Saturday, January 5, 2008

December 17, 2007- Island Trip to Yanuca

Today I signed up for an island tour of a neighboring island, Yanuca, just south of Mango Bay. Our group of 10 boarded a small jet boat at around 8:30am and cruised along the ocean for about 45 minutes before we reached our island destination. The highlight of the cruise was watching the flying fish from our seats on the boat. The island itself did not appear to be very big. We were told that an individual can walk the entire length of the island in about 1 ½ hours. Unfortunately, we were unable to do much exploring, as it poured rain from the minute we stepped onto the island, right up until we left hours later. We spent much of our time on the island snorkeling, playing volleyball in the rain (not me), and just hanging out amongst ourselves and with the island dwellers. I found it particularly interesting to think that people live in such a manner. It seems so Huckleberry Finn- like. Here we were on this remote island in the middle of the South Pacific away from all civilization— and yet families made their living their. As our boat approached the island, several young Fijian children came running from the hilltop to greet us. Just behind them, you could make out a small lobby area which belonged to the small resort that the family runs. Back home, we complain about the inconvenience of having to drive to the local store or having to drive the kids to the end of the driveway to meet the bus each morning. As I was standing along the beach shore admiring the turquoise reefs, the young girl, her father, and whom must have been a guest at the resort, started their boat and disappeared along the coast. When they arrived back a few minutes later, I asked the young girl where they had gone and she told me they had gone to the nearby village to buy some fish for dinner. I later learned that the kids do attend school, but on the next island---- so the kids are taken to school by boat each morning. However, the girl happily informed us that it is her school vacation.
We gathered in the lobby area for a quick lunch consisting of fresh fruits, sandwiches, and juices. Once finished, we continued to snorkel in the rain since we figured we`d be getting wet anyways. Of course snorkeling in Fiji is my very first experience with snorkeling, and I am enjoying it a great deal. The area around this island we visited had especially good snorkeling. My initial reaction to snorkeling is that it is like swimming inside of a fish tank along with the fish— such an amazing feeling! I can imagine that scuba diving takes this feeling one step forward, but these days I`m considering saving the scuba diving experience for my future travels.

Mid- afternoon, we got back in our boat and made our way back to Mango Bay, but not before trying our luck at some fishing off of the boat. Some of the guys were successful in catching several tuna, and one extremely large (1 meter long) mahi mahi. Everyone was very excited when one of the guys pulled on board this meter long fish. Of course, they wete even more thrilled hours later when it was served to them at dinner. By 4:30pm, we were back at Mango Bay. We gathered in the restaurant for dinner and drinks. It turned out to be a late night for all of us with a beach bon fire only beginning at midnight and a Kava ceremony brought out at about 1am. I thought the Kava drinking would never end, and just when I thought it was about to---- Jack (the night entertainer/security) was bringing out two new bottles of water for another round. Finally, at 3:00am, I excused myself from the circle and made my way to bed.
All in all, the island adventure was a decent outing. Although I have only been at the isolated Mango Bay Resort for 4 short days, it was nice to venture out and see something new. I was, however, a little disappointed with the quality of the $85 Fijian dollar outing. I wish we would have been able to visit the village, and Fijian school as had been promised. We were more or less dropped off and picked up from a neighboring island and provided with snorkeling gear---- it hardly merits the price we paid. I am glad that I chose to do the island tour, however, because it did give me the opportunity to meet some people from the resort, which was really great. I now feel as though I know everyone at the resort, which makes things a lot more comfortable and enjoyable.

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