Exploring the Blue Lagoon

Friday 28th August 2015

 

What a beautiful place!  The sun has been shining, the sea calm, and the sky and water a most wonderful blue.  Time has slipped by almost without us noticing, and it is now a week since we arrived.  Steve has been under the weather the whole week, still suffering from a flu-type bug he picked up in the last couple of days of the land trip, so it’s good we have found such a tranquil spot to rest up a while.    Unusually for him, he has been content to relax in the cockpit with a book or iPad, taking frequent naps, able to sustain activity needing any energy for only the shortest of time.  We made it ashore most evenings for Happy Hour with friends at the Boatshed pub, part of the Nanuya Island Resort – well how much energy does it take to lift a beer?...

 

On Saturday evening we went to a lovo and meke at the Coral View Resort on a neighbouring island.  Along with twenty or so other yachties, we were collected from the beach and taken in an aluminium longboat to the resort – a trip that took about half an hour. 

 

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Half an hour by longboat to the resort...                                                               ...we arrived at Coral View as the sun was setting.

 

As we arrived, the lovo was ready, so we went around to see them take the food out of the earth oven.  The lovo is a traditional Fijian banquet in which food is cooked in the ground – a hole is dug in the ground and lined with stones which are heated by a fire.  The food is then wrapped in banana leaves and slowly cooked on top of the hot stones.

 

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Steam rising from the cooked food as it is uncovered.                                     These guys must have asbestos soles to their feet!

 

After the meal came the meke – the dance.  We were looking forward to this as we had not seen any Fijian dance so far.  Three men performed a series of dance routines which were very lively and sometimes war-like, to recorded music played over loudspeakers.  It was not quite what we were expecting, but enjoyable to watch.  They were later replaced by four ladies who danced alone at first – much more low-key, they seemed a little shy – and then were joined by the men. Then the men danced more, this time twirling big knives and finally the audience were invited to join in a variation of the conga, copying the actions of the dancer in the lead.  It seemed a modern version of traditional dance, perhaps adjusted to what they thought the tourists would like, and whilst it was entertaining, we felt we would like to see another meke to compare it with.   A good evening, on the whole, rounded off by the return trip in the longboat.

 

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The men’s dancing was full of energy.                                                                    The ladies seemed a little self-conscious.

 

On Tuesday we took a tour of the lagoon in the dinghy, taking a look at Turtle Island which is private, and landing on a stretch of white sand beach on Matacawa Island to stretch our legs.  We wandered along the untouched beach and climbed around on the rocks undisturbed by man or beast – the lack of birds and wildlife is a little worrying – but the scenery is absolutely outstanding.

 

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We beached the dinghy on the pristine white sand beach.

 

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Looking back around the bay to the dinghy from the rocks.                         We were surprised by the grid-like regularity of the cracks in the rocks.

 

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A cone shell.                                                                                                                       A giant fluted clam shell.

 

By the time we returned to the dinghy, another boat had arrived in the lagoon – the ‘Fiji Princess’, a cruise ship that arrives every Tuesday and disgorges its passengers onto the main beach which is, for that period of time, closed to everyone else.  Fine by us, we have it the other six days a week, and often all to ourselves - why would we want to go there when it’s full of tourists?

 

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The Fiji Princess arrives every Tuesday.

 

On Wednesday I fancied a walk over the island to find Lo’s Teahouse – apparently the banana cake is delicious.  Steve still did not feel up to it, and Rod was nursing a dickie knee back to health, so Mary and I set off up the steep hill behind the resort in search of the path.  The views from the top were magnificent, and the hike not too strenuous, although we did stop to admire the views quite often!  In less than an hour we arrived at a small village on the other side of the island, and there on the beach was the green building we’d been told to look for – Lo’s Teahouse. 

 

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Looking out over the anchorage from above the resort.                                 Looking over the north end of the island out to Bligh Water.

 

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On the beach is Lo’s Teahouse.

 

Lo was not there, she was in Suva on a shopping trip, we were told by Anna, her sister, who was looking after the shop in her absence.  No banana cake, unfortunately, as the island was too dry for them to grow right now, but she did have chocolate cake.  So we ordered cake and lemon tea for us, and some cake to take back to the invalids.  The lemon tea was very refreshing – an infusion of leaves picked fresh from the lemon tree.

 

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Inside the teahouse.                                                                                                       The menu.

 

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Memorabilia.                                                                                                                     We chose to sit outside looking out over the water.

 

It is possible at low water to walk back through the mangroves and along the beach back to the anchorage, but it was high tide so we retraced our steps over the hills back to the resort, where we were not surprised to find the men waiting to welcome us back with beers in hand.  Oh well, it’s thirsty walk, walking, so we sat down and joined them.