OK so if you have been following, we are leaving Nadi for Malolo Island. We are anchoring the boat in the bay (well Jean is doing that, me I am doing nothing as he realized pretty quick I was useless as a sailor but he is still trying to teach me a few things). Malolo Lailai is a cute small little island with 3 resorts on them, beaches and palm trees, and our playground for the next 10 days : reefs, dive spots and surf breaks all around including the mythic Cloudbreak (which of course I never heard of until that moment, even though the World Surf Tour goes there every year and it’s Kelly Slater’s favourite spot. Turns out he was there a week after I left and Jean got to see him but not me and I am SAD), all of this and us on the boat and the dhingy to go explore.
Our friend Spencer was supposed to arrive a few days earlier, but thanks to the volcano he is a bit late. We feel sorry for him, so we go surf all we can not to be too sad. Conditions are good and I take my first waves on a bodyboard and I am having fun. Jean knowing his stuff I get a couple of lessons and I get taken to the « baby wave » where I can have fun without hurting myself or someone else, while Jean is trying a short board for the first time. Of course after 20 minutes he is riding waves easily and he is screaming with delight. Fun in the waves and subburnt for all. From the boat itself the reef is a few meters away to snorkel, there are also SUP (stand up paddle board, like a big surf you push around standing with a paddle), so in the morning if Jean has to work I just go snorkel or paddle around. Not to stressful hey.
The local dive shop is happy to rent us tanks for 10 bucks, so diving comes cheap. We chat a bit with them to understand the currents and the dive site layout, we are told we can use the moorings and they are super nice and tell us where to go and when.
So when Spencer finally gets his skinny ass on board, the next morning we go diving. This is the ultimate level of flexibility in diving : we go get tanks whenever, we chuck all the gear on the dhingy, we find a mooring to tie up to, we check the current and we go dive. I am diving with two guys I have trained so I know how they dive and how much air they use and I have to worry about nothing.
That first dive on Plantation Pinnacle is great. First, I have a therapeutic need for it after the whole Paris events, also it’s a huge pinnacle that goes down from 5 to 25 metres, fishes everywhere, good vis, tons of stuff to look at. It’s impossible to get lost, no current and good vis, so each of us does their own dive while waving at the others once in a while when finding something cool. BasicallySpencer takes pictures, Jean swims all over the place and I levitate while looking for nudis. I even get a glimpse of a small black tip at the end of the dive.
The next few days, wind will get in the way of our diving plans, so some days we have to not go dive…But hey, there are waves. You get the idea, it’s dive and surf and chill and snorkel and swim in whatever order depending on the days, and in the evening beers and laughs and card games. We even dive the reef in the bay under the boat, because on my birthday it’s windy but it’s my birthday so I wanna go diving, so I harass them until they give up and we dive from the boat and it’s way better than we expected. And then we go have sunset drinks and a cheeseburger and birthday cheesecake.
The resort close to the boat is hosting some sort of techno music festival that week, filled with people brought straight away from Australia so you can’t buy a ticket to get in or anything. We spend a fun couple of hours trying to get in (by boat, by foot, etc) then a drunken Spencer is trying to convince us he can swim the 1,5k from the boat to the beach so we put him to bed before he tries. The next night, the boys don’t give up on the party and the hot girls so they end up kneeling on the SUP and paddling with their hands all the way, and they finally make it….until the security guard from the night before finds them 10 minutes later. He kindly asks them to leave after having a good laugh when they explained how they got there. That is some party dedication, and they did it.
All in all, two great weeks : good dives, sharks, lots of laughs, a tattoo-scar of Cloudbreak on my leg, some great Uno games, boat driving lessons, epic sunsets, and more. So long Fiji, until next time….