For years I've heard about this vacation from Kelsey Clark. Each conversation ended the same way-- "You guys should come on the next one."
2015 was the year where it finally fell into place.
This became one of those vacations where it's hard to put the week into words. It's hard to articulate feelings and magic and do it justice. It's one of those things you won't ever grasp until you experience it for yourself.
Still, I do want to write some words.
Each day we noted our highlights.
Sun Jan 4
-seeing rainbow (Kaia)
-lightning storm at dinner (Yosh)
-Deeter telling Dad he was putting himself to bed before dinner (Yosh)
-watching boys surf (Mom)
(Dallin's lack of contribution to this tells me he was asleep before he could throw out his bullet points!)
That day I also wrote, "I'm curious to see how we'll feel at the end of the week. Today was a lot of fun but not sure this island has enough to do for 7 days."
I didn't do much research about our trip so was very surprised to pull up to this teeny, tiny island and find out that this was it! If you were to run around the whole island, it would total a mile. Small!
Mon Jan 5
-going snorkeling at the sand bar (Dallin)
-going in the hot tub after the sand bar (Porter)
-seeing the blue star fish (Yosh)
-"When I get older, my boobies are gonna get fat." Deeter
-seeing the big hermit crab (Porter)
-seeing a sting ray while kayaking (Gay)
-"Today is Thanksgiving for the mosquitos. And on Christmas, one is going to suck my blood and give to another one as a present." Deeter (the mosquitoes were out in full force)
-most incredible massage ever by Elanoa (Gay)
Tuesday Jan 6th
-surfing (Porter) ((he got up 6x that day))
-playing ping pong with the boys (Dallin)
-snorkeling at the sand bar (Gay)
-napping on a lounge chair (Gay)
-taking a nap on a lounge chair (Kaia)
-watching movie with all the kids (Porter, Deeter, Kaia)
-playing spades (Gay)
-snorkeling Restaurants (Yosh)
-Watching Deeter and Porter reel a fish in (Yosh)
-Kaia is playing so well with all the kids
-Mom and Kai kayaked around the island
Wednesday Jan 7th (Happy Birthday, tess!)
-the whole fam went to the sand bar
-Kaia LOVED snorkeling. Mom loved seeing her determination. The mask wasn't comfortable/fitting. After a while, I was like, Forget it, we can just sit in the boat. Kaia was like, Noooooooo! I want to snorkel! Glad she didn't give up because I sure was ready to!
-I liked getting wiped out by some waves. (Deeter)
-Andy took Porter surfing in the morning. Before long about 10 kids were out there getting usher in by Andy and Frog. They were all catching waves. It was quite the sight!
-That whet the kids' appetite and all day long they were anxiously awaiting the next set of waves. Yosh got in there and started pushing them in and a crew gathered. Darshan then started pushing too. The kids were in heaven. The parents were all lined up on the deck watching their kiddos. Kaia and I jumped in a kayak and paddled out behind the surf scene and watched from there.
Thursday Jan 8th
-Deeter loved seeing the guy with a 50 lb Spanish mackerel that he had brought in from spear fishing.
-Kaia loved "surfing". Daddy held her board while she laid on her tummy.
-Boys went and snorkeled The Namotu Drift. Porter loved seeing a reef shark. (Porter chased the shark for a good 20 yards before Yosh noticed what was going on and went and yanked him away from the chase! Can you say No Fear?!! Ha!)
-Yosh loved seeing the shark and all the sights on the Drift.
-Yosh had a lot of fun pushing kids into waves for surfing.
-Apparently while snorkeling The Drift there was an attacking fish. Dallin was one of the victims! (teeny, tiny imprint)
-Fijian night! It was amazing. Our group presented the village chic with kava. The ceremony was amazing- very personal and intimate and far from commercialized. It felt almost sacred to be part of a small, native ceremony.
Friday Jan 9th
-going surfing (Kaia)
((she loves going out on a board while the kids are surfing and just laying on the board to watch)
-Mom and Kaia took a boat to Castaway Island with Darshan, Christy, and 4 Fijian kids. It was interesting seeing the other islands and being reminded that there were other humans around us! We had lunch there and then stopped at a sand bar on the way home to snorkel.
-sitting by the bonfire (Deeter)
-Deeter LOVES playing Spades
-I surfed a lot of waves (Porter)
-snorkeling and seeing rock fish (Porter)
-pushing kids into waves (Yosh)
Saturday Jan 10th
*I woke up ready to get the heck off the island! It's funny because it didn't hit until it HIT! Not a gradual onslaught. i took no notes that day but I remember an epic volleyball game, 4 on 4, the hales vs the Fijians. We lost*
Sunday January 11th
We left the island at about 10:30. We went to the Sofitel Hotel for the day until our 10:00 pm flight. Being at the hotel really put into perspective what a unique and magical place Tavarua is. The Sofitel felt so commercialized and lost the majority of the Fijian flavor. You actually had to pay for food and outings and everything else! Tavarua was all inclusive and you could take a boat out as many times a day as you wanted, therefore not restricting you to singular experiences. We did many snorkel excursions, many fishing excursions, etc. It really was an amazing, amazing trip!
All photos are by Scott Winer.