Three hours on a ferry, and a quick trip in a water taxi brought me to the beach attached to the island where I will spend the next week. Although I’m staying in a dorm instead of a beach bungalow, the accommodations are quite plush. No bunk beds and real mattresses for starters which are made up for us on a daily basis. All meals are provided, and any number of activities and services are available as well.
One of many islands scattered in our path.
The clouds roll in as we approach our final destination, The Blue Lagoon Beach Resort.
EIGHT BED PLUSH DORM
The grey skies lifted and we ended up with a sunny day in its place.
Castaway, with Tom Hanks, was filmed here in Fiji.
PATHWAY TO FOOD
BEACH FRONT BAR AND DINING AREA
Just about every night they would have a Kava ceremony and sing near the bar. Kava is the national drink known for its slightly euphoric and relaxing effects. The taste is far from pleasant and looks a bit like muddy rainwater. Having a slight cold, I decided to abstain, not wanting to pass it to others or pick up any additional germs in the process. I’m not much into communal beverage sharing these days anyway especially when the beverage is so unappealing.
DIVE SHOP – USUALLY THE SOURCE OF GREAT JOY
Okay people, here’s the deal. The Fijian people are warm and eager to please, and the surrounding islands and beaches are everything you would expect from a South Pacific paradise destination. However if you happen to be an underwater enthusiast, and are expecting to see reefs as featured in The Blue Lagoon then you will be sorely disappointed. The diving and snorkeling is lackluster at best, and in some cases it is downright dreadful. The one consolation is that there are some nice corals here and there and the fish have not entirely abandoned the reefs. Unfortunately there is so much that is dead and unhealthy that you can’t help feel pained that one of the world’s premier underwater wonderlands has deteriorated to this degree.
This caps off a world tour this year that taken me diving in Bonaire (Caribbean), The Maldives (Indian Ocean), Aqaba (Red Sea), The Great Barrier Reef (South Pacific) and finally Fiji (South Pacific). Fortunately I was treated to some healthy reef in Australia, but the rest of them were all dying at an alarming rate. In fact even the Great Barrier Reef has experienced a 25% overall die off, but at least I didn’t have to bear witness to that heartbreaking event. The reefs in Bonaire, The Maldives and Aqaba were rubbish, and they are all supposed to be top dive destinations.
Twenty years ago I did a world dive tour, and to say that the changes in the reefs have been anything less than devastating would be understating the severity of the crisis. For any remaining idiots questioning climate change, there are many of us in the scuba community that have seen the effects first hand. There are also the 97% consensus of climate scientists to consider as well. The alarms have been going off for thirty years now. I fear we may have gone past the point of no return, but I’ll seek out healthy reef systems in Southeast Asia, Indonesia and Malaysia. If I keep running into what I have encountered this year, I will hang up my wetsuit for good. It’s just too painful to witness.
I suspect that the world will continue heating at an alarming rate, the disrupted weather systems will relentlessly punish the planet, the seas will rise and millions of people will be displaced. I don’t mean to be a Debbie Downer, but the writing is on the wall and I fear the die is cast unless we find a way to get the CO2 out of our atmosphere. The fact is we may have broken the Earth, and the people who could have done something about it are too busy lining their pockets with money from dead industries. The greed and stupidity of these people is leading us into an environmental suicide spiral. I’m not only upset that my granddaughters won’t get to see a healthy reef, but now I worry about a possible future that involves incessant calamity, upheaval, and destruction.
It’s so strange to visit all of these beautiful places knowing that time is running out for so many of them, as well as the wildlife that inhabits them. My advice to people is this. Travel to these places while they’re still worth visiting, and if you like to dive put the Great Barrier Reef at the top of your list. Time is is not on our side. I’m just glad I won’t have to see the worst of it.
Time for a hike up the mountain…
…to forget about what’s going on in the ocean.
A seaplane comes in for a landing…
If I choose to do so, there’s the top of the thing. I’m already thirsty and I didn’t bring any water so I figured I’d gotten enough exercise and photographs and headed back to the resort.
I think the view of the islands was suitable.
A seaplane reminds me that I will be leaving tomorrow.
One Last Sunset
A little Fijian ceremonial dancing before dinner.
One more ferry in the morning and then it’s off to Sydney to catch a flight to Paris.
FERRY BACK TO NADI
ONE LAST GLIMPSE OF FIJI BEFORE MY TWENTY-TWO AND A HALF HOURS ON AIRPLANES OUT OF SYDNEY THE DAY AFTER TOMORROW