Paradise with a Capital 'P'

Trip Start Oct 04, 2004
Trip End Ongoing

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Saturday, November 6, 2004

Friday 7th November

Welcome people to the paradise island known better as Nanannu-I-ri, our home for the next 6 days. We had actually planned to stay here for one night, but after arriving we, along with Dean and Rob, changed our minds straight away!

We caught a long boat over to the island which took about 30 minutes. Our captain was a young bloke who lived on the island, one of the son's of the owners. He was unusual in the fact that he was white but spoke fluent Fijian along with English. He also had a very intersting scar around his leg, just below the knee, that looked very much like a shark had bitten it off, then sewn back on. We later found out that he had simply just fallen over one night, and for some reason had ended up with this scar... doesn't say much for Fijian hostpitals!

Nananu was the islands of our dreams. We had been travelling non-stop for 5 weeks now so it was a relief to jump off the boat into the warm, crystal clear waters, making our way onto the beach and past the hammocks, (tied to the mandatory coconut trees) upto the make shift reception. For tonight there was 40 of us checking in so we all got placed in the 50 bed dorm. Although it sounds bad, i'd rather be sleeping in a 50 bed dorm on a tropical island than a 4 bed in USA! It was now whilst i unpacked my bag on my bed that i realised that i had forgotten my sleeping bag! At least it was warm! The beach towel did a fine job as a replacement!

As you can imagine for an island as small as Nananu, there wasn't much entertainment in the evenings... you just had to make your own! We liked this though, it was nice just chilling out by the beach, a Fiji bitter, or 4 in the hand. It was our last night with Helena and Viv, (Helena travelling onto OZ and Viv back to her home in Georgia,) so we made sure we enjoyed ourselves! At least waking up on a tropical isalnd with a hangover was a bit more bearable!

Saturday 6th

Fortunitely for us there was a bit more to do in the daytimes at Nananu. We could use the sea kayaks or snorkeling gear free of charge, we could windsurf, play volleyball or just simply laze away in one of the many hammocks tied onto the many coconut trees. We were actually warned about falling coconuts, which I arrogantly dismissed, until 2 fell in the space of an hour one time I was sunbathing!

I felt a little more active though, so instead of getting sunburnt, I decided on a bit of scuba diving, espiecally as there was a convient scuba diving centre located on the island. After looking at the very cheap price list, I opted to do my advanced scuba dive course. I had intended to do this in Australia, but the prices were so cheap, I would have been mad not to do it here (equivalent to about 120 pounds). I had also just found out that I had been given a 1000 pound tax rebate from home, and after having to live to a tight budget in the US, it was nice to treat myslef!

The advanced course was literally just 5 speciality dives, with a little theory thrown in. I was glad to find out out that Rick my instructor preferred "practical" intruition to theory, so not even 20 minutes after I has shown interest in the course, we were suited up and falling off the boat into the water below.

Rick was a fellow Brit that had been travelling the world working at various dive sites until finally reaching Fiji and stopping at Nananu. The fact I hadn't dived for 2 years didn't seem to bother him "your pick it up" being his laid back response! Which I did, its like riding a bike, you just don't forget it. The only thing I had forgotten was how amazing the underwater world really is. I couldn't belive I had left it 2 years to do this again... although I doubt diving in the Thames would quite compare to here!

After a depth of 30 metres, 28 minutes and countless sightings of fish from the Finding Nemo film later, we surfaced and clambered back into the boat. I was hooked again and eager to get out there again. Due to the length and depth, I had to stay out the water for a few hours to make sure my body could release the nitrogen in my blood, this was plenty of time to get ready for my next dive later that day, or should I saynight. I was going on my first night dive I was told by Rick!

So whilst everyone got stuck into the refilled beer fridge, we trundled back into the still warm sea to experience what is 'Night Diving'. Apparently I was supposed to read a book about the subject, but seeing as Rick only found it 10 minutes before we walked in, not much got read. I got the jist of it though... Its darker and you need a torch!

Because we walked in from the beach we only actually went down about 15 metres, but even at the depth, the feeling of being in complete darkness and underwater was a strange one! Having a barracuda (see photos) longer than me swim past my face suddenly is a little shocking and not for the faint hearted!

Our first day on this island couldn't have been better. I could now see why some of the fellow inhabitants had been here for a coulpe of months! Sadly we didn't have a few months!

[Sods law mine and Dans camera memory cards were rapidly becoming full, and as you can imagine, there aren't many Boots photo labs in Fiji to burn them onto cd, hence why there aren't that many photo's. check out their website to see more photo's]
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