Fijian Clarity – Feb 2006

This ended up as quite a trip…. What was meant to be an 15 hour flight, four days in Tavarua, then nine days on a remote western Island off Fiji called Nagigi, for a good friends wedding and more good waves!

This all went horribly wrong when I drove 6 hours up to Heathrow from Cornwall, checked my 4 boards in and was about to board the plane and then got asked where my visa was for the US!!!!

Don’t need a visa, I’m only transiting. Nope! Even though I had been told point blank by the US embassy I didn’t need one if I was not leaving the terminal. My boards were unloaded and there I sat, at Heathrow, with no other way to get to Fiji, but via the US.US visa, takes 3 weeks to process. Nice!

Ended up 3 days in a hotel at Heathrow, my expense of course. £400 for a new ticket to re-route me the other way around the world…London, Singapore, Bangkok, New Zealand, Australia! 92 hours flighing straight and I wasn’t even within 1000 miles of Fiji. Dream trip gone wrong.

But it gets worse. I arrive in Brisbane, 4 hours before my flight is due to depart finally for Fiji and hopefully I would still make the wedding.

Well, customs starts going thru my bags, ha, that’s not a surprise at this stage in my trip. After he starts taking out all my stuff I eventually ask if there’s a problem…He tell’s me they have found traces of Cocaine on my bag and I’m not going anywhere… Great…. anything else?

Interrogated for 3 hours at Brisbane airport, almost missed my connecting flight to Fiji…but made it, as they were calling the boarding close of my flight.

Arrived in Fiji early and hooked up with some boat, by pure chance that was going to the spot on the other side of Tavarua.

That I think was more than luck, but not that lucky, as the waves weren’t like you would picture Tavarua in your head, when you imagine it.

Small and clean, fun, warm and rippable. Hey, who cares if it wasn’t pumping and perfect, I was finally in Fiji!

Next day, I left early for Nagigi, a very sketchy little plane ride out to the outer Islands and then an hour boat ride from there… and finally I had arrived in Paradise!

Nagigi Island is approx 1 mile across from the main Island of Kandavu, just off a little island village surrounded by an amazingly stunning reef pass the pass is shallow and abundant with sea life of all sorts, colours, shapes and sizes. The little island is probably 1 mile by half a mile in diameter, volcanic and rustic…But what makes it unique, is the simple little chalets hidden in the trees, which hang over little glimpses of the South Pacific. Up at the restaurant/ wooden deck you look out over the reef pass and Kongs Left, off to the right and directly ahead in the distance is a right reef pass we ended up surfing all the time, which doesn’t even have a name and it’s world class!

In the last two days surfing that reef pass I got more barrels than I’ve got in the last 4 years put together and that says something! The place is unreal, simple paradise, unreal, uncrowned, board short surf every day and too much sun, if there is such a thing…

Oh, yeah, and then there was the wedding, the reason for going. A special friend, Linzi getting married to Aussie Jeff, a cool cat, from the Goldie.

A great surfing couple and a classic surf style wedding, set over the water on the deck, scattered with frangipanis and really good company…

Only 20 odd people were invited to the wedding and that’s all that was allowed on the island. Only 9 surfed, so that made for surfs where there was never really more than five or six of in the water at a time… The first week the waves were small and playful, but over the last four…the waves rocked.

Three to six feet, hollow and consistent…. Try swimming shooting with a water camera; it isn’t that easy and I have instant respect for the guys that do it well…

Good friends, good company, insane warm waves, son, two parrot’s, the Master Cava, the most simple, yet magical wedding and the most unforgettable memories… Fiji I shall never forget you…


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