This trip all started with two ladies deciding that a kayak trip to the Antarctic was the to go. Whereas, I who have an aversion to anything cold let alone wet said “Go for it, I’ll go to Fiji and Kayak” – Aug 2005
The trip there:
1st leg; 10 hour drive Carnarvon to Perth.
2nd leg; after a 5 hour layover is going to be magic – the Redeye special and I can sleep anywhere… Left Perth, totally stressed though sure that what. D organised would be all OK. Flight was a shyte as I took a fixed seat, my choice, for leg-room not sleeping. The inebriated A/hole across the aisle who decided to sing ‘shoulda flown QANTAS’ for 3 hours when he couldn’t lay back to sleep certainly ensured that most of the passengers had fat chance of sleep!
Off Domestic onto International. Collect bags [never thought to book through] Check ticket, flight time, duty free shopping list, I need coffee and food… hey this short train trip between terminals is pretty neat. OK confirmed ticket, booked in, backpack on its way. Duty free! how much gear am I carrying for me? OK got the wine, now my carry-on bag weighs more than the backpack, smokes, coffee down, better check through Customs early… My 1st transfer from Domestic 2 International. Don’t do it after flying with an inebriated A/hole across the aisle. Brisbane Airport is logical for those who are awake! Change of time zone and I nearly lost it. I’m in a queue of 1,000’s and 20/60 to board for Fiji. “What! you want to check this bag? What for?” Pulled out of line because I have 2 cigarette lighters, who cares! My plane is about to leave! Misread my watch I had 90/60 before boarding call. Thank God I only talk inside my head… Could have been charged in Qld for the havoc I was intending. “OK just stop hyperventilating, add 14 shades of colour to the face and I should be fine.” One pair of nail scissors and a cigarette lighter later I’m through. OK carry-on bag is lighter and now manageable.
3rd leg; is a breeze, comfort flight, no sleep thanks to the chair kicking 2 yr old and that oh so sweet sound of a baby crying – “Stick a dummy in it’s mouth!” Arrived Fiji, straight to the Loo no time to hesitate. Then lo and behold, who’s bag is 1st on the carousel? mine! I’m out; free in Fiji and there’s D. A quick/slow/quick taxi drive to Suva Yacht club and onto the boat-taxi. We cleared the harbour, the crew is manually pumping fuel to1 of the twin 115hp motors and we turn back. Safety 1st, I’m feeling better, but no it’s another passenger. The crew is still hand pumping the motor, never mind that the confidence level of the smiling boat crew is high and mine is low.
So onto Bounty Island.
There are times when you know that you haven’t lived. This week was one of them. The sound of surf as a murmur or a hard slap against a coral/sand beach is repetitively comforting. As the sun nears setting, a celebratory wine is poured and without the intrusion of radio or television a day is near complete. I’m sitting in the early evening darkness, my love relaxed in a hammock and little else do I need. I could kayak throughout these islands as an adventure of life. Knowing that inclination, it’s time to move toward a lifestyle that is experience not this shaky future of work and worry about the pension. Sun-lounge war! This went on for 3 days between us & Bure12. I’d trekked up the beach for the only unused sun-lounge & it was ours. ‘cept B12 decided to grab it whenever we didn’t leave a towel on it. B12 ‘stole’ one only to have reclaimed o’night by B13. B12 had audacity to bemoan to us bout the unfairness, I just moved ours inside for the night; less stress.
We’d seen a long-boat come in to the island with 8 Fijian’s on-board. Nothing of note but there they were with the staff drinking Kava when we returned from dinner. At about 1/2 ten at night we can hear this bang bang on the beach. The
long-boat has dropped her mooring line and is now trying to float away. I’m waist deep trying to keep this heavy craft close to shore but off the rough coral beach while D sprints to the Kava session. After thanks and two of the boys drag it back down to its mooring we learn that they’d been playing a Rugby 8 match on another island when they’d run out of fuel, our Island’s water taxi had towed them in to sleep overnight before the run back to the mainland. Completely relaxed about the whole issue of no fuel, late home ad infinitum… Kava is a relaxant, whereas in Oz we drink and pay the price of a hangover in Fiji I experienced some tingle of lips but slept really well n relaxed.
The Kayak Trip: So back to the main Island after 5 days, wandered through the markets and town centre then meet the tour guides and prepare for the 10 day kayak trip. 2.5 hr fast boat trip ~70nm to the Yasawa chain. Camp site is historical – descendents of Irishman & Fijian princess live here. The Island across the way is where the movie ‘Blue Lagoon’ was filmed and the costs reflect the influence of tourism – $2,000
pn at the resort with your own private beach! We had the basic, Eco Loo, tents on the lawn, clod water shower etc… then Judd served tea – Cordon bleu! What a start! D & I in Dobbe Double kayak, the 1st leg is ~2hrs to Nathula village & camp. We got rhythm! as kayakers we’d never paddled a double before and found each leg a doddle.
Kayak for a while, drift over coral, check the fish, catch up to the tour, drift over coral etc… Tented on Rugby field. Breakfast is 7.30 each a.m. Pack and start paddling by 9:30 with stops for sightseeing, smoko, lunch, smoko and set-up camp. The water, weather were perfect for kayaking; 4 – 6 hours a day and we’re covering between 6 – 14 km. A side trip was to an Cave pool for a ‘pitch black’ swim; followed by a hard paddle against the tide and surf between two Isles – what a blast to swing the double kayak around and surf the crest of a 2m wave as we headed back to base. Tripped through and around 5 Islands with an overnighter on a deserted Island [which it wasn’t as we shared it with 15 other people]. Nevertheless we tented way down the beach from the rest of the crew, then enjoy a wine as the sunset. These 10 days were perfect. Our guides were patient and great personalities. Judd kept on surprising us with what he could present as a meal for 15 from inside our kayaks. Lou & Avarosa never failed to smile. Avarosa left me down a shirt and boardies at the end of the trip – he drove a hard bargain for the ‘T’ shirt I wanted. All went too quickly….
I’m still thinking about doing the “Turkey Kayak Trip” maybe after the Bermuda interlude…
try Southern Seas Ventures kayaking trips…