Backpacker, Fiji, Travel, Uncategorized

Nabua Lodge, Sawa-I-Lau Caves and Kava Ceremony, Fiji! 

The ferry to Nabua Lodge was 4 hours 30 minutes and was horrendous! We sat inside the boat and tried desperately hard to concentrate on something other than the boat swaying side to side, leaping up and over the waves. Vom! After a while we gave in and went outside for some fresh sea air! The sun was shining, the water was glistening and the air was refreshing. Much better! The remaining 2 hours of our journey were spent outside, until we saw Nabua Lodge approaching. 

We had to climb off the ferry into a little speedboat, and watch as our bags were chucked (literally) through the air onto the speedboat. Please don’t fall in the sea! The men on the boat greeted us, told us a little about Nacula Island and drove us into shore. The staff of Nabua Lodge were awaiting our arrival on the sand and singing for us. That was a true Fiji vibe! 


We were all sat down together for a lunch of chicken and rice and we all introduced ourselves to eachother. We met Eileen and John from England, Jules from Canada, Sam from New Zealand, and Yoshi from Belgium. Everyone was really friendly and got on straight away. After lunch, we were led to our rooms, Steve and I were in a dorm with Dianne and Nicos from the Netherlands. The dorm was pretty cool, there was a stone wall around each bed for a little privacy and comfy single beds. We chatted to Dianne and Nicos for a while before heading out onto the beach to make the most of the sun! 

Boy was it hot! After just 5/10 minutes of laying on the sand we desperately needed to cool off! And so we took our first swim in the beautiful Fijian waters. Perfection! The water wasn’t too hot, wasn’t too cold, just right to refresh you. The sea was really clear and just how we had imagined it to be! 


The first evening came around really quick, we sat down to our first BBQ dinner with Jules, Sam, Eileen and John and tucked in! After dinner, the staff played a few games with us. The first game was called ‘Gin, Whisky, Soda’. When they shouted ‘gin’ the boys had to go one side, girls another. ‘Whisky‘ meant a girl and boy had to pair up. And soda with a number was the group we had to get in. The last to get into position was eliminated. The game ended with Eileen, Jules and I chasing a male staff member to win. After chasing him around a tree, Eileen won and claimed her beer! 

The second game we played was a sticks game. When the music played, the stick was passed around to whoever you wanted, if you were left holding the stick when the music stopped then you were eliminated. Steve and Eileen were the two winners for this game, and claimed their winner beers! 

Once the games were complete, we all got together for a ‘Kava Ceremony’. Kava, also known as yaqona, is a drink made when the powdered root of the pepper plant (piper methysticum) is mixed with water. The mixture is created in a bowl, when the powdered kava is place d into a material bag and the bag is ‘scrubbed’ together with water to create a ‘muddy water’ looking drink. Fijians consider Kava to have great medicinal benefits, and drink around 30/40 bowls of it each day/night! The effects it gives you are a numb / tingling sensation in your mouth, and it can make you sleepy and relaxed. 


It is tradition to clap once and say Bula before recieving the bowl of Kava. It is considered rude to sniff the drink, or sip it. You wouldn’t want to sip it after tasting it anyway, best to drink it down in one! After drinking the Kava, you return the bowl and clap three times. *clap, bula, drink.. clap, clap, clap..’. The bowl then moves onto the next person. We only had a little of the Kava, and could feel a slight tingling sensation but nothing major. The Fijians were extremely relaxed though, and looked almost as if they were about to fall asleep! Everyone had a great sleep that night!

DAY TWO:

Our second day in Nabua Lodge was opened with the beating of the drums. This signalled to the guests that the breakfast of bread, fruit and sausages had been served. After breakfast we headed out to our first activity of the holiday – Sawa-I-Lau Caves! This activity is definately a must do from me! The caves are set in the beautiful blue lagoon of Fiji, and are caved from the constant wave action into beautiful limestone formations. We were unsure what to expect, but upon entering the first cave, we were greeted with the most spectacular sight! The cave was slightly open topped with amazing detail of the limestone rock. The water was clear and blue, although dark due to the light and slightly chilly upon first entrance. We all swam in the cave for abit, before our guide told us we’d be heading into the second cave which is.. where? 


‘You will need to swim through an underwater tunnel to reach the second cave. You will need to dive about 1/2 metre down and swim 3 metres across, you’ll be under for around 4 second until you reach the second cave. Be careful when you swim up that you do not hit your head on the rock.’ 

Errr what?! 

After the intial panic and thought of all the films where it all goes terribly wrong, we took a deep breath and agreed to proceed. Luckily, Jules and Sam had snorkels with them, and let everyone use the masks and then pass them through so they weren’t swimming blind. 4 people swam through before it got to be my turn. I placed the mask over my eyes and looked under. Oh nooo, this tunnel is tiny! Panic started to set in but I swam before it could take a hold of me. I swam towards the light (cliché?), until I saw a hand grab mine and pull me towards the surface, he placed a hand over my head and slowly guided me into the tiny tunnel so that I did not hit my head. The height of the tunnel was big enough to fit just your head in, so I could see why it would be scary for claustrophobics! I swam forward a second and felt the tunnel open up. The cave has no openings, and is therefore pitch black, making it feel alot smaller than it actually is. Once everyone was through, and the torch was flashed around, we saw that the cave was actually huge and we could swim through into a second equally big area! 


The guide told us some stories and then we all had to shout ‘BULA’ as loud as we could to listen to the echo. After 10 minutes in the second cave, we swam back through the underwater tunnel into the main cave. A few Fijians were selling souveniers on the beach, so Steve and I each bought a braclet with a turtle on (they symbolise good luck), and I bought an ankle braclet made from seashells! Cute! 

After lunch back at the resort the heavens decided to open and we had an afternoon of rain! We decided to use our second activity and get a Fijian massage! Steve got his done first, and mine after. The massage was a full body, half an hour massage done using coconut oil and was complete and utter bliss! We felt like we could fall asleep! 

After dinner, we played some more games and learnt the bula dance. It was Jules birthday eve, so we played Monopoly Deal and Trivia Pursuit. (Both card game versions of the board games). 

DAY THREE:

Our last morning at Nabua Lodge! We awoke to the drums again, and ate breakfast before spending the morning on the beach! Most of the guests went on a snorkelling trip so the beach was empty! Just Steve and I were there to enjoy the sun, sand and sea! We sunbathd and swam in the sea for 2/3 hours before it started to rain. So we went up to the balcony and played a few games of cards with Eileen and John before our boat arrived to take us to our next Island, Korovou!


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