Bula! One week down in Fiji and I’m starting to become accustomed to the pace of island life. Whether it’s lazy Sunday mornings or long soaking sessions in the creek (our local spa), everything operates with a wonderfully relaxed temperament, colloquially known as ‘Fiji Time’. As with all great holidays, the week began with possibly the worst thunderstorm I have ever witnessed. The words ‘monsoon’ and ‘Armageddon’ spring to mind.
After an eventful boat crossing we enjoyed our first night in Frontiers tin palace. While undoubtedly basic, the camp offers a homely charm, always filled with the hubbub of conversation and aroma of teenage cuisine. Much to my surprise, the camp is populated by all kinds of docile house guests; from tabby cats to puppies, which offer comforting reminders of much-missed family pets. I never expected to hear the soft purr of a kitten amidst the incandescent whine of a tropical island community.
The fabled Fijian hospitality exceeded all expectation. On my fourth day of island life we were invited to dinner and Kava with the locals. Despite being a close relative of muddy water, Kava is surprisingly tasty, its consumption steeped in tradition and accompanied by a bizarre clapping ritual. While stumbling home in the dark we were treated to a vivid tapestry of nocturnal island life, including hermit crabs and enormous fruit bats (not to mention the ever-present mosquitoes).
By this point, my PADI open water course was well underway. Our confined water practiced dives offered both interesting diving insights and a first glimpse at the wealth of life occupying Beqa’s coral habitat. I look forward to exploring this new environment in the months to come.
By Dominic Wallis - Fiji Marine Volunteer
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