Sharks and Savala

Check this one out.

Please imagine the theme song to Jaws as you look at this photo

What I like about the photo is it makes it seem there’s a really big shark closing in on Cara and me as we snorkel off of Savala, an uninhabited island off the coast of Fiji. It’s lurking there, sizing us up. Are we worth pursuing?

Can you feel the excitement? Can you feel the danger?

Of course, marine biologists and shark nerds can probably spot that it’s just a reef shark. And the truth of the photo is this: I took it lying on my belly in about six inches of water. The shark is maybe six feet away and is itself maybe a foot and a half long. How non-scary were these sharks? Cara spotted them first from the beach and, I kid you not, practically chased after them on foot — then donned snorkel gear and went in looking for them.

Let me back up a bit. When I said I wasn’t even going to tell you what we were doing on Saturday, it wasn’t to withhold information, it was so that I didn’t jinx the day trip aboard the Oolala. The fact of the matter is that the beaches on the coral coast of Fiji, where we were staying, aren’t the best in the world. I know, this is like a guy complaining that he got stuck with the chubby swimsuit model or something. As it’s name implies, the coral coast is corally — and much of the coral is dead. On top of that, when the tide goes out, it goes out to the extent no one even bothers to swim. It’s still beautiful. But we wanted that Fiji you see in the brochures.

So we booked a trip on the Oolala, which left from Denareau and took us to the island of Savala. I swear, storm clouds chased us all the way from our hotel to the west coast, giving me fits all morning. But the weather held pretty much all day. I’m not going to bore you with words on this one. I’ll just share some images. But in essence, you get on the boat, the crew sings songs to you — I think every single Fijian working in a service industry is require to have a beautiful voice — there is coffee and tea on offer, as well as beer and wine. But on the way out, we didn’t drink, because there was a guided snorkeling reef tour in 20 to 40 feet of water. After climbing back on the boat, we were taken to the island where we had a barbecue lunch, some beers and were otherwise free to explore, swim, snorkel or kayak. The island I think is maybe 100 yards long, perhaps 200.

Not a bad way to start the morning.
Hey, look, a few fish
Ahhhh! Ahhhhh! Get 'em off! Get 'em off!
Savala in the distance. Yup, that's all of it.
The view from our spot on the island.
Our little nest. To be honest, we barely even used it.
Lunch music!
This doesn't suck.

Okay, that’s enough for now. There are more photos, even video. But we’ll save that for later. Saturday was to be our last “full day” in Fiji. But since our flight left at 10:50 p.m. on Sunday night, we opted for a late check out and got in another full day, which included lounging by the pool, a walk on the reef and Cara getting attacked by an eel or a sea slug. On both legs. For a second we thought it might be a sea snake, but she didn’t die within ten minutes, so it wasn’t that.

Yes, we’ve already left Fiji on a 10:50 p.m. flight on a Sunday. And gone back in time to land in the U.S. at 1 p.m. on a Sunday. And will now fly to New York. In other words, this is literally the longest Sunday we’ve ever lived through. And sadly our trip is over.

2 thoughts on “Sharks and Savala

  1. Y’all will have to take me an your mom next time. Gotta meet that chief an drink the drink!

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