A Travellerspoint blog

Fiji - Yasawa Islands

An unexpected mullet, 31 Mosquito bites and no plans!

all seasons in one day 31 °C

So we left you on Mantaray Island where we were doing our diving course. We're happy to announce we passed! Keep this a secret though....I'm not sure anyone would fail.....Sette (the diving instructor) two days in a row forgot to meet us to do our afternoon dive school theory session...we keenly reminded him but he was on full time fiji time, I think he's more about the actual diving rather than the teaching! Anyway nobody drowned and we both know how to signal 'ok' 'up' & 'down' underwater.......what more do we need when 18m under water with a risk of the bends and lung explosion on the cards!! We've also made our own signals for shark, turtle, jellyfish and this is boring...all very necessary signals I feel! We also had to do a celebratory downing a can of beer from a snorkle with a mask on to complete our training. Patrick probably not so much, but I've managed to avoid any sort of beer bong activity through Uni and for the last 28 years up until now....

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Now the actual diving was incredible to say the least. I can't really explain how great it was but a colourful tropical paradise of hundreds of fish and coral.....now I'm not sure about Patrick but if anyone has ever seen The Little Mermaid.....it's just like that! It also helps if you sing it in your head while underwater!
Luckily we saw a shark again and a guy who was staying in the same resort happened to be snorkelling over us when we saw it! He's got a great picture of us underwater scuba geared up and next to a shark from overhead!! Ill put it up when he emails it.

The food at Mantaray was the best, freshly cooked lovely Fijian meals. A lot of the food is Indian style and lots of Thai flavours too. Diving and eating made us really tired so we didn't really go out much (and actually if I'm honest everyone was 18 and we're not!) So lazy old lady syndrome struck again! Also it rained for 2 days so we were stuck in our little beach huts. I'm not sure how that's allowed in paradise but it did, we were like two bored kids for one of the days but we did manage to have some serious discussions about Australia and what we should do.....realising we are still homeless, jobless, with no midwifery registration through yet and actually having 10 days left in fiji not 7 like we thought. I also thought Pinapples grew on trees......apparently not we discovered in the gardens.

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Mantaray island came to an end on the 4th day (sunny now....thanks!) and we headed off to Octopus Island on the recommendation of two of my friends for home who've been to fiji (thanks to them this was a winner). We got there full of beans and this really was what dreams are made of....absolute paradise beaches and extra attention to detail. There were lots of activities to partake in........of which we did! First Patrick put on his sulu as required for the night and i put some flowers in my hair and we went to the Fijian dancing night and Fijian dance we did!! I really like the Fijians....they are really really nice people. I also asked a local elder how they have their babies as there is no hospital on the island and she said they get in a boat ...when in labour and go across the seas to the hospital!! she said as expected lots of the babies end up being born in the boat!! Crazy!

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That day it was spent at the beach and the pool....both within 50m of each other, learnt how to basket weave and generally lay around the place! That night we went to dinner and met Kate and Nick.....our new friends for the next 3 days! It was Saturday night and we polished off a good few drinks with them. Nick is a bricklayer too and they have been living in Australia for the last 14 months from the UK which was great as they had loads of tips for us especially as we were getting nervous about it being a week away that we were arriving! They were on their way back ad their visa had expired. They were a good fun.....he reminded me of Ricky Gervais and they were going to the same island as us next so we carried on the next part of the trip with them. Dinner and drinks with them again that night, some free lagers and a bit of Patrick teaching Irish dancing later we finished the night off pretty tipsy shall we say!! The next day we all cooked in the sun complaining like true Europeans that it was too hot and rolled around in our hangovers falling in the pool every now and again!
We unfortunately had to leave Kate and Nick that day as we were going back to Nadi on the mainland to plan the final week of our trip and they were staying on bounty island. Nothing especially good happened that evening, did our washing, had a medium dinner and crashed out!

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The next day we made a vague plan to head to the coral coast which hugs the south coast of the main island. We don't ever really seem to have a plan and its worked so far! We got on a local bus which wasn't built for men of Patrick's height...knees up to his chin and head out of the windowless window we headed to get our connecting bus to the coast. We unexpectedly happened on a barbers when waiting for our connecting bus where Patrick in big need of a trim made a mistake of being caught off guard and telling the barber "I'll have what you've got" , surely not what you should say when the barbers hair looks nothing like your usual short back and sides......anyway he walked out with a Fijian mullet and he's apparently keeping it!!!!

As expected we missed our stop.....when a bloke on the bus says he'll let you know when to get off and you believe him.....you should always know it probably wont work out. Never mind...we got out when we realised we had gone too far and just stayed there. That's the beauty of Fiji...it just sorts itself out! The place we stayed in was a backpacker place but it was a bit boring so we didnt get up to much. However that night a mosquito had some serious hunger on and decided to bite me 31 TIMES!!! I had been using Mozi spray but not religiously and tonight he went to town when I had none....face, ears the works! The worst bit was being half asleep and hearing it near my head....knowing it was somehow getting in my sheets biting me even though I had tried to wrap myself in some sort of protective cocoon. Patrick's ever supportive sleepy response was......"You're imagining it....there's no mosquito in here just go to sleep"
The next morning was not a happy one!

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I also think there must be a time like a marathon runner in everyone who goes travelling where you hit the wall and just get fed up of sharing showers, beds of other people, having a few clothes that aren't properly clean and not much of your own and I think we are somewhere around this stage after nearly 50 days of being away! Our next stop was Pacific Harbour and we sat down to make a plan for once for the remaining 5 days soaking up the last rays as its due to rain in our final days here. We're heading towards nadi along the coral coast at the moment not really sure how to spend our last few days.

Not long now and next stop will be Australia!

XXX

Posted by Halgerty12 20:31 Archived in Fiji Comments (1)

Fiji Paradise!

Nadi and our first island

sunny 32 °C

We arrived in Fiji with one day of our lives lost as we crossed over the time zones. We left at 8am Friday morning and arrived in Fiji Saturday 4pm after a 6 hour flight....the maths don't add up?! Now Nadi the town on the mainland is a bit of a dump to say the least! It's the backpacker turnstile where everyone goes after the airport before the islands...us included. We stayed 2 nights, there was a good crowd of people and we got ourselves booked and organised for the islands that we wanted to visit. So the first night we thought we would have a stroll after dinner and see what was at the end of the street....Patrick said thought he had seen an Irish bar (must have been a mirage as there was nothing at all at the end the road not a bar, dog, cat or shop). On the way back i stepped off the dark path to cross into the street...the next thing I hear is a big thud, turned round and Patrick had one leg down an uncovered man hole! The best part of this story is that somehow in his annoyance at him falling over ....it became my fault he had fallen down the man hole because ....he followed me across the street!!! Luckily he only came off with a cut toe and a very grazed shin and was able to laugh about it by the next day. In a rage he also made a plan to prosecute the Fijian council!!

The locals say 'don't worry it's Fiji time' which basically means do at leisure and things get done whenever you fancy!! It must have been fiji time when we messed up setting the alarm and nearly missing the boat to the islands! We got there in a taxi dash to the marina with a pack up breakfast from the hotel!!

I can only describe the next three hours of life and sailing through paradise to reach the mantaray resort of yasawara islands. Exactly how paradise is when you imagine it....a little white beach island with crystal blue water surrounding it. We arrived to singing and fresh pineapple juice and were shown to our hut where we would be for the next 4 nights.

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Next stop dive shop where we booked on to do our scuba diving certificate course to become qualified scuba divers. We grabbed some snorkels and went for our first snorkel where the sea was alive with tropical fish in just a 2-3 metres of water. Every kind of fish you could imagine and purple starfish. After a bit of sunbathing we went and explored the islands over some rocks to a secret beach where it was my turn to spectacularly fall over on a slippery rock...I took full blame though! One sore bum later exploration wasn't as much fun!
The food is amazing here, everything fresh with pineapples and chilli plants growing in the gardens.

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Up early we got ready for our first scuba dive. One of two intro dives before theory and an exam, 15 minutes into the first dive we saw some sharks!! Reef sharks...and not as scary as you would think! The diving course is taking up a lot of the time but its really worth it! We should be qualified scuba divers by Thursday!!

We've drank coconut water from coconuts, seen Fijian fire dancers, fallen out of our hammock, sea kayaked and capsized and Patrick has worn a sulu but one thing is for sure.....It's very easy to slip into 'Fiji Time'

L & P
X. X

Rate my town
Nadi - 1/10
Navati islands - 15/10

Posted by Halgerty12 02:08 Archived in Fiji Comments (0)

Hawaii -Big Island

Volcanos Turtles and Mustangs

semi-overcast 27 °C

So next stop was hawaii big island and we had booked a place which had mixed reviews on the net but thought we would chance it for one night......that was the wrong decision!! We probably should have known to turn back when ex army corp guy picked us up for our airport transfer in his 1950's jeep and Patrick had to sit in the open boot, a man of little words we wondered what mark would bring us to. Turns out is was a hotel forgotten about since 1990. Dust filled the rooms and there were ants in the bed....the absolute deal breaker was when Patrick saw a rat run across the kitchen counter top...yuuuuk! So after some discussion that we were too old now to have to sleep in a rat hotel we decided to tell the owner that we wanted our money back, which he gladly obliged when we mentioned the above ratty points! UB40's song 'there's a rat in the kitchen' got sung in my head for some time after!

So we stayed in a nicer hotel and we went for a lovely dinner where we ate more than we should......I think we might be the only people I know who have gone travelling and got fatter!

Next day we hired a car and the luck of the Irish continued when the car company ran out of economy cars so gave us a convertible mustang for the same price!! We named him Marvin....he was pretty soleful and Patrick was ecstatic! First stop was the national volcano park where we looked at steam coming from the ground, lava craters and new land created by the lava from the volcano where the most recent eruption has continued to flow since the 80's!! The volcano park was pretty amazing and its great to say we've been to an active volcano. We stayed until dark as you could see the orange glow from the crater so much clearer at night.....shame we couldn't get closer and peer over the edge! We had a bargain of a hostel that night which was by chance really and it was lovely. We watched The Magdalene Sisters (probably not the most joyful film, but a great film) and everything in the tiny village closed at 7pm.

The region we were in was called Kona and that's where some of the best coffee comes from. We stopped in a coffee plantation and had the nicest freshest coffee you could ask for. An ex surgeon who has now opened his own plantation and has since won awards for it. On the way up the coast we stopped at 'black sand beach' which obviously has black sand! This beach is where turtles come to rest from the sea. When we arrived there was a turtle in the middle of the beach which I was convinced was dead but Patrick swore blind it had moved...10 minutes of staring later it moved and I lost $5! Put off by a bus load of tourists surrounding the turtle we decided to climb the lava rocks and look for our own turtles. Turtles are protected in hawaii by federal law and you aren't allowed to go within 15ft of the them so it doesn't disturb them. They have apparently only recently returned to hawaii after they stopped coming there because of being bothered by people.

Not only did we find a turtle we found three, in a big rock pool just bobbing around resting in the sun. It was so beautiful and peaceful to watch. What a privilege to be able to sit next to creatures who could be over a hundred years old and watch them relax, just the two of us. I could have stayed there all day. We took some incredible pictures and a great video (ill add later as they are stuck on the camera). This was a huge highlight for me.

Now we can't lie about the next few days, they were disappointing. It rained, I had come down with a cold and everywhere we went wasn't quite what we thought it would be. So we kind of wrote them off and looked forward to going to Fiji. Hawaii big island wasn't as good as o'ahu. I would go back to hawaii but I think we would go to the north shore again or to a small island like k'uai.
We were also a bit Americad' out (no offence Americans) and wanted a change. So we booked into the hotel who had been storing our bags and got ready to fly out to Fiji, in need of a fresh country and a new instalment of the adventure! It's Fiji time!!

Xx

Posted by Halgerty12 01:56 Archived in USA Tagged hawaii Comments (0)

Hawaii O'ahu - Big Island

Surfs Up!

sunny 32 °C

We liked it on the North Shore so much we decided to stay for a bit longer and extended the stay by two more nights meaning we were there Sunday to Friday. We rented the mopeds for 2 days as it as such a great way to explorer the island. Day one was spent going in an eastwards direction to Ka'ena Point where we stopped off to swim along the way and eat lunch we had made. This is a pretty spectacular place to eat lunch with green lush volcanic mountains behind you and sea in front! A lot of the beaches further along were pretty much deserted so it was just us and the big waves. On the way back we drove along a coastal road which had some big incredible beach houses and made us wonder who owns them? I don't think its the Hawaiian people so we came to the conclusion it must be Americans who have homes there. Also in Waikiki there are lots of expensive car companies and big jeep companies its a bit strange that this island seems to have so many expensive things but you don't really see it on the surface. We don't really understand why it's there and where it all goes, at 14% tax on everything you do it's hardly a tax haven for people to buy stuff!

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The 5 bed house we've been staying in is a Jem, with lots of room, bbqs, porches, washing machines and free snorkels, boogie boards and flippers etc. The people we met were a real help giving us tips on good snorkel sights and places to visit. Every night we came back to the house there was hardly anyone around so never overcrowded.

The next moped day we went West and pretty much scooted round half the island, through the hot sun and an occasional tropical downpour which was an experience on a scooter laughing and soaked! We stopped again at various beaches for shaved ice smoothies (a Hawaiian treat) and cinnamon buns bumping into various species of crab along the way. We got down as far as 'chinnamans hat' a small island off the coast which we desperately wanted a kayak to get across to it....so much so we both looked at each other and said let's just nick theirs looking over at the couple over the other side of the car park.....of course we didn't though!

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On the way back we stopped for at a shrimp truck....there are loads along the road and the basically sell king prawns which are drowned in butter, garlic and spicy sauce.....incredible! By the time we got back we stopped at the surfing competition to have a look but the waves were pretty small so much happening that day so we went home to watch Obama become president again, have a holiday beer and eat BBQ steak!!

The next day we reluctantly had to give back the scooters. I would highly recommend that if you want to explore an island get a scooter....loads of fun, easy to ride. To cheer ourselves up we went to 'weimeia beach' a got thrown around in 10ft waves......imagine a wall of water coming at you 10 ft above your head. A good few times I heard a few 'holy Jesus and Mary's' being shouted out. Loads of fun and also hilarious to watch people get swept up the beach.

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So five nights of BBQ and beaches later we booked some flights to leave O'ahu to go to the next island ' Hawaii Big Island '. We travelled down by bus to Honolulu again, 2 hours in total and booked into a nice little hotel near the airport. We dumped our bags and got chatting to the owner who was very taken with Patrick being Irish asking him about what food and drink people have in Ireland and Patrick taught him some Gaelic, this friendship proved handy for later when he said he would store our big backpacks while we went off to the next island so we would only have to take our mini backpacks....a life saver as carrying 23 kilos each around is hard graft!!
We visited pearl harbour that afternoon which was interesting experience going on a submarine with those audio headphones we really looked like tourists! We saw bomber planes, fighter jet, army helicopters and the like. Patrick was in his element with all kinds of machinery!

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That night we went for dinner in a place next to the hotel, keeping in mind that the hotel was right near the airport with not much else around except a highway and lots of bus stops there wasn't much restaurant choice! The restaurant had a bar next to it so we popped in after dinner and got some beers. We slowly began to realise there were a lot of gay couples in this bar, not really thinking much of it until someone minced over to us and offered us free birthday cake which we of course accepted and a copy of the karaoke list!!! As the night and the karaoke wore on the more Gloria Gaynor it became rounding of with a very camp older American guy performing a traditional ladies Hawaiian dance in front of his thai bride boyfriend to music from a ukelele live band. Quite an experience!!

So the next day off we went to the airport ready for the next island..........

L&P
X. X

Ps. We put all the pictures up new so scroll through and see the Yosemite park ones....amazing!

Posted by Halgerty12 10:46 Archived in USA Tagged hawaii Comments (0)

Grand Canyon-LA and HAWAII!

Goodbye America!

sunny 28 °C

We decided to man up and do the big drive, woke up early and set off. We planned our route on the map which would cut across a mountain range to help us get on a main freeway towards the grand canyon. It was 8am and we drove and we drove and drove and for 2 hours we pretty much only saw one other car and a few sign posts with bullet holes in.....reassuring! This drive was one of the best we've done when we got out of the car you could hear a pin drop it was so silent and there was absolutely nothing around!
We kept each other going through the 10 hour drive stopping off when we needed and ploughed on through. It got to about 6pm we'd crossed into Nevada then to Arizona then to Utah and then back into Arizona ( no we weren't lost) and finally crossed over into another time zone and when we arrived we were at the end of the map! The sat nav didn't work in 'hick'ville' and the map had run out of towns so we though we better find somewhere with wifi and stay the night and plan the final 100 miles. We basically ended up staying in Battersea Cats home for the night. The old lady kindly gave us a room and along with no less than 50 stray cats littered around the premises which she 'kindly' feeds ...we spent the night at the motel with one eye open hoping a three legged, one eyed cat wouldn't creep in the window at night.

Again woke up early and set off for Grand Canyon North Rim which was around 100 miles away. It was about 7am and we drove as we watched the sun come up over the red mountains and stopped for deer to cross the road....pretty amazing!

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At the Grand Canyon they set fire to the forest every now and again as it helps the vegetation and also reduces natural forest fire risk. Although this is pretty necessary it looks horrible as all the trees are charred and smoking. They had started another controlled fore the night before so when we got to the canyon it was pretty smoky, the ranger gave us a map but initially we followed everyone else. When we arrived I have to say we were somewhat disappointed...."whaaaaat I can't see anything!"
This is it....10 hours and a night trip to cat town for THIS. There was a blanket of smoke over the whole Canyon and we couldn't see a thing! Both of us a bit naively thinking it would be like the movies! Anyway I'm glad to say it got much much better. We walked down some trails and found some better viewing spots and after a chat with the ranger she pointed us in the right direction of some further away drivable viewing points which I can only describe as breathtaking.......just like the movies!

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That night we headed back to Vegus full of excitement for the bright lights and big city. We hit the town armed with over priced cocktails and explored. We didn't do much gambling and if we're really honest although we had a good night out neither of us really liked Vegus so weren't too disappointed to be leaving after two nights.

We headed back to LA later than expected and stayed at Elaine and Dales and briefly saw my friend Sarah before we needed to get ready to fly to Hawaii the next day.

America was incredible and after talking to friends who live there we realise how much we had actually packed in and even though we're on our holiday all that sightseeing was actually pretty tiring so we were both pretty keen to leave and head for some beach time. Hawaii we are ready......

Aloha!

Patrick is not impressed with American Airlines as they didn't feed him for the whole 6 hour flight and for those of you who know him well this is an unbelievable insult! When we landed in Honolulu we both got a sudden realisation that we didn't have the cushioning of Shelby the Chevvy and a pre formed plan made and we both all of a sudden felt very far away from home! So with nowhere to stay, one minor argument later ...let the backpacking commence.
We found somewhere to stay which was really difficult, there didn't seem to be much available but we managed to spend the night in Waikiki which unfortunately was a bit too touristy. We did however sneak into The Sheratons fancy hotel though for a nose around their pool bar and hammocks! After a long beach walk and a disappointing dinner we decided to head to the North Shore the next day for some peace, surfing and space. We figured out the Hawaiian bus network which is appropriately named 'TheBus' and set about calling some places to see if they had rooms.

Patrick organised us a place over the phone in 'Sharks Cove' for three night with John a very chatty Hawaiian.... so chatty you almost don't want to ask him stuff as you may never get out the door!!
This place has cooking facilities, across the road from the beach and a terrace so more like a house. I'm surprised to say this as I love going out for dinner but I really missed cooking our own food etc so we were both looking forward to having our own BBQ and eating cereal! Rock and roll!
The rental beach house wasn't quite as chatty John described but it is perfect for what we wanted. There is a big surf competition on up the road, the sea is across the road, the surf is huge and the local little surf town is everything I've ever wanted. John said he would give us a job if we want to stay! Beautifully sunny, we've had two successful bbqs already and explored the island on scooters (sorry mum) stopping off to swim along the coast....it's paradise. I'm in love with hawaii so far but Patrick needs another 24hours or so I reckon until he's in love with it.....he's only seen sea turtles .... no sharks, no bears and he hasn't been on a boat....if all three of those things happen tomorrow I think he might wet himself with excitement!

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So plans are stay here a couple more days then think about flying to another one of the islands for the remainder of the trip!

Much love

Laura and Patrick

Ps. Rate my town scores out of 10.... Cat'ville 0
North Shore Hawaii 9
Waikiki 7

Posted by Halgerty12 01:16 Archived in USA Tagged hawaii Comments (1)

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