Sunday, 9 October 2011

Fiji Blue Lagoon - days 37 - 40

So as it turns out, next morning I go see Reception and I can stay at Blue Lagoon for four nights. This is what I wanted to do from the beginning, although it’s a shame I can’t get my final days at Octopus.

The days turn very lazy, and the same thing happens pretty much every day. I get up around 7am and go and have breakfast, usually with Will & Carole or Patricia & Ladi. Then “something” will happen for the morning (to follow). Once we arrive back from whatever trip or activity, its hammock time, and I’ll doze and chill out for a couple of hours. We’ll hit lunchtime, and me and John will go for lunch, joined by whoever is around. Then the afternoon session starts – I’ll watch John, Dom, Patricia and Ladi play volleyball with the staff, or play cards with Will and Carole until happy hour – then we have a cheeky beer. Then it’s an hour till the evening meal and whatever event the staff have lined up for us.

The morning “something” comprised the following. On day #37 we had our champagne breakfast (full English on the beach, with champers), followed by Johns promised hill walk. Me and Dom joined him, although I didn’t realise it would be as hardcore as it was. Halfway up, my back is killing me and I feel sick, like I’ve been through a personal training session. Doesn’t help that John and Dom are over 6 foot tall and are covering ground faster than me. I’ve got a great view halfway up anyway, so leave them to complete the walk, while I take photos and admire the view. Then I meander back down to the resort and go snorkelling for the first time ever. Which is a bit freaky when you don’t expect fish to be THAT CLOSE TO YOU! I hadn’t been in the sea for years, so figured I should get used to swimming in it. The coral is amazing, and theres loads of mental fish, even this close to the shore (I don’t go very far on my first trip out).

Day #38 is the cave trip at Sawa-i-Lau, a massive rock formation north of Nacula. The boat journey there is very scenic and theres about 20 of us on the trip. The thought of the trip was pretty nerve racking, esp considering how claustrophobic I’ve become. It consists of diving into one cave pool, swimming under an underwater ledge into a dark cave, then swimming through dark tunnels to a smaller cave – and back again. As it turned out, diving into the main cave pool was fine, and nowhere near as cold as I was told. I bobbed and swam around happily while the guide split us into 2 groups – I ended up in the second group, which I was quite happy with. This meant I could watch everyone swimming under the ledge to see how hairy it was. As it turned out, it didn’t seem that bad, and the guides had torches and helped you swim through. Swam about for 15 mins chatting to the others in our group, and then it was time to go. In reality it was all pretty easy, and very cool. The ledge dive wasn’t scary at all (it was less than 5 foot long), and the dark caverns afterwards were lit either by torchlight or peoples camera flashes. You were never in the dark for long. The tunnel swim was wicked and the final cavern was open to the sky, so you didn’t feel enclosed. Was an absolutely amazing experience. When we came back into the cavern, there was a new group waiting to go in. Had a bit of banter with those guys while the Fijian kids jumped off ledges in the main cave, then went back to Blue Lagoon. This was something I never thought I’d even do, and was so happy I’d bitten the bullet and actually done it. The trip back included meeting a cool retired couple – the wife happily spent the entire journey quizzing me about my tattoos!

Day #39, and after breakfast was taken snorkelling by Ladi and Patricia. Ladi took photos, which was great, and he led me along the reef for a good hour. Was shocked how far we’d swam. Patricia joined us 10 minutes behind, and she swam back to the shore with me. On the entire route I managed to see loads of insane looking coral, different species of Trigger Fish, Parrot Fish, Angel fish, shoals of shiney blue fish that wouldn’t get out of the way, squid that changed colour (pointed out by Ladi) and a Pufferfish (spotted by Patricia). Highlight was seeing a clown fish in the wild, and some massive miserable looking Grouper fish. Was gobsmacking, and we only came back in because you could feel the sun burning your back. Otherwise I’d have stayed out there. Was also a bonus that the tide was out, and there wasn’t any wind, so the sea was calm and the visibility underwater was incredibly clear. Went snorkelling a few times on my own after that.

On day #40 it was my last day. After breakfast I stood in the sea for what seemed like hours. The Manageress of the resort came up to me with the kids and said “We’re gonna feed the fish!” and handed me a handful of bread. Once we started chucking the bread in the water, it was like a feeding frenzy in a koi carp pond. All these mad silver fish went mental, shooting into the shore eating the bread, whizzing round your ankles. Was a stunning sight, and the kids loved it (as did I – probably more than they did!).

The evenings are just as brilliant fun. After me and Will catch a cheeky beer during happy hour, everyone slowly joins us and we head to the first table for the evening meal. Which never disappoints. Every night consists of a starter, main and pudding, and always includes some kind of fish and loads of sides. On the Fijian night, we have a ground cooked meat and fish buffet, which includes the best pork I’ve ever eaten. I don’t really think about the fact Will saw the pig being dragged onto the beach the previous day. It was absolutely meat-tastic, and we all had the meat sweats afterwards. After dinner, the staff hold events for everyone. One night they have crab racing, where everyone picks a hermit crab and whoever wins gets money taken off the bar tab. This night was hysterical, although it ended early and everyone buggered off to bed once it finished. The Fijian night was a highlight, where all the staff got together and performed traditional Fijian songs and dancing. It was the happiest thing ever, with the staffs lunacy and sheer positivity rubbing off on everyone watching. No way could you ever be depressed in Fiji!

On the final night we’re all together (Dom, Emma, Patricia and Ladi leave one day early), we play Jenga – but don’t realise that its two Jenga kits in one. Man, it’s a difficult couple of games!

On the eve of day #39, the table dynamic changes as we’ve lost four of the group. Me, John, Will and Carole meet a bunch of new people, including an SF couple who think my name is “Timony” (I thought Tyrone was bad enough), an Aussie nurse, and a young posh hipster couple from East Dulwich. Everyone eventually goes to bed, as its pretty quiet, and Me, Will and Carole have a few more cheeky beers and get a bit tiddly. Was weird to see the vibe of the place change, esp when Patricia and Ladi left – we’d had a good laugh over the last few days, Ladi had me in tears on numerous occasions (cos he was amusingly rude), and they’d both looked after me in terms of keeping me company at breakfast and taking me snorkelling. Awesome couple.

Day #40 is the final day at Blue Lagoon, and at lunchtime me, Will and Carole say goodbye to John (and the staff!) and jump on the boat to the Yasawa Flyer. I’m kinda sad to go, as its been absolutely brilliant. This was the reason I came to Fiji, and Blue Lagoon exceeded all expectations. I definitely want to come back here one day. Anyway, it’s off to the next island. We’re heading to Waya Lai Lai resort two hours away, and we don’t have a clue what’s instore for us.

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