.

Snorkelling at Beachcomber Island

Todd and Tenelle had also planned to take the full day Seaspray Sailing Adventure.  Unfortunately, Tenelle caught a bug (nothing to do with cocktails) and wasn't able to go, so with a late call up I went with Todd on the tour (nothing to do with free beer while on the sailing boat).

From an 8.30am start at Port Danarau we travelled on the transfer boat which also takes passengers to other islands.  Once arriving at Mana Island we transferred to the classic schooner for the afternoon of exploring the crystal clear waters, beaches and lagoons of the Mamanuca Islands.  The crew were a very jovial lot, playing jokes on each other as we made our way to the island snorkelling spot. The 83ft schooner anchored off Modriki Island (also featured in the Tom Hanks movie Castaway) where we snorkelled and explored the island, couldn't find Wilson though!!

The transfer catamaran coming towards the Mana jetty with the schooner waiting.

Had to check out the bow for a piccie

Modriki Island, can you find Wilson?

While we were enjoing the snorkelling the crew prepared a BBQ lunch so once back on the boat we set sail (motor running) and enjoyed fish, chicken and salad lunch as we cruised between the islands.

We also stopped at Yanuya Island to visit a traditional Fijian inland village and traditional welcome, more kava, and the opportunity to purchase Fijian handcrafts.  The village is home for about 600 people and they live on the island fishing and farming the land. When visiting the village we were requested to observe the traditional custom of not wearing a hat or sunglasses (even placed on the head) as only the village chief had this privilege, and the women were requested to wear a sarong or long skirt whilst in the village.

The traditional welcome, the chief has the sunnies on!!

Some of the handicraft for sale.

Mum and the kids sitting in the shade of the veranda.

A local boy with the catch in the water.

The last day in Fiji was spent relaxing, the amount we consumed at breakfast had become less each day and the time spent sleeping around the pool had increased.  I couldn't have had a better birthday celebration. Fiji is a lovely island and the Fijian people are relaxed and very friendly - always greeted with a Bula (Hello) and huge smiles.  With this relaxed atmosphere I was quickly able to adapt to Fiji time - no hurry no worry!!

This was a great way to spend my birthday, can't wait for my 49th next year ....

No comments: