Fiji Holiday – day 4 & 5 & Home

Day 4
We got up, there was no dish washing liquid so had to try and rinse things until we found housekeeping. At 8:30 we were picked up to go out on a caving tour which included a village visit, a hike, and a Kava ceremony.
The trip out was an hour to Sigatoka where we were dropped off for 30 minutes to look around. Whilst we looked about the van went off to pick up other people from other resorts before coming back and picking us up. Our van had 2 familys, ours and another Australian couple and kids.
Our tour guides were a couple of transvestites who were very knowledgeable. From Sigatoka township we went onto dirt roads and travelled another 50km up into Sigatoka Valley where the temperature was a good 5C higher than it was in the low lands.
It was a bouncy trip with some major pot holes in the roads, however the views were fantastic in several places. We stopped briefly to wave to some boys who must have been about 5-10years old gathering firewood, and also to look at a wind farm and resort in the middle of nowhere.
We managed to see several farmers using ox to plough the land on the way, a stray pig on the main road, and cops with guns.

When we arrived at the village the other van behind us had another couple of people. The houses that the Kava ceremony was in better condition than the usual ‘barely staying together’ look most had, so i presumed it was a community building or church as these seemed to be consistently slightly better than the houses.
The porch area was large and the poles of it covered in some reflective metallic yellow wrapping. Apon closer look i realized it was covered in chip packets! Clearly going all out to impress the tourists.
The other guests had clearly never read up about Fiji and none had covered their knees or shoulders. Apparently this is common so they had some Sulu (Sarongs) in the vans for those people. Paul (my hubby) was the ‘chief’ in our group so went first with the Kava. He managed to forget the fijian words but was able to repeat them when they were yelled by our guide. I was next, and then several others including my youngest son Quantum. The girls were a bit scared for some reason, perhaps worried they were end up drunk 😀
We got a vague numb tongue afterwards but nothing major. It was clearly a weak mix for the tourists, however I did see they left 5 packets of extra Kava for the village. I needed to use the toilet whilst there, so decided to make use of the only flushing toilet for 50km. Lets just say it was probably more hygienic to go outside in a long drop, nobody had clearly explained that a flushing toilet needed to be cleaned!

After the ceremony we went down to the river where a couple of bamboo rafts waited for us. By ‘raft’ i mean a large bundle of bamboo tied together with rope. Several locals swam across whilst pulling the raft, at which point we got out and went up a bank. We hiked for about 30 minutes whilst the guides showed us local trees, fruit, vegetables. The knowledge the guides had was incredible, they knew almost every tree and fruit and how it was used. Children learn the farm whilst growing up so apparently this knowledge is normal for most Fijians.
Eventually we arrived at the Caves. To enter them we had to walk through a shallow river (no biggie since we had already walked through several and were all wearing sandals). The second cavern was only accessible by crouching low with only a gap of 30cm out of water to get through.
The second cavern was large and had a waterline about 2 mtrs up the wall, where in winter, the cave was inaccessible. The Third and fourth caverns were also large, and all of them had fantastic rock formations and things like ovens where they cooked those they killed. Apparently the hunters would eat the muscle, sailors used the bones for needles and parts, the chief would eat the brains and other internal organs.
We discovered why islanders have the large horn when they blew it. Cockroaches ran everywhere trying to get away from the noise (and they were HUGE and plentiful).
We left the cave, walked back to the river. By this time we were hot so half us jumped into the river and helped swim the raft over. We then played in the river and ate fruit for afternoon tea until we drove home. The van had a plentiful supply of beer to drink on the long trip home which was fantastic, plus a lot of stories. After arriving home we went to the ports and had Indian and watched a show of fire dancers

Day 5

Today we went out to the ports, and took a cruise around all the Islands. We stopped at the South Seas Island which was about 200mtr x100mtr and had free food/drink etc and use of snorkelling gear. We stayed for a couple of hours and snorkelled the reefs. The fish were amazing, the reefs were a little worse for wear after recent bad cyclones. We got back on the boat and for the next few hours just looked at all the Islands as they went past. Beachcomber Island was the only one with a Wharf, the rest had run abouts that picked people up off the Sea Cat and took them inland. Some of the beaches were amazing, as was the coral.

After getting home we crossed the road and picked up a coconut. They were plentiful and free for anyone who wanted them. We opened it up and it tasted great! Since it was Sunday and our last night, we hired a babysitter and went out to dinner. Husband and I spent a relaxing 2.5 hours eating and sitting back relaxing talking about everything.

Day 6

We pretty much cleaned up, swam, and checked out. Checkout was 11am and the plane pickup was 5pm so we had several hours where we had nothing to do. We were aloud to hang about at the resort still and use it so we left our bags there and took the Bula bus around the other resorts. We decided the one we were at was by far the best, especially if you had children, however others had some decent things going on.

At 5pm we got our ride to the airport, and left Fiji at 8pm. We arrived in NZ at 10:55pm, got all our gear through customs ok (was a bit worried about the wooden crafts i had and shoes from the hike).
Overall the holiday was a mega success , we are already planning on going back again and staying at perhaps a different place.
South Seas Island looks like a good spot to perhaps spend a day or two next time since its only $110 per week or $25 a night and that includes food and drinks (yes, including booze!). And that cost is Fijian so its even less in NZD (about $20 a night!), and we can perhaps do some diving as well as the snorkling!

Waterproof camera cases – and my awesome sister!

For those that know me, know i do a little photography. I have always wanted to take it underwater, to the point of using Glad resealable bags with my cheap Fuji point n shoot camera (wouldn’t try that with my Canon 450D SLR camera!).

Yesterday i got home to a large parcel airmail. I opened it up and there was a pile of all sorts of waterproof gear from ipod pouches, waterproof earphones (now you can apparently listen to your iPod in the pool!), and a couple of waterproof camera cases all from Aquapec . It turns out it was an Xmas present from my totally awesome sister Angela

We promptly filled the bath and tested the point n shoot camera in the smaller camera bag. Results were interesting, the photos came out well but it was hard to try and get the camera sitting in the pouch in the right place as the bag was much larger than the camera. Also the lens protrudes when turned on and of course moves in and out which made life interesting. If pressure is put on the lens then it can push the lens off its rails or damage the camera. I was a little worried about this so i grabbed a toilet roll, cut it to size, then taped it onto the camera like this.

The bath isnt huge, so was a little hard to get good shots that were not ‘in your face’ too much. This is one of the resulting photos

Today we took the lot of it down to the swimming pools. We got a LOT of attention for taking so many cameras into the pool of course, but it was fun. The smaller camera is able to do video which was cool, though I havn’t watched ot downloaded from it (and wont until i can find its cable!).

I had trouble seeing through the viewfinder on the SLR a bit but that turned out to be my goggles, i switched through a few that we had including a face mask or two, and used the best snorkel gear for better underwater time. I had some trouble with floating and not sinking enough, next time I will make a point of squeezing excessive air out of the bag and using a deeper pool. The SLR waterproof case looked like this

This meant that if the lens was shorter than the tube it was baggy at the end and the resulting photos had a nice vinegette going on from it. Ill have to hold that in place in future. width wise my 72mm lens only just fit into it, i wouldnt try any larger thats for sure! Here are a few more photos I took today from in the pool.