Last Saturday of July, time is passing. This was a free day for us, no workshops, no obligations. And yet at 5am (yes 5 AM) we got a call – “is the workshop today?” Uggggggggggg!
But it was all good, we needed to be up early as we had a date with 5 other senior missionaries to go out and spend the day and see the “Spinner Dolphins”. Elder and Sister Edwards are leaving next week for Kiribati for three months and then to Samoa, and then to Tonga, which means they will not pass this way again. And which also means you get in everything you can before you are off to a new adventure.
It is out where we have been several times, but you have to go out on a dirt road for about a half hour. We have never gone down the dirt road in our tiny car, too bumpy and too dirty. So we took a van and off we went.
The road was dry which made the going much easier. And we arrived at Nataliera and then on to the resort called Takalana. It is called an eco resort and I have decided that that means its rustic and doesn’t have lots of upscale trappings, but this was nice and clean and what a view. It sits up on a hill and looks down on the ocean.
We had breakfast, which was lemon tea (hot water with lemon leaves and sugar and was good) and hot chocolate with two kinds of cakes. We changed our clothes in one of the rooms and it didn’t have a lot of creature comforts, but was charming, complete with white mosquito netting. It caught all the breezes and was fun.
Then down to the beach and it has black sand, I had no idea! The son of the resort owner lugged two five gallon cans of gasoline down to put in the boat. In came the boat and it wasn’t all that big, and it looked to have seen better days, but we willingly climbed in anyway.
There was a grandmother and two granddaughters from mainland China and a young man also from China that went along with us. The girls were students at USP (University of the South Pacific) and the guy worked for Vodaphone and had been here a year working and us! Is that a group or what?
We went out to an area called Moon Reef where the dolphins come in and spend the day because it’s away from the sharks and then they leave in the evening to go out and feed. They were all around the boat and jumped and spun and were amazing to watch. The water was also amazing, it was that wonderful turquoise that you see in all the ads.
We went out a ways and tied off to a buoy and snorkeled, well at least some of us did, some of us just swam around and enjoyed the water. It was perfect temperature, but you had to watch yourself as there was a current that drug you away if you weren’t watching.
The crew were all Fijians and were a fun group, especially Tim who seemed to be the “recreational director”. Then back in for lunch and we ate like we hadn’t eaten in days, it tasted delicious and then they laid out a mat in the shade and a few of us napped the afternoon away, and when we weren’t napping we were just gazing at the amazing views.
On our rides out that way we had passed a sign for an LDS Church and had wondered about it, again it was up a steep dirt road so we had never ventured up in our tiny car. So we went up to see this amazing ward house. The stake president lives just down the way and donated the property and what a ride to get there, up a tiny, narrow, one car only dirt road with the usual pot holes and water hazards, but this road went up the only high ground there was with big drop offs on both sides
The gates were locked and it was a trick to turn the van around. It was like the old joke, “how many senior missionaries does it take to turn a van around on a narrow road? 7, one to drive and 6 to give orders!” And there were two darling kids sitting on the hill watching all of this. We asked if they went to that church and they said yes, and they were in Primary. I think we were their entertainment of the week.
Back by dark, all salt covered with wild hairdos and a sense of wonder at the beauty we had encountered.