Thursday, September 3, 2015

A Little Respite from Paradise

When visiting a beautiful island country like Fiji sometimes you have to get away from it all and head to a tiny island a few miles from the mainland for a day of relaxing and watching the blue waters curl over the white sands of the beach as well as your toes.

Wait a minute – Fiji itself is a country of over three hundred islands all straight out of a travel magazine’s article on ‘the most awesome’ beaches to visit.

So many to choose from

The tourist city of Nadi (pronounced nandi) is a locale worth spending days in visiting shops, restaurants, blue waters, and everything else any traveler could desire. It’s a city with sights, sounds and views to delight the most particular visitor.

Fiji itself is a wonderful destination and that is why this blog may seem a bit odd.

While sitting on a beach in Nadi enjoying cold libations native to Fiji J and L discussed and commented on this and that about the people and scenery of the islands surrounding them. Nine days on Viti Levu relaxing and doing business had been time well spent but what was needed was a true getaway from the busy hub bub of Nadi. As we sat on the beach looking west over the South Pacific we saw many little dots on the horizon and decided we had to visit one of the destinations off the coast.

Leaving one island to visit another made sense to us.

Bored ? Just find a more deserted beach perhaps
Not ones who love tours we knew there was no other way to visit the off shore islands without renting a boat and navigating waters we were not familiar with. This would not work since we had an early flight the next morning to glide back to LAX.

After researching and exploring (that’s what we do) we chose South Sea Cruises as our choice for the day.

The place we would visit was the South Sea Island thirty minutes west of Nadi. The entire island was only three or four acres in size and maybe ten feet above sea level and the surrounding blue waters rippling over spectacular coral beds made it seem much larger. Crystal clear water to snorkel in, catamaran sailing, a submersible to discover the mysteries of the undersea world, and a large pool were only some of the amenities being offered on this small South Sea island.

South Sea Island - tiny, tranquil and tantalizing
If all the fun in the sun activities were not enough a full bbq with fish, steak, ribs, starches and unique salads were offered at lunch with a great entertainment provided by a local dancers. Fiji beer, wine and soft drinks were part of the deal rounding off the day as pleasant as any visitor could ask for.

The South Sea Island is part of the Mamanuca Island group of Fiji west of Nadi and south of the Yasawa Islands – in other words there are a whole lot of islands in the South Pacific. South Sea Island was just one of twenty that made up the Mamanuca’s.  Of course thirteen of these islands are totally under water at high tide which made the idea of spending any long term time not very advisable.

With a back pack filled with cameras, beach towels and sun screen we jumped aboard a very handsome three decker boat of about seventy feet in length and full of excited tourists. The boat was packed.

How were all these tourists going to fit on such a small island as the South Sea? Had we made a mistake on this cruise?

A moment or two later we realized that this boat, comfortable as it was with snacks, drinks and an indoor lounge was nothing more than a very fancy water taxi.

Nice little water taxi to the islands
This yacht would be dropping folks off on various islands through-out the next three hours from day trippers to those spending a week or more on the farther islands off the coast of Fiji. We were destined to the first dropped off on South Sea and then hours later the last of the visitors would be holding up on Mondriki, Mana or Yanuya – it should be noted that Mondiki was the host island for Tom Hanks and a volley ball by the name of Wilson for the film Castaway.

It's always better with a friend
But we were only gliding over the blue waters a short thirty minutes when the Captain slowed the engines to a crawl as we approached a low lying palm treed island of white sand and somewhat rough surf. Quickly two aluminum twenty foot tenders raced out to our large boat and within minutes we were escorted off the larger boat into the smaller and tore off for a day of relaxing on another beach not far from the one we had been relaxing the previous day.

A moment by moment description of our day won’t be necessary since it may be rather boring for the reader to view a day spent laying beneath a palapa sipping on cold drinks and enjoying the slight ocean breezes. The sun filled the sky only occasionally being hidden by a soft fluffy cloud leaving the day toasty warm.

Dips into the waves were cooling and refreshing enough to give the dynamic researchers the energy to climb into a submersible for a forty minute cruise around the island and the colorful reefs.

Not completely submersible but just enough
 But with that said it is always a bitter sweet moment when that elusive thing called time slips away and reality steps in.

Sunset was not far away and it was time to climb aboard the tender and power back to the luxurious water taxi for the return trip to Suva.

Not much more to write – the photographs are proof enough of how J and L spent their last day in Fiji

Well, we hope it’s not our last day on the enchanting green islands of Fiji and the wonderfully warm people who call it home.

About that Sunset!

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