In order to boost my stay count with Starwood, I used my iPhone to book the two unexpected nights in Fiji one at the Westin and the second back at the Sheraton again. The properties are right next door to each other, so figured I would compare them. Caught a taxi to the Westin, where the bellman was nice enough to drive me over to the Sheraton to retrieve my bag of scuba gear I’d left there, and then checked in.
They were rather reluctant to upgrade, and offered an ocean-view or such standard room at first…but only with two double beds. I pushed a little harder, and the agent agreed to go consult her manager. I reminded her it was just one night, and I was staying to compare them to the Sheraton. I thought maybe a bit of friendly competition might help. Well..ended up with a “one time only” upgrade to a royal suite, which I guess isn’t usually available in the standard upgrade pool. Took the buggy to the room with my bags, and the buggy driver mentioned to me that both John Travolta and Mel Gibson had stayed in. SCORE!
View out to the ocean:
Another shot of the den:
Living room again:
After the sun went down, decided to take the Bula Bus back to the port to get dinner. A very nice lady hawking one of the restaurants roped me in, and I decided to give their italian a try. I’d been reading about Fijian rum, so decided I should give it a try. Started with the “Captain Courage”
…and moved on to the “Jungle Song”
…and of course, when in Fiji, lasagna! (It was actually pretty good!)
With my unexpected two nights in Fiji, and the reduction of Tuvalu to a daytrip, there was an unexpected benefit…I had enough time to fit in a day of scuba, which I didn’t think I’d have the time for in Fiji. I had originally explored a company called Scuba Bula, but they were full up for the day, so I decided to ask the Westin concierge. She recommended a company called Fiji Adrenaline, and not having any other options, I decided to go with it.
Made my way the next morning over to the Sofitel resort where they were based (via the very convenient Bula Bus) and soon we were off diving. There were just two certified divers going out that day, me and another guy from New Zealand. Nice small group. First dive was a site called the fish market, due to the huge numbers of fish:
Near the end of the dive, we encountered a huge moray eel. I always seem to miss eels when diving when everyone else sees them, so was cool to hover near this one and get some great shots:
Surface interval on the boat, anchored right off a private resort island:
Next up was a site that was known for having great coral, and “maybe a shark if we’re lucky.”
Some “great coral:”
About 30 minutes into the dive, I agreed, it was pretty great coral, but overall kinda underwhelming. It was also my first “drift dive” and there was a very strong current just carrying us along. Strong to the point almost no kicking at all was needed, just kind of go with the flow. Then, near the end of the dive, THIS:
Yeah, right in our face, just hanging out:
Wait, there’s another right next to it!
After the sharks, we swam along a bit more, and I noticed a turtle swimming by literally right underneath the divemaster who was leading the dive. It was right under him, maybe a foot, and I was pretty sure he didn’t see it there. It was confirmed when he finally looked down, and almost jumped he was so startled:
Two amazing dives, and was really glad to have the day in Fiji to do them. Spent the rest of the afternoon lazing around on the beach and just enjoying the sun…and eventually the sunset:
It was a nice relaxing day, and more than made up for the reduced time in Tuvalu. It was time to get to bed early, because once again I was to be up at oh-dark-thirty to catch the flight to Suva…and on to Tuvalu for the day! Fiji Airways never called me to confirm exactly when the flight was going to go, so I was going to do as requested and “trust them” that they would make it work out.