The next day we went out with another local, called Ken, for some shark snorkelling. Tentatively, Ednora slipped on her fins and stepped, again tentatively, into the water. She prepared herself to be at one with a fierce predator, and there was a real glint in her eye. I think it was a tear, but I truly believe a tear of excitement, not terror. We were taken out to the reef where Ken did some fishing and pointed out any reef sharks. We were assured that these were not interested in humans, but when we saw them, it didn’t take anything away from the euphoria of seeing such an incredible animal in its natural habitat. I could have stayed out there for hours. But then Ken made an announcement. He told us to come on the safe side of the reef because he had seen two Bull Sharks which apparently can attack humans. I turned around to see Ednora already halfway back to the boat. I have never seen her move so fast. I genuinely believe that at that point, she could have out-swam the shark.
Ken then took us to his village to meet his dad, wife and 8 kids. When we arrived at his house, we took a seat on the porch where his dad was hanging out. We all shook his hand and that was when he announced, for the first of many times, that he was black. ‘You see that weather out there? That’s why I’m black’, he said with a smile as I shook his hand. ‘I can see,’ was all I had in return. As the family arranged some tea and homemade doughnuts for us, Granddad explained that he used to be a boxer. ‘I’m black. I’m a black boxer. I was a champion, and do you know why?’
‘Because you’re black,’ said someone else.
‘No, because I had a technique,’ he confirmed, ‘kidney shot, bam, bam, then knock out to the jaw, and he’s down.’ We smiled as though we were ex-professionals too.
Ken’s wife brought out the coffee and sat with us as the kids were running in and out of the house. Ken sat next to her and was casually involved in the chat, but weirdly kept dropping off to sleep, sometimes actually snoring.
‘I think he may have a condition. He can fall asleep so quickly for a few seconds. It’s strange.’
We thanked them all for their kind hospitality and headed off. It was at this point Ednora and I agreed that the Fijian people are so incredibly kind, and proud of where they are from, and want tourists to meet their family and friends – a genuinely welcoming nature.
Our first 16 dorm room, which had 15 beds. This false advertising has led to an action suit.
We got on the bus to head to another hostel, and in a strange twist of expectation, the bus was showing the film Taken. It was a long ride so we were looking forward to the next movie, and lo, it was Taken 2. Now I wouldn’t want to give any spoilers, but it’s basically the same plot. That night after dinner we watched another absolute classic, Matilda, with one of the cooks at the hotel, Rosa. The lovely, smiley Rosa who we fell in love with. We were lucky enough to get a picture with her, as you will see.
Although I was feeling at one with nature in this picturesque country, there was a time when the animal kingdom toyed with me. I needed a poo, it was night time. I decided to go for a poo. I sat down and prepared myself for what I thought was going to be a run of the mill experience, only to look up and find a lizard directly above my head. There it was, as I frantically plopped away in the hope that my roommate didn’t decide to descend onto my head. The game went on for several sweaty minutes, until I managed to flush away unscathed. Close call.
The next adventure was a day trip to Tivua Island. This is the island shaped like a heart. The cruise was great as they put on entertainment, food and drink, but the island sold itself. If there is a heaven, and I end up in it (I definitely won’t), then Tivua Island would suffice. We spent the day snorkelling , drinking, kayaking and eating a lovely BBQ all on this tiny droplet of perfection, which only takes six minutes to circle its perimeter.
Ednora gracefully relaxing on a hammock
Ednora gracelessly falling off a hammock