Where We Be
Coral  View Resort -- Tavewa Island, Fiji
If you have to leave New Zealand, Fiji isn’t such a bad
place to go! After landing in Fiji and spending one
night in Nadi, we took a catamaran to Tavewa Island at
the northern end of the Yasawa Islands. The Yasawas
are a chain of 16 volcanic islands running northeast
of the main Fijian island of Viti Levu. It was from the
northern Yasawas that, in 1789, two canoe-loads of
cannibals gave chase to Captain William Bligh and his
companions less than a week after the famous mutiny.

At Coral View Resort, we were welcomed with a
hearty Fijian cry of “Bula!” which means hello and
welcome. We were shown to our wonderfully quaint
bure (pronounced “m-burr-ay”), a one-room thatched
hut overlooking the beach. The hut sits on a green
lawn and has four windows open to the sound of the
gently lapping ocean waves. Geckos occasionally
dart over the wooden beams of the hut both inside
and out, making chirping sounds like birds. A
hammock strung between palm trees just outside our
bure offers a wonderful place to kick back and relax.

The main dining hall at Coral View has a sand floor, so
meals are a casual affair. Most people arrive to
dinner barefoot. The seating is at tables for eight, so
you get to know your fellow guests quickly. All meals
are included, so the only extra expense is for drinks.
Going to bed each night, we put the gauzy mosquito
netting down around our bed and left the screened
windows unshuttered to let the breezes in. We loved
getting to hear the water lapping quietly against the
shoreline as we went to sleep.

We took several long walks along the eastern coast
of Tavewa Island, passing two other small resorts and
a Fijian village tucked into the palm trees. At the
southeastern edge of the island we arrived at Savuti
Point. This was by far the best stretch of beach we
found on Tavewa Island. The sand was soft and white
and it curved in a graceful arc out of sight. The water
was crystal clear and just the right depth for a swim.
We reveled in delightfully warm water temperatures.

Coral View is aptly named—the snorkeling is fantastic
right off the beach. Two hundred yards out, there’s a
dropoff where the coral suddenly meets the deeper
sea. It’s here that it’s possible to see bigger marine
life. My first big sighting was of a chevron barracuda,
a five-foot-long silver fish with a protruding lower
jaw. It circled me once in slow motion, definitely
curious. I remained still and the two of us eyed each
another with equal levels of curiosity and uncertainty
before it slowly swam off.

Not five minutes later, as I prowled the reef’s dropoff,
I saw a gray reef shark. It swam obliquely towards me
along the edge of the dropoff. I grew up on the movie
Jaws, so seeing a shark swimming in my general
direction while I was all alone in the water got my
heart pounding very fast very quickly. I back-paddled
as fast as I could, wanting to get away from the
dropoff to the shallower water. I lost sight of the
shark as soon as I backed away and never saw it
again. But I kept making little circles all the way back
to shore to make sure it wasn’t sneaking up on me.

We're lying in a hammock watching the sun set.
Suddenly the shallow sea erupts in a massive
“shivering” of water as thousands of small fish leap
out of the water in a frenzy to escape their predators
from below. The next instant, circling terns fold their
wings and dive-bomb the fish from above, splashing
into the shallows to catch them as they appear at the
surface. The fish "sizzle" each time they surge for-
ward or backward en masse, as if they were all frying
on a collective griddle. Witnessing this spectacle, we
wonder how many places are left in the world with
this kind of natural abundance.
Our quaint bure by the sea at Coral View
The beach at Savuti Point is the nicest on Tavewa Island
Green lawn at sunrise (note: bures were reconstructed since our trip and look  different now)
Coral View at dusk
The pool and grounds at Aquarius Fiji (in Nadi on the main island of Viti Levu)
The main beach at Coral View, with the restaurant just behind it
Wonderfully warm South Pacific waters
Robin at the entrance to our bure
Hammocks, sunrises, palm trees...vintage South Pacific!
Lovely palm tree with Nacula Island in the distance
The happy staff at Coral View made our stay special
There's nothing quite like going to dinner barefoot!
We whiled away the hours on this hammock behind our bure
The rustic interior of our quaint bure
Robin with Pao the bartender (a Fiji National rugby player)
Red hibiscus flower
Palm grove south of Coral View near another resort
Robin at the lovely beach at Savuti Point