We arrived back at Newtown beach exhausted yet within minutes were reinvigorated as who should we spy crossing the road but Colin & Julie from our time in Australia! We’d expected them to be out in the Yasawas already but they’d had a bit of trouble securing passage due to the Yasawa Flyer having broken down and the route being serviced by a much smaller craft.
Our intentions aligned anyway we set about seeing what we could do and thanks to help again from the brilliant team at Bamboo secured a trip out to the nearby Bounty Island via another boat where we could stay a night and then hop over to Barefoot again the next day for 3 more nights – 7 more for Colin & Julie.
Content that our plan was in place we hung around the area for the day and enjoyed a delicious meal at Colin & Julie’s hotel in the evening. We bumped into a Canadian character called Liam and had a bit of banter before settling in for drinks and food.
The start on the following day wasn’t as early as we’d become accustomed to and Bamboo let us leave the majority of our luggage in their storage as we’d booked our last night in Fiji with them on our return. It all seemed a little haphazard but we eventually found ourselves on a little boat from Newtown beach and out to Bounty Island.
We wouldn’t have chosen to go to Bounty Island had we not had to go in order to reach Barefoot but on reflection it was a pretty nice island but just in a different way. It was a very small island – not tiny like Nanuku but still small enough to walk around in no real time at all. It’s a much more established resort – this time resort is an apt name. My sources tell me that some Celebrity Love Island something or other was filmed here at one time and all the trappings of tourism are in abundance though not quite to a level where it’s overbearing. There’s a nice beach, great snorkelling (though it’s managed as opposed to swim-where-you-like), frankly fantastic food (comfortably the best food in terms of consistent high-quality that we enjoyed in Fiji) and a pool and bar area. It’s able to cater to both day-trippers and longer term clients so it was busy when we were there until about 5pm when the day-trippers left. If you were looking for a relatively simple package-holiday’ish time then this place was equipped for it. For travellers like us it was fine for a night but probably not the kind of vibe we were wanting for a longer stay.
We settled in to the day and Colin, Fi and I went for a swim out on the reef with snorkels. Before long we all started to feel like we were being stung all over by what turned out to be pepper-sized jellyfish larvae; one of the downsides to snorkelling here. For lunch the served buffet ALL-YOU-CAN-EAT SPAGHETTI BOLOGNESE with tons of fresh salad and a dessert for the so-inclined. I mean, come on, that is an awesome choice for a lunch – I had to restrain myself and remember that I was going to be shirtless on the beach in the afternoon.
A relaxing aft followed as we took up residence by the pool and eventually as the evening rolled in our eyes began to drift toward the bar and the happy hour board until we gave in and went to order one of the three happy hour cocktails each. While I can’t remember what each one was they did sound pretty interesting so it was with some degree of dismay and a huge chunk of comedy that we were to find out that they didn’t actually have the ingredients to make them. Of the range they advertised they could make they were down to about 3 completely different options which they kindly agreed to do at the happy hour prices. I think they only had one type of beer too but we all found this pretty comical and supped what we could get our hands on.
With only one night we’d taken bunks in a dorm and found ourselves sharing with an awesome Spanish couple, Eduard & Marina. We all got cleaned up and went down for dinner where we had a choice of meals and I picked the beef which was just ridiculously tasty. They played some music for us while we dined and served us chocolate cake for dessert. We were politely requested to refrain from supping the spectacular supplies of booze that Colin and Julie had picked up in duty free from New Zealand so the 6 of us retired to our dorm and had our own party there. We had a bit of music, Eduard & Marina introduced us to Dulce De Leche and Julie & Fi had the staff open up the shop so they could buy crisps. Eduard & Maria were doing an almost identical trip to us but in the opposite direction so they had tons of information and ideas for us for South America. We put away a good chunk of the booze and around midnight as Eduard was looking through his bag I spied that he had some hair clippers and asked if I could borrow them. Thus ensued my drunken head-shaving where I managed to introduce some skewiff unintentional tramlines down the centre of my scalp but all in all sort it without too much drama.
Colin went exploring and found some empty uber-dorms that could hold massive groups of people complete with strange murals on the wall, all of which we found very interesting whilst wandering drunk through them after he’d returned to tell us of his discovery.
We eventually crashed late on and awoke suitably hung over and were grateful to discover that Bounty didn’t skimp on breakfast. Before long we were taken out to the much smaller catamaran and after a couple of hours found ourselves saying our goodbyes to Eduard & Marina (bound further up the island group for a swish spot they’d picked), hopping on a tiny boat and making our way back to where it had all begun almost a month earlier – Barefoot Island Lodge.
On our recommendation and their research Colin & Julie had lined up 7 nights here and we were confident they’d enjoy it. We were greeted in much the same way as before and were settled again in no time. A few of the staff were still on their 20-odd day rota and recognised us while the management team of Brian, Robyn and Maddie were happy to see us back for more.
Our time on Barefoot this time was even more laid back than the last – we’d definitely reached a relaxed state. We had beautiful sunsets, rum-fuelled evenings, found the perfect sunbathing spot and snorkelled around the reefs over and over again. Liam whom we’d met before our meal together in Nadi was there with his lady Christine and they both proved a barrel of laughs throughout. A few days in Eduard and Marina arrived after their stint up north so we ended up with quite a group.
I sat with Robyn one evening and went through photos taken after we’d left the last time from when they’d organised a Sandcastle competition with all the gang that we’d been hanging out with – the effort people went to was crazy and it looked like they had loads of fun with it. Later that evening we got very drunk and Brian, Robyn and I ended up sand swimming which is as foolish as it sounds but pretty funny if I can ever find the video.
Time flew by and before we knew it we were saying our goodbyes and leaving Colin, Julie, Eduard and Marina to enjoy Barefoot without us. We reached the mainland and checked into Bamboo before wandering out for food and then getting some sleep prior to our departure to the frozen southern climes of a New Zealand winter…