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  • Writer's pictureClaire

05/03/24 Serenity Island Fiji

A lovely pink sunrise lit up the Bure this morning around 0530. The pinky glow peeping in through the slatted windows bathed the room in tropical shades. Quite simply exquisite. The door has black out curtains that not only block out the light but also the main heat of the day so the sun doesn’t shine in through them in the mornings.  

Breakfast was consumed overlooking the Ocean, but we ate too much and I could feel us rolling back to the Bure after it. Chickpeas in a abriata type sauce with sausages, potatoes and butternut squash was on the hot plates waiting for us, and was really good. However, I’d had some fruit and yoghurt and didn’t want anything cooked. Si had ordered two fried eggs for a change and planned to put them in some very tasty bread with the sausages. Unfortunately I don’t think the chef quite understood what he meant by fried eggs and she turned up with a large plate upon which were two large omelettes. So funny. Because of that he offered one to me, which is how I came to have a full hit of breakfast. I was uncomfortably full all day!! 

There has been very little breeze today, and we decided we would get the most benefit from what there was in the hammocks. Unfortunately the Bure next door is now occupied and as such we couldn’t very well use their hammock. Well I say their hammock it’s more on our spot than theirs. Either way, I decided to put the towel down on the sand and just lie there for a while. Thank god for excellent sun block is all I can say. I managed not to burn, but did heat up very quickly. 

High tide today wasn’t until 1430 so before it came in fully, I decided I was going to go in and cool down. By wearing my flip flops in over the rocks it wasn’t as slippery although I still had to sit down and shuffle my way in. Oh the bliss of that lovely cool water was just utterly divine, and using my flip flops as hand flippers I stayed in for a good hour or so.  Getting out was slightly easier with the incoming tide, as I wasn’t getting washed back out with the waves!  Also the flip flips which were now on my feet really helped! I definitely feel i achieved it with way more

Dignity than I did the other day.  As I was towelling off, Appi arrived to chop the tops off our coconuts for us, so we passed the time of day with him for a while, but didn’t want to hold him up because he was going for his lunch break. The coconut water from the fridge is a whole other level of deliciousness! And we are very grateful to the lovely Appi for providing them for us to drink. 

Once we’d finished the refreshments, we didn’t have long to wait for afternoon tea, jeez but time flys when you’re having fun!! When we got to reception it wasn’t quite ready so Si went to see if he could find another decent mask and snorkel. That was a negative, they were all in use and the ones that were left were broken.  Whilst he did that Ixwent and did some sneaky planning with reception for his birthday tomorrow. The Island has filled up massively, and when we were chatting to Appi he was saying that from now till November it will be full capacity because the wet season is over and the humidity is a lot lower. When it gets busier there are lots of kids too, I'm glad we came before the main season starts because the peace and tranquility is what we love the most about the Island

The activity for tonight was up on the board, singing from the staff followed by Crab racing. Ha I was so excited, I contemplated going back to bed for a sleep so I wouldn’t miss it!! There was also another Lovo feast and our little friend Danny was back from his days off.  Smiling as always , he was telling us about his family time and what he had done whilst he was with them. He had made a lovo for his family, showing them what he had learned from being in Serenity. He was very proud and pleased to have been able to buy the BBQ food and cook it for them. He was saying he got dropped off in the port and a 10minute bus ride he was home, first time in weeks. 

I didn’t have a sleep in anticipation of the nights entertainment I felt confident I could keep my eyes open long enough for that!  I was right, I managed it perfectly well. Almost like a real growed up person. We made our way over to the reception area just before 2000hrs and as people were still eating, moved out to the pool area and lay on the sun loungers watching the stars, so clear bright and twinkly. Danny came over and chatted with us, and was wearing a fabulous shirt. He explained it was his dads, and he had given it to him. His dad had worked on Treasure island for 18 years, and then moved to Serenity and bought Danny with him to start working there. He has now retired, and Danny proudly wears his shirt.  We got talking about the crab racing and he said the little white crabs were very fast, he was numbering them up with chalk In readiness.

Once the majority of people had finished eating, the staff started to sing, and again, it was fabulous. The men were in their sarongs and colourful shirts and the ladies in pretty colourful dresses with flowers in their hair. A very simple accessory but beautiful. After they had finished, the men began to prepare for the crab race. Mr T had drawn up a board with 12 crabs on, depicting the country of most of the guests. Alongside the country name he had put next to them their emblem according to the rugby team. England, red Rose. France, Rooster, Argentina, Puma. Ireland, green leaves. Canada, maple leaf. America, Eagle. Wales, Dragon etc. He’d put a lot of thought and effort into it, although there were some Austrian guests staying, and there was no rugby that he could think of so he asked the lad what it was famous for. They lived in Vienna so thought the music, and then the lad came up with Arnie… and that’s what went next to Austria. Fiji, drua which is a traditional Fijian canoe. New Zealand Kiwis. Australia, kangaroo. 

All the chairs were moved back in the reception and there was a large circle drawn on the floor in white chalk. All the staff had gathered around to watch, the music was playing and Mr T began whipping the crowd up to fever pitch. We had to buy a

Crab, and the bidding started at $5 and crept up to $10, it was hilarious, and everyone was laughing their heads off at his antics. Crab number 4 was The Dragon, Wales so we obviously had to bid on him, and won him for $10. After the successful purchase, I did an interview with his new owner, Simon Leonard asking about the crabs form, and how his training had been going. Mr Leonard, appeared quietly confident that the Dragon would wipe the floor with rest of the opposition, because of the quality of training it had had. Once they’d all been sold, each crab owners room number was written on the board next to their crabs number.  

Crabs all purchased, and having their final pep talks from their respective trainers and owners, there were lots of whispered conversations about tactics and which line to take during the race. The rules were explained to everyone, and we discovered there were going to be three races. The first crab over the chalk circle wins the race. It has to be 100% over the line, and can’t just have a claw over it. It also can't have a claw still in the circle, or be sat on the circle line.. Only outside the race circle! Very technical contest this is!  The second race determines the second place crab and the third race determines the third placed crab. The racing crabs were about the size of a 50p, and the boys had gone and caught them earlier on. Each crab was held up and then given a short run out to prove they were in full working order and  we were ready to start the first race.  Mr T put them all into a pot and then turned it upside down in the middle of the chalk circle on the cross marked out for that very purpose. A countdown from 10 signalled the start of race number one.  The crabs were out of the gates, well they were out of the pot, and boy were they going for it, scurrying across the wooden floor boards as fast as their little legs would carry them, heads down bums up, the focus on their faces was just so impressive. The commitment they showed to their craft was second to none. A few got almost to the line and millimetres before crossing it, changed direction and set off in another direction. They were most definitely the also rans and had clearly been trained by complete amateurs. I mean they didn't even know they had to cross the line. No professional trainer worth their salt would omit to train such a valuable racing machine to cross that finish line. They had just one job!!! One job!!!

There was lots of shouting and encouragement from the crab owners, and the first one was over the line. It was like something out of Chariots of Fire, the emotion of the occasion almost too much to cope with for some. We all waited with baited breath, nerves frayed, the ball of anxiety deep inside our stomachs, just waiting for the winner to be announced. There was no need for a photo finish, as race one had a resounding winner.... it was Crab number 4 ... The Welsh Dragon. Our little crab had only beaten the other eleven and was announced the winner. As the owner, Mr Leonard gave a short speech and praised the little guys performance during the race, declaring he had never been in any doubt in his abilities. Confidence indeed. Our little Welsh dragon had beaten England Ireland and Scotland! We were officially the crab racing champions of Serenity Island for this week.  Following the mandatory racing crab dope testing, and getting a negative test we were able to take the little guy home. Well, no, what actually happened was they said, Do you want to keep him? We said no thanks , and they chucked him in the sea.

Race two set off in similar style, but not having a crab in this one, we just shouted encouragement to all the other little crabs, here crabby crabby, scoot those little legs! Second crab over the line, the Irish one. We have no chance beating Ireland in the rugby but we can whip their asses when it comes to crab racing! The final race of the evening began with a countdown in Fijian, and they were off. Some of them were starting to tire, and you could almost see them thinking, sod this for a game of marbles! Their speed had definitely decreased and the winning crab from the final race was from Fiji. It was such a fun night, and everyone who joined in had a great time.  The noise we were making was enough to wake the dead! After the crabs had been returned to the sea, and the furniture returned to its rightful place, Mr T announced the prize for the winning crab owners… we’d won a sandbar snorkelling trip tomorrow morning, back to the first sandbar we went to. I was super chuffed, because hopefully I would see some more of the coral and fishes. 

People dispersed pretty soon after the event was over, and we made our way back to the Bure. The atmosphere had been brilliant, the staff joining in fully, great music, and just smiling faces everywhere. Our trip is at 10.30hrs in the morning along with the winning crab owners from the other two races. 

Another utterly perfect day in paradise. 

Much Love


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