Fiji - Tasmania - Australia - Hawaii
January 29 - April 2, 2008
Richard and Anita Dyck left Vernon with snow falling and -17 C [1.4 F] the morning of January 29 to meet Marjorie Buckham at the Kelowna International Airport. The three of us were traveling together on this extended vacation, Marjorie being a friend of the Dycks for some 28 years. Planning for this trip had been ongoing for a year with Marjorie and Richard working together, in consultation with Anita, to research and book quality and affordable experiences that would provide long-lasting memories for all of us.
Our first destination, Fiji, was chosen to break up the long air flight to Australia and allow us to become used to the warm temperatures we would be subjected to as our journey progressed.
Throughout this journal the metric system will be a constant to record temperature, distance and the like. For those not using our metric system, below is an abbreviated conversion table to the US system of measurement:
15 C = 59 F 100 km = 62.14 miles
20 C = 68 F
25 C = 77 F
30 C = 86 F
35 C = 95 F
40 C = 104 F
45 C = 113 F
The Web Sites I have provided are to enhance the attractions we enjoyed and provide more background for you … enjoy!
Our journey was not without incident, some serious others comical. Each will be described in the order of occurrence. Remember as you read, this could happen to each of you just as easily!
Our Kelowna departure was one-half hour late. Upon arrival in Vancouver, Richard’s checked luggage did not arrive! An Air Canada representative took all the particulars saying it would arrive on a later flight, not to worry, and he was right. He even took the time to locate Richard in the terminal to tell him so … Go Air Canada! Vancouver weather was -1 C and snowing.
The Vancouver > Los Angeles flight was delayed 3 hours. Los Angeles was 14 C and cloudy. Another delay … the Los Angeles > Nadi, Fiji flight left 1 hour late. Even though Richard and Anita had flown internationally many times, this was their first ever ride in a Boeing 747 aircraft! After flying some 3 hours we experienced extreme turbulence off and on for the next 1 ½ hours. We arrived in Nadi, Fiji at 6 a.m. local time, 25 C overcast but warm and it was now Thursday, January 31, 2008 as we had lost a day flying over the International Date Line. We felt as if we had finally left Winter 2008 behind!
After Hotel check-in we spent the day pool-side, adjusting to Fijian time, the warm weather and humidity. At 3:15 p.m. we experienced our first tropical rainstorm, this being the wet season in Fiji.
Friday, February 1
Today our schedule had us booked for a full day cruise to South Sea Island, the closest day trip island aboard a high speed catamaran for snorkeling and such. This excursion, however, was cancelled late Thursday evening due to the ongoing rains.
Rain this morning while enjoying breakfast. We booked an afternoon tour to visit Vuda Lookout, Sabeto Valley and Garden of the Sleeping Giant with a local Tour Company. Spectacular views from the Lookout, the home of our tour owners, Rosie Holidays. The Viseisei village we visited was the site of the original [first] landing of the original Fijians who arrived some 3,000 years ago from Africa by way of New Caledonia. Located about half an hour from Nadi the Garden of Sleeping Giant is a beautiful orchid range started in 1977 by the late Raymond Burr, star of Perry Mason and Ironside. It consists of some 50 acres of orchids. Returning to our Hotel we enjoyed our first swim of the holiday and the year!
Web Sites of Interest …
Garden of the Sleeping Giant
Saturday, February 2
Today we embarked on our Blue Lagoon Cruise. Overcast skies with rain, heavy at times greeted us as our ship, the M.V. Nanuya traversed the 66 km to our first overnight stay. Ship’s capacity is 40 but only 17 of us were onboard today, folks from Australia, Chile, England, New Zealand and we 3 Canadians. Passage was in rough seas, causing Anita and 3 others to be ill during the trip. After dropping anchor the weather improved and we took our first swim in the ocean at Nanuya Lailai Island, Blue Lagoon’s private beach. Champagne hour preceded dinner the Captain’s Dinner and Captain Aseri dined at our table this evening.
Sunday, February 3
Marjorie and Richard enjoyed a pre-breakfast swim during which Richard snorkeled for the first time. The 2 of us were the only ones aboard that opted for this. Weather was warm the early morning sun was enough to give Richard his first minor sun burn. Later the group returned to the private island to swim and snorkel. The ship’s crew fed the local fish and we witnessed the frenzy as many species came to eat the free food. A picnic lunch was enjoyed and all of us marveled at the clean sandy beaches and warm water available to us.
Monday, February 4
Early morning rain gave way to a half decent day. Seas were calm as we made our way back to port at Lautoka. Disembarkation procedures went smoothly and we then engaged a taxi to return us to Raffles Gateway, our hotel. Our taxi ride indicated that plenty of rain had fallen in Nadi during our brief absence, this being the we season here from January to June.
Web Sites of Interest …
Blue Lagoon Cruises
Information about Fiji
-- A good wage here is $f120 per week;
-- Most workers have no pension when becoming seniors so the family cares for the elderly;
-- Cars are imported from Japan and are expensive, $F32,000. – 35,000 and most are not always new. Families own the same car for 25 + years;
-- Gas costs $F8.50 per gallon or $5.74 Canadian;
-- Fijian ladies are most beautiful as were the those we encountered … this according to the ladies traveling with Richard as well;
-- When Fijians leave Fiji for other countries they never return home to live;
-- Professional golfer, Vijay Singh was born in Lautoka, grew up in Nadi and is the son of an airplane technician, who also taught golf;
Tuesday, February 5
On our final check out at Raffles Gateway, Marjorie got one night’s stay free! During our first stay [pre Blue Lagoon Cruise] she was credited two times for a prepayment we had made with our original online booking.
Raffles Gateway turned out to be a fine hotel but the one we had the most trouble with when booking online! Rooms and food were better than most North American hotels while the staff were most courteous!
Rain greeted us upon arrival at the airport. At check-in, Richard made a big mistake – he checked in the wrong bag, not his carry-on! This became apparent when he was randomly checked before passing through security. Back to check-in he went to have his luggage recalled and ticketed properly, all the while Anita and Marjorie had passed through security not knowing what was up with Richard. He finally passed through security about 5 minutes prior to scheduled departure.
Our flight from Nadi > Sydney was routine. Was cloudy and 24 C upon arrival at Sydney airport. While boarding the commuter bus taking us to the Domestic Terminal, Marjorie lost her E-Ticket for our next flight. At check-in we found our flight delayed some 4 hours but it had become a direct flight to Hobart with no stop in Melbourne. Anita’s carry-on luggage was deemed too heavy by Virgin Blue Airlines resulting in her having to repack and send the rest with our checked luggage.
As you all can see, all 3 of us encountered a minor problem this day!