Day 1- My brother and I left everything in Santa Barbara, California to fish our parents out of Fiji. We boarded the night flight from LAX to Nandi. When we got off the plane I heard a familiar voice call out my name. It was my favorite teacher from Sophmore year in high school, who was heading to Tavarua with twenty other families. Danny and I were so happy we had decided to skip Tavarua and venture to Kadavu, one of the more remote islands in Fiji. Kadavu is the most southern island in the chain.
We had 8 hours to kill before boarding another plane and heading south. We decided to explore Nandi. We look a taxi out to a local hotel where we ate and swam. I felt much better getting on the next plane after taking a break from our long travel day. The second plane sat ten people and half of the plane was taken up by our surf boards. The tail of the plane skidded across the runway while taking off, and this was just the beginning of the excitement to come!
We landed at the tiny airstrip in Kadavu were we were met by our parents. It was wonderful to see them. They had been traveling for three weeks throughout Fiji prior to our arrival. The two of them are the most adventurous people I know. They spent their trip camping, hiking, river rafting and diving, including two “shark dives.” At 60 and 90 feet, the group knelt behind a four foot coral wall while the instructor chummed the water to feed the sharks. Soon, it was dinner time for the 15 or so sharks, which were anywhere from 6 to 12 feet long. My Dad’s height did not help him in this situation. He could not get down low enough so the sharks would practically skim his head. Scary! I am thankful my parents passed on their outrageous adventuring spirit to my brother and I!
We were also met at the airport by “waterman” Tim, who would be our surf and fishing guide. We all loaded ourselves and gear in the small motorboat. The one-hour boat ride was breathtaking. Crystal clear water, lucious green mountains, and perfect 85 degree air. One word, paradise. We arrived at Nagigia Resort on the tiny Denham Island, right off Kadavua, our new home for the next ten days. We were given a warm greeting by a group of Fijians, who ran the resort and lived on the island or in the village across the channel. We are the only people on the island who are visiting. I love it! We have discovered an untouched gem. We are only the second group of Americans who have come to this island. The resort has a main lodge with a large deck which overlooks the five perfect surf breaks, including King Kong Left and Right. There are ten bures on the island where everyone sleeps. The bures are situated right over the turquoise water. Amazing!
We spent the afternoon swimming in the warm water and eating a delicious Fijian lunch. If we had any doubts about going to one of the most remote parts of the world, those thoughts have vanished after an extraordinary afternoon. A “Keep Tahoe Blue” sticker is posted on the wall by the dining table. I was shocked to see something from my mountain hometown out in the South Pacific. Great sign I am right where I should be.
Now I am lying in my bure listening to the water splash, feeling the warm air hit my face and I feel like the luckiest girl in the world to experience this Fijian life with my family.