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  • Writer's pictureClaire

06/03/24 Serenity Island Fiji. Simon’s 60th.

Happy  60th Birthday Simon!!  As our super little racing Welsh dragon crab  had won us a snorkelling trip to the sandbar, we had a quick breakfast and went to get ready for the trip. We were sat in the reception raring to go at 1015. Snorkels were still in short supply, but we still had the one from Amanda so we were going to share that one. Si asked Mr T if there were any more because it would have been nice to have a proper view of the corals, and he went off to hunt some down for us.  

The boat came in to transport us to the little red boat that was taking us for the trip, and 6 of us piled in. The young couple from Austria joined us, but they had to pay for their trip because their crab wasn’t a winner.  As soon as we were in the boat, Mr T gave Si a full face mask and snorkel which was brilliant as we could now both see the beauty beneath the waves. The young couple were moaning a bit about the snorkel situation, but if they had read the reviews they would have known that the equipment was lacking and they could have bought their own in Denarau port.  Whatever Trevor, just be grateful for what you’ve got mun! 

On our first trip to the Sandbar, the ocean was almost still, there were no waves, and it resembled liquid satin. Today however was slightly different, we had waves and wind. Not so much as it spoilt the trip but nowhere near as calm as our previous trip. The sandbar is off Treasure Island which is apparently a party Island, and the smaller Beach Comber Island,  which is quieter and more relaxing. As we approached the Sandbar, it glistened white in the sunshine, and rose up out of the turquoise ocean like a big pile of  sugar!  There was already one other boat there, and this time we were taken right into the shallows which made getting off really easy.  The people who were already there, were packing up their stuff and getting ready to leave which meant the sandbar was ours and ours alone for the next hour or so. Well there were the others on our trip, but we didn’t count them!  After being helped off, we dropped the bags onto the sand. The tide had washed huge chunks of corals and shells up, and walking on them bruised the soles of my feet which was a blimin nuisance, however it didn’t break the skin so that’s a bonus. 

Getting the snorkels and masks took a few minutes and Si and I decided to go to the opposite side of the sandbar to our last visit. There was the option of flippers to assist in propelling me along but I’m not that great at using them so left them in the bag. The crystal clear water,  the shade of a foxes glacier mint, was teeming with fishes of all descriptions, waving sea grasses and unidentifiable underwater plant life that were swaying gently in the currents..  There were only small amounts of coral in the shallows, and to have got to the reef would have meant swimming out a lot further than my capabilities. Instead, we swam around the sandbar, and off to the side of it in the direction of Treasure Island. We were rewarded with the most beautiful, and majestic coral garden, It was like something out of a fairy tale book, and indeed it was utterly breathtaking. Shoals of tiny fishes, swam in front of out faces, huge blue star fish dotted the ocean bed and draped themselves of the coral as they fed. , there was a kaleidoscope of colour everywhere we looked. There were corals the size of tables, of all shapes and all shades of the rainbow. The beauty of what we were seeing is so hard to describe, and once again we have regrets about not bringing the GoPro with us to capture the uniqueness and just the incredible majesty of it all. 

Visibility was excellent and the underwater world was sharing its treasures with us, the fish were daring in and out of the coral as we swam over it, bigger ones went and hid underneath coral that looked like icicles, and the clumps just got bigger and bigger the further we went. The wind had picked up a bit, which increased the swell of the ocean and I began to think I wasn’t getting anywhere, but when I popped my head out of the water I was surprised to see how far out from the sandbar we were. Without a shadow of a doubt the  starfish were our favourites, just hanging around, draped over the corals and on the ocean bed, their vibrant blue colour enhanced by the white sand and the colourful unusually shaped corals. The vast shoals of tiny fish swimming by us were awesome, the dappled sunlight catching their scales and making the iridescent shades sparkle brightly.

As we began to swim back towards the sandbar, the corals became much less dense and also decreased in quantity as you would expect, but the fish increased, and they were all the way into the shallows. As the  tide was coming in towards the sandbar, it did me a massive favour and really helped my flagging arms and legs no end.  Si hauled me out of the water and got me up the sand once it was shallow enough to stand up in. We took the opportunity to capture some more memories in photo and video form. I don’t think I will ever get tired of looking at the pics we’ve taken so far. Bob got in on the action, and had a few snaps with the birthday boy. We also took a video to send to the makers of the New James Bond, with Si doing a rather impressive Daniel Craig coming out of the water..  If the Bond franchise don’t want him, then he’s planning to start his own Only fools. No not only fools, ONLY FANS. (Oops!) For the over 60’s. He’s hopeful that by pimping himself out he’ll earn enough money for our next trip.  I’m humoring him, it’s his birthday after all…. 

Our time at the sandbar passed all too quickly, and we prepared to get on the boat to take us back. A bit of rubbish had washed up so we collected it up and dumped it on the boat when we got in.. An old lightbulb is way out of place on a sandbar!!!  The wind had picked things up a notch or two, and as a result  the swell of the waves increased. The journey back to Serenity was a little bit bouncy, and uncomfortable as the boat thumped down the other side of a wave.  No one tossed their cookies so it wasn’t that bad!  We circled around the back of Serenity Island to her drop off point and Danny was on the beach with his guitar singing us in with a few of the other staff.  I am going to miss that little touch a lot. I really like that they welcome us back and sing when we leave.  Back on solid ground we handed back the mask and snorkel sets and returned to the Bure to relax for the day in the hammocks. 

At 1845hours I took Si to the restaurant for supper, and when we arrived we were taken to the beach, out of sight from the rest of the resort and other diners. There are lovely wooden and palm beach shelters and the staff had decorated the support posts with gold satin fabric, put a happy birthday banner and balloons up inside. The table was laid for two, black tablecloth and a Fijian printed runner over the top. A small glass vase held greenery, and they’d put an electric floor lamp in the sand to light it up. The breeze blowing into the shelter was so refreshing, and it was just a perfect setting. We looked out over the South Pacific, watched the lights twinkle in the dusk, and once darkness fell, the sky filled with millions of twinkling stars. It was a truly magical experience. Then a big gust of wind caught the lamp and toppled it over, but we managed to catch it before it crashed into the table. We shoved it back into the sand, and chuckled when we noticed the shade was somewhat askew and the whole thing was looking a bit sorry for itself. It still worked though so was all good.

Serena, the restaurant manager was serving our food, and her gentle quiet manner, along with her beautiful smile added another dimension to the evening. she wished Simon a very happy birthday, and asked if he’d had a nice day before moving away to get our starters.  Whilst she was gone, one of the boys came and took our drinks orders, which he returned with very quickly. Our starters came shortly afterwards and we tucked in. Si ordered a kokoda, a cold dish (which he wasn’t expecting) of fish in coconut milk with what I would describe as coleslaw. The flavours were quite delicate, and for such a simple dish, it exceeded expectations. I have the recipie.  I had bruschetta and that was rather splendid it has to be said. We weren’t rushed, and neither were the plates slow coming out, it was all perfect. Once our starters were finished, our mains were served. Si had ordered Fish curry and was really looking forward to it, but we boobed. We’d looked at the board on the restaurant and it said curry if the day was fish. Unfortunately that was for yesterday, they hadn’t changed the board and curry of today was chicken. It was really good, and it wasn’t an enormous serving either, which was perfect. It looked quite exotic on the plate and was almost too good to eat. I had pasta with a tomato sauce that was mouth-watering. 

Before going out, we had a small clothing dilemma. . Si was going to wear his linen trousers and I was going to wear a white linen dress. It was a special occasion and we wanted to make a bit of an effort with our clothing choices. Then we remembered that he’d ordered curry and I’d ordered pasta with sauce. Both meals were potentially a bit splashy!! So given we still have a few months left, and we would probably struggle to get the splashes of sauce out of the pale coloured clothing, we opted to wear our old well worn stuff! Proper scruff bags, but better that than curry or pasta sauce dribbled all over the light clothing, and then having to walk through a resort full of people. 

Pudding was crème brûlée with fruit on the top and a little biscuit while I had ice cream. By the time we finished it all we were stuffed! there was no rush and we just sat back listened to the waves rolling up the beach, and made more plans. Our conclusion, Fiji is perfect, well this little Island is.  The staff sing for the guests every night, as I’ve mentioned and it is really lovely to listen to, and we could just hear it from the beach.  It began to get louder, and to our delight they were coming towards us in the darkness singing their hearts out and carrying a birthday cake for Simon. Complete with candle and Happy birthday written in chocolate around the outside. I’d arranged the cake, but had nothing to do with the singing, that was all them and it was AMAZING! They had gone to so much effort, and I was so happy that they had made it a perfect ending to Si’s big day.  The candle was lit, they sang him happy birthday, and then we cut the cake. It was a big one, so we insisted that they all have some, because there was no way we would finish it all, and it was nice to include them in it too.  Every single one of them wished him happy birthday, shook his hand or hugged him, it was just fantastic and more than I had even hoped for  him. The cake was bloody lush, very light and fluffy rich dark chocolate cake with dark chocolate covering. A young lad who is a guest, came along with the staff and joined in with the singing, and bless him shook Si’s hand and wished him a happy birthday. He had cake too. As birthdays go, I suspect it will take some beating, everything was perfect, The surroundings, the food and the people, simply fabulous. The only thing missing was family and friends, look out on our return, the party will be epic.  

We were just about the last people to leave for the evening, and with a happy Simon, we retired for the evening. A positively perfect day for my birthday boy. 

Much Love

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