If you want to feel like Tom Hanks…..

Monday 20 February, 2012 – Naigani Island, Eastern Fiji Islands

Isolation

…then Naigani Island is for you. You certainly start to feel like balls and coconuts are your only friends.

About five metres off the beach of Naigani, we had to pile into a long boat which seemed incredibly unstable and I was a little worried about my camera. I’m assuming the water is too shallow to get in with the jet boat, and they don’t have a jetty… although nobody actually explained this to us. After finally stabilising everyone in the boat, and a ten second ride, we all had to disembark our vessel and jump into the knee deep water to get to the beach. No singing band or shell leis on arrival here… hmmm, guess that’s the extras you get when paying for a five star resort. This place was slightly overgrown, under-maintained, and isolated with rather unfriendly staff. After a couple of cocktails in the evening, Court and I jumped on a hammock together for a late night chat, told a few horror stories (always a great idea when you’re on a seemingly remote Fijian Island with only about ten other people), and then headed to bed.
We did have a two bedroom villa to ourselves, but as the other room was like something out of Saw (dim blue light and buzzing noise from the fan), we decide to jump into the double bed in the first room together. The pillows were like rocks, and after switching between pillow, clothes, and mattress, Courts was off to sleep. I was extremely hot and just tossed and turned until midnight when there was a loud BANG and the power went off. I shook Courts awake and we decided there must have been a power cut (in actual fact, the generator gets turned off at 11pm)… found a light on her phone and kept that on all night while we slept (she slept and I continued to toss and turn with the heat intensified due to lack of power to operate the fan).

Getting out of bed the following morning was almost a relief. We jumped in the pool before heading out to a village visit on the other side of the island.

I have to say, the village visit almost made the trip to this island worth it. The lovely little spokesman told us all about his village’s traditions

Seeing how the grass is on the other side

The island consisted of 16 families, 40 people in total, but two churches! He showed us the significance of the conch shell for calling meetings, and the Vesi Tree – a precious tree which supplies hard wood for making Kava bowls and cheifs’ housing. The Fijians compare the Vesi Tree to a chief and when a chief dies, they say ‘a great Vesi tree has fallen’. We sat inside their meeting house and the spokesman told us about their daily tasks – the ladies were making mats for sitting on, by using dried coconut tree leaves and stripping them with fresh water mussels. The mats are like currency, they are worth a lot to them and are used for trading often.

After the village visit, we were on our way back to the jetty, to head off to Toberua Island.

 

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