Return to the Return of the Blue Lagoon

Trip Start Nov 08, 2003
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Trip End Oct 22, 2004


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Flag of Fiji  ,
Saturday, October 16, 2004

26/09/04

Our solar-powered showers were cold this morning due to the last 18 sunless hours and our muffin-laden breakfast was served with a light smattering of rain from a passing cloud. Last night's thunderstorm though, may have done the trick of clearing the skies as we hit the beach under a relatively blue canopy with just the odd bubblings of nimbus on the horizon.

By lunchtime, what wispy clouds there had been, were relentlessly burnt off by our first authentic Fijian sun, and boy was he a hot fella. After a chicken burger lunch and a game of travel scrabble under the shade we headed once more for the beach to do serious harm to our overly white flesh.

The recipe was: lightly coat skin with a drizzle of Hawaiian Tropic Factor 0 and garnish with a sprinkle of sand, heat under a hot grill of a sky for five hours turning occasionally. Once tingling with first-degree burns flambé briskly with olive oil and serve under pure white clothing for best effect. Voila et Bon Agonie.

While cooking we were met with the sight of a seaplane landing in the lagoon to offload guests at our resort. Now THAT was the way to arrive and after finding out it was just $100 each one way we were wishing we'd booked a flight. The seaplane would then take off before it would seemingly hurtle towards us on the beach and swing a sharp right to buzz low over the shoreline.

By 4 we were crispy enough and ready for the shade of the bure and a nice solar shower that was now piping hot after the day's heat wave, and we were down in the restaurant by 6 for pre-dinner gin and tonics while watching the sunset across the Blue Lagoon.

I think it's time for that phrase to make an appearance once more:

'THIS IS THE LIFE'

27/9

Cordery's theory of travelivity:

For every 'This is the life' uttered, there is an equal and annoyingly opposite reaction ready to bite you . . . and it's usually a mosquito.

Last night we ran out of Mozzie Zappers and were inundated with humming fly pasts and mosquitoes trying their luck with a surprise fleshy touchdown. Our mossie nets that were tucked redundantly away under the bed had to be hauled back out and strung back up. For the remainder of the night squadrons of mossies performed figure-of-eight reconnaissance sorties around our two single nets and two even managed to find a way into Soph's confines, while three sat perched just above my head buzzing away all night with plans on how to get at my juicy roasted shoulders.

After a restless night we had breakfast and borrowed the resort's two kayaks to go exploring. We may not have been allowed on the Blue Lagoon beach but they weren't going to stop us using their sea space. We paddled up to the restricted area, hung around and admired the scene in full view of the Blue Lagoon cruise ship before smugly heading back having infiltrated enemy lines.

After dropping off the kayaks we grabbed a pair of snorkels to see what was going on down below, and after thinking the dark patches we saw just offshore were rocks, we were pleasantly surprised to find they were clumps of coral and home to hundreds of fish.

There were beautiful clusters of anemones, blue and white antler coral and bulbous multi-coloured brains and the fish were as colourful and tropical as anything we'd seen on the Great Barrier Reef including little Nemos feistily guarding their anemone homes from other fish and especially snorkellers.
The floor of the ocean was also a pleasant minefield of sea snakes, sea cucumbers and bright blue starfish, and although it wasn't that sunny today, the underwater visibility was still pretty good as we clicked away with our underwater camera. After lunch the skies clouded over once more which led us to retire back to the bure to relax and read with a new stock of Mozzie Zappers and Bryson's latest offering from the resort's book exchange.

We went to dinner at 8 and found the whole American yachting fraternity had turned up as well. About seven boatloads of Yankees were doodling and dandling at the bar and all seemed to know each other, or at least was just introduced to one another in that inimitable North American style. All forty or so of them had nothing on their feet even though they probably owned successful shoe emporiums back in downtown Kissimmee, I mean, whatever happened to nice chunky-soled deckside shoes?

We grabbed the only available table and ate a superb, although noisy, meal of pumpkin soup, garlic prawns, mahimahi fish and chicken spaghetti all washed down with a bottle of Burgundy. No sooner had we dabbed our mouths daintily with a napkin, we were being pleasantly but frantically ushered from our table by Clive to make room for the marauding 'Barefoot Brigade' who had finished draining the bar and were now looking to sweep through the kitchen like a plague of locusts.

Meanwhile Lance and Terri were doing their best impressions of Basil and Sybil Fawlty (don't mention the Vietnam War) and were anxiously jumping around in a mad effort to find enough tables and chairs to house our demanding guests. In between courses, a panicky but pleased Lance would come over to us briefly to tell us that this was their busiest night since opening and you could almost see the Dollar bills ringing up in his eyes.

We finally left them to it to return to the hills and hopefully out of range of any loud Californian accents, but the drone of raucous rowdiness could be heard til the early hours until it was time for them to lurch drunkenly into their waiting launches to somehow find their way back to their luxury yachts in the pitch black.

The noise wasn't overly bad but we finally got to sleep safe in the knowledge that for every group of Americans in the world bugging Brits, there'd be another three groups of loud, belching, mooning Brits irritating our trans-Atlantic buddies somewhere on this Earth.

28/9

Breakfast was served by hung over staff this morning as drinks were constantly on the house last night, and the lagoon seemed eerily quiet as the regatta of richness had cruised away early to hunt for more unsuspecting resorts.

Being a typical cloudy day we decided to hike across land this morning back over to Sunrise Resort for another creepy encounter with the 'Dorm of the Dead'. A track led inland from the beach and we climbed to a height that gave us a 180-degree view of the whole Blue Lagoon where we took five pictures all of different points ready to stick together once home for a lovely panoramic shot (What do you mean they never come out very good?).

The inland route to the 'Other Side' took only 20-minutes through rolling hills and mangroves, and once over in ZombieLand we spun on our heals for the trip home, checking behind us as we went for any unwanted undead.

We lunched on chicken burgers and a tandooriless uncooked tandoori chicken salad before noticing that there were no cruise liners moored in the Blue Lagoon which meant there would be no day trippers clogging up the beach thus giving us a chance of stepping onto the sanctified sand ourselves. We spoke to Lance about the possibility and he told us to go and speak to a man called Saulsy who evidently cleaned and protected the beach from any unwanted backpackers that would make the place look untidy. Lance issued our instructions, lent us some snorkel gear and gave us some stale bread from the kitchen to attract the fish. Once geared up we made our way 10-minutes along the coast to the 'Keep Out' sign and saucily ventured beyond the point of no return where we were met by a lump of man, covered in tattoos who stood in our way. This was turning into a modern day fairy tale and we were Hansel and Gretel attempting to cross the bridge to the 'Blue Lagoon' guarded by the terrible ogre.

"Are you Saulsy?" was our first rehearsed line. He nodded.

"Can we walk along your beach to feed the fishes, please?" was our second line.

He asked us where we were from.

"Nanuya Island Resort."

Now the crunch question of who sent us.

"Lance"

His eyes narrowed before finally a smirking grimace splintered across his face. He shook our hands and let us by as he showed his true Shrek-like colours, and we lived happily ever after for the rest of the day.

So here we were, swaggering across THE Blue Lagoon beach with not a soul around apart from the friendly ogre in the woods. We'd need to walk the whole length to get to the far end where apparently the coral was at its best and the fish were biting. We arrived at a small sandbar jutting out into the lagoon and got ourselves snorkelled up ready to enter the exact same sea where Brooke had swum freely with gay abandon and . . . don't get me started again.

We walked into the calm water with handfuls of bread and could see straight away that some fish had already got the scent and were hovering near the shoreline ready to pounce. And pounce they did as a mob of zebra-patterned Scissortail Sergeants jumped us and began to bite chunks from our hands forcing us to hold the bread above our heads and out of the water. Every now and again we'd lower the bread and suddenly they'd be on us again, swimming up to our masks, brushing against our legs and at one point actually nipping us on the arms. These aggressive fish must have been relatives of the Piranha and they were after our dough, so to speak.

We'd never seen so many fish in one place and a little further out were large clumps of coral, home to thousands more fish, and once our bread supply was exhausted we were stalked by schools of hungry fish. The Blue Lagoon certainly looked a picture from above the surface but we didn't expect the sub-surface view to be just as fabulous, and it was obvious the fish had been 'domesticated' to a certain level by the boatloads of day trippers who usually frequent the area.

We spent an hour and a half exploring every avenue of coral, but not wanting to outstay our welcome, we made our way along a still deserted beach back to our resort to thank Lance again for pulling some strings for us.

Later at an eerily yachtieless dinner we enjoyed mains of lobster and tuna and later we had a few tequilas with the Italian couple Ricci and Rosa who had arrived the same day as us. We had a long comical chat with them in pigeon-French as their English wasn't good and our Italian stretched to ciao, buena sera and bolognese. What we did understand was that they were on their honeymoon having spent a week in New Zealand previously and were going to the mainland tomorrow to spend a week on the mainland, God help them.

29/9

We woke to our first clear blue Fijian sky and booked a water taxi to take us to Honeymoon Island, a fifteen-minute speedboat ride away. Lance and Terri had recommended we go to this bona fide desert island as we were likely to be the only ones there.

An enormous cool box was made up for us full of sandwiches, fruit, chocolate, nuts and water, and at 10.30 Joe's Water Taxi turned up and shot us over to the island dodging areas of coral as it went. We arrived to find another couple sat on the island's tiny beach but an hour later they were being picked up, leaving us in isolation.

The island was quite rocky and about the size of a football pitch with just a quarter of its coastline being sandy. Our view was of the island of Tavewa with its green hilly contours, across a narrow turquoise strait with deep blue patches of water showing tell-tale signs of coral. We donned our masks and took to the sea and although it didn't match yesterday's action, it was still full of tiny neon blue fish and ever-present clownfish basking in their Nemo notoriety.

At lunch we ate as much as we could from the cool box but five sandwiches were too much even for me and for the remainder of the afternoon we sunbathed and snorkelled in solitude with just the drone of passing water taxis to break the silence. We were thankfully picked up at 4pm as we envisaged ourselves being marooned like Tom Hanks in Castaway, which was funnily enough filmed on another island a mile or so further north and once back in semi-civilization we headed for the shade of our bungalow to cover ourselves with gallons of aftersun.

At dinner the peaceful afternoon was well and truly broken by a family of yachties demanding to be the centre of attention and it was clear they hadn't made it far enough up the evolutionary scale for them to alter the loudness of their voices. After main courses, for once we actually had enough stomach capacity for dessert, especially this being a 'dessert island' and everything. Mud cake and banoffi pies were ordered along with five of the biggest slabs of chocolate cake they had which I asked George our waiter to insert in the mouths of the noisy yachties. A normally cheerless George cracked up.

30/9

Word got around this morning that the new couple in town were from Chechnya, although they seemed very nice and not in the least bit rebellious. Soph was at the breakfast buffet at one stage and she thought the guy may have pushed in to get at the fruit. I had to explain to Soph that he probably didn't mean to as he was just a rebel without a paw-paw.

As it turned out Lance, being the Fijian Kiwi that he was, had got his European countries muddled and it turned out they were from the Czech Republic. Remember, this is the man who was busy rewiring his kitchen during an electrical storm.

It was a sunny day again in the Yasawas and being typical Brits who were last week moaning at cloud cover, today we decided to winge about the heat and so seeked shelter on a hammock under the shade of a palm tree. After lunch the heat intensified so we ventured into the warmish waters again for our last snorkel in Fiji before chilling back in the bure until dinner.

The chefs must have known it was our last night tonight as a new addition to the menu board read 'Chicken Curry'. Well I don't mind if I do. After a commendable Indian feast we hit the bar for an after-dinner JD and a Baileys, and bought all the staff beers while chatting to Lance for a while.

01/10

After breakfast we packed our bags and settled a wine-laden four-figure bill with Terri, and spent the remainder of the morning stretched out on the beach while taking mental pictures of the surrounding ideallic scene. A last lunch of beef burgers were had at Nanuya Island Resort before it was time to jump into the little launch that would take us out to the Yasawa Flyer boat.

We said our good-byes to everyone and headed out into the lagoon to await our 1.45pm ferry back to the mainland, and along with two other boats from other resorts we bobbed lazily offshore for twenty minutes until the Flyer arrived, whereupon we clambered aboard and made our way upstairs to the upper deck to sit in a nice quiet air-conditioned compartment with the driver of the vessel himself.

Once more the boat stopped off to pick up and drop off island-hoppers en-route and by 6pm we were pulling into Denarau Marina. Once on dry land we jumped on a free shuttle bus heading for Nadi and were dropped off at Wests Motor Inn, handily placed for the airport the following day.

Our room at the Wests Motor Inn bought us crashing down to Earth and looked like a neglected dental surgery with flaking paint and flickering strip lighting, but it was just for the one night and the restaurant's food was pretty tasty and more importantly amply portioned. In a reserved area of the restaurant sat twenty young Neanderthals tucking into a buffet, and from their clothing and sheer bulkiness I figured they were the touring New Zealand Under 18s Rugby Union team who were playing their Fijian counterparts the following day.

For the last week we'd been stranded on a desert island with no contact from the outside world, no newspapers, no Internet and no TV, and it had been everything we'd imagined it would be, paradise. The skies were blue (for some of the time), the locals were friendly, the snorkelling was out of this world, the food was delicious and after nearly six months of constant travelling in Australasia it was just what we needed. A word of advice though for anyone thinking of visiting Fiji: skip the main island of Viti Levu, and head straight for the Yasawas if you want to experience real Fijian paradise.

Tomorrow we were to fly off over the confusing International Date Line for a three-hour flight to Rarotonga in the Cook Islands. How would the Cooks measure up to Fiji? Stick with us to find out . . .


The Blonde Haired Boy No-One Knows The Name Of From The Blue Lagoon* & Brooke Shields
xx


*Except maybe MovieNerd Number 1 Brendan.
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