Bounty Island - Kuata

Trip Start Jan 22, 2006
1
52
156
Trip End Aug 16, 2006


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Tuesday, March 14, 2006

I had a reasonable night of sleep, considering that I had toasted my back a little. However I don't think that Lynne slept well at all because her sunburn was just too sore. So to have to put a heavy rucksack on the same sunburnt shoulders later on that morning really was the last thing that she could have done with. After breakfast we staggered down with our bags, settled our bar tab (which was definitely under what it should have been) and then boarded the little boat to be ferried out to the awaiting Yasawa Flyer. Fortunately at this point the staff were on hand to help with our bags to prevent further sunburn irritation, they picked up our bags as if they were light carrier bags rather than the dead weights that they are.

Safely aboard the main boat, we crashed out in the air conditioned lounge, not before buying some factor 30+ sun cream from the onboard shop (oh how we wished we'd seen that they sold that on the first day). The journey to Kuata took about forty minutes and the boat was soon slowing for us to climb aboard another smaller vessel to ferry us to the shore. Lynne has a brief moment of panic when she couldn't see her bag anywhere and we were scared it had been shipped off to the wrong island. But fortunately it was sitting in the sand waiting for her when we jumped onto the beach at Kuata.

We sat underneath the shade of a thatched shelter whilst checking in, but the heat was still absolutely sweltering (possibly worsened by our sunburnt patches). We arrived at the same time as about 15 other people and the majority seemed to be English, although a couple were from Germany (or were speaking in German anyway).

We were then shown to the slightly more basic accommodation that would be our home for the next two nights, it's a thatched roof hut, with a corrugated roof part joined to the back that makes up the shower and toilet section. No air conditioning or heated shower this time but we did have our very own mosquito net draped over the bed, which will be the first time I've ever slept under one.

When I tried the shower later, it was so weak that it was like standing underneath a rain cloud that was very gently drizzling. Also it's a little disconcerting because you can see gaps in the shelter where light shines through and when people walk past, it's like sharing the shower with you. However I have to assume that they couldn't see anything as I didn't hear any giggles or shouts of "PHOAR look at that six pack" whilst I was using it, so I think it was modesty proof.

After far too much sun the day before, we both wanted a day out of it today, so after a nice lunch we retired to the shady but sultry conditions that was our hut, where we pretty much stayed for the rest of the day. We only ventured out when the sun was going down to stand on the shore, listening to the waves come crashing in. Like Bounty Island before it, the sand on the Kuata beach was quite rough because it mainly consists of small bits of coral. However this island does feel more rural, remote and authentically Fijan. As I stood there I was really aware of the fact that we were on the other side of the world and a long way from home.

The evening was spent in the bar/dining room, enjoying even more food and beer, as well as chatting with other travellers. The staff provided background music, with more songs and guitar playing. We now feel like proper backpackers (which we didn't really in America) and even though to start with they these conversations tend to be fairly superficial, it does bring this sense of camaraderie. It also reinforces the sense that we are all on a similar big adventure to each other, a long way from the lives that we have back at home.

It was a girl's birthday today, so suddenly we were plunged into darkness (first thought "power cut"!) before hearing the staff sing Happy Birthday in Fijian and English. A massive cake was brought out, complete with an ordinary candle plonked in the middle of it, it had to be blown out quickly before the icing melted. Then there was another Kava ceremony, which seems to be obligatory every night, still we were happy to let Kave virgins go to the front of the queue, whilst us Kava veterans stood at the back smirking at what they were about to taste.
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