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Vinaka Vakalevu Fiji – Part 2 (2007)

Thursday, 11th January 2007 |  by  |  Fiji  |  1 Comment  |  Share

More notes on Fiji! if you missed part 1 :
1st January 2007 – Kim’s Place – Becky
“Kim and his family picked us up from the Ferry. We took a slow ride over VERY choppy water, with one child steadily emptying the boat of water with a bucket, Kim had on hand steering and the other trying to catch dinner with his fishing line. Andy had no problem fishing as a small flying fish committed suicide by jumping into his lap. 40 minutes later we had settled into our bure, which had a swinging bed. Andie (Kim’s wife) had prepared dinner for us all, a HUGE plate of noodles and Curry, Rice and Chicken, A root vegetable, coleslaw and pineapple. We didn’t even dent the mound of food, apparently Kim has it nightly or he can’t sleep.”

2nd January 2007 – Kims Place – Andy
“At low tide the island Kim’s house is on is connected to Turtle island, a very elite resort where recently Britney Spears had her wedding. We walked between the two to look at the crabs and explore the mangroves, not getting too close for fear to security shooting us from there little watch tower. We headed back to see Kim preparing the boat (emptying the water out) for our return journey.”

2nd January 2007 – Korovou – Andy
“One of the staff, Moses, wasn’t impressed we were staying in the dorm and kept telling us to move into the ‘Love Nest’ next to him and his wife to be. After a little bartering we did move into our own little lodge for 3 pounds more. One of the guys we were talking to at dinner ran an outreach program back in Canada to teach kids how to break dance, he gave us a fantastic demonstration and taught one of the local kids some moves.”

4th January 2007 – In the Island Village – Becky
“We got on the boat to the Village, a 30 minute trip with great views of the coast of the island, we arived at the beach of the village and our guide went to the chief to ask permission to enter. Andy was pronounced Chief of the group as he sat down for another Kava ceremony. While we were drinking Kava, the local women set up a market on the floor selling, craft items, as soon as we’d bought something they started packing up as we were their only customers for the day. I was really impressed with the school whose school motto was ‘the fear of the lord is the beginning of wisdom’. School was out as its the summer holidays here, so the kids were around the village, helping parents and playing volley ball (and wearing party hats)”

5th January 2007 – Manta ray – Becky
“Iva and Cody were in the shallow water, feeding the fish bread and pancakes trying to get their trust before trying to grab them out of the water, they never caught any. Later we all went (Me, Andy, Midla, Jordy, Iva, Kathie, Thierry) off Kayaking to another island, pulled our Kayaks up onto the beach and spent the next hour snorkeling, I saw loads of purple starfish, and a 2 meter sea worm (Yuck). Kathie and Midla disappeared so Andy went on a rescue mission to find them and came back towing the girls along. That night Mike and Tam (Codys’ parents) put on a fire dancing show, fantastic Jordy joined in and so did some of the staff. Absolutely amazing”

6th Jauary 2007 – Back to Octopus – Andy
“Said good to the friends we’d made and headed off the Octopus. We decided to spend our last 2 nights in Fiji here as we loved it so much over Christmas, I was amazed that some of the staff had remembered me. That evening we played some games for champagne, My team and I won a few bottles. There were only 5 or so games and we were still up for more when we finished, as we’d (England) had just lost the ashes miserably, we thought we’d rematch the Australians to the cereal box game. All good but Becky (due to her previous training with Toni) won for England, we couldn’t stretch to champagne so it was a Fiji bitter instead. After most had gone to bed (including Becky) we carried on drinking, Anna, a Yorkshire girl living in Sydney convinced us to dive in the pool, shortly after the manager came over to suggest we called it a night, an hour and one more dip later and we did. In the morning, Anna and I were checking out in the office when some of the staff were chatting about the rowdy lot the night before, we sat there sheepishly.”

More to come later!

Vinaka Vakalevu Fiji – Part 1 (2006)

Wednesday, 10th January 2007 |  by  |  Fiji  |  No Comments  |  Share

Well we’ve left Fiji and arrived in Auckland, back to the City, and the Internet.

So we thought rather than trying to summarize the last 4 weeks, we’d post snippets of our journal, anything we think might be interesting… This could be a long one.
17th December- On our way to Nadi Airport – Becky
“Andy got called into the ‘Restricted area’ at Rarotonga airport while I was in the toilet, when I got back Sam had told be where he was and was winding me up saying he’d seen all sorts of funny things through the door. Apparently they’d seen something odd on the xray of his bag, which turned out to be our gas lamp, they we’re very excited by all his camping kit and Andy was in there chatting a little while, even got offered a cup of tea. The time difference in Fiji is 22 hours! We missed Saturday completely!”

18th December – Staying at Horizon in Nadi – Andy
“The music here is Hilarious! Fijians love Boney M, Cyndi Lauper, Earth Wind and Fire! Grease Mega Mix! Its in the shops, on the radio, at the hotel. We bumped into Sam again, he’s on the FeJee Experience, a 52 seat coach touring the mainland, 2 of them left on it this morning, tourism is definitely suffering because of the coup”

20th December – On the Yasawa Flyer Ferry – Andy
“The Ferry ride is a great way to see the islands! Glad we’re away from the mainland, amazing views of tiny islands, very cool, every time the ferry comes to a stop at a transfer point, flocks of boats race to the side of us to get their supplies, passengers, family who’d been shopping in Nadi. It reminded me of sheep running to the gate when the farmer arrived. Our first stop is the Island of Tavewa right at the top of the chain of islands, climbed into the locals boat and raced to where we were staying, Coral View. The boat couldn’t get all the way into the beach so we had to jump out and paddle the last 50 meters with our packs through the water, first time it stepped into the water in Fiji, very warm.”

22nd December – On the Beach, Tavewa – Becky
“The hammocks are great, I want to get one when we get home, theres Pumice all over the beach which has floated over from Tonga (There was a Volcano eruption there recently). One of the guys who lives here has been coming out every day to rake it up into a pile, I guess he’s getting bored of it, today he left a patch and wrote BULA in 6 feet letters”

23rd December – Octopus – Becky
“Octopus, WOW, Not going to want to leave, Hammocks everywhere! Our dorms fantastic! individual beds (no bunk beds) with mosi nets, fans and reading lights. Huge, hot powerful showers! Fantastic Food. We joined in the Kava ceremony, my first bowl and my tongue was numb”

24th December – Christmas Eve – Becky
“Got ready for dinner, as we left the dorm I saw Charlotte was wearing exactly the same outfit! Over dinner the villagers came over to sing Christmas carols to us, which was amazing! All Fijians can sing amazingly, odd to hear ‘Hark the Herald Angels Sing’ in Fijian. Andy won a Fiji Bitter by playing paper, scissors, stone with the barmaid”

25th December – Christmas Day! – Andy
“Woken up by a very excited Bex who’d been outside with Charlotte and found presents! Very unexpected. I got up and we opened our cards and presents. The rest of the day was lovely, on the beach, swimming in the sea, in the hammocks, with Christmas music playing in the background. It may be 32oC but we still played Monopoly! Becky Won (Probably by cheating)”

27th December – Octopus Still – Becky
“Went Snorkeling with Andy, Charlotte and Pete. It was amazing! The water was so clear, we saw thousands of different types of fish, almost sculptural pieces of Coral, Pete spotted a Ray hiding under a ledge, and Charlotte and I were surrounded by thousands of tiny glittering fish. Andy went to do a ledge Dive in the afternoon, he said it was quite dark and scary in places, he saw a shark! a moray eel and managed to stay under for 47 minutes. In the evening we watched
Indiana Jones around the pool, as it started to rain we sat under umbrellas and ate popcorn. It wasn’t until it poured down did they decide to pack away the projector.”

28th December – Bounty Island – Becky
“Bounty’s a tiny island, only a few acres big. Andy thought it was like a tropical Huish Woods, with paths all over the place. We came across a partly dismantled shell of a building, that after some investigation turned out to be the Celebrity Love Island House. Andy was overly excited because the dorm was converted from a production room and there where sockets all over the place”

29th December Bounty Island – Andy
“We walked around the island, in 20 minutes, so then we borrowed some kayaks and paddled around, another 20 minutes. Becky struggled (Partly because she’d picked up a left handed paddle). The Islands close enough to the mainland to get mobile signal, the first time since we’d come to the islands. We spoke to our parents and wished the a Merry Christmas!”

30th December – Wanna Taki Cruise Boat – Andy
“I love boats, already I’m happy we’re spending new year on here, Becky’s feeling a little queezy but I’m sure it will pass. We both jumped off the top of the top deck, 8 or so meters up, quite a drop.”

31st December – New Years Day – Becky
“Holly, Meredith and Andy spent the afternoon trying to convince me England’s a nice place and that i should miss it, all they could come up with was Bumble Bees, Hedge Hogs, Wetherspoons, Castles and of course our friends and Family. We had a traditional dinner, a Lovo, food cooked in an underground oven with hot stones. Chatted till midnight, the staff drank a ridiculous amount of Kava and some of us jumped off the boat, we were warned about Barracudas, so no one spent any time in the water!”

Happy new Year!

Bula from Nadi in Fiji

Tuesday, 19th December 2006 |  by  |  Fiji  |  No Comments  |  Share


We’ve been here in Nadi on the main island of Fiji now for a few days, preparing for the next few weeks on the outer islands, which (hopefully) is all done now!

But before we tell you about our next few weeks, lets tell you about Nadi and how we nearly didn’t even come here.

During our stay in Rarotonga we became friends with an American guy called Neil; he’d flown down there to meet his boat the Kwia and to sail it back to Hawaii. When his boat came in he left the hostel to go stay on his boat, but we bumped into him a few times after- our last day, we heard the Kwai needed some more crew to go to Hawaii and Christmas Island, we were very, very tempted, even got off the bus at the port… But sorry Neil, we’re here now…

More about Nadi: well if you get a $20 phone card you can talk for days and days and days… You can get a bus the few miles into the city for 65 cents (20p), taxis are obscenly expensive at 1 pound 50… Although there’s been a high military presence on the island due to the Coup, they haven’t got enough vehicles so have got all the hire cars… Cheesy music is loved here, especially Boney M! everything is 6 dollars (food, hair cuts, drinks, taxi fares, shopping).

Today was our busiest day by far (meaning we actually did something), we caught the 11am bus into town for some shopping, preparing for the lack of civilisation, we bought water, toilet roll and bug repellent, shampoo and choc biscuits. Nadi (as you might have guessed) is a cheap city for shopping, we also bought new sun glasses in the christmas sale (random) and I got my hair cut, something I’ve wanted to do but haven’t had the courage, so I have a new ‘Fiji Style’ hair cut, like I usually have it but shorter, involving a cut throat razor… We had dinner in Prouds, their version of Debenhams. Now back at our hotel, Horizon.

Tomorrow we are getting picked up at 7:15am (Becky says ‘Oh my God!’) and taken to the harbour to meet our boat and sail off to The Yasawa’s for Christmas and the New Year. We’re hopping about the islands, and are staying on the Wanna Taki Boat for New Year! back to the main land for the 8th and off to Auckland.

We’re sadly missing Samoa and Tonga due to their political and military issues.

So Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! Don’t have too much fun without us!

Andy and Bex

Painting a Picture with Words

Sunday, 10th December 2006 |  by  |  Rarotonga  |  1 Comment  |  Share

I’m no wordsmith, and do struggle trying to get across just how amazing this place is which is a real shame! So, if I describe the last few days to you, you’ll have to imagine its much better than it sounds, because it really is.

So last night we went out for Chris’s last few hours on the island before he flew home to the US for Christmas. 10 or so of us went to an Indian Restaurant for Dinner, they were having an all you can eat buffet for NZ$15 which sounded like a great idea, the food was very nice but hot food in a hot country, I don’t think anyone got past a plate and a half. Once finished we said our goodbyes to Chris, he went off to the Airport and we went off to Whatever! bar. Now this bar is very cool, its on a platform maybe 20 foot up in the air overlooking the sea to one side and the harbour to another, they play very interesting dancy remixes of 80’s/90’s songs, we liked it. Because there are no street lights there is very little light pollution, so the stars are amazing! We stayed there for a while, watched Chris’s plane fly overhead and went to find Bill in the hostel bus to go home, lovely evening, the rest of the day was taken up by swimming in the sea, chatting on the beach, the usual…

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The day before, Friday was Beckys Birthday, so as a special treat we had our washing washed in a proper washing machine! First time on the trip, and it made a refreshing change to hand washing in the sink. I took Becky out in the evening to the nicest restaurant we could find on the island, the Windjammer, we dressed up (shirt and shorts instead of a tshirt) and caught the bus around to the restaurant. It really was very very nice, we had drinks, meals, deserts and it still only came to NZ$80 (which is about 28 quid). Its very hard to spend money out here. We then went on into town, actually we didn’t have a choice, after 4pm the buses only go one way around the island, so you have to go all the way around to get back home, bus routes are easy, you either get on the clockwise or anti-clockwise bus, and they both go to the same places for the same price. The bus company’s called Cooks Transport, just like home. Anyway we went into town had a few quiet drinks and headed back.

What else, well I’ve been SCUBA diving a few times, Becky’s not to keen so she stays on the beach while I’ve been out on Dive Rarotonga’s boat. I went to a places called Paradise and Crocodile Alley both of which are a little way out from the harbour. They’re both about 18 meters down and you get about 50 meters visibility, which is amazing, hundreds of fish, Parrot Fish, Picasso Fish, Sea Cucumbers, Spanish Dancers, I cant remember any more names, beats diving in the UK.

Big news out here at the moment is that an illegal Chinese Fishing Boat ‘Tim Tom’ has been caught and impounded, the police force (which is 8 strong) has been very busy. Ironically the Police Station (which is massive for those 8 policemen) and the Court House were both gifts from China.

We tried to walk back from the airport, walking along the road is hard, not because of the heat, or the traffic, or the pot holes, but because you cant walk 10 metres without someone offering you a lift, a lovely Canadian couple drove us back.

The Christmas decorations are going up on the Island. You’ve already seen the inflatable snow man and there’s much more of that, Budget Car Rentals have been putting a huge neon sign up on top of their building all week so we’re excited for the big switch on. The Christmas message this year in the Cook Islands is “If you drink and drive, drive carefully”

Nope… no proposal on Beckys birthday.

The Moons is upside down! Could someone remind me which way the toilet flushes in the UK? I want to have a look here!

Kia Orana!

Friday, 1st December 2006 |  by  |  Rarotonga  |  1 Comment  |  Share

Its a lovely friday afternoon and we’ve just come into town to do a bit of food shopping. Working out if food here is more expensive is a bit of a struggle, all that mental arithmetic to convert dollars to pounds…

We’ve had a relaxing week touring the island and chilling on the beach. One day we hired bikes and cycled the 36k around the island, in the heat it wasn’t as easy as we expected, we also cycled though a small amount of torrential rain, which was refreshing. On our tour we cycled on the inner road first, past the prison, which oddly wasn’t on our tourist map, the prison really represents life here, 2 foot white picket fence with no gate. We joined back on to the costal road by the airport just in time for a Air New Zealand Boeing 747 to take off infront of us and take us off our bikes, we hear that it’s called jet blasting and an evening of fun here on the island so we’re going back with others to sit at the end of the runway and wait for a jet to land. Next was into town, locked up our bikes and had some lunch, the afternoon was taken up with us gently finishing our ride back to the hostel, the one road around the island is really nice, with great views and every now and again a little layby with toilets and drinking water.

Another day was taken up to snorkeling off of Fruits of Rarotonga, the fish certainly aren’t shy and swam round us in swarms, I made friends with a Picasso Fish that seemed to follow me for hours. Stuart you’re right, best cafe ever!

More days, sitting on the beach, swimming in the lagoon, playing cards with Germans (Sven just because we don’t speak german doesn’t mean we didn’t know you were passing tips to Phil). Watching movies when the rain comes.

The hostel’s very friendly and entertainment is provided by the 3 year old daughter of our host who stays up late and climbs anything that stays still, cars, rooves, plants, us if we stand still long enough, as with everywhere we’ve been in the last couple weeks (only a couple weeks?) we’ll be sad to leave.

So we’ll leave it at that, more to say, don’t want to bore you all.

We’re off to foodland!

Speak to you later!

Bye Dave and Sin, Paul and James, and Sven, have safe trips.

PS. Anyone heard about Fiji?

Clothes: Rohan Expedition Shirt

Monday, 27th November 2006 |  by  |  Kit  |  2 Comments  |  Share

The last thing I did before we left was went clothes shopping, never too keen to spend money, these shirts were 45quid each and took some convincing to buy them, but i’m already glad I did.
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Au Revoir Tahiti!

Saturday, 25th November 2006 |  by  |  Tahiti  |  1 Comment  |  Share

Things to know about Tahiti:

  • If you want to catch a bus, give yourself a couple of hours, and don’t expect one after 4pm.
  • The car of choice is a Peugoet 106 in White, everyone has one… just like me
  • Just because its 30 degrees, we’re the other side of the world and Tahiti’s never seen the snow, at Christmas time you can still buy a 6 foot inflatable snow man.

Here are a few photos of Tahiti, we have many more so expect a slide show when we get home.

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Last day, again?

Thursday, 23rd November 2006 |  by  |  Tahiti  |  No Comments  |  Share

Tahihi, lovely place, if you came here you won’t want to leave. So we’re not.

We’ve booked ourselves in for another couple days into a little hotel until Saturday, then we’re DEFINITELY off to Rarotonga, no excuses. So for now its more beaches, of course there are beaches there too, there are beaches everywhere we’re going, but for now we like these.

So off to the beach we go.

A and B

Last Day of Tahiti

Wednesday, 22nd November 2006 |  by  |  Australia, Tahiti  |  1 Comment  |  Share

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Well Tahiti’s coming to an end, very sad, its fantastic here, except maybe the buses, just as good as they are in Somerset…

After eventually catching a bus back to our little villa, we have been doing very little! Relaxing, (Andy has been sleeping a lot) watching the sunset over the lagoon next to our balcony! The lagoon is full of coral and amazing looking fish…we have spent quite a long time just watching them in the crystal clear water! Our host (Steve or Mano?) has been very welcoming…it seems his entire family are in on the hotelling buisness. It is so peaceful here, even though it is next to the only main road on the island you wouldn’t know it! We went to our local shop (about a mile away) yesterday in the torrential rain. It was fantastic- and warm!!! Not the English drizzle but severe downpour. Twenty minutes later everthing was dry and hot again. It has been strange getting used to the heat again- last night after the sunset it was still 28oC!

The surrounding area is like a set out of ‘Lost’- lush vegetation and palm trees….almost hear Kate shouting “Jack!!!” And just for Toni there are hundreds of ‘Warriors’ so get Steve to agree to come here and get the car of your dreams…… (just don’t sit on the back over a speed bump…. terrible things will happen….)

We’d recomend any of you to come here (hire a car).

Andy and Bex

And who’d have thought, 28 oC and Beckys wearing a fleece… (Becky says: I was cold!!)

Water Filter: MSR MiniWorks

Friday, 17th November 2006 |  by  |  Kit  |  No Comments  |  Share

We’ve used this filter over the past few years on Dartmoor, its proven to be very hard to break, the one time I did, I was able to take it apart and clean it, its very field maintainable.
We will be taking it with us so we can provide our own safe water.
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Flask: Lifeventure 1L Lexan Flask

Friday, 17th November 2006 |  by  |  Kit  |  No Comments  |  Share

Very durable water container, wide mouthed, virtually unbreakable!
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First Night away in Tahiti

Friday, 17th November 2006 |  by  |  Tahiti  |  No Comments  |  Share

Our first hotel is booked, we’re staying at the Hiti Moana Villa, very exciting!

Link: Hiti Moana Website