a small person standing on rocks shouted 'da plane da plane is here'....
Maralee and Lindsey had a relatively short trip as Lindsey has recently graduated and gotten a job. Also, since the best way to overcome jet lag is lots of sunlight.....after some recommendations and research we planned to go directly to Leleuvia Island Resort upon their arrival. The island was described to us as glamping.... glamourous camping. You have a nice bed in a private beach front bure, but cold water showers, community bathrooms, and no AC.
To get to Leleuvia it is relatively quick compared to some of the other resorts we have been to as well. We just have to go to a boat landing near the airport and take a short boat ride (~40 min), as it is on a different island (330 to go)! We had a bit of time between when their plane landed and our boat left (but not enough time to get home and back), so we just hung out at the boat landing and they had a chance to use my phone as a hot spot to let everyone back home know they had made it to the South Pacific just fine.
But time quickly flew by and soon we were on a boat flying across the Pacific to a tiny island....
As soon as we got close to the island everyone on the boat was amazed at how beautiful and clear the water was....so many shades of blue! So you are being warned...it was beautiful....and in an attempt to capture that beauty I took a lot of pictures.....and I tried to pick only the best ones to share....but if you don't like the 'tropical calendars' you might want to skip this post..lol!
Taking in the view as we arrived! You can't even see the our photo watermark....yes, the water was that color....and it is the middle of winter right now in Fiji!! I love this sign welcoming us to the island....and the kids and I didn't wear shoes again until we were getting ready to board the boat on our way back home!
Here are some photos I took while we were waiting for our bure key.....
Selfie......and a proper paradise photo!
You were warned.....and that was just our first few minutes on the island....lol!
As soon as we got our bure key, we got our swim suits on, grabbed our masks & snorkels (we like to bring ours since we have the no flood snorkels and the nice to hair mask straps), checked out fins, and headed into the water! Maralee was smart and got picture of how cute (and simple, but sufficient) the bure was.
If you are friends with me on FaceBook, you know that I had been doing some bath tub snorkel training with Clarissa, which as you saw, was successful! At first she was timid but easily excited by every fish, by later in the afternoon she had gotten to the point of not holding my hand and chasing after fish (okay...so maybe I don't want her that confident...lol).
The snorkeling was amazing around Leleuvia! I think it beat out the snorkeling at the Fiji Hideaway! As the tide went out, there was one spot that was just amazing, it was comparable to reefs you see SCUBA diving....but we were snorkeling! The island does have a coral garden (likely the spot I speak off) and a coral farm where they are helping nature get more corals established. Where there are coral, the fish will come.....so it is a win-win!
I saw two lion fish....in their native habitat! (Ooops, I didn't get all of the fish....that is one draw back of the GoPro....you can't see what you are taking a picture of at the time).
Here's a video of some of the highlights of the all the snorkeling we did.....Mason spent the majority of his time that weekend snorkeling. In fact, on Sunday I think he snorkeled for 3 hours straight! I am not sure who Schlegel is/was....but I may have stalked one of his male parrotfish for a bit...it was a beautiful purple color!!
So one benefit of going on vacation to a tropical place and visiting someone with a degree in Marine Biology....they will point out all the different critters and tell you about them....after we had some lunch, we went exploring in the tide pools. Maralee and Lindsey held their first blue sea star, as well as some brittle stars.
I showed Lindsey how when you pick up a sea cucumber, as a defense it will squirt water at you......I may have followed that up with an inappropriate joke (she is newly engaged and I may not be in town for the bachelorette party....so just getting that in while I can).
Richard and Clarissa went out on a kayak.....they are the tiny speck between the three white boats on the right side of the dock....just resplendent!
I think she had fun!
After a few more hours of playing in the water, we all showered and got all the salt off. We then decided to circumnavigate the island. The Island FAQ page says that Leleuvia is 550m long and 240m across at it’s widest point. It took us just over an hour to walk around it.....likely because we kept stopping to look in tide pools and take pictures......so prepare for another onset of sublime landscapes....
Another species of sea star.....
Lindsey made the mistake of telling me she was afraid of crabs.....so I had to point them all out to her....muwhahahaha....here we have a freshly molted shore crab (the green one) and her molt (purple claws were so last season...lol).
I went and peeked in these tide pools and swore I saw a banded sea krait...but it had quickly burrowed into a hole, so no one else could confirm it.
How can you not find this little ghost crab just adorable.....
This might be the fruit of a beach mahogany tree (or dilo in Fijian).
A bit later, Richard also found a banded sea krait....this one was more photogenic....they will come out on shore to rest, they are very venomous (but relatively non-aggressive)...so we kept our distance.
Cousins on/by the sideways palm tree...
I might have to frame this one.....
Giving Daddy kisses.....aah!
With some cloud cover, the sunset snuck up on us, but I still got a great shot....
What does one drink after circumnavigating a tropical island in the South Pacific? Why a Piña colada of course.....while still a few months too young to legally drink stateside, when in Fiji....Lindsey is old enough to drink here....sadly she was not carded.....(note my dermatologist should be very proud of me and my sunscreen usage!)
On Saturday nights, the resort serves a Lovo and Seafood Buffet dinner. Clarissa went to town on the chicken (which they had ketchup for), they had a couple non-meat options for Mason and me, and I think everyone else enjoyed it. After dinner, jet lag really hit our visitors so they headed to their bure (and the kids who swam/played hard went to bed too). Richard and I star gazed (as there are no city lights and very little resort lights since everything is generator power). The stars and planets were so bright and clear. We were able to make out the milky way.....it was a tad breezy, so while we had brought the tripod we do need to read up on night star photography and get some settings programmed in so we aren't fuddling around in the dark and in the wind.....so after a bit we went to bed to listening to the ocean waves and wind in the palms....wonderful soundtrack!
Clarissa being an early riser and our bure having all the windows open woke at first light. So she and I went outside to watch the sunrise.
Looking at her watching the sunrise, I wondered what she was thinking....does she realize how amazing it is that she gets to spends a portion of her childhood growing up running around barefoot in Fiji and snorkeling on reefs some people can only dream of seeing?!?!
Enough of this deep thought stuff....time to dance in the sand!
This time the sunrise disappeared up into the cloud cover.....
After breakfast, some of us took the scenic route back to our bure.....the sun was out and the tide was high.....time to take some more photos of the astonishing scenery.....(if anything all my pictures are helping SAT students learn more words for beautiful.....).
Same tree different angle....
Richard had to head back on the morning boat. The rest of us stayed for the afternoon boat. So we played in the sand some more, as I mentioned earlier Mason snorkeled for 3 hours, Clarissa snorkeled for about 20 minutes, played on the playground, we then got showered and packed up. We had some lunch and then relaxed in the hammock chair by our bure....what a view.....(gives you some reference how close we were to the water...bure porch to the left, ocean to the right).
It was a great weekend. We really enjoyed the snorkeling on the island. Per the website, we came prepared with our own beach and shower towels (and plenty of swimsuits). Nothing ever dried out, so most of our clothing was damp that we took home. My only reminder to myself is to bring more snacks for the kids....with all the snorkeling and swimming they did, they pretty much ate all that I brought the first day (good news, she was so hungry, Clarissa finally tried peanuts....aka peanut butter you mash in your mouth....and decided they were okay).