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  • Writer's pictureClaire

29/02/24 Serenity Island Fiji

The sound of the waves at full tide last night and this morning, was surprisingly loud, but as they're so close to the Bure it shouldn't have been a surprise to me. Breakfast was served from 0700hrs and as we rumbled towards the restaurant, the heavens opened and we had one heck of a downpour. it stopped as quickly as it came, and out popped the sunshine. Breakfast was a hearty affair, eggs, sausage, vegetables, fruit, toast, cereals and as much tea and coffee as we wanted. We selected seats looking out over the beach and ocean. The tide was in and as such was less than a metre away from the restaraunt, and even though it was overcast, and the threat of rain was hanging around it was still beautiful. There were some signigicant waves, compared to what were around yesterday when we arrived. Within minutes there was another downpour that sent the staff running to drop the shutters down to stop it blowing in . We asked them to leave the one next to us open, because it was so mesmerising to watch, which they kindly did for us. Again, it was shortlived and the sun came out and that was the end of the rain today. All done and dusted before 0800hrs. I can cope with that! We enjoyed a leisurely breakfast, and once we'd finished moved to some comfortable seating to wait for the turtle feeding with Mr Danny, our singing welcome home friend. Danny is the happiest, smiliest person i think ive ever met, he's also incredibly funny. He regards the baby turtles as his sons, and loves it when they get released back into the ocean at about a year old. The Island is a laying and hatching ground for the Hawkbill turtles and the resort does its bit to make sure that some mature ones survive and then increase the population. Danny talks to them like children and they appear to be his responsibility as he does the feeding and cleans the tank etc. I wouldn't be surprised it he catches the fish for them too!. The eldest one that is in there is 8 months and the smallest one 4 months. The feeding took a good half an hour and the turtles were fighting for the fish in some cases. Once the plate had been emptied, we were shooed away from the turtles towards the boat to feed the fish.

A short distance off the shore the coral is inhabited by Zebra fish. Every day at 1000 he takes the boat and a load of bread and whoever wants to join him to feed them . It was quite the sight, and an impressive number of fish were showing themselves in the water, all sizes, and they were far bigger than what ive seen before. Really pretty, especially with the crystal waters over the coral and sands. There were two locations and we moved to the next one there didnt seem to be quite so many and that had Danny leaning over the boat calling, here fishy fishy, here fishy fishy. Better yet they answered his call. Well, either they resonded to his call, or they just sniffed out the bread, either way, fish appeared! Once all the bread had been consumed it was time to head back to the Island. On calmer days, guests are allowed to dive in with the fish and then snorkel back to the shore, but they said today that it was too dangerous. When we got back, Danny tried to persuade us we needed to visit Crusoe island, but to be honest, Serenity is pretty beautiful so if by chance we do get bored of it before next week, then well hop on the boat.

Next up on the agenda, was coconut toffe making, again with Danny. There was Si and I and the couple who arrived on the boat with us yesterday. I was disappointed for him, but also secretly pleased because there were a perfect number of us. The other couple had massages booked which coincided unfortunately with the coconut toffee making. When it came time for them to go for their massage, Danny promised to take some of the toffee up for them It started off with us being shown how they get the coconuts out of their outer shells. The coconuts are mostly windfalls, the brown ones are the mature ones and the green ones are a few weeks behind them. For his recipie, he needed 3 or 4 brown coconuts. Firstly they needed to get the nut from its shell. To do this, they used a sharpened pointed stick that was stuck into the ground and supported at the base with stones. They then smashed the coconut down on the point, to peel it from its protective outer shell. When it was done there was the coconut that i recognised, all brown and furry. A few of the coconuts were no good, so Danny went off hunting for more, refurning with an armful to leave for his friend to open. Once they were released from their husks, they had to be opened to get to the white flesh inside them. An extremely large machete was used to do this, and how they managed to chop the nut in half without removing their own hand was a miracle to me, but they did it very swiftly, and I suspect with years of practice. while they were being chopped in half, Danny was explaining what he was going to do next. Another lady, Amanda joined us and the couple from yesterday went for their massages, now there were three of us. He also sent the boys up the tree to get us a green coconut each so we could drink the juice. He told us that it is good for the body, blood, and makes you stay young and we should be drinking the water of two coconuts every morning before eating anything else. I can manage that I think, I just need a climate that has a constant supply of coconut. The one boy shinned up the tree really quickly, and also, I might point out he was barefoot! The other one was down on the ground, catching them as his buddy threw them down. He missed to catch two, and had to drink the water so as not to let it go to waste. Everything on the coconut tree is usable, and they make very good use of it all. Crabs come up from the sea at night and eat the roots of the tree. The green ones are for drinking, unless they are left to ripen over a few days longer to eat. The leaves are used to go on the roof of the beach huts, used as brushes, for cooking and fans. The empty shells are used in the Kava ceremony as drinking vessels.

With the coconuts now hacked in half, Danny, sat on what looks like a large chopping board. On the front of it, was a savage looking rasp and he then proceeded to show us how he scraped the flesh fron the shell. His right hand cupped the shell and his left hand covered the finger tips over the top, it looked a bit dangerous to me, and this was confirmed when Danny said it was important to pay attention as he didnt want to cut himself. I'm guessing that blood ruins the taste of he coconut somewhat. Once he had scraped all the flesh out of the coconut, there was a substantial pile in his bowl. His next job was to use the husk, that were pretty hairy inside and start a fire, it caught pretty quickly, but the fire needed a little bit of encouragement from Danny in the form of blowing. The smoke started pouring out, and his eyes were streaming, and he was completely engulfed in smoke. It didnt take long for the flames to appear and at that point, he popped a heavy pan over the top of the fire, and emptied about a cupful of sugar into the pan. The sugar is grown in Fiji, and exported. Also the coconut milk is canned and the tins then exported from fiji. The sugar was stirred untill it liquified, and once it was a golden colour, he threw in hand fuls of the coconut. it was cooked up, until the coconut was browned through, and when it was a glorious amber colour it was removed from the heat and put onto the table. The smell rising up out of the pan was amazing. Danny went and got some plates and a spoon each for us to try the toffee. When he dished it out, he was more than generous, and there was loads of it. When i tasted it, it was divine, so simple, not over sweet. caramelised and seriously good. Si enjoyed his so much, he inhaled it and finished his before i did mine. The cheeky bugger then tried to pinch some of mine. No way was he going to succeed in that mission. I can't believe there were only a few of us who were at the activity, not only was it great fun, it was also informative, entertaining and a great way to spend an hour. Also we lernt things i had no idea of about the coconut, the growth cycle of the fruits, and all the uses for it. Just fascinating.

The staff work so hard, and although the staff at the last resort did too, their production rate was nothing on this bunch. Team work is big, and everywhere you go every single person greets you with ' Bula' and just the biggest smile. Smiling is encouraged by everyone on the island and they all seem to enjoy their work. The boardwalk is swept clean of leaves and flowers following the rains. The sand outside the Bures are brushed with the palm fronds. The gardens are being planted with native shrubs, and so much care and time is being taken to make it attractive for the guests.

The bures are immaculate, little touches like flowers on the bed and the sink, and pina colada toiletries which are almost edible they smell that good. Its already another level from the first stop off on the main island, and the atmosphere is just so laid back. I don't want to jinx it! In the evenings the staff sing , which i have yet to hear, but is something I'm looking forward to. The daily programmes are written up on a large chalk board in reception, along with the sunsrise and sunset times, the high and low tide times. On the side of the info is a phrase that is changed daily. Today's was be happy and smile. Just a simple little thing, but so effective. It made me smile instantly. Although, the whole island seems to have that effect on me at the moment.

After an extremely busy morning, in the warm breeze, we wandered back for a midday siesta, i cant believe how tired we both are, we know its the heat, so hopefully by tomorrow we will have acclimatised to it and can do a whole day. Im glad that there are only a few people on the island, so its perfection indeed. We've met lots of lovely people a lot of Americans and Canadians. and today a young couple with a 6month old baby from the uk.

I've still not attempted the hamock, but maybe tomorrow, im hopeful, that i can get myself in and out with great dignity. Don't hold your breath in that one.

1500hrs, is time for tea and cookies, today there was chocolate cake instead of cookies, but thats ok, cake is good, especially chocolate cake! We indulged in it, as you do, and then returned to our bure and sat out on the deck, reading and generally relaxing. Nothing else to do really! Before you know it, the sun is setting and the day is over. Again !

Much Love


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1 Comment

Mar 02

Hello both, what an adventure you are having! It’s chilly and p’ ing down here!, Coincidentally, on The Repair Shop this week, Will was renovating an Indian coconut scraper. Continue on enjoying your adventures. Lots of love from Jen and me xxxxx

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