Monday, September 17, 2018

FIJI: BEAUTIFUL BEACHES, CORAL REEFS and COLORFUL FISH, Guest Post by Sara Kras

Coral Reef, the Isles of Fiji
My friend and fellow children’s book writer Sara Kras recently returned from a trip to the Islands of Fiji with her husband Joe. She has graciously agreed to share her impressions and a few of Joe’s fantastic photos. You can find out more about Sara’s books at http://www.saralouisekras.com/.
One of the resorts we stayed at called Paradise Cove
Once Known as the Cannibal Isles 
In 1867, Reverend Thomas Baker, the only Christian missionary in Fiji, was killed and eaten by local natives. The natives thought his shoes were a part of his body, so they boiled them.  After several attempts of softening his shoes up through boiling, the natives gave up and tossed them aside.  One of his shoes resides today in the Fiji Museum located in the capital city of Suva.

Sara Kras
I wasn’t aware of Fiji’s history so I was fascinated when I heard this story.  While visiting the “Cannibal Isles,” I wanted to see as much of them as possible.  I also wanted to see the vibrant reefs – which are hard to find in other places today.

We started on the main island of Vitu Levu.  Even though it was interesting, I can see why most tourists skip it and go immediately to the outer islands.  We then took the Awesome Fiji ferry to the Yasawa Islands.  We stayed in rustic accommodations called “Barefoot Manta.”  They had a resident biologist who monitored the channel next to Barefoot Manta to determine if the manta rays would come.  We only stayed one night so I was hoping we would see them.

Four manta rays with snorkelers
At 6:45am on our departure day, the staff banged on a wooden log drum.  Then they ran around the camp and yelled, “Manta, manta, manta!”  Because it was so early, very few people formed around the dive/snorkel shop.  The water was like a sheet of glass and crystal clear.  Eight manta rays appeared and swam around us like ballerinas. 
Silvery Mackerel
The water was filled with plankton and other particles.  This not only attracted manta rays, it also attracted hundreds of silvery mackerel.  The hour and a half snorkel was truly magical.
Seaplane pick up at Paradise Cove
A sea plane picked us up in the Yasawa Islands and whisked us off to the Mamanuca archipelago.  We stayed at the most expensive resort in Fiji – Likuliku Lagoon Resort
Our “traditional” room at Likuliku Lagoon Resort
We didn’t opt for the over water bungalows as we’d stayed in those in French Polynesia and the Maldives.  Instead, we got a beach front room with a small private swimming pool.  It was three glorious days filled with incredible food, relaxing massages, white sand beach, and wonderful snorkeling.
Pin cushion sea star
The local ferry called South Sea Cruises deposited us at Nadi where we took a domestic flight to Savu Savu on the island of Vanu Levu.  We were then transferred by car, then by boat to our final destination, The Remote Resort.  I choose this place because I wanted to snorkel near the Rainbow Reef.  There was soft coral, hard coral, and hundreds of brightly colored fish.  This reef in this area was incredibly healthy.  It looked like an underwater garden.  It’s something EVERYONE should see if they can.
Below are several pictures of our snorkeling excursions in Fiji.  You can see hard and soft coral, along with colorful fish, giant clams, bright blue sea stars and more.

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