The last place I stayed at was the most memorable.. it was really a great time. The resort (Waya Lailai) was collectively owned by a village. As soon as we stepped off the boat, all the workers ran up to us and started introducing themselves and hugging us. There were only 9-12 people staying there when we were there which was really too bad because it was a lot of fun. I stayed in the 5-bed dorm and met some girls from Austria, England and Germany. They were really nice and we did pretty much everything together. It was also the only place where I met guests that were staying in one place for an extended period of time.
The second day a bunch of us went snorkeling with reef sharks. I don’t know why I decided to do it because swimming with the manta ray was so traumatizing but YOFO (you’re only in Fiji once… which is also inaccurate, pretty sure I like this place enough to come back). We snorkeled with 4 reef sharks, the longest ones being 4 or 5 feet. The sharks must have thought I was cool because they really liked to high five (high fin?) me. Or slap me with their tail. The guides were catching smaller fish with a spear and then shredding them so that the sharks would get closer. The sharks kept coming closer and closer to me and chowing down on their food in front of my face (uh, scary) and I didn’t realize until after when Corey told me that I was swimming right where they were throwing the fish pieces. Oops.
This island was extra exciting because there was some bouldering/climbing! There was one big volcanic rock (oh conglomerates and beautiful breccia, big earth science nerd right here) that we could boulder on right by the ocean. It was sweet.
Later that day, almost everyone in the resort decided to do the hike on the island (it’s one of the best in the area) up to Vatuvula Peak. It is 349 m to the top and looks a lot like the Stawamus Chief in Squamish. Made me miss home a bit. I was not feeling so hot on this hike at all (either the water or the food was not making me feel good) and it was not my classiest moments, but it was an awesome hike! You could either go to the almost peak, or scramble/climb up to the top so naturally I went to the top (no regrets). There were a couple of places along the way that I pulled on my climbing shoes and sat on top of boulders.
The last night we all stayed up ‘late’ and drank kava with the villagers. It was good fun and like being back in Bureta.
On the last day, a whale swam by between the island we were staying on and the one across the channel. We think it was a humpback whale. Apparently it is pretty rare to see whales there, I think it was a sign.
There were definitely some negatives about this last place (feeling so sick and my bed definitely had bed bugs), but I loved it and I’d love to return. I have really great memories from this place.
In the late afternoon of the last place, we packed up all our stuff and hopped back on the transfer boat. It was fun running back into Kaula and Stefanie and other people we saw at the past resorts. I got back to Suva later that night with an intense tan and swollen snorkeling lips.
Kaula and Stef had one extra day in Fiji, so they actually decided to pop over to Suva for the day. We had a delicious (and relatively upscale) Indian lunch (soo tasty, yum!!) and showed them the market, flea market and a few sights. We took them to USP and showed them around there too. It was good fun and great to see them again.