Adventure Fiji - Eco Tours & Fiji Culture Tours

3 DAY TOUR - A CLIENTS STORY

 

 

Malaki Island - 3 Day Trip Schedule

Safari Lodge's relationship with Malake has developed over the last 10 years. Safari lodge started going there for village trips in 1992. Safari Lodge went there every two weeks taking their Windsurfing clients during the windy season. In 1997, Safari Lodge employed staff for their Dive operation from Malake. Safari Lodge now take you to their homes and we stayed with them in their settlement as the first nights accommodation on the Malake Island tour. Simeli and his father left the main village of Malake and decided to settle on the other end of the island. Here his sons, daughters and now grandchildren live. They settled in a very protected bay, covered in mangroves and hand cut a channel almost 500m long to gain access to their place of residence. This access took them over three months of hard labour cutting and digging a channel to permit access via water as the hill pass over the mountain is nowhere as convenient as boat access.

Monday morning:

We assembled at Ellington Wharf, finished our fresh pancakes for Breakfast, watched the busy morning traffic pass through Ellington, then our guides briefed us on the safety proceedures. Life jackets, Fiji Water, first aid kits, journey plan, predicted stops, to-take-lists, safety support boat issues, and communicational aids all covered in this really informative session. We were then demonstrated how to paddle and steer the Sea Kayaks. We left at 10am and commenced our paddle for the tip of Nananu-I-Cake Island, where we stopped off for some great photos on an amazing white sandy beach. The water was blue, the sky even clearer and the gentle breeze left us all cool. A quick dip in the water left no doubts as to the refreshing qualities of the water.

A quick regroup and we left for another point, this time back on the mainland, as our journey followed the edge of the mainland past a headland subdivision of exotic holiday homes of the famous and want-to-be-famous. Next was the luxurious resort of Wananavu, a quick paddle through their marina saw an array boats, some pleasure, some commercial. Further along the coastline and along to VoliVoli Point, past some really fascinating mangrove areas, huge black mud crabs (too fast to catch!) and onto Voli Voli Point, the Sandy peninsula. The mainland was a mixture of jungle and sugar cane crops, dotted in between were homes. Lunch on VoliVoli Point was wonderful with some great shady trees, and a picture perfect white sandy beach for lying on. No rush on this paddle...every luxury was considered. Fresh fruit, and a prepared lunch ensured those who craved for even the rarest delicacy were catered. Some special snorkelling and swimming in the azure waters saw us surrounded by fish life, turning to a frenzy when the guide brought out some bread to feed the fish with. Being so close to fish eating was a real eye opener!

After Lunch, we paddled across to the Island of Malake and ventured round the backside of the island. The island hills have been felled of trees and only small trees are growing on the coastline and larger ones in the village, but the grasses and light on the hills make for wonderful photos. We soon found ourselves at the mangrove enclosed bay where Simeli lives. Finding the 10ft wide entrance was tricky but once found, we were then able to appreciate the mammoth feat he had undertaken moving to this side of the island and commencing the work required to enable daily living acceptable.

We paddled up the channel to the end to find small kids waving and smiling; almost jumping up and down they were so happy to see us. Soon Simeli appeared with wife Tulia and greeted us warmly. Having both worked in big resorts and operations, their decision to stay home, plan their own pearl farm and entertain guests seemed quite natural. It didn't take long to see why the mango tree was the focus of their settlement - it was a huge tree giving ample shade and fruits when in season! We were shown to his home and welcomed with a fresh Lemon drink - hand squeezed off the tree. Our baggage and personal items were then carried to the home, where we were then able to change and prepare for a scenic walk up the mountainside to witness the Malake Sunset! Quite and experience and well worth the stroll up the hill of 210 metres altitude.

We returned down to find fresh fish and dinner being prepared for us. Learning the different varieties of fish and the different ways of cooking them was fascinating. Being able to choose what fish we preferred and then seeing it cooked, and enjoying the unique flavour was truly an unforgettable experience. The meal was fantastic and the evening opportunities of learning about their history and break away from the main village decisions was fascinating. The water shortage (we brought our own 20l fresh water drums with us) and the well they dug, their plans for a dam on the hill, and their boat, which one day will float again all make for wonderful stories. A great evening of star gazing, chatting and laughing saw us well into the night, ready for bed. The Safari mattresses provided were comfortable and soft.

Tuesday morning:

Some arose early to see the sun rise from the Malake Hill, then went back to bed for a quick hour sleep, while others stirred to the smell of fresh coffee and pancakes, toast and cereals being prepared for us. Breakfast was great and plentiful preparing us for the remainder of the day and our paddle round to the main village.

We left Semeli at 10am and paddled round to Namurimuri Point where the island drops into the Sea literally! No coral shelf, simply a sheer drop into deep waters, We decided to do some snorkelling a little further on at some fantastic Snorkelling reefs the guide pointed out to us. An easy swim from the sandy beach where we left the kayaks, over the shallow water and we were soon faced with 3D corals all appearing to jump straight into our masks. It was so different snorkelling somewhere where no one has ever been, no damaged coral, no shortage of fish and real nature at its best. It was quite remarkable how the fish seemed to want to check us out, as much as we were checking them out. After a lazy lie on the sandy beach, we continued our paddle round Uluitokova Point into the main bay area and the Village of Malake.

Children raced out to greet us, smiley friendly faces and mothers and village women stood by the broken sea wall. The men were hanging out near all the fishing boats as they were preparing to go out for another nights fishing. The Malake people are renowned for their free Diving, reaching depths of up to 30m underwater with nothing but a torch and a spear gun. Talking to them was really fascinating about what they thought they were going to catch tonight, or who would catch the most fish. The women all hugged us and made us feel really at home and welcome. School had stopped for the afternoon, as it was after 3pm and the children were eagerly awaiting our arrival....jumping, screaming "Hello & Bula", and waded out to meet us.

The Chief had passed away a couple of years ago, and now his son had taken over. We were easily recognised by our kayaks and instantly made to feel welcome. Again the guides took care of all our luggage and the kayaks, leaving us free to walk around and explore the village. The afternoon was spent discovering the local school, primary only, the old church, the new much bigger church and the local homes where so much seems to happen daily.

That evening, fresh fish was served with the tastiest vegetables, in Joe's home. Joe is Semile's uncle and a foundation stone of the village, having the biggest home and boat in the village - apparently the most successful fisherman! They all sell their fish to a Malake Co-Op and then divide the profits at the end, so its all based on quantity caught as to dividend or payment at the end of the month. We saw the Fishing Co-Op the following day, so it was all exciting. That evening we were treated to jovial dancing, singing and stories, lots of stories. Of Course we offered a 1kg of Kava to the chief and then spent the next few hours talking watching and waiting, as we note that drinking Kava is very different to Europeans drinking beer. With Kava, there is no rush, a bowl each, then 15 minutes for conversation, then another bowl, then another talking session. The talking sessions were only interrupted by an impatient elder loudly clapping his hands, indicating its time for another bowl, and the whole process continues.

Another great evening and sleep beckoning. We slept in Joe's house on comfortable mattresses and quickly fell asleep.

Wednesday morning:

The sun rose, but we all missed it. Too much Kava, we were reminded by the locals. Some even joked we weren't tough enough to drink it and not have a hangover. It was a new experience, so we thought we were safe. It doesn't have any of the side effects of alcohol, headaches, etc. It simply puts you into a gentle sleep. A narcotic sedative we were reminded, no aggression no feelings of domination, only a slow feeling that maybe the lights are slowly dimming and rolling over backwards and falling asleep is normal.

Breakfast soon appeared and was quickly devoured. This paddling and entertaining was hard work! We then saw the fisherman who left at 5pm the night before, return with boats full of all different varieties of fish. Some had been too proud to go straight to the Co-Op on the mainland and had preferred to come in and show us first, so the variety and size was amazing. Rock Cod as big as small children, salmon cod you just know would be absolutely delicious and Tuna, Wahloo, Spanish Mackeral....the list goes on.

By 10am we were ready to leave for our final Sea Kayak across to Malake Landing on the mainland, where the Co-Op has been built with ready access to the markets and town. What an experience this was. The Malake landing was a truly amazing structure, made solely of bamboo poles and supports. No floating marina, or jetty structure here. This was a truly Fijian landing. We were met at the Landing by the Safari Lodge staff and a waiting minibus, ready to swap stories with us about our adventures. Unknown to us, some of the fish we had seen was now in the minibus and our dinner was about to be prepared at Ellington Wharf for a final trip celebration meal.

What an adventure! The amount of culture we were exposed to in this relative small amount of time made it all too unreal..It was almost when we returned back to the mainland, our fairy tale was over and all the characters were simply actors in a novel. The busyness of children running was replaced with local buses, and the Inter Island Ferry at Ellington Wharf with all its logging trucks unloading was a quick reminder of the contrast between village island life and mainland commercialism.

What we learnt in those few days will stay with me forever. I now have an address book full of local addresses and many many people to send copies of my photos too. I now want to observe my new friends growing up and can't wait to see them all again in a years time!

 

Three Day Sea Kayaking FACTS

Location: Safari Lodge - Fiji is located in the RakiRaki area of Fiji, on the main island, 2hr north of Nadi Airport on the Sunshine Coast. We paddle to the Island of Malaki and spend two great nights there.

Accommodation: Safari Lodge supplies the mattresses and linen, so only sleeping bags are required. Accommodation is in large 2 person Tents or traditional Fijian Bures - your choice!

Food: Ellington Wharf Restaurant provides all the Food for the trip, covering all meals required, offering tasty wholesome meals required by hungry healthy paddlers!

Transport: Safari Lodge can organise transport from all areas of Fiji to Ellington wharf, RakiRaki so please contact via email or phone for available options.

Costs: The Tour costs include three meals a day, all soft drinks, accommodation and kayaking. Non inclusions are detailed in our Booking Terms and Conditions.

Who Comes ?: The three day Sea Kayak is a gentle introduction to soft eco-tourism. The paddling is downwind, and not large distances, ensuring all ages and both males and females are very suited for this tour. Singles, couples and families are all welcome.

Culture: , Safari Lodge has designed a fantastic program of Fijian Culture, Authentic Village overnight accommodation, kayaking through spectacular scenery on route to Malake Island.

Starting / Finishing times: The Tour commences from Ellington Wharf at 10am on Monday morning and completes at Ellington Wharf 4pm on the Wednesday afternoon.

Safety: A 23ft Yamaha Rescue boat is always available and accompanies the Sea Kayaks ensuring our high levels of safety are maintained.

Essential items to bring: Upon booking we will send you further information about what to bring.