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We started off with our flight being delayed by 12 hours but we finally arrived at our destination in Fiji – a very attractive resort – where we were greeted by a very nice Asian buffet, before retiring to bed exhausted.


Next day we awoke to a sunny day, birds singing and a lovely buffet breakfast.  We learned our first Fijian word - ‘bula’ - which covers all greetings, ‘please’, ‘thank you’ and any applicable occasion we cared to use it for.  We then boarded a bus to Port Denaru where we had a tea break and a browse around the shops before boarding our cruise ship to set sail for the Yasawa Islands and their crystal clear blue lagoons.  A highlight of the evening was the Captain’s Welcome Dinner, after which the crew entertained us with Fijian songs.


We met the villagers of Navotina, a traditional Fijian village, where we were welcomed with the time-honoured KAVA ceremony.  Later, after making sure we weren’t wearing shoes or a hat, we were able to look around the village’s church.  Next we went to a school opposite the church.  On approaching the school we could hear about 40 children singing.  We climbed up the piled-up brick steps and went inside to discover only 12 pupils!  One very determined pupil was a little 3-year-old girl who is allowed to attend school because she insisted on turning up each day!  The children sang us some nursery rhymes, including actions, and then sang the British, NZ and Australian National Anthems – a nice touch which we all appreciated.


We left some gifts for the children and moved next door where we were entertained by the hearty singing and dancing of the adults.  They had us all up dancing with them.  The finale was everyone joining in a conga line with a very energetic villager heading it.  It was lots of fun. 


Back on board for lunch followed by an afternoon visit to Sawa-I-Lau Cave which had a natural pool in which you could swim.  Reboarding the ship, we were entertained by the crew with a variety of stringed instruments and voices.  What they lacked in talent they made up for in volume and fun!


After wondering why the ship had stopped when we woke up next day, we looked out of our window and saw a desert island which looked like it was straight out of a Hollywood movie.  It had the most beautiful blue/green water, golden sands and waving palms.  I wouldn’t have been surprised to see Elvis sauntering through the trees singing ‘Blue Hawaii’.  We motor-boated to the island and spent the day lazing around in the heat, but not everyone was as lazy as us as there were plenty of activities organized for those who wanted to participate – bushwalking, snorkelling, swimming, strolling along the beach, and many photo opportunities!  A traditional island feast or MAGITI was prepared for us in an oven in the ground called a LOVO, followed by an after-dinner beach party under the tropical stars.


Back on the main island, an adventurous bus trip on unmade roads, so narrow there was just enough room for one vehicle to pass, jostled us out of our day dreaming so that we didn’t miss the views of meandering hills and fast flowing streams which were beautiful.


We went to Momi Guns, the site of Fiji’s first line of defence in World War II, albeit equipped with guns from the Boer War.  After that we travelled further around the coast to Kula Eco Park, an excellent sanctuary and nature walk.


It was a great trip made more enjoyable by the friendly cheerful people we travelled with, and topped off by the unending patience of our tour organiser, Ken!


Marj de Burgh