I "won" a 3 night vacation at the Koro Sun Resort at our annual Watershed Stewards banquet. My wife and I realized that flying such a long distance would be hardly worth it for only 3 nights so we booked another 4 nights in the summer of 2008.
There was much trepidation on my part because of the expense and deep rooted guilt that I should use the money for more important things.
My wife convinced me otherwise with the widely stated philosophy that "you only go around once"!
Our destination would be the smaller Island of Vanua Levu, heart of the "friendly north". To get there we flew from the LA International airport by Pacific Air on a 10 hr. flight which provided excellent service by native Fijians. Our first landing was at Nadi, Fiji's "gateway" city where we changed planes for our flight to the mill town of Labasa on the island of Vitui Levu.
We flew on a much smaller 18 seat plane on this trip which was most likely a factor that keeps the majority of tourist from visiting this part of Fiji.
We were greeted at this small airport by a KORO SUN employee named Vijay who welcomed us enthusiastically and was very friendly.
Because the small airport on the other side of the Island was closed due to reconstruction we were driven for two and half hours by Vijay over the mountains through Sugar cane plantations passing numerous trucks loaded to the brim with cut canes. The winding road took us through hundreds of acres of commercial Pine forest while listening to Vijays colorful description of Fijian history and land use. We stopped along the way for photos of a beautiful view of the Savusavu bay.
Savusavu Bay from road to Koro Sun Resort
Ocean veiw from Koro Sun property
Upon arrival we were greeted by woman dressed in Fijian traditional attire who gave each of us a foot soak and foot massage accompanied by a tropical drink.
The food was outstanding in both taste and presentation and each evening was a time to meet folks from other places over a tropical drink or a glass of wine.
Two of our Fiji hosts drumming the dinner call
Posing at entrance to the Koro Sun Resort
Our favorite activities included Kayaking and snorkeling in the crystal clear waters.
The Blue Starfish (Linckia laevigata) is beautifully striking and easily seen in the bright sunlight shallow waters of tropical coral reefs.
Banded Sea Krait (Laticauda colubrina)
This highly venomous snake is one of the most plentiful and widely dispersed family
(Hydrophilidae) in the world. It's venom is more virulent than any known land snake but it is also extremely docile and many Fijians play with these snakes. It frequents shallow waters of tropical coral reefs and was here probing the holes for prey on the volacanic rock of a small island outcrop near our resort.
Here you can see (click on photo to enlarge) the laterally compressed tail which is an adaptation the sea snake uses like an oar to swim efficiently in water. This snake is in a group of sea snakes that lay eggs on land. All other sea snakes give birth to live young in the ocean.
We snorkeled in deeper water with Spinner Dolphins and White tipped Sharks bigger than us.
The shark swam by us lazily only 15 feet away causing our adrenalin to peak at very high levels. It didn't deter our excitement as we continued our amazing veiws of dozens of beautiful and diversely colorfed fish.
The town of Savusavu is a short bus ride from the resort and had great shopping opportunities for locally made crafts.
We met this wonderful and friendly lady, Natale weaving baskets in the town of Savusavu.
Young women gladly posing for a photo in Savusavu
Our Burre with a beautiful veiw of the ocean.
Gecko (Lepidactylus lugubris) in our burre
The geckos are common here and are rarely seen during the day. They come out after dark to prey on insects. I was told that many native Fijians are terrified of geckos. Mili
We both agree that the people at Koro Sun were very friendly and greeted us each day with" Bula Terry" and "Bula Keemburlee". Our favorite host and waitress was Mili with her cheerful personality and million dollar smile.
We had a great time on a optional fishing excursion with two other couples and I caught a nice hard fighting Baracuda. A Mahi mahi and a Tuna were also caught by the others and we shared the Mahi mahi that evening for dinner which was cooked to perfection by our chefs at the Koro Sun restaurant.
Looking at Fiji shoreline from our fishing boat
Rainbow seen from our boat on our way to shore.
We enjoyed birding in the jungle behind the resort and added several species of new birds to our life list.
We hiked to the secret waterfall over the mountain and down into a canyon not far from the resort where I cooled off below a waterfall.
It doesn't get any better I thought while cooling off but it did. On our hike back over the mountain we had spectacular views of the resort and pacific ocean below.