So in case you don’t know where Fiji is or what it’s like, well Fiji is a bunch of islands like Indonesia, in the middle of the Pacific Ocean pretty much. People are super chilled in Fiji, don’t try to stress them out because they don’t like it, they are careful about not working too hard because hey it’s hot. Therefore the general atmosphere is very relaxed, great island vibe (except when you actually need to work, you should see the hassle to get a boat spare part in or even a quote for it, I thought Jean was gonna lose his shit and clearly he isn’t a stressed bunny). Everyone I have met speaks good English, and in general apart from immigration guys everyone is smiley and nice. Island vibe indeed, makes me wanna listen to reggae music all day and never wear shoes anymore ever.
The first few days, the boat (a little beauty) is stuck in Nadi’s marina because of said spare part that isn’t getting here, next to super huge yachts with a lot of toys on them like an helicopter or a dhingy that is worth more than the income of a small country. There is even a yacht that has a « shadow boat » it’s called, another big ass boat that follows it around to carry all the toys. I ask if I can go around and try to visit but no no Jean tells me that not at all it’s not a thing you can go and ask. Booo. I know nothing about boat etiquette see, but for example when you do laundry it’s OK to hang your knickers next to your neighbor’s boat to dry, but not to go and ask to visit their boat. Once I am all settled in my room, sorry my cabin, we are working out a plan for the next couple of days since the boat can’t go anywhere and we decide to go and do the shark dive everyone talks about. Boom, rent a car for a couple of days that I have to drive on the wrong side of the road, but since even on the road everyone is cool and the max speed is 80km/h, it’s waaaay easier than driving in Bali and off we go.
After the morning drive, we stop in a place that my buddy has found for us, which is one of these absolutely perfect spots where you get in your bikini, kick back and just enjoy life thinking the whole time that it doesn’t get much better than this. There are hammocks and a swing, a slack line on which Jean spends half of the afternoon while I read in my hammock, ocean right there for when it gets too hot, endless beach with palm trees…paradise according to my religion. So we do nothing, we chat, we eat a sandwich and drink a juice, go for a swim and do it all over again. One of the most relaxing days I had in a looooong time (and I live on the beach, that’s saying something). If you ever go to Fiji, go and check this place out. The day when I finally open Hel’s Diving Joint, it will look a bit like that hopefully.
The next day, we get up super early to drive the extra hour that is left until we reach Pacific Harbour, where we have a hot date with sharks.
To prevent all questions, yes it’s a feeding dive, meaning that they bring dead fish to attract the sharks. They do not chum, but there is a guy going down with a bucket of fish heads.
I had a long debate with myself before deciding to do this dive, I am not a huge fan of feeding to say the least. I had a chat with several of my instructor friends who did the same dive last year and sent me to the « good » dive shop, the one doing research and diving in small groups and paying back money to the local villages, and after researching it furthermore I have decided I want to go. Maybe I also want to see sharks badly, honestly, the only thing that is missing in Lembongan to make it perfect. The part about research and all turns out to be true, when I ask about identification and counts and stuff they seem happy to answer my questions.
Sharkwise, promises are kept : a dozen of bullsharks, dozens of white tip and black tip, a few grey reef sharks, all in all a huge amount of sharks that gets me buzzing with excitment and joy and awe. Two tanks, twice 45 mn of sharks everywhere. Jean has never seen anything bigger than a bamboo shark at that stage (at least while diving), I can see his eyes going wide and I hear him scream in his reg, I scream a bit too when the first big one comes in and I have that little chill you always get when you see a BIG shark and then I just enjoy it and take shitloads of pictures.
In between the dives, I chat with one of the dive instructors, when he finds out we are driving back to Nadi he asks for a ride so we happily take him on and while we are at it we are asking him dive tips for Malolo, where we are going next. All in all, a great day of diving, totally worth the huge amount of money spent. Diving in Fiji is not cheap, nothing is actually cheap in Fiji when you come from Indo, really.
We drive back relaxed, stop on the way to buy grilled corn and take pictures, the south part of the island is super green and lush and hilly, beautiful. Then we stop in Nadi for a bit of shopping, there is not much to it, weirdly it reminds me of Mauritius : hand painted signs, smiley people, indian food. Jean buys the worst/best hawaian shirt he can find, definitely a holiday feel to it.
Finally later on the missing part decides to show up, so the next day we leave the dock and go sail the Pacific towards Malolo island like pirates gaaarrrrr. OK not really, the sails are down and it’s not really that far, but me loving being on the top of a big moving boat and pretending to be a pirate in my head hey.
The end of Fiji in the next episode.