I’d like to say that I sat out under the stars all night gazing up in awe and wonder, but I wouldn’t be telling the truth. During dinner, I couldn’t stop yawning and my eyes went cross-eyed once or twice. The day was long (up early to get from Vanua Levu to Taveuni, the drive), but I suspect the nitrogen build-up from the dive got to me. Regardless, my sleep was sound and like the dead. I fell asleep around 8 pm and woke up around 7. A few more hours sleep and I’d be golden.
Today I’m diving Vuna Reef. Vuna Reef is a fringing reef that extends out, like a large appendage, from the south-west tip of Taveuni. If you go to Google Earth and scan down the coast of Taveuni’s west side – it’s clearly visible. I’ve never dived on this reef so I’m like a kid approaching the gates to Disneyland: giddy with excitement. All my gear (including my fins) is already on the boat, but I’ll first grab breakfast.
The breakfast menu is just one page and Star is here again, waiting on me. The menu list includes all the traditional western fare: eggs and bacon (or sausage), potatoes (all different styles), cereals, yoghurt, banana pancakes, and fruit. I choose the fruit and one egg, over easy.
I look up and notice an activities board. It contains all the tourist spots found on Taveuni: Bouma Park (waterfalls), Lavena Coastal Trail, the natural waterslides, the Waitabu Marine Park (snorkeling location), and a few others I’ve never seen before at other Taveuni/Matangi resorts. Since Paradise Taveuni is in the south there are lots of “southern activities”. There’s an excursion to an old Fijian village (just the ruins), a visit to a working plantation, a blow hole, and horseback riding through volcanic craters. I ask Star about the excursions to Lavena and Bouma and she says that since they are so far away, they are all-day affairs. A few of the guests will be leaving soon to visit the waterfalls.
Allan, the co-owner, joins me for breakfast at this point. His tells me his little boy has a high fever and he was up with him all night. He sounds and looks worried. The fever must be quite high. His wife, Terri, is in the States at a diving convention and he is most anxious dealing with this sickness alone. He wishes me a “good dive,” gets up from the table, and goes back to his son.
Medical treatment in Fiji can be good to non-existent. It just depends upon where you live, what you have, and your financial means. If you get really sick and you have the means, you take a trip to Australia or New Zealand for treatment. If you’re poor, like most Fijians, you rely upon the local services provided – however meager they may be. In Taveuni, there’s a small medical clinic up north and there’s the Mission at Natuvu Creek on Vanua Levu, just across the water. I’m sure in the back of Allan’s mind right now, he’s debating what to do if his son gets worse.
Well, I’m done with breakfast. I stand, stretch, and walk down the steps and right on to the boat. It takes me a minute. Ahh, this is the life. My enthusiasm for the dive is somewhat muted though; I’m worried about Allan’s son too.