Our anniversary is May 5th, Yep, Cinco De Mayo. We like to say that on May 5th people everywhere are celebrating our anniversary!
We honeymooned on Turtle Island in Fiji and returned this year to celebrate our fifth anniversary. It was every bit as memorable as the first time. Not much had changed in five years and the few changes we encountered enhanced the experience.
Turtle Island is one of only a few freehold islands in Fiji, it was purchased by Richard Evanson, an American cable TV entreponear back in 1972. You can read about his adventures in developing the island here:
Turtle Island is a special place for anyone who visits. The 1980 movie The Blue Lagoon was filmed here. Only 14 couples are on the island at any one time and children are only allowed during specifically designated times twice a year. It is a place for couples, privacy and pampering.
Getting there can be a long trip from DFW so first or business class is recommended (of course!) We flew American Airlines from DFW to Las Angeles, Air Pacific from L.A. to Nadi, Fiji and took a four seater sea plane with Turtle Air from Nadi to Turtle Island. Because of the Sea Plane, luggage is extremely restricted to no more than 33 lbs per person in a soft sided bag. Since we were diving they allowed us a whopping 10 more pounds. Thank goodness Turtle Island is remote and casual (though they will do your laundry while you are there).
The 14 private 'Bures' or cabins are situated so that each is private with lots of landscaping so even with all the windows and curtains open you don't see anyone else. Each couple is assigned a 'Bure Mama' for your stay. She will take care of your every need for the entire time you are there. She cleans your Bure, makes sure your activities are arranged, brings you snacks, meets you on the dock with cocktails upon your return from activities, makes sure your refrigerator is stocked with what ever your heart desires including constant Champagne, etc...
They are truly at your service for your entire stay,
Our Bure Mama was Kini.
During our stay she became more of a friend. She was always just around the corner, always smiling and helpful and a wonderful source of information on the Fijian culture and way of life in her village. The Fijian people are some of the friendliest people we have come to meet in our travels and Kini was one of the nicest.
In addition to the trip itself, Bill presented me with a second anniversary band to wear on top of my engagement ring. It was an exact match to the one I already wore and completed the wedding set beautifully. I guess I passed the 5 year test!
During this trip we decided to take advantage of many of the activities included in our stay. We awoke early at "dark-thirty" one morning for an early morning horseback ride across the island to a private beach for a private sunrise breakfast. We were led by Api, through the overhanging branches along hidden dark trails to Long Beach where a table set with Champagne, muffins, fruit and coffee awaited us. We watched the sunrise staying as long as we liked and then rode back to the stables where we were picked up in a golf cart and delivered back to the dining area for a "proper" breakfast with the other guests.
We got up early one day for a full morning of deep sea fishing with Erami. Even though the line was cut and lure lost on our deep pole we still managed to catch a couple of Spanish Mackerel, a small Barracuda and a couple of other smaller fish. It was a fun morning and we were back by lunch. Notice the cocktails in the picture below.....
We enjoyed the Coconut demonstrations by Arthur and each morning he would lead the staff in singing and guitar playing at breakfast while he explained the activities of the day.
We did morning dives with Westside Watersports/Yasawa Diving on five mornings. The dive shop crew were great! They picked us up at the dock after breakfast for a quick ride next door to the island of Tavewa. We took along our regulators, computers, wetsuits and masks and used rental BC's and fins. The rental BC's were quite new Scuba Pro jackets. Everyone at the dive shop was so friendly and nice. Each morning they would all greet us by name when we arrived. The boat was large and fast (though uncovered) and there was always plenty of room with never more than 10 divers. One morning we arrived at the Dive shop and Bill realized he had forgotten his prescription dive mask! No worries, the crew changed the dive site to one that required a trip past Turtle Island, where we stopped and thanks to a radio ahead, Kini was waiting on the dock with the mask in hand and a big smile. Now that is service.
In addition to these activities there is a sunset cruise one evening, a Lovo lovo outdoor BarBQ another evening, a mountain hike for a sunset dinner on another evening, Meke ceremony and traditional dancing, Kava each night, snorkeling trips each day (which we enjoyed on our non-diving days), crab races, sailboats and kayaks to use, private gourmet dinners (on the beach or on the pontoon in the middle of the lagoon), private lunches on private beaches....oh my. On our trip this year there was a couple having their wedding on the island and we had the opportunity to be guests to an island wedding celebration. The snorkeling in the lagoon directly in front of the Bures is fantastic, it starts off very shallow and drops off at the end of the dock where plenty of fish hang out. And you can do what ever you want even if it includes none of the above.
If you do nothing else though, you must partake of the private beaches during the day, You reserve the beach, pick out your gourmet lunch form selections including fresh fish, prawns, crab, lobster, indian dishes, ceveci, salads, etc.... At the time you have designated, just meet down at the dock and you will be escorted either by boat or golf cart (depending on your beach selection) to your private beach with a cooler full of food and a cooler full of water and wine or Champagne (which you picked out earlier). They also take your snorkeling gear (provided for each guest) and floaties for relaxing in the water. They unload all of this for you, give you a radio and instructions in case you would like to be picked up at a different time than you originally scheduled and they disappear. There are many beaches that are completely private, set in a cove, with no boat traffic. Truly a perfectly relaxing private oasis. You can even schedule for a massage on any beach or in your Bure if you aren't relaxed enough!
The time on Turtle Island seems to stand still
and then its time to go home
and your first thought is
how/when am I coming back
Hope you enjoy the photos in the photo album linked above.