Arrival In Fiji
13.08.2007 - 13.08.2007 22 °C
Arrived in Fiji after a sleepless flight. I gave up an entire row of seats, which I could have stretched out on, to a couple who had a two year old child that was too big for the airline supplied baby carriage. Grabbed my bags and made it very easily through Customs. My plane had been delayed from LAX four hours, so I had missed the connecting shuttle I was to take to the marina. Instead, I hired a taxi with a driver who's name was Molly. Molly was a male, and the first of many Fijians with a common American name.
Molly drove me through the streets of Nadi, Fiji (pronounced Nandi). The streets were busy with people standing waiting for busses. The homes were fairly run down but colorfully painted. Mostly made of cinderblock and concrete, with small windows, clothes hang drying on lines, and random household appliances or rusted cars in the yards. A few stray dogs roamed the street and would bark at the cars as the wizzed past. Molly didn't slow for any of them.
After about a 25 minute drive we arrived at Denarau Marina where I was to catch my boat into the beautiful Fiji I had imagined. There are a couple of companies, which actually work together, that provde charter boats from the mainland out to the islands each day. These boats drive in a loop, stopping at certain islands. You are able to hop on and off of the boats and move from island to island. My boat departed at 8:30am. The boat was a modern 250 person catamaran. It had two decks outside which provided great views and a great atmosphere to relax and enjoy meeting fellow travelers. I hadn't booked my first night's accommodation yet and was a bit worried until I spoke with the friendly girls at the bookings desk below.
I ended up making a booking for a resort located at the top of the Yasawa Island chain, a 4 hour boat ride away. This way I could start at the farthest point and work my way back to the mainland. It would also give me a chance to see each island on the way up and determine which places I wanted to return to.
The weather was perfect, so I hiked up to the top level of the boat and sat on the sun deck. Within 10 minutes drive from the mainland, the water was the deepest blue I've seen. There were sand bars and reefs in the middle of the water that would turn it hundreds of different shades of green and blue. Lush green islands were scattered throughout the blue water, some with high peaks and large rock formations and others with white beaches and palms.
We drove and stopped at some of them, picking up and dropping off travelers along the way. The system they had for transporting passengers to the different resorts was very interesting to me...little did I know that It would become a common routine later on the trip. A smaller transport boat would motor out from the resort beach and pick up the passengers and luggage from the big boat. If there were people leaving that resort and traveling on the big boat it would bring them out to the big boat and they'd load on.
As more and more people boarded and unboarded the boat I noticed that everyone seemed to know each other. At first it was a bad feeling since I was alone, but then once I asked most people I found that they had just met the other travelers on the islands they had just come from and sure enough after a few days in Fiji, I'd be board the boat with friends and be reunited with others I'd stayed with the day before.
After 4 hours of driving, a bit of reading and a lot of talking with people from all over the world...England, Germany, Czech Republic, Canada, Norway, Ireland...we arrived at Tavewa, where I would be staying at Coral View Resort....