Oh Fiji, I couldn’t rave enough about you if I tried!
We were staying in Sigatoka but knew that we really wanted to get out and explore some of the many islands that make up this picturesque country. With so many day tours to choose from we finally decided upon the South Sea Cruises Seaspray day trip. The main reason was that it included a visit two of the Mamanuca Islands and we wanted to see as much as we could. Greedy I know. It also included a barbeque lunch, unlimited drinks (beer, wine & soft drink), morning and afternoon tea, visit a traditional village and snorkelling gear to explore the colourful reefs. It was the complete package!
We were lucky enough a to do this tour on Fiji Day and the Fijian spirit was out in full force and what better way to spend Fiji day sailing around the islands with the dulcet tones of the Fijian crew singing.
The day starts with a South Sea Cruises catamaran from Denarau in which we passed some well know islands – Southsea, Bounty and Castaway. I was in love already and I hadn’t even set foot on the soft white sand of an island. After powering through the islands on the catamaran we went aboard the yacht at Mana island and then set about sailing around islands to our first destination, Mondriki Island.
It was like a little piece of paradise just lying there in the crystal clear waters waiting to be explored. You could get the dingy boat over to sunbathe or you could don the complimentary snorkel gear and dive right off the boat and swim your way into shore whilst taking in the coral reefs below. This deserted island is actually famous for being on the big screen. It was the island used for filming Castaway with Tom Hanks. Funny how he just wanted to get rescued from this island but trust us you will wish you never had to leave. You have almost an hour there to walk around the white sandy beaches, sunbathe, find the HELP ME sign written in coconuts or stay within those clear waters watching the world below you. It was a really beautiful place and one where you felt like you were nowhere near civilisation. No other tour group can visit this island so if you want to go here you need to book this cruise. And you really want to go there.
Once we had finished exploring the pristine Mondriki we boarded the yacht and whilst we had been swimming and snorkelling the crew had been cooking up an absolute feast for lunch. Sat on the yacht eating the amazing bbq lunch with a wonderful array of salads, beer in hand, the crew singing and with the most stunning view, you literally couldn’t imagine life being any better.
A quick sail over to the days next stop off on the lovely island of Yanuya. This island is a little haven and has a gorgeous colourful traditional village. Once ashore the first part of the visit was to experience a traditional kava ceremony. Please note this doesn’t happen on a Sunday. Two people from the group are chosen as the group’s chiefs and they sit down with the village chief and partake in the ceremony while the rest of the group watches on. Once they chiefs have taken their cup of kava the rest of the group can try it. It’s certainly an interesting tasting drink! The women of the village have all their handicrafts out so you can purchase some lovely souvenirs and presents. There is then a tour through the village where you can see the homes and meet some of the villagers. We met some friendly children by the school who were quick to show us around their dorms and playing fields. The Fijians certainly are the most loveliest people. There are some village customs to be aware of you need to make sure you aren’t wearing a hat within the village and you need to dress modestly in a sarong or longer skirt.
After two amazing visits to two picture-perfect islands, the voyage finishes with a quick anchor out in the lagoon for a 10 min dip jumping straight off the boat. The most fitting way to finish an amazing day.
Throughout the journey the service by the crew was outstanding. They were happy, knowledgeable and sang and played the guitar to ensure that each and every passenger had the best time. We absolutely loved it and I still look at our pictures and can’t believe we were there and got to experience it.
There are daily departures just bear in mind that the cava ceremony is not available on Sundays. The catamaran leaves Denarau at 9 am (do check as this may change in time) and returns back around 6 pm. If you are staying on other islands you can also transfer over to Mana to pick up the yacht there do check the times and prices as they will be different to those travelling from Denarau. We did this tour in October 2017 and paid FD$259 per adult from Denarau. I believe this to still be the price but do check their website.
If you need even more inspiration to visit Fiji then check out another of our posts here.
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