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.