Traveling to beautiful Fiji-Honeymoon Style (10/06)

 

Honeymoon Highs

Could life be any better?! I’m sitting on a hammock in perfect high-80s

weather, shaded by palm trees, overlooking the brightest blue waters dotted

with nearby islands, savoring sweet, perfectly ripe mangos, papaya and

pineapple while listening to the sounds of the lapping waves on the shore,

and soft guitar playing. Resting my eyelids, I rock myself into a light

afternoon snooze.

This is Fiji. As perfect as perfection can get. A boat has just arrived to

deliver a fresh batch of visitors. I observe from my perch knowingly,

feeling like one of the natives, as I watch the newbees disembark on the

dock, welcomed with chants of the greeting “BULA” and singing as they strum

warm Fijian folk songs of coming home. The guests are graciously guided

through the grooves of mango trees to the open reception area where glasses

of fresh pawpaw juice are shared.

Ahh, I remember it well. But now, even though it has only been 2 days, I

feel more like a long-time local. My husband of merely hours is chatting

with our kiwi neighbor as I give one of our hosts, LoveLove, a high five as

he passes by. It really is like coming home.

Since the moment we have arrived on Treasure Island

www.fiji-treasure.com  the entire staff has called us by our first names.

There is plenty to do on this little 14.5 acre island. You can choose to

seclude yourself off from the rest of the world and experience your own

island paradise, or participate in the many going-ons, from paddle tennis

tournaments to coconut cracking, listed throughout the day on the activity

board posted like summer camp outside the one and only restaurant. We

choose to snorkel the abundant surrounding reefs, water ski between the

islands, recline by the pool, and pamper ourselves with beachside massages.

But we could have also challenged each other to putt putt golf, risked the

wrath of the staff in daily rounds of volleyball, or parasailed above the

ocean. Each day we had no agenda. We let the day take us where it may.

We’d go visit the 3-day–old baby turtles that the island gives protection

and shelter to until they are 1-year-old through their Eco-program. We’d

have cocktails and dance to the live band that lived with us on the island.

Or we’d just lounge in our bures watching the wacker birds chase each other

and listening to the wind rustling through the palm trees. This is exactly

the rest we needed after all the running around of the past few hectic

months preparing for our wedding.

One day we ventured to Treasure’s sister island, Bounty Island

www.fiji-bounty.com , where we found even more cherished isolation on this

larger, yet less inhabited islet. Here we felt more like explorers charting

unknown lands. We were two of it’s few inhabitants and stayed in bures

right on the sand. Definitely more rustic, but also more private. We

kayaked around the 48 untouched acres and were taught how to make palm leaf

baskets. And, though we loved the coral reefs that surround Treasure, the

snorkeling around Bounty was even better than most of the scuba diving I

have done around the world.

We couldn’t have asked for a more perfect honeymoon. But the beauty and joy

of this experience kept coming. After hugs and goodbyes leaving our new

family, we took a boat to Lautoka Marina where we boarded the Blue Lagoon

Cruise ship www.bluelagooncruises.com . For four days and three nights we

got to explore the remote Yasawa Islands in the northwest region of Fiji.

Once again, the Fijian people welcomed us with open arms. They are some of

the kindness people and warmhearted culture I have encountered in a long

time. Our cruise director, Alfie, was so enjoyable and entertaining, and,

once again, the entire staff knew our names. I probed them trying to learn

their secret memory retention games.

Onboard the meals were abundant, karaoke was encouraged, and the Sky Deck

bar served fabulously exotic fu-fu drinks. Being newlyweds, we were lucky

enough to be seated at the captain’s table our first night aboard. Since

this was my first cruise, and I happened to be a child of the 80’s, I

couldn’t help but compare this evening with my former dreams of meeting

Captain Stubing on the “Love Boat.” Our fearless leader, Captain Vara, has

been cruising the South Pacific Seas since he was a child, and estimates

that he has spent more than 80% of his life on the water. We felt we were

in very safe hands.

Together, the staff provides a remarkable and memorable experience. We

toured up the exclusive clusters of islands, stopping at private sheltered

beaches to swim, snorkel, scuba and explore. We visited a local village

where the inhabitants shared with us their culture and traditions through

dance and song, and invited us to participate in their most important

ritual, the Kava tea ceremony.

Our final evening was spent on Blue Lagoon Island. The staff dug a lovo BBQ

pit and taught us how to weave together coconut leaves to wrap the meat,

fish and root vegetables that would be our dinner that evening. They buried

the baskets under the hot rocks to allow the food to steam for four hours.

While we waited to eat I got such a kick out of feeding the plentiful fish

that inhabited the coral beds just a few feet from the shore. A small piece

of bread would send schools of rainbow colors swarming around me. I felt

like a ceramic mermaid observing life from the bottom of a glass aquarium.

It was difficult to leave the strikingly beautiful blues of the islands and

the nearing to the end of our perfect honeymoon. Arriving back to the

mainland we eased back into civilization with our final stay at the Westin

Denarau Island www.westinfiji.com. This is the perfect transition to

begin or end your exploration of the Fijian Islands. Located close to the

airport near the Indian-influenced town of Nadi, the swank hotel and

luxurious spa gives you the pampering of a resort environment that you’d

expect from a Starwood property. The beaches can’t compare to the white

sands of the islands, but the fire ceremony had us reminiscing about our

time at the native Fijian village.

Fiji gave us everything that we were hoping to attain on our

once-in-a-lifetime honeymoon trip. Crystal clear waters, pure white

beaches, warm inviting people, and the choice of complete, isolated

relaxation, or exciting, adventurous activity. Our next order of business,

now that we are married, is to hang a hammock in our backyard. It’ll be our

haven to rock ourselves into a slumber. Where we shut our eyes and

transform ourselves right back the islands, evoking the sounds of the

lapping waves on the shore, the soft guitar playing, and the chants of BULA

welcomes.

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