Sunday 23 October 2016
The good is our destination today, the bad is the early start and the rattler is the torturous bus trip to the marina.
Its an early start we have to be down in the lobby, paid up and checked out for our 6:15 coach pick up “be ready 10 mins prior to pick up”. I of course get the time wrong and hussle us down to reception at 5:45. At this time of morning the resort is deserted, only the staff and desperate parents with young children are up.
Our “coach”is a run down mini bus that is as ancient as its driver. Its faded and uncomfortable, the engine whines at every slope and the doors and windows vibrate as if subjected to a category 4 cyclone. Nadi is a sold 2 hour trip away in a private sedan, but in this old rattler, that is stopping a every major resort along Coral Coast I fear the marina is an eternity away. There are also unwelcome delays at two stops where we have to wait 10 minutes for a couple that have slept in and where there is a no show.
Nearly 3 hours later we arrive at the Denarau Marina just in time to grab our tickets and board the ferry to Likuliku Lagoon Resort, Malolo Island in the Mamanuca Islands chain. Denaru Marina is bussling, 9:00 am is the standard departure time for dozens of boats ferrying tourists and locals alike around the numerous islands off the west coast. Day and half day trippers from the main island, people coming and going from resorts, resort staff all jumbled in together. Strangely enough its very well organised!
Our luggage makes it to the boat before us and once reassured of its location we find a seat in the main cabin with a window view. Already seated is a lovely German lass named Anika? from ???. She is only 18 and has spent the last 3 months doing voluntary work at a school in Nadi. What an adventurer!
It’s a two hour trip to Likuliku and I find it ironic that Warwick Resort was the first pickup in the rattler and Likuliku is the last dropoff from the ferry! Planning!
From the ferry we transfer to a large covered tinnie and speed over the perfect aqua water to the resorts jetty. The two attendants politely introduce themselves and advise us of the island tradition that when welcomed at the jetty with a big “Bula” we must reply in kind.
There is a small welcoming committee at the jetty, cheerfully singing a welcome song. The jetty leads to a small island that houses a bar and entertainment area. We are provided a welcome drink and given a introduction to the Resort. The jetty then continues to the island straight into the airy reception. Our rooms are not ready yet so we are encouraged to view the iguana breeding cages. The resort is part of a breeding program of a type of endangered iguana that is only found on the island. They are pretty hard to spot – until you know what you are looking for.
After collecting our snorkeling gear we are escorted to our bure #36, past the restaurant, past the pool and kitchen garden and along the palm lined pathway, through the tropical garden.
In our room all the amenities are highlighted. There is out door shower, an indoor shower large enough to hold a party, local beauty products, king size bead, sound system, fresh baked cookies (oh they are good), complementary sarongs, sitting room and on the deck a private kabana just meters from the beach and a tiny plunge pool.
Then it’s back to Fijiana, the open air restaurant for an early lunch (we haven’t had breakfast – well apart from a beer and packet of chips we shared on the ferry). The menu is simple – a three course meal with two entrees, two mains and two deserts to choose from. As we relax and enjoy the quiet ambience and spectacular views, I think to myself “Now this is living”.
Lunch is exceptional – small delicious servings full of flavor and beautifully presented.
After lunch back at our bure we spend the afternoon in our little piece of paradise – snorkeling, snoozing and sniffling (my sore throat of yesterday has developed into a full blown head cold).
Just before sunset we make ourselves presentable and go to Masima Bar on the little island to enjoy a cocktail and watch the sun slowly sink over the horizon. I have a delicious coconut milk based drink named loloma which means love in Fijian.
We are seated under the stars on the candle light deck, cooled by the ocean breeze and lulled by the softly playing traditional music. Our dinner tonight is an Indian feast – dish after delicious dish is brought to our table and quickly demolished. Dhal, samosas, fish, crab, chicken, lamb and vege curries, chutneys, riata, and naan. There is so much there we have to decline desert!
Later back at our bure we sit in the dark on our little deck and gaze up into the star bedazzled sky. I once again think to myself “Now this is living”.