Upon getting out of the water, I asked for the time. It was 5 pm – and the sun looked like it had just about a ½ hour. I quickly dropped my wetsuit, mask, BCD and fins into a large 2 meter radius bowl filled with soapy water for Charlie to clean (sorry Charlie) and dry, and ran back to my bure. There are only a few times in the day when the light is right for good pictures and I needed to be ready when that moment hit.
Inside the bure, I tripped as I tried too quickly to get out of my swimsuit while running. This is just not my day. I opened the door to the outside shower, grabbed some soap, shampoo, and a washcloth and turned on the hot, hot water (with good pressure). “Oh! That feels good!” Each bure has an outdoor shower that connects to the bathroom. The shower is totally enclosed by three 3.5 meter high lava rock walls (thus it is like another room of the bure, but with no ceiling). The space is large, tiled, and attractive. Tropical foliage weaves itself in and out of the walls and there are large plants in the corners. Upon looking at the plants, I noticed that they were shriveled from dehydration. I aimed the shower head at the walls and watered … A Fijian song came to mind and I started to sing along: "la, la, la, la, la." What am I doing?! Enough distraction – I have to get dressed!
Smelling like a mix of coconut and frangipani, I bolted out the door towards the point, a good a place as any to take pictures of the sunset.
Paradise Taveuni is situated towards the southwest tip of Taveuni Island. To the northwest is Vanua Levu Island – distinctly visible. To the south is the Koro Sea; directly in front is the beginning of Somosomo Strait, and directly east are the cinder cones of Taveuni. Looking at the geography and the sky, Paradise has got the super sweet spot for taking pictures. In the late, humid afternoon, the cinder cones accumulate clouds, Vanua Levu accumulates clouds, and the Koro Sea and Somosomo Strait accumulate clouds. From every direction at this time of day, clouds are streaming pink, orange, and golden yellow light. The sky is a kaleidoscope of colors and shapes.
With twilight, I adjusted my F stop and put the camera on a remote click. With so little light, the slightest touch blurred the shot. As I reviewed the LCD screen, I sat back in amazement. The pictures were just stunning. It's times like these that you pinch yourself and ask, "Am I truly here? Am I witnessing surreal majesty?"
I, like many of you, have read many a blog, review, and travel agent’s comments about Fijian sunsets, but none of these blogs has ever mentioned Paradise Taveuni. Even Paradise Taveuni fails to mention its sunsets! This is a HUGE mistake - a hole in reporting the size of the Grand Canyon! Of course, it could be that I just happened upon the 4 days in the year Paradise Taveuni has good sunsets, .... but, I don't think that's accurate.
Paradise's geography is truly remarkable and it helps create a fantastic show (northern Taveuni can't compete). Now I'm not putting down sunsets at other places in Fiji - most, if not all, are truly beautiful. I'm just letting you know about a place of supreme excellence. For a photographer, it doesn’t get any better than this. Until I see otherwise, this place is #1 for sunsets. That’s right, read it again: #1!