11th October 2012

Get your cup of tea ready. This surely will be a long post! How can I possibly cram only 1 day of Fijian delights in one post?

Waking up to a snorting and farting Argentian in the bunk beneath me, the world was still dark. I didn’t want to get out of bed, I was far too comfy and the petals of the garlands still clung to my face. I didn ‘t care. I was sleeping without any covers on (don’t worry, I was wearing boxers…) and it was WARM! I didn’t have to snuggle into duvets and blankets like I did in the Winter of Australia and Spring of New Zealand.

But I knew I had to get out and catch my first cruise of the day to head into the Yasawas Islands, north west of Nadi.

Minutes later after showering and packing my bag, I munched on some poached eggs and watched the stragglers coming from their bedrooms who also had to catch the Yasawas Flyer, a big yellow catamaran ready to lift off. The organisation of everyone by the Fijian staff was truly epically organised and we left ON time to the big Port of Demarau, just south of Nadi. There, I managed to get my bag checked in to my next destination, Mantaray Island.

I’ve heard so many great things about this island, as I mused when I helped myself to a bottle of water as the sun scorched across the early morning sky. Everyone who said they’ve been has said they had a ‘ray’ of a time. Luckily, for me, I booked my space on this island a few days ago in Auckland, and lots of people were having trouble booking to this island as it was all fully booked up!

I only booked 2 nights there as I wanted to see the rest of the Yasawas Islands, perhaps Octopus Island, Barefoot Island or perhaps Blue Lagoon Island. The possibilities are endless!

Finally, we set off from the port and glided towards the islands. My stop wouldn’t be for another 4 hours. This boat actually does a 10 hour round trip to the Yasawas Islands and back so it’s pretty organised and efficient. Laid back in the sun, I watched the sea go by. Oh, how I love the sea. I think if I could, I would join up to the Navy and sail everywhere. And possibly take part in the musical production of HMS Pinafore…

Rest of the morning, I cracked open a can of Fiji Gold, and chilled out with a pair of German lads (Germans are everywhere!) who were starting on their epic trip around the world. After telling them stories about my travels, we would stop to check out, from the boat, the islands that the boat would be ‘docking’ into. I say ‘docking’ as it’s not as it sounds. Many chugging small boats would lie offshore carrying passengers who are climbing back aboard on the Yasawas Flyer and speed up to the Flyer when it arrives. It’s a pretty complicated affair trying to find out which of the small boats to go on and you can’t help not relaxing until you’ve seen your luggage shoot off to the island you are going to, as the luggage is taken on a separate boat.

The first island we came to ‘dock’ was Beachcomber. The ultimate party island of Fiji. I didn’t get off here but I was toying of coming back to this island for my last night in Fiji but I wasn’t too sure. I’ve heard both good and bad stories but I suppose I will hear from others what they think if I meet them further up north the Islands.

It became clear to me that I could now relax about the islands. After spending the day and night at Smuggler’s Cove yesterday, I was worried thatFiji wouldn’t be the paradise as it made itself to be. But I could relax. The islands I saw along the way had pure pristine gorgeous sand and sea. I just couldn’t wait to get to Mantaray!

Before I shortly arrived at Mantaray, I introduced myself to 3 girls travelling together (why do they travel in packs?!), they would be getting the same small boat as me to disembark at the island and we claimed our luggage ready to get moving. A bit of banter, teasing and a few wind ups later, we were the best of friends. I had my own harem!

As the boat rocked up to the sand to the chorus of the staff singing us as a celebratory hello, we gave a massive shout of ‘Bula!’ and we were soon sorted out and whisked up to lunch. Oh…my…God, the food is absolutely to die for. I had the traditional Fijian Kokoda Fish followed by a nice scrumpticious dessert…I forgot what it was as I ate it that fast without realising!

I was so mightly impressed afterwards about my accommodation. It’s something out of a South Pacific Movie! Oh wait! I am in the South Pacific! Check it out! I had a dorm bunk to myself but seriously, it was the comfiest bunk ever and I had my own mosquito net to keep the mozzies away. I even had a turn down service so every day I came back from brekafast, I would find my bed already made up. I was truly in paradise already!

Heading to the beach with the girls, Claire, Helen and Katie, we grabbed some snorkels and swam in the reefs just off the beach. Now, I’ve snorkelled a lot in Thailand and Australia, but nothing prepared me the sights of this reef! It was so so so diverse and within minutes we found Nemo! Massive fish the size of your torso would swim eeirely by and long thin fish would bob at the surface. It was truly a delight to be had and for the rest of my time on Mantaray Island, I could be found in the sea just snorkelling! Even the corals were very colourful, interesting and full of hidey places for strange fish. One which I saw and compared to Katie. ‘Oh yeah, the fish really did look like you,’ I would say laughing with her and then I would pull a straight face and put a hand on her shoulder…’no..really.’

If we weren’t snorkelling, we would be sunbathing. I’m not a massive fan of sunbathing and usually after an hour, I would stand up and find something else to do. But nope, not today. I was here to relaaaaaaaaax. And of course, I was surrounded by 3 beautiful women to call my own to banter and to flirt with. Soon, we heard the drums to say that dinner was about to be ready so we changed into smarter clothing and tucked in to a THREE COURSE MEAL! I can’t believe that a few days prior, I was draining a pot noodle and crying snottingly in front of posh restaurants. Not anymore! I’m here to wine and dine!

We then headed back down to the beach to toast our beautiful friendship with a few cocktails and watched the sky darken with the sunset. It was the end of a beautiful day in paradise and what more to celebrate, some drinking games!