How lucky am I? I got back from New Zealand a few weeks ago only to head off to Fiji with a few of my family, to attend my grandson Sebastian’s wedding to his lovely fiancé Lucia.The wedding was being held on Denarau Island. I didn’t think I was going to make it, but the universe smiled upon me and it all came together.
Because of where I live, I had to leave home on a 6am flight to Brisbane. I met up with the other members of the family at the Brisbane International airport. We flew with Qantas to Nadi, and arrived in Fiji at 5:15pm after a comfortable and uneventful flight. The wedding was being held on Denarau Island.
It didn’t take long to pass through customs thanks to the electronic customs facilities at the airport. We met up with Sebastian and Joe at the airport. Joe was our driver, and he took us to the Hilton where Varinia and Shaun had booked their accommodation. They checked in and then we all left to go to the Denarau marina. This is where the motor yacht that we were staying on, was moored. What an awesome few days we spent on board Encore.
We got to meet Lucia’s parents, who have flown over from Germany. Fortunately for us, they speak and understand quite a lot of English. Thank goodness, because although we attempted to try speaking German, our talents in this area are somewhat limited.
On the first night, Seb and Lucia took us to dinner at the Nuku Restaurant in the Hilton. Joe, our driver, picked us up at 6pm and we drove from the Marina around to the Hilton where we met up again with Varinia and Shaun. They had settled in and are happy with their room at Hilton.
The kids had pre-booked dinner and ordered meals with wine pairings. For the first course we had potato cakes with a very nice sauce and they were delicious. These were paired with a sparkling white wine.
The second course was chicken and roasted pumpkin. A couple of us decided not to have any more to drink but the others certainly seemed to enjoy the matching wine. The last course was dessert, it looked like a lamington cake coated in meringue, it was very sweet, but still quite tasty.
There was a live band and the singer had a lovely voice, but almost every song was a sad slow song about breaking up and heartbreak. Aa second singer would come on for breaks and his songs were more upbeat and fun.
- The group settling in for an enjoyable evening.
It had been a full on day so after dinner we left Shaun and Varinia at the Hilton and headed back to the yacht. Demelza and Ros headed off to bed while the rest of us sat around chatting and getting to know each other better.
Lucia’s mother, Gerlinde told us about the family members we will get to meet next year when we all go to Germany for a second family celebration. The kids are having two ceremonies, one to accommodate the families in the Australia and another to share their celebration with those who live in Germany.
We have all decided to try and learn some German before we go over, so we can converse with Lucia’s family, at least on a basic level.
I slept in the crews quarters on a lower bunk. The bed was comfortable and the room was cosy. I shared a bathroom with Ayla and Tim who were staying in the other crew quarters. At Xmas I stayed in the guests quarters which was very comfortable and has an ensuite attached. It’s been a long day and I am tired so I didn’t take any rocking to get to sleep.
The next day we headed out to the Garden of the Sleeping Giant to see the Orchids. The garden was once owned by Raymond Burr, the actor who played Ironside for many years. There are over 2000 varieties of orchids on display.
Later in the day it was time to head out to Vanua Levu. It’s a three hour trip to where we were going and it wasn’t long before a few of us start to feel a bit seedy. Lucia handed out seasickness pills to Demelza and I. Finally I fell into a kind of twilight sleep where I can’t open my eyes but I can hear everything that is going on around me. Eventually I just go to bed, a good nights sleep was what was needed to dispel the yucky feeling.
After what seemed an awfully long time we set anchor for the night. I was so looking forward to the morning to see what the morrow would bring.
In the morning I headed upstairs to find that most of the others are already swimming so I donned my togs and joined them. The water was just amazing, both in colour and temperature.
Then it was time for some serious fun. Varinia and I hopped, well flopped, inelegantly into a rubber canoe, while the three girls took a paddle board and we all to headed to the beautiful white sandy beach.
Varinia looked for shells and coral to gather. Most of the shells she picked up are inhabited with hermit crabs. Shaun showed her how to coax them out of their shell by blowing on them.
We saw a flock of goats but they didn’t hang around even though we were really quiet. Well we thought we were being really quiet. I decided to forgo the trip back to the boat on the kayak and opted to go on the back of the jet ski with Seb while the girls paddled back.
Demelza was still not well and fell on asleep on the lower deck, in the sun. We were all concerned about her getting sunburnt so covered her up with towels. I also took a nap on the upper deck. All this swimming and boating sure was tiring. Lucia had cooked a delicious pasta dish which was soon demolished. I was ravenous as I wasn’t able to eat the night before.
After our short sojourn on board Encore we headed out for more watery fun. A couple of the more hardy members went for a walk part way up Vanua Lailai island, which is a rather tall Island with a steep walk to the top. It’s definitely not for the faint hearted nor the unfit.
After an afternoon of water activities, kayaking, swimming and jet skiing we headed to the beach to gather firewood as we had decided to have dinner on the beach once the sun went down.
We cooked baked potatoes in the hot coals for dinner. It turned into a night of fun as we sat around the fire singing songs from long ago, jaunty ditties and Gerlinde joined in with some German songs after protesting that she can’t sing, in fact she has a lovely voice. She and Karlheinz attempted to teach the words of some of their songs to Varinia, much to everyones delight. She promises to practice ‘My Hat it Has 3 Corners’, in German and we were ‘blessed’ with her renditions far into the night.
As the night progressed we fell into companionable silence. Then all too soon it was time to pack up and head back to the boat. Seb took us back in two groups in the tender, while Ayla and Tim took the kayak back.
Everyone helps with washing down all the gear to get rid of the sand and then Varinia, Ayla and I hopped into the spa. Oh god it’s heavenly, we turned on the jets and lay back relaxing. After becoming prune like in appearance got out of the spa and sat with Gerlinde and Karlheinz chatting about family in general and the village where they live.
Visited by Sharks
Next morning after breakfast we were sitting on deck when some Black Tip Reef Sharks appeared, Seb asked if we want to snorkel with them. Well I wasn’t going to miss out on this. Oh wow what an experience. It is surreal seeing the sharks so close. I haven’t ever used a snorkel before and I am so grateful for this experience. There were two mature sharks and the other was an adolescent. Here is a short video of the sharks around the boat.
Seb took us around a number of islands rather than the quick way back and we got to pass by the Monuriki Island where the film Cast Away, with Tom Hanks was filmed.
It was a truly awesome couple of days so far and we still had lots to do.