Saturday, October 7, 2017

Bula Vinaka Fji Part 2.5a

All these months later, the most memorable "story" from our trip might be the night Audrey got locked in the bathroom.

If you know the Horne kids, you know they go to the bathroom all. the. time. Especially the boy ones. The adults had been doing a good job taking turns chaperoning the potty runs, and this particular time, it was my turn. We were at dinner in the main bure, so the public outhouse style bathrooms were closer than our private bure bathroom. It was night time, and they weren't properly lit, but it wasn't too far from the dining bure, so no big deal. Ward and Audrey were with me, and Ward finished up quickly, and then I noticed a wimpering coming from Audrey's stall. She was stuck. It was dark. There was no one in shouting distance.

Audrey had used these bathrooms what felt like 100 times already, so I knew she knew how to unlock it, but my frustration and her panic weren't helping things. I didn't want to leave her, so I sent Ward Lassie style to retrieve some help. As he disappeared down the dark path, I had to wonder if he could properly relay the message.

Sure enough, he did and Eric came with our waitress. Eric tried to talk to Audrey through the door, and then tried all the same things I had to get her out. It was a horizontal dead bolt lock, and there was just nothing to be done from the outside. The decision was made that the door had to come off of its hinges, so the hunt for a screwdriver began. About this time I noticed every single employee on the island was gathered around the bathroom. Quick aside-Fijian is a funny language, one in which they don't have words for everything. Soon there was much rapid Fijian chatter that sounded to me like, "blah, blah, blah, blah! blah? blah, screwdriver!"

The 20 helpful Fijians quickly located a screwdriver and one went about un-screwing the door hinges while 21 of us looked on. I would call out to Audrey every so often, and she was scared, but fine. Once the hinges were off the door, we learned the design didn't allow for the door to open out. It would only open in, and just a crack. So, the smallest Fijian was nominated and he miraculously squeezed himself inside the bathroom with Audrey. As soon as he was in, he said something in Fijian and everyone burst into laughter! The translation, "Oh no, it's locked!" Luckily, he had the dexterity for the lock and a moment later Audrey emerged with a very meek, "Bula." 

There was a long hug, just a couple tears and we returned to dinner. When we got back to dinner our waitress (who had been serving us three meals a day for a couple days) said, "It was that one (Audrey)??? I thought it was that one (Ward)!" That would have been my guess too.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Bula Vinaka Fiji, Part 2.5

October 11-15
Barefoot Manta, Drawaqa Island

After the storm cleared, the resort staff made up for mother nature's fury with a free snorkel tour. Ward and I stayed back, but everyone else went and thoroughly enjoyed getting to see all of the sea life.

They got outfitted at the dive shop, and then they were off.




Papa's waterproof camera was the best:









Aside from the snorkeling, the resort staff came each afternoon of our stay and asked us what we wanted to do. (Within reason) they made it happen. 

First up was basket-weaving:









Turns out, it's really hard, so they pretty much did it for us while we horsed around (and watched).



We hung onto our baskets though, and the next day we used them to collect flowers from all over the gardens on the island and turn them into flower garlands.






Once again, we mostly watched, but Emily was a good sport and really great with the kids.

Aside from the guided activities there was lots of beach time, seashell collecting, and even some regular old hiking.










I had to laugh when we left behind our table of "treasures." I could just picture someone hauling them all back to the beach and spreading them out for the next tourists to collect.


Finally, the grand finale of our island stay: scuba diving. Amos caught the underwater bug hard, and wanted nothing more than to try scuba diving. I played the old "we'll check to see if you're old enough" card, and Fiji called my bluff. Hard. Turns out 9 (NINE!?!?!) is just the right age.

Some brief (SO brief) instruction at the dive shop and Amos and Eric were suited up and ready to go. The rest of us planted ourselves on the beach to witness as much as we could. This particular spot was perfect for a beginning diver. The sandbar went right out through the reef, so they could walk right out to dive. And one's mother could also walk right out with them.

Eric came down to the beach first, and we pretty much let him go unnoticed while we waited for Amos behind him.



Eric was that tiny orange buoy on the horizon by the time Amos came down. I called it the dork buoy. Eric didn't think it was funny.


Amos' turn:







Grammy and Grampy said in their experience, if you couldn't carry your own tank, you couldn't dive. Not only did Amos not have to carry his tank, he didn't even have to put on his own flippers. They called it the "Cinderella service."


Amos was off, and then just as quickly as they left, the divers were back.




Just as the boys got back from diving, the show on the beach got really good. A barge came and dumped supplies for the island right off the back of it into the ocean. One by one every employee on the island made their way to the beach to help with the drop. They guided the barrels through the sand bar channel and then started rolling them up the beach. It was amazing!







It was like a million degrees and those things looked heavy!

Soon our time on "Barefoot Island" was coming to an end, but not before Bai (pictured below) made the kids some hats. Not only did he make hats, but he was a dive master and sang with the band at dinner. A man of many talents, that Bai. 



The staff set a gorgeous picnic lunch for us under the big tree overlooking Sunrise beach, but we missed the memo and ate inside. Whoops. We felt badly when we saw how nice it was, but also kind of glad we'd been at a table sitting in chairs.

 

We took a final last look at the stunning views out our front door, the staff sang "Isa Lei" to us, and then they were carrying our luggage back down to the beach.






We took the longboats back to the Yasawa Flier, and then it was time to drive across Fiji to Grammy and Grampy's house in Suva.