"How often is it that a beach has a website? Well, the beach that serves as the rest stop in Somosomo Strait does: http://www.fijifiji.com You see the link on a sign attached to a coconut tree - more on this later in the blog . . .
The website is interesting - it doesn't really say anything or impart much information about the beach or the yet unbuilt "Fiji Resort". Hmmm... Anyway, I've been coming to this beach, located on the eastern tip of Vanua Levu Island for decompression stops/lunch breaks for years now and it's always a joy to return. It is a perfect white sand beach formed like a half-crescent and framed by coconut trees. Patrol fish are at the waters edge nibbling at my toes (sometimes with uncomfortable (for me) determination) and any crumbs you may be dropping accidentally or purposefully. I'm right at the waters edge and these fish are nibbling in the 1 centimeter depth. Amazing! They remind me of those dolphins that hydroplane on the surfs edge to grab fish.
The beach looks a little different from years past. For one thing the trees have been dramatically trimmed by Cyclone Tomas, the beach extends much further inland, and the picnic tables/benches are gone. This little bay apparently had some unexpected rennovation. I'm looking for the internet link sign - and find it much weathered. It had a nice, brassy veneer last year, but now it looks like it's been here for 40 years. It's all scratched and oxidized.
I could stay at this beach forever. It's one of those "pinch me" places that lingers in the memory cells long after a trip fades. Unfortunately, Jon is calling me back to the boat for our (and my) last dive. Jon tells me as we step on, "I think I know what you like. You want a hard coral garden with shallow depth." I smile, because I've already been to a great reef today (Nuku) and seen a Napoleon Wrasse. I'm content. I'm more than content - I'm beaming from eye to eye.
"Where are we going?" I excitedly ask as he pushes the boat into deeper water."Across the Strait to Korolevu Island." (Check out my Korolevu Island video to see things up close and personal)
Korolevu Island is a small islet located about 1/3 of the way down the west coast of Taveuni, almost directly across from Garden Island Resort ("GIR"). Kayaks can be rented at GIR by anyone - and taken to the island for a picnic or snorkel.
As we get closer to the islet, I see the beach on the south shore of the islet. I laugh as I'm reminded of the ferry captain's description of the beach: "Occasionally as I stear past Korolevu, I see the honeymooners in a panicked state grabbing their clothes to quickly cover themselves as the hundreds on the boat gawk and point in amusement."
The beach looks nice; I can see why honeymooners and day-trippers would want to lounge there. And to my surprise we're actually pulling up to the beach and getting out again for another break. I grab my snorkel and mask and jump into the water. It's mostly sand flats, but there are some mounding porites corals at about 3 meters depth. The staghorns are shattered and lying in pieces across the sand bed. Cyclone Tomas was here too. After a 1/2 hour, I swim back to the boat and we head over to the north shore to dive the reef.
Upon jumping in, I'm presented with another impressive hard coral garden - mostly untouched by Tomas. There are table (plate) corals here that are just amazing in size. And they're all rather shallow - such that a snorkeler would have a great time here. Now I know why Korolevu is praised in the tourist literature as a great place to idle away the day. I could idle away my life here. This reef is truly spectacular.