Fly Down Under & Cruise Back Up - Spring 2018 travel blog

















There are two island groups north of Denarau where we are staying. Today we took the ferry which services the Mamanucas. If we had wanted to spend the whole day on the ferry, we could have included the Yasawas as well. The function of the ferry was to take tourists to the resorts located on the various islands and bring them back when their holiday was over. The Fijians make lots of jokes about themselves and their lack of punctuality, but this operation was a well-oiled machine. Since everyone was going somewhere different: some folks just spending the day at a beach and some had lots of luggage and others (us) had none, just keeping everyone organized was a challenge.

Each island had a unique look. Some were covered with trees or carpeted in green and others were jagged and rocky looking. It was easy to imagine the volcanic activity that must have created them. Other islands were low and flat, almost sand bars. And we sailed past a few sand bars that were not big enough yet to accommodate humans, but could have been a real nightmare sailing around this area at night. One of the islands was the location of the Tom Hanks film where he was stranded with only a Wilson basketball for company. Another is off limits because the future Survivor series is being filmed there. We saw a few of those romantic cabins built on stilts over the water and low rise hotels as well. As we sailed I thought about coming back here and even after seeing the types of accommodations that are available, it would be hard to make a choice. Every island had beaches and hammocks and little piers with boats tied up. I'm guessing that you come to these islands to relax and for water sports and there's hardly a bad choice to be made. Whatever the budget will bear.

In the evening we went to a cultural dinner which in Hawaii would have been called a luau and in New Zealand a hangi. This dinner had elements of both and we never learned if it had a name. The pig roasted in the ground and the side dishes reminded us of Hawaiian food, minus the poi. The dancing was not graceful or romantic. It was mostly men sticking out their tongues, making scary faces and grunting and shouting fiercely, just like the war-like Maori do in New Zealand. It boggles the mind to consider how all these far flung island groups are related. The Fijians have African facial features and hair, but much lighter complexions that a typical African. They tend to be large people, both in height and in girth. It was a great way to end our stay here and we're glad we'll be back for more when we stop here on our cruise back to the US.

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