Bula from Nukubati Island, Fiji
We reluctantly stepped onto the small boat, sat down, and looked back at the island. Beautiful Fijian farewell songs were being sung in the background as the boat started up. It slowly pulled away, bringing us farther from paradise. We both had tears in our eyes as the staff waved goodbye and the island got smaller and smaller.
You know it was a good vacation when you are already planning your return the day you get back. We landed in Nadi early last Saturday morning and went into town to explore. That was when it first dawned on me that Fiji was a third world country. Before that when I thought Fiji I thought beautiful tropical islands, but never did I make the connection that the people were so poor. By the time we finished exploring the town we were very much ready to get out to the island and relax.
We flew over to Labasa on the world's smallest commercial plane and landed in the world's smallest commercial airport (I hope). As we stepped from the plane we looked at each other wondering just what we had gotten ourselves into. We waited for our luggage to be carted in and someone came over to us and asked if we were going to Nukubati Island. I guess it was pretty easy to pick out the tourists, we clearly did not belong. We climbed inside the 4x4 and started the hour drive to the dock. This was definitely the kind of road that separated the tourists from the travelers. From the dock we climbed on a boat and had a short trip across the bay to Nukubati Island, our new home for the next week.
Upon arriving the staff gathered and sang some beautiful welcoming songs. We were presented with leis and given coconuts to drink. We sat sipping our drinks and chatting with the owners. It was a beautiful sunny day with a few clouds in the sky. We were shown to our bure and then had our first of many, many delicious 3-course meals. It didn't take long for us to settle in and start to truly relax. This was definitely a different Fiji from the one we had seen the day before.
The next morning we awoke to pouring rain, but it was still warm and there was still delicious food so we just relaxed with a puzzle and some good Fiji beer. It continued to pour for two days straight, and between all of the delicious food and not being able to do much outside we were absolutely stuffed. Finally the clouds broke for a few minutes on Tuesday afternoon and we were able to sneak in a game of tennis.
The following day was absolutely gorgeous and we took full advantage of the nice day, paddling around, swimming, sunning, and of course eating some more. By the end of the day I was exhausted and ready to get out of the sun. After fourteen months without seeing the sun, my legs were getting very blotchy and red. I'm sure the rays were quite a shock.
We had a little more rain the following morning but were able to squeeze in a snorkeling trip along the Great Sea Reef. As we got closer to the reef in the boat we could see the waves crashing over - it was quite a site to see those waves forming in the middle of the ocean. The reef was absolutely beautiful, we saw so many colorful fish and the water temperature was perfect.
After that, we had a little picnic lunch in the lookout at the high point of the island. From there we watched the clouds roll back in and the rain threaten to reappear. Sure enough, it rained again that evening and through the night. As much as the rain could have ruined the trip, it was actually very nice because it forced us to really relax for a few days. The island is private and they only allow a maximum of fourteen guests at a time. We were fortunate to only have to share the island with four other people for a majority of the time, so we really got to experience the peace of total seclusion.
The following morning we left the island and flew back to Nadi. We went into Lautoka and Phil let me go crazy in the Fijian fabric shop we found. They had so many beautiful fabrics, and I am really looking forward to making a nice souvenir of our trip.
It was such a great trip and we are hoping that we will be able to go back again next year. It wasn't just the island, it was the people who made the experience so great. The owners and staff spoiled us rotten, but even just sitting down and chatting with them was wonderful. Before we went it had seemed that everyone talked about how great the people of Fiji are, and now we really understand. Leaving on that boat, it felt like we were leaving family behind. It's possible that there are better spots in Fiji, but I don't really care. Nukubati has such a hold on us now that I don't think we will travel anywhere else in Fiji. It was a truly remarkable place.
check out some more pictures of the island here: