Hi everyone,

Thanks for all your comments and questions. Helps us feel connected. We’ve been meaning to encourage people to use the “Comments” to ask questions; next time we’ll discuss some of the questions brought up so far.

Since our last post, we’ve been absorbing Fijian culture (and food, and vitamin D 😉 ). Here’s what we’ve been up to….

After spending a few days in Suva, we flew from the main island to the small island of Ovalau (O-va-LAU) on a 17-passenger plane. The co-pilot was also the steward and the baggage handler. We were startled when the pilot beeped his horn during our wobbly landing. Was there a cow on the runway?!? We don’t know, but we landed safely. We didn’t even know planes had horns; this one’s sounded like the Roadrunner (“meeemeeep”).

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We got a ride from the airstrip to Levuka Town on the one — mostly dirt — road that circles the island. Walking in Levuka Town later on, we saw flyers advertising an upcoming course in defensive driving. Hmm.

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(Levuka’s Police Station)

During colonial times, Levuka Town was the capital of Fiji. In its heyday it had 52 hotels. All have long since been blown away by cyclones except one, Fiji’s oldest — the Royal Hotel, where we stayed in frayed elegance, alone with the ghosts of Levuka’s former glory.

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The next day, we traveled by boat to the even smaller island of Caqalai (THANG-a-LAI). Not even one road here; just a lovely beach that allowed for a fifteen-minute stroll circling the island. We were two of maybe a dozen guests total. Our first home on Caqalai was a very rustic bure (traditional grass hut).

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Then, after a couple of nights, we were able to “upgrade” to a bure with bamboo walls and a real floor! (instead of sand.)

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Vibrant coral reefs surround the island, and the warm water is full of colorful fish. We snorkeled every day — a simple matter of walking ten steps from our bure to the water and putting on mask and fins. From our island we could snorkel to the even tinier Snake Island, named for the sea snakes that live here. Our only shark sightings came while snorkeling around here (don’t worry — harmless reef sharks).

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We were surprised to learn that sea snakes like to sun on the beach, too.

Our island was not too snakey, but had a wonderful dog named Sai. He made everyone feel special and loved.

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He slept under our bed some nights and went for walks with Derry.

After a week of excellent food, music, snorkeling, hammocking, reading, and just being, it was time to move on. All the other guests had since left, as things were winding down with seasonal rains on the way.

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Our transport back to “civilization.”

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Now we’re at the airport and have to board our plane for New Zealand! Bye! Love, Kate & Derry

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