At around 1pm on Saturday 10th June 2017 we arrived on Nacula Island at the Nabua Lodge Resort. We were given lunch and then we were able to check into our room. We decided to upgrade to a private room on this island, mainly because it was only £5 more but also because a huge group of annoyingly loud girls came onto the island at the same time as us so we didn’t really fancy being put in a dorm with them! This resort has a lot more of a feeling of being part of a village. The buildings are all surrounded by grassy gardens, they’re in blocks with little paths in between and some of the houses at the back are lived in by the workers.
There are loads of hammocks at this resort which is really nice and there were two right outside our room/little house so we decided to spend the rest of the day relaxing in them. We hadn’t anticipated how hard they would be to get in and we spent quite a bit of time getting comfortable – I fell off mine 3 or 4 times before I was able to balance it out! (later on Niall tried to get in my hammock too and the same thing happened which did make me feel better about my hammock lying skills!)
Before tea we took a walk up the small hill to get a view over the ocean and over the rest of the island. It was really pretty and a nice way to see the sunset. It was a good way to see the full layout of the island as the islanders that work on the resort also live on the island too so we were effectively living in a Fijian island village.
At our resort it was Fiji Night and so, for tea, we had a Lovvo which is a meal cooked under ground for hours – like the Hangi we had in New Zealand. Everything was quite smokey so it wasn’t as tasty as the last one we had had but it did the job and the chocolate ice cream for dessert was nice. It was the after dinner entertainment which I really liked here. Our host for the evening, Lou Lou, told us that whilst we were at Nabua Lodge we were part of the family as it was a family run resort. They wanted to teach us some Fijian dances and started the after dinner entertainment by showing us a range of traditional dances done by men and women on the islands.
The first dance was done by four of the female resort staff who were wearing flowery sarongs, beaded necklaces and flower garlands. It reminded me a lot of the types of dances you see in films in Hawaii and was very graceful. The second dance was performed by four men in straw skirts and neck-pieces and was really funny to watch because of the men’s facial expressions. It almost seemed like they found it too funny that they were performing the dance to us and they kept catching eyes with one another and trying not to laugh.
The third dance performed was a sarong dance which was another routine performed only by the women. It did seem a bit similar to the last dance but it may have more meaning when there is more of them and you understand the music – still a lovely dance though. The men then did a war dance that had scenes of them attacking one another and was very high tempo, you could see why it was a war dance and I could imagine them in the past doing the dance around big bonfires before a battle.
The Pacific island dance was the next dance performed for us and was performed by both men and women. What was nice when watching this dance is other members of the Nabua Lodge staff came to watch, including some young children and they were all clapping and cat-calling which was funny. It didn’t seem to phase the people dancing at all which is remarkable really. In the penultimate dance, two of the men performed another high tempo number which was fun to watch – I preferred the men’s dance routines.
The final dance was performed by both the men and women – they all must have been exhausted by now – and was a fishing dance. I understood this one the most and could see them acting out scenes from fishing such as sitting in your boat and paddling out to see, bringing in the net and casting a line. It was a good, high tempo song and I think it was probably my favourite of all of the dances.
As if that wasn’t enough for an evening, they then wanted to get us up dancing. They tried to teach us the ‘side by side’ dance where we were paired up and had to hold each others hands behind our backs and then move around the ‘dance floor’ and spin around occasionally. Me and Niall never mastered the spinning but it was still good fun. We then did a Conga style dance and you had to do the dance of whatever the front person of the line was doing, then someone would shout ‘OVER’ and you’d all turn around and the back person would become the leader. What was nice about this is that the workers at the resort were involved so you had some crazy dances and they were all laughing along with us – it did make you feel you were at some family party! This all went on for around an hour after we had had tea so was a good way to spend the evening and got all the resort doing something together.
It was quite windy on our first full day at Nabua Lodge (we were there for 3 nights). As it was a Sunday, the traditional Fijian rest day, not all the activities they offered were running but we were able to book onto a snorkelling trip to the Blue Lagoon which is a well known snorkelling spot that’s advertised in the area. The rest of the morning, as it was still blue skies and sunny, we sunbathed and read our books. The sea was also very calm which was a good sign when we had snorkelling later on to look forward to.
At 2pm, me and Niall were taken out to the Blue Lagoon for our snorkelling trip. It took around 10 minutes to get there and as soon as we arrived, our guide showed us how many fish there were by throwing a piece of bread into the water and getting us to watch as around 30 fish swarmed on it. When we were ready we jumped in and could snorkel until we had had enough.
There were so many fish on this reef! The main ones were silver and black striped that would swim around you where ever you went. They were very inquisitive too and would come up quite close to you which was cool to get to see all the details on their scales. My favourite were a family of black and white fish who were living in an anemone; this was because, who I can only assume was the dad fish, would head butt my go pro every time it got remotely close to its family which was pretty funny!
We swam around for just under and hour and got to see loads of different types of fish – it was great! We had expected the coral reef to be bigger from what other people at the resort had said – not that it makes it any less good – but that may just be because we have been spoilt by some of the snorkelling and diving we have done elsewhere.
Once we were done we went onto the beach until everyone was ready to leave. The beach was really nice and there was what looked like a very fancy resort on it with some yachts docked nearby – I doubt we could have afforded that place! I’m glad we did the trip as the fish we saw we’re fantastic and it was quite nice going with so little of us as it meant the reef wasn’t so crowded.
The rest of the evening the wind had picked up and, from being in the sea, it made it a bit colder than we’d have liked so we chilled in our room. Every night, the resort puts on some form of entertainment that they call Bula time – the first night being the dancing that I have already mentioned. On our second night it was international night so we had to all sing the national anthems of our countries – we had Germany, England, Chile and Fiji. The Fijian national anthem, sung by the staff at the resort, sounded really nice, much sweeter than I think ours sounds.
We also played a couple games where you all shout ‘BULA’ and then the host for the night flips two coins and you decide whether the coins will be two tails, two heads of a head and a tail. If you get it right you stay standing up and it’s the ‘last man standing’. Niall won one of the games of this and got a free beer from it – not bad at all!
On our final full day at this resort, we had booked to go on a trip to some nearby caves. You needed cash to pays for this trip and we hadn’t brought any cash with us (we tried to get some on the mainland but the charges were extortionate). Luckily the resort agreed to let us pay them and then they give us the cash to give to the cave company so that we were able to go on the trip. We got the boat around 9am and it took around 45 minutes to pick everyone up from other resorts and get to the island which had the caves on.
You went up some steps and this took you into the first cave which was an enormous cavern that had a deep pool of water in it. We all jumped in and, although it wasn’t as warm as the sea, it wasn’t nearly as cold as we had expected considering it wasn’t getting much sunlight. We had a swim around and tried to see what was at the bottom of the pool (it was so deep and went too dark that this was very hard to do!) After a while, one of the guides climbed really high up the wall of the cave and made us all count down before he jumped off. He looked a little nervous when he did do the jump but we know he’ll have done it so many times before. The noise he made when he hit the water sounds like it might have hurt him a bit but it did demonstrate how deep the pool of water must go that he could jump so high into it.
The next part of the cave trip was to go into a secondary cave that was only accessible by going under water. This caused me slight anxiety as, although I have no issue with small spaces or being underwater, I don’t like the idea of not being able to come up for air if I need to. I didn’t have anything to worry about though, the time you were under water was so small and they even push you through and pulled you out to limit the time you were holding your breath as much as possible.
Inside the next cave it was really dark as no light got in here. We all held onto a floatation device while we waited for the last people to come through and then, using torches, the guide led us to the back of the cavern. The cave went surprisingly far into the mountain and when we got to the end there was a small hole in the ceiling of the cave bringing down a tiny bit of light. The guide told us that the cave was called the spitting cave because people used to spit through the hole and into the cave – lovely! We were assured this stopped long ago once it became a tourist destination so hopefully we weren’t just swimming around in hundred year old spit! We were also told that in the first cave we were in, a small red snapper fish and a fresh water eel lives there.
Apparently if you see the fresh water eel and taste the water, it will taste of fresh water but if you see the red snapper and taste the water it will be salt water. If you then saw them both together the water will have mixed together, we didn’t see either when we got back to the first cave but some people saw the eel when we were leaving the cave (I didn’t ask them what the water tasted of).
That was the cave trip done and, once we were all done swimming in the cave, we headed back into the beach and got the boat back to our resorts. It was good to see the caves and I’m glad we did the trip but it wasn’t as spectacular as I’d expected and it was quite a bit of money for what we did. I don’t know if it’s maybe because we have been in caves before that have a lot more to them but we were still glad we went to see what the caves were like.
We were back in time for lunch and then spent the rest of the day sunbathing – our tan was coming along nicely and we were flying through our books! The weather was lovely the whole day so it was the perfect day to relax in the sun.
After dinner, it was ‘bula time’ once again and this time it involved us dancing. We learnt the ‘bula dance’ which involved putting your thumps over your shoulder, then rolling your hands up and down and then doing the start of the Macarena before doing a thrust, shouting BULA and turning around before doing it all again. It was very funny having us all do it. We then had to dance around the room and when our host shouted a number we had to form a group of people of that number – if you didn’t have that number in your group, you were out. One of the staff playing so was funny playing this game as she’d split up couples and grab whoever she could to get them in her group – she was surprisingly strong when she did this! This game got really funny when it got down to the last few people as they were all grabbing each other and running after each other – three people ended up winning and all got a beer each.
The last game of the evening involved a snooker cue. You had to dance around passing the cue to different people until the music stopped – a bit like pass the parcel. If you had the cue when the music stopped you were out. Unfortunately we didn’t win either game but it was fun to play them and the hour went quickly.
We weren’t leaving the island until 1pm so we spent the morning relaxing in some hammocks as we had to check out by 9am. The hammocks were pretty comfy though so we had no complaints and had a very relaxed morning. Nabua lodge had been a lovely place to spend some of our Fiji trip at. The staff were all really friendly and smiley and had been happy to help however we needed. It was relaxed but with enough trips going on that you wouldn’t get bored – there were a lot more activities that we could have done but didn’t so there was even more to do than we did! We only had one more stop left of our trip to Fiji and we both agreed we could easily spend a lot longer than we had on the beautiful Fijian islands.
Sending Love x