[ Resorts: Oarsman's
Bay Lodge ]
was the most amazing experience for my family. We were blown
away by Oarsman's Bay Lodge. Everything was incredible.
The beach is the best beach we have ever seen, and we have
seen many good beaches all the way up the east coast of
Australia ( not including surf beaches though ). The interaction
with the staff and village was a life altering experinece
in itself. We did get to know many of the staff and they
became like close friends to us very quickly. We were initially
concerned that our children may get a little bored at a
quiet place like this, but it was the opposite. Having left
Oarsman's Bay after our 4 day stay we then went to Plantation
Island for 5 days. We only lasted 2. Having been spoilt
by the staff at Oarsman's and having been mesmerized by
the locations beauty we could not return quick enough. Even
our kids wanted to go back. My 2 young sons loved the interaction
with the young guys in the village and lodge. They would
show them how to get coconuts, how to spear fish in "real"
reefs, how to play island style volleyball and rugby, and
how to dance to great Fijian themes at their party nights.
will never forget watching our kids being entertained by
The Chief Etu Repali playing nursery rhymes with his guitar
under a palm tree ( he loves to show off his musical talents
)or playing musical chairs in the sand floor dining room
after dinner. Here he had set up his synthizer and his euchalayle
and showed that even the big cheif had rythme. The women
of the village at the resort were just incredible with our
kids. We had heard that Fijian women are good with kids
but we were amazed at how much they loved our children.
They quickly became like their big sisters to them as well
as their guardians. They not only cared for them they really
did enjoy playing with them and involving them with everything
they did. As for Natalie and I, maybe we dont travel enough,
but we just loved the place. The food was fantastic, the
beach side Bure's are compact and basic but comfotable enough
with toilet, hot shower and right on the beach. An incredible
beach. The water is crystal clean, postcard aqua blue, and
the fine sand is perfect white and continues out for miles.
We saw other beaches that are only sand at high tide. The
reef at either end of the beach is the best reef we saw
in the area ( even better than Blue Lagoon ).The fish were
abundant,of all colours and they would swim around you as
if they were more inquizative about us. The Bure style accomodation
and the whole layout of the resort can make you feel you
are on a deserted island. A short stroll in either direction
along the beach and you cannot see the resort or any other
development. It is incredibly silent. Just the sound of
tiny waves lapping onto the sand. You can nearly hear the
scatter of the Hermit crabs as they move about in all directions.
are daily activities you can join in with or just do nothing
( lay in a hammock and read, dream or stare at the colours
of the ever changing waters ). Having kids we decided to
go on most of the tours. the village trip was fanatastic.
To see how they live and how happy they are was great for
us ( especially for our kids ). We also went to Easter Sunday
mass. We were amazed by how neat and tidy all of the children
of the village looked in their best clothes. All clothes
are hand washed and they dont have irons. We couldn't work
out how their clothes we so well pressed. The singing in
the church made the hair on the back of your neck stand
up. It was if this was a professional choir. Their voices
and harmony was a experience in itself to hear. Other tours
included reef hoping ( snorkling on a shallow reef a long
way out off shore ), visiting the underwater caves ( probably
one of the scariest things i have done - not for kids ),
hiking up the hills at the back of the resort ( hot, real
hot, but what a view ), visit and snorkle at Blue Lagoon
and other activities. Even the nights were fantastic. Make
sure you tell the barman to put plenty of whatever you drink
in the fridge. Sometimes we ordered a bottle of wine and
there was none in the fridge but plenty on the shelf. It
must be cold please. Each night after dinner the staff would
have some form of short entertainment. They love to sing
and dance. Friday and Saturday is Kava night. The Cheif
is in great spirits and loves the guests to join in. We
loved it. For hours we would all ( that is at least 20 Fifian
staff, The Chief, and most guests - especially the backpackers)
sit around the Kava bowl relaxed, singing and laughing together.
The Chief loves to be the center attraction. He actually
can sing and can play anything on his guitar. What an amazing
experience.You really do feel lost from the rest of the
silent starlight nights with no phones, radio, television,
newspapers, cars, etc. Nothing to worry about. What will
tomorrow bring? Will it be different? Do you want it to
be different. Today has been so perfect, could tommorow
be any better. You dont care bcause tomorrow will be another
perfect day with new experiences you will never forget.
Smiling faces, peaceful minds all set in a perfect location.
must go back - one day. Our friends will never change. We
[ Resorts: Nabua
Lodge and Otto & Fanny's ]
has around 300 islands (I had NO idea!). We decided to go
off the mainland and stay on one of the islands - called
Nacula (it's part of the Yasawa island group). We took a
sea plane out to Turtle Island (Lon got to play co-pilot),
then did a boat transfer out to Nacula. We had some awesome
views from the sea plane. This place is SO different from
anything I've seen. It's like a combination of Survivor/Castaway/Gilligan's
Island/Blue Lagoon. We stayed at the Nabua Lodge. It consists
of 4 beach bures (small single room thatched huts) and one
dormitory. It sleeps 14 people total
it's very SMALL.
We stayed in one of the beach bures. We would wake up in
the morning with the sunrise (yes, I was actually up early
everyday!), and I'd look out at the aqua-blue ocean
think, "this is too good to be true". We'd go
for a morning swim and then lounge in the hammock. LIFE
IS GOOD! The sunsets were the finishing touches on the beautiful
days. We had a full moon the first week we were there. We
had excellent weather...it only rained for 3 days (on and
off) the whole time we were there. I got a really pretty
photo of a rainbow!
was quite an international group - many from England, a
couple from Holland, a guy from Ireland, another couple
from Wales. They are all doing RTW trips and most of them
are halfway done or finishing up. We've gotten a lot of
good tips from them. (Hello to Kelly, Sofia, Caroline, Bryn,
Elly, Richard, Mervyn, Rhiannon, and Gwern if you're reading
this!) They were a great group of people! Kelly was the
other Yankee in the group
she's from Wasington D.C.
and is a very experienced traveler (an impressive Peace
Corp. background). She had some great stories! I especially
liked your pet monkey story! Sofia was from Sweden
very fun-loving, genuine person. Caroline and Bryn were
and after having spent many days in Nabua,
they were the DARKEST Brits we've ever seen. They really
went native. Bryn was pretty much an expert on the Fijian
he could have probably joined the
village if he wanted. Just a little more time there and
you could have speared that lobster, Bryn! Elly and Richard
were from Holland. Elly was very nice and she took good
care of Richard
killed the bugs and escorted him in
the dark (O.K. - Richard didn't have his glasses). Richard
provided the entertainment - he played guitar everyday.
Even the local children stopped and sang with him on the
beach. He could also dish it out as good as he got it! Thank
you guys for making the first stop on our journey that much
have taken so many pictures!! This place is a
paradise. The beach is white sand and the water is a clear,
and there's a coral reef just 200 yards away
with the most colorful fish (parrot fish, clown fish, angel
fish, brown puffer with blue spots, and a million other
fish that I have no idea what they are)
are these large purple starfish everywhere! Too bad my camera
doesn't work underwater. There is no electricity (except
they do have a generator that they turn on for 2 hours after
sundown for the dining area). Coconuts fall out of the trees
there's no telling when or where one might
fall, so I always try to stay away from the trees w/ coconuts.
The shower is outdoors and the toilet is also. It's so wild
to take a shower outdoors, look up and see blue sky and
people on the island communicate by radio to the other islands.
Since we had no light, I really used my flashlight a lot
(thank you, Abbyann)!! We drank rainwater (so far, no problems
wouldn't try that back home). Vitili, part of Nabua's staff,
tried to show me how to weave a basket from a palm tree.
are several small villages on the island
with a total
of 945 people
complete with a chief! The chief also
rules over 2 other islands nearby. We are not allowed to
go into the village (Naisisili village)
only if accompanied
by a local. One night we actually heard drums beating!!
Talk about a different life style!!
lodge was invited to go into the village one day for a "show".
The women had to wear long skirts (I had to borrow a sarong)
and no one was allowed to wear hats. They gave the women
plumeria flower necklaces and had the men join their Kava
circle. We all joked about how they were really planning
to eat us! Believe it or not, Fiji outlawed cannibalism
in the late 1800's. They put on a very nice dance and played
music for us. It's strange to see the mixture of traditional
dress with a Raiders T-shirt. The children of the village
leave every Sunday by boat to another island for boarding
they return Friday evening. Overall, the island
people are very friendly.
Kava circles are kind of strange. They grind up the roots
of the Kava plant and put it in a cloth, then pour water
over it and soak the cloth for a few minutes. When the Kava
is offered to you, you clap your hands once, drink it, then
clap 3 times when you're done to show respect. It tastes
like dirty water and leaves your tongue and gums numb. Kava
is actually a narcotic
but we didn't see any pink
elephants - and we sure drank enough of it. It's sold in
the U.S. as a supplement
for it's calming effect.
days we had rice and curry for lunch and dinner. However,
we'd have a nice BBQ once in a while. One day we bought
a crab that one of the locals caught.
Saturday they do a "lovo"
they dig a pit
in the ground and throw lava rocks and wood into it
it on fire for about 2 hours
wrap up pork, chicken,
lamb, potatoes, cassava, and taro root in baskets weaved
from palm leaves
then wrap these in banana leaves
it in the pit and cover it with dirt
cook it for 2
then it's FEAST time!! They must have stolen
that from the Cubans!
staff at Nabua Lodge were great! Remi is the "manager".
To steal a line from Greg
"if you were to look
up the word "man" in the Fijian dictionary, there
would be a picture of Remi". This guy kills the bugs,
spears the fish, repairs and cuts metal with his teeth,
catches the land crabs, cleans the toilets, drives the boat,
fixes the motor, treats the cuts, builds the huts, BBQ's
the food, and he does this all with a huge smile. Lon saw
him spear an octopus and wrestle it to death! I saw the
octopus when it was dead
and this was no small octopus!
He also cheats at cards, likes to use other people's stuff,
and lies about his age. Ladies, this man is available
a Virgo, has large, paddle-like feet, can hold his breath
underwater for 2 minutes, he's got a pretty nice room, is
a family kind of guy, and loves to joke around.
and I joke that we're going to super-impose a picture of
Remi in all the photos that we take of places around the
"See Remi go around the world"!
wanna know how much Nabua cost us??? We paid $16.45 U.S.
dollars (U.S.D.) per person, per day - and that includes
breakfast, lunch, and dinner (and taxes)! The conditions
are pretty rustic here, so I wouldn't recommend this place
to everyone, but we really enjoyed it!! We felt like we
really got to share in the Fijian Island lifestyle
only for a brief time.
does come at a cost
in the form of mosquitoes, land
crabs, large spiders, mice, and roaches (but that's mostly
at night). For some reason, insects seem to fall on ME from
out of nowhere. And, of course, the mosquitoes prefer ME
to Lon. Usually it's after dinner, when we're playing cards
in the dining area
when bugs will drop from the ceiling
and get lost in my hair. For that reason, most of the photos
you see of me, my hair is in a tight bun on the top of my
head. I've gotten pretty good about killing things. After
the first few days, I stopped screaming and started killing
them myself. But, I still can't get used to the land crabs
are mean and ugly
and you DON'T want to cross paths
with one of them on the way to the toilet at night!
2 weeks at Nabua Lodge, we transferred over to Otto and
Fanny's Lodge on Tavewa island - just to try another spot.
The food there was GREAT!! The bures were much larger and
had their own bathroom and shower. It was more expensive
($32.90/person per night - also includes all food), but
was a really nice treat! Lon worked really hard in that
hammock ...builds up the appetite! The best part about Otto
and Fanny's was that they sold CAKE and ICE CREAM! After
having been starved of sugar for 2 weeks, you can imagine
the feeding frenzy that followed. All the backpackers would
come by Otto and Fanny's around 4 pm for a sugar-fix.
were the most adorable kittens at Otto and Fanny's. These
are some of my favorite pictures!! If you're a cat lover,
then you'll like these.
met another Yankee couple (Lisa and Tim) at Otto and Fanny's.
They were from Colorado and were just finishing up their
year-long RTW trip
Fiji was their last stop before
heading home. Va, manager at Otto and Fanny's, took us on
a great hike on the island. We had to go through some pretty
high brush, but the views were fantastic. At the top of
the hill, we saw hundreds of birds flying around
when we got a closer look at them, they turned out to be
fruit bats! They were the size of large ravens. Va says
they eat them on the island
and, of course, they taste
like chicken! Because the wind was so good at the top of
the hill, there were also swift-type birds that would hover
Tavewa island, we did more snorkeling, reading, and lounged
in the hammock. It was hard to leave! One thing that did
freak me out a bit was the "coconut minefield".
To get to our bure, we had to walk through this dense area
of tall coconut trees. Let me tell you, coconuts are falling
ALL the time. I kept having horrible thoughts about getting
our skulls cracked open by a falling coconut
"death by coconut".
hope you didn't find this summary too long or too boring.
I'm not the best writer, but I hope to improve with time.
We're looking forward to our next adventure in New Zealand!
- Martha (and