Korovou 

So, as we waved goodbye to Safe Landing Resort, we began to get excited for our next island and what it had in store for us. The journey there was a little rough but definitely not as rough as our first journey from the mainland to Safe Landing! Unfortunately, just as we were about to transfer to the smaller motor boat, the heavens opened! We had no choice but to get in the little boat, and get to land and under cover as quickly as we could. As we got into the motor boat, the downpour got heavier and as the boat raced to the resort it was safe to say we looked like drowned rats!

Arriving just before afternoon tea, we quickly checked in, dried off and headed to the open dining area for a cup of something warm.  Whilst there we met someone we had met on the mainland along with some others.  Within half an hour we were laughing and chatting like long lost friends. We spent the rest of the day chatting, blogging and relaxing before dinner. The after-dinner entertainment was a fire dance performed by some of the staff. It was crazy watching them spin the fire and run the flames along their arms and legs! We were invited to join in with games and dancing. Such a great fun first night and a real contrast to the peace and quite of Safe Landing.



The next day the sun was shining and we were ready to soak it up! After a leisurely breakfast we hit the sun loungers with our new friends. When the sun became too hot, a quick dip in the sea was the perfect solution to cool off.  In order to avoid walking on the coral on the sea bed, a pathway had been created to walk along. Once over the corralled area, the path ended and we were swimming.  Amazingly, despite being a long distance from the shore, at the end of the path the water was still not too deep and it was lovely to swim in the clear water, cool off and then head back to our sun loungers to dry off and soak up more sunshine.



At about mid morning, the staff announced that they were going to feed the fish! Curious I went along and was surprised to find them throwing in the leftovers from breakfast into the sea.  The fish were going crazy; splashing around and racing for the food.  It was cool to watch.  Prior to lunch we had a coconut demonstration and rather that just letting us taste the coconut and explaining the different parts of the coconut, we were shown how the coconuts are opened, ‘peeled’ and then how it is used.  Before we knew it, one of the members of staff had shimmied up a coconut tree and was throwing down coconuts. They then expertly began to peel the outer layer off.  I had a go at this and it was surprisingly hard. The outer layer was quite course and is used by the locals as sponges for cleaning.  We were then shown how to open the coconut, and demonstrated many different ways to open them including cracking the coconut in half. Amazingly, one guy cracked one open with his hand in a karate chop move!

The coconut water was unbelievably sweet and much nicer than what you get in the shops.  Whilst sipping on the coconut, we saw how the inside of the coconut was removed.  It was “grated” out, or at least that is the best way of describing it!  It was very interesting to see.  Once the coconut was grated the guys squeezed the coconut and out poured coconut milk,  From the grated coconut, a traditional Fijian toffee is made; coconut fried with sugar, cocoa and a few other ingredients. Unbelievably good but you couldn’t eat too much as it was so sweet!

After devouring the coconut we returned to our sun loungers before showering away the heat of the day and going for dinner and another evening of fun.  Staff taught us the Bula dance, which is a dance performed all over Fiji.  We also played many more games, enjoyed playing cards and chatting.

I think the supply boat must have been delayed getting to the island as lunch and dinner was mainly pasta, bread and potatoes and everyone missed the fruit platters.  It was not the greatest day for food but I didn’t mind.  I felt that although it was also nice to enjoy good food, for me what made it was the great activities and experiences.

On our final day we once again had a relaxed time with our new friends and sun bathed.  We also had another go at basket weaving.  It was interesting to see the same style of baskets as we made at Safe Landing Resort, were also made here at Korovou, but made using a different technique.   Filling the baskets with flowers 🌺 we left them hanging in the dining area. They looked so pretty!

We didn’t want to leave the resort without finally tasting some more of the delicious coconut, so one of the staff members shimmied up a tree and brought down some coconuts for us to have.  It was a perfect way to cool off and finish a lovely few days at Korovou. Eating so much coconut we didn’t need lunch; it was so delicious and fresh!!!


Before we knew it we were saying goodbye to the friends we had met as they were due to head north as we were heading south. However upon checking the dates we were at each island we were excited to realised that we would be meeting up again. We had a couple of hours before our boat to our next island so once again we pick a spot and relaxed, wrote some more and enjoyed the view.

 

 

Safe Landing

So! Two weeks of island hopping, two weeks of beautiful islands, we were excited? OH YES!!!

The day began with an early start, we were collected by Awesome Fiji Adventures, the company we had booked with, to the ferry terminal. Once we had checked in and had been given our booking vouchers, our bags were labelled and taken by staff and we were ready to depart.

We boarded and 15 minutes later we were off.  We knew where we were heading but hadn’t accounted for the 5 hour ferry journey to get there! Our island hopping began at the furthest island of the Yasawai Islands which is a line of islands to the north of Fiji mainland. Our plan was to make our way down this line of islands and back to Nadi on the mainland. About an hour into the ferry ride the weather changed and the sea began to get very rough. We were thrown about and before we knew it, we were not feeling too good.  The ferry journey was rough for the remainder of the journey and by the time we got to our first resort, Safe Landing on the island of Nacula, we were definitely ready to get off the ferry and feel land under our feet again!

We were greeted by the very friendly staff of Safe Landing who led us to an open communal area where we checked in and had a beautiful lunch. We were then shown our room.  Harriet and I were expecting to stay in a dorm, however, we were upgraded! The dorm was having a deep clean and so the manager upgraded us to a bure.  A bure is a small, individual hut-like structure and ours had a cute room with a double bed and ensuite.

The resort in general was basic but beautiful, with only a handful of bures and a couple of dorms. There was a communal area with a bar and dining area as well as a few other buildings where the staff lived.

Once we were settled in to our bure, it was obvious where we were going to head first! The hammock! Gently slung underneath the palms overlooking the beach and the sea. Perfect! We spent the rest of the day reading, blogging, relaxing and enjoying, what I could only describe as a slice of paradise.

Our evening meal was announced by a shell horn.  Diner was a lovely 3 course meal consisting of soup to start, chicken for main and banana cooked in coconut milk for dessert.  The banana had a strange texture but was still gorgeous and very sweet.


After a comfortable and refreshing night sleep, we began the day with a morning swim. The water was so warm and unbelievably clear. Later that morning we made a bracelet out of coconut (with the help of a local!), had a language lesson learning some basic Fijian words and had a coconut demonstration learning which coconut produces coconut water and coconut milk and everything you could want to know about the coconut.


Later that afternoon we went to the local village and met the chief of the village and tried cava for the first time; not to my taste at all! Then we visited the women of the village who were at their local shell market selling jewellery, wooden masks and carvings, bookmarks and paper. All of their items were handmade by the locals using materials from the island. I couldn’t resist a beautiful bracelet and a bookmark which was made from tree bark.



As we were leaving the village it began to rain. We hurried back and spent the afternoon playing cards and chatting with the people we met at the resort. Dinner was great and we spend time chatting to other travellers about their adventures and exchanging funny stories.  It was interesting to hear about where people had been, what they thought about places and things they learnt along the way.

Our final day on Safe Landing resort began once again relaxing in a hammock. But before we moved on we had one more local product to try our hands at – banana leaves basket weaving! We were helped to make a small basket; it was so clever and really pretty.  And so to our last few hours on the island, and yes you guessed it, a little more time in the hammock!

At about 1:30pm we were taken in a small motor boat to the water taxi which would take us to our next island.  We had just had a beautiful 2 days of, well doing nothing really, except for chilling in a hammock! But this was just what we both needed after all the experiences and busyness of everything we’d done in Australia.  Even though the resort was basic, I felt it gave us a good feeling of traditional Fijian living.  Okay we were staying a very comfortable version of it, but the staff, food and scheduling was all very Fijian. I loved it!!

A change in the weather 

Our second day in Nadi we had planned to go to Cloud 9, a floating bar out at sea about 30 minutes from the main land.  We were unbelievably excited, it was something that was unique, fun and something that we felt was a must on our visit.

Rainy Day

Unfortunately the weather had other plans; we woke that morning to find it raining buckets. Once we had breakfast we went to reception to ring Cloud 9 and due to the weather the Cloud 9 trip had been cancelled.  We were so disappointed, we couldn’t believe our luck but it also made us concerned for the rest of our trip. Fiji would not be as enjoyable if it rained constantly.

We spent the day at the hotel, where we relaxed, read and caught up on blogging and journaling. Even though we were disappointed we still had a relaxing day.  Fingers crossed for the Fiji weather. 

Fiji!!!!

For me Fiji is a country that “one day” I would visit.  I never thought that I would actually be getting on a plane and flying to do 2 weeks of island hopping in this beautiful place.

Our trip was booked through a company called Awesome Adventures Fiji and  they create packages to visit the different islands.  We booked 12 nights Island hopping and 3 days in the mainland city of Nadi.

We needed to be at the airport for 7am, with our flight at 9am.   We left our suitcases with a friend in Sydney and only took a hold-all and a personal bag each ass hand luggage.    We were delayed by half an hour due to some kind of complication, but before we knew it we were taxiing towards the runway.

However, we didn’t get very far when the captain made the announcement that the manual steering was not working correctly and the flight was aborted!  So we sat on the plane for half an hour as the plane was towed to the hanger.  The steering couldn’t be repaired so we would need to change airplanes! We were taken back to the gate we had left only half an hour ago and waited another hour and a half for the ground crew to move the luggage to the new plane and make sure everything was ready and working.  2 hours later than scheduled we again began the taxi to the runway, this time we managed to take off and we were finally on our way to Fiji!

Even though we had this delay, we were well looked after by the crew and airport staff and I must say a big thank you to the JetStar team for getting us to Fiji safely.

Finally reaching Nadi, we stepped off the plane and despite it being cloudy outside were immediately hit by the heat.  Through security we headed to the Awesome Adventures Fiji desk to check in to our trip. Everything was as we had booked and we were given a Fiji SIM card which was a real bonus!

Driving through Nadi I was surprised by what I saw.  As a main town in Fiji I expected it to be well built and quite busy, but it wasn’t.  The buildings looked tired and some were in need of repair. It all looked a bit old fashioned! However the hotel was friendly, clean and ideal for our 2 day stay before wee started our island hopping.  It had a restaurant and bar and we enjoyed a lovely meal before heading back to our room.

While we were at dinner a couple of girls arrived back from travelling the islands. They told us that the weather had been very disappointing with a mixture of sun and rain.  We both felt concerned we were going to have 2 weeks of rain, as we realised we were travelling in rainy season!

Oh well! Fingers crossed!!

 

Cinema under the stars

I love going to the cinema and seeing a movie, but what I love more is curling up with a friend or loved one with a blanket, good food and a new movie to watch.  Bondi Open Air Cinema managed to combine all that and so much more! Yes all that and Bondi – wha could be better!

Next to the Bondi Pavilion, on a fenced off area of grass was Bondi Open Air Cinema.  Blow up seats, were the premium seats and an area of grass was for everyone else.  Most had picnic blankets, rugs, food, drinks ……… perfect!!

 

Earlier in the day Harriet and I had bought and prepared snacks to take with us and as the sun set on Bondi we had a lovely picnic.  After sun set and it was dark enough; the movie began.  Snuggled in blankets and hoodies we watched the movie and enjoyed the stars.

During the movie, I looked up at the sky and it was spectacular! So many shining stars in the sky, I wanted to take a photograph to capture how amazing the sky was, but my camera was jus not good enough so I had to lay back and just enjoy the moment instead. 😑

I love movies and I really enjoyed seeing one in a unique place. I will definitely look out for other open air cinemas in the future, but don’t think I can repeat my Bondi experience!

Back to Sydney 

An overnight bus from SPOT X and we arrived in. Sydney in the early hours of the morning.  I didn’t slept very well on the coach but not wanting to waste the day we planned a trip to Bondi beach.

It was lovely to be back in the city, it felt familiar and after visiting so many new and exciting places, it was lovely to be back somewhere that I recognised and felt I knew.

Too tired to do much, we spent the day chilling on the beautiful Bondi beach. It was lovely to just relax and not do much after such a busy few weeks. A quick food shop and we headed back to the hostel. As it was a Sunday we attended Mass at St Mary’s Cathedral, a beautiful church with a good number of parishioners.

The next day was an admin day with time to explore of Sydney.  Visiting Hyde Park and the library of the State of New South Walse.  We also neede to visit a  current exchange because ………..

We are going to F I J I ! 🇫🇯

I am so excited; we are island hopping for 2 weeks around the islands of Fiji and I am so much looking forward to experiencing a different country and culture!!

That evening, back at the hostel, we packed a small bag between us, to take as hand luggage. We decided to treat ourselves to another trip to Bondi to visit the Open Air Cinema and I’ll tell you more about this in my next blog!

img_3626

The day before we flew to Fiji was Valentine’s Day,  As we had no plans, we decided to visit went to a friend for a Galantine’s Day celebration.  It was a lovely evening of food, wine, chocolate and good company. We put the world to rights and laughed a lot!  Our friend was also kind enough to store our suitcases; so we could travel to Fiji with only hand luggage.

All set and ready for Fiji and an early start the next morning.

Catching that wave

I have always wanted to surf, and to catch a wave in Australia is, I feel, is an absolute must! When I was younger, while on holiday in Cornwall, I hired a surfboard and had a go without any instruction; although I did manage to stand up, I wobbles all over the place and was only actually stood up for a very short amount of time.

Mojo Surf is a company that runs surf camps and academies in Bali, Indonesia, Byron Bay as well as at an undisclosed location called “SPOT X”.  It’s at “SPOT X” where we had our 2 day surf camp; a beginners’ camp which helped with the basics of paddling out, popping up and riding the wave.

Arriving the night before our camp started, we met our wonderful guide, Anna, who showed us to our room, gave us a tour of the camp and told us all we needed to know.  She was so happy, knowledgable and helpful; meeting us before and after our surf lessons and every time we saw her she checked in with us.  All the staff were so friendly and loved getting us all involved in the activities, which made for a great community vibe.

So the next morning, was our first surf lesson. It was a very early start as we were in the water for 8 o’clock.  Our instructors, Jack and Nick, took us through a quick theory lesson on waves, rips and safety, as well as a few hand signals should we need help whilst in the water. Then it was onto the beach to learn how to surf; on the sand we practised our paddling and pop up, as well as when to pop up and tips on staying on the board. And so into the water to have a go, I was so proud of myself when I stood up on my second attempt and once I had done it once, there was no stopping me! Although, I continued to fall off but I would say I was getting up on the board more than I was falling off!

SPOT X had had a few days of big waves due to a storm system out at sea. The waves remained really big and strong pulling us out to sea in the current so quickly. For this reason we only surfed in the shallow area, waist/chest deep depending on your height. Even so we were still catching some powerful waves.  Jack and Nick were great, patient and good at spotting little things that made a lot of difference to our technique.

After a couple of hours in the water, riding the waves, we walked back up the beach to camp to enjoy the rest of the day. Harriet and I chose to spend the afternoon on the beach topping up our tans, reading and blogging.  I love just lying on the beach and watching the world go by.  As we headed back for dinner we were stopped by one of the guys running activities, he invited us to a sand castle building competition, winner got a bag of goon.   There were 6 teams with the option to build either a sand castle or sand sculpture.  Harriet and I chose a dolphin sculpture. We didn’t win the competition but we had a blast building it.  I haven’t built sand castles in years and it took me back to family holidays on the Cornish coast.

Back at camp, it was dinner time and as we all queued up for our dinner the night staff introduced themselves, very loudly and with a lot of energy!  We spent the evening hanging out in the community area and getting to know all those sharing our surf lesson.

After a good night’s sleep, we were ready for Day 2 and our second surf lesson. With a later start of 10 o’clock, our instructors, Kate and Connor, gave us a refresher of how to pop up and showed us also how to turn. Back into the water and I managed to stand up on my first wave!!! I was thrilled 😁 Kate and Connor were great and gave some great tips. 2 hours later we emerged from the water exhausted but thrilled that we could now catch a wave. I have a way to go before I can call myself a “pro surfer” but I think I’m on my way 😉

The afternoon was hot! we passed the sunny hours relaxing in the shade and watching a game of volleyball.  Dinner and social time followed and not long after, as it was a Friday, the party started too with limbo and twister getting very competitive!

The final event of the evening was the “awkward dance” competition.  Although, Harriet and I didn’t take part it was so funny watching others making up extreme dancie moves, with the ultraviolet light making a great affect and atmosphere.  It was so much fun!

Unfortunately our Greyhound bus was at 10pm so we soon had to pack up early and leave the fun and partying of SPOT X.  I love that I got the chance to finally learn to surf and it is all down to the amazing staff and instructors at SPOT X. I can’t wait to try it again!