After half an hours journey on a ferry boat we were dropped off at a nice resort where we were to get our connection to the "Funky Fish" resort where we were staying. Our new boat was a tiny, old speedboat and soon we were skimming over the waves beside the island. On landing we then climbed into the back of an old trailer that was then pulled along the beach and up a small hill to where reception was by a tractor! Quite bizarre.
The resort was built by a former member of the New Zealand All Blacks and when we were there was very quiet. Malolo island itself which the resort is on, is one of the largest islands in the Mamanuca group, which in turn is close to Suva the "mainland" of Fiji. There was a large open plan bar area, a swimming pool, some "bures" (a tourist form of the traditional huts), a big dorm building and a small computer room. Around the resort was jungle and there didnt seem to be any way to access the other resorts on the island; not that we would be allowed in anyway!
The rest of the day was spent quietly relaxing. The weather wasn't great and there werent many other people staying at the resort (as apparently it was low season), so we ended up sitting in the bar area having a few drinks and some food from the resort restaurant menu before heading back to our room (we had got a twin room as it was the same price as the dorms) and digging into the duty free I had managed to buy in New Zealand.
The next day we headed down to the sea as the tide was out, exposing mud flats that were teeming with hermit crabs and various crustaceans. As you walked along there was a constant movement of small creatures going back into their holes in the mud and hermit crabs hiding and pretenting to be shells. After that we relaxed in the pool as the weather was better and the humidity high. I made the mistake of not putting any sun tan lotion on for a couple of hours and ended up burning up quite badly; it would appear that there might be a hole in the ozone layer here as well!
We got chatting to a couple of other people in the pool and one of them, an English girl, was telling us about her male friends who were currently surfing on the outer reef. Most of the islands where we were are sheltered from the full force of the sea by a large coral reef, which results in calm and warm water surrounding the islands. This also means that if you want to surf you need to surf the waves that are breaking onto the reef, meaning that untimately if you screw up you will be thrown onto sharp coral instead of a sandy beach. Outch!
At 3pm there was a coconut husking demonstration and everyone in the resort turned up (all 10 people). It consisted of a local guy opening a mature and a semi mature coconut only using a machete. We all marveled at how he managed not to cut his fingers off with the blade as he quickly chopped coconuts and then we ate the coconut innards. Afterwards the guy also cut down part of a coconut palm branch and within a couple of minutes had weaved a large basket out of the leaves.
Later on we had a Kava ceremony. Kava is a plant in Fiji and when filtered and drunk has the effect of getting you mildly stoned, however you need to drink a lot for this to happen and it doesnt taste particularly amazing. Anyway we all sat on a mat, Sian was appointed chief and the Fijian guy told us a little more about Fijian culture and generally chatted away as we drank the kava. Eventually most people became bored and wandered off, but the ceremony went on as apparently the big bowl of kava had to be finished once started. I stayed on to the end along with a couple of others, but was quite relieved once the ceremony was over.
That evening me and Sian ended up meeting a couple of nice English people and had a few drinks with them, but there was hardly a big party atmosphere and before too long everyone had gone to bed. Possibly the most amusing point of the evening occured when we noticed that the chicken dish on the food menu had changed its title from "chicken no feathers" which was slightly bizarre in itself, to just "no feathers."
We had plenty of time on our last day before our boat transfer to the next island so me and Sian decided to walk along the beach and see some more of the island. It was a cloudy day but still quite hot and soon we were walking along some rocky beaches and past some mangrove swamps. Loads of large crabs scuttled away as we approached and we saw some large holes in the ground slightly inland that seemed to be occupied by frogs. Other then that there did not seem to be much to see and after a while we wandered back the same way to the resort, where we relaxed until it was time to leave.