Back from Flooded Fiji!
Hi everyone! We finally returned from our extended trip to Fiji early sunday morning. We had to extend our trip a week as we were unable to find a way off the small island of Koro due to the extensive flooding on the main island of Fiji. For those who haven’t seen it on the news, a tropical storm hit Fiji and flooded many communities around the town of Nadi where the main airport is. This resulted in many families being forced from their homes, cancellation of all international and domestic flights (for a few days), the washout of many bridges and roads, and a general disruption of all transportation on and between the islands.
To let you know how this turned our planned diving vacation into more of an adventure, let me explain what we had planned and what we finally ended up doing. We had planned to spend the first 10 days on the Fijian island of Taveuni scuba diving. That part of the trip went as planned and we had a great time at a beautiful resort and had many very nice dives. I’ll get to the photos from that part of the trip later this week. The next part of the trip was a visit to a friend’s home on the small island of Koro. We had intended to go by plane to another island, then take small boats to do some more diving on the way, and then another boat to Koro. The first change was that the forecast was already for strong winds and high seas so the small boat portion of this trip was not possible. We opted instead to board a Ferry boat – charmingly named the “Lomaviti Princess” – and arrive at Koro at 2 AM.
After a nice crossing in a small but comfortable cabin on “the Princess”, we arrived at Koro at about 1 AM. As we walked down to the vehicle transportation deck we were met by a throng of people trying to board as well as a highly (and tightly) orchestrated process of boarding and parking the multitude of trucks carrying supplies and produce from island to island. Unfortunately, during this process, they had parked trucks too closely to the luggage locker so they could not get our luggage out so we could disembark. They had to find the driver of the truck that was parked too close, move a variety of trucks to make more room, and then finally get the luggage out. While this was happening, the Ferry was being untied from the dock and the ramps were being hauled up. I, and our friend Marlen, stood on the last small plank between the Ferry and the dock to ensure that it couldn’t leave with our luggage. Finally, we saw our bags being passed, hand by hand, OVER the trucks. We both climbed up some 50 Gallon Oil Drums to get the final handoff of our bags, and then dashed for the dock as the boat was starting to pull away. Needless to say, the adrenaline was flowing as we loaded our bags in a small pickup for our ride to Marlen’s home 15 miles away.
After the bumpy drive (mostly unpaved roads), we went straight to bed after the “long” trip. While it took us about 12 hours to get there, we had actually only gone about 30 miles “as the crow flies”. I’ll end this post but saying that we woke up the next morning in Marlen’s incredible hide-away right on a beautiful lagoon and in an incredibly picturesque setting. This picture is taken from her dock looking back at the main part of her home (her master bedroom is in a separate building)- pretty nice!!
Here’s one more view showing a little of her “home reef” where she snorkels and dives pretty much every day……
I’ll continue with more on the trip, Fiji, the floods, and of course our scuba diving – later.