Well, it's finally happened. The honeymoon is over and we're about to re-enter the harshness of reality, trekking across the southern United States to Durham, NC. Before that happens though, there's room for one last blog post. Let's see if we can keep it short!
Our last "day" in Fiji was short but sweet. We were given a late checkout time from LikuLiku and were supposed to depart on the afternoon SouthSea Cruise ferry at 4:00pm. Before then we had grand plans for another big hike, or a snorkel excursion, or something else at least marginally exciting. None of that happened.
In our over-water burre, we sleep every night with all the windows and doors open which lets in a constant cool breeze. And that morning, like those before it, we enjoyed the most perfect sunset right from our bed, watching through the double-doors that open onto our deck/balcony. Following that bit of honeymoon bliss, we packed, headed to breakfast for our morning juice and one last helping of LikuLiku's stupendous cheese souffle.
The rest of the day, despite all our plans, was the perfect day for laziness. We sat around on our deck, in all of our honeymoon-fattened glory, soaking up the rays. Going on a hike would mean back-tracking paths we'd already tried, and snorkeling was out of the question as that morning happened to be a severely low tide. But that wasn't the only reason to stay out of the water.
About midmorning, Katie and I spotted, as we had several times earlier over the previous days, what appeared to be an eel "swimming" in the water around our burre. It was white, a few feet long, and creepy. After a few wikipedia searches, Katie and I unscientifically declared it to be an albino moray eel, which, although having teeth and capable of delivering a nasty bite, are not all that dangerous it would seem. Evidently, eels are nocturnal, and although we spotted this eel swimming around, it appeared to be searching for a suitable rock to call his bed for the day. He finally found one RIGHT NEXT to the ladder where our burre descends into the water.
After all the "nature hiking" we'd done over the week, Katie and I fancied ourselves Animal Planet explorers, and so I went to go get my camera and dropped myself down the ladder next to the eel's rock of choice. The water, being low tide, was only a foot deep, so I stepped out next to the rock with my camera ready to take the shot for the next cover of National Geographic. The dang eel never reemerged! I mean, I sat there with that camera around my neck for about 20 minutes. I suppose I could have just gone to lift the rock up, but I was admittedly still too much of a wuss to risk ticking this thing off. While this was going on, some striped fish, which Katie and I have designated as the neighborhood bullies after plenty of observation and fish-feeding from our deck, started getting a little too "nibbly" for my taste. I'm not sure how much it hurts to have a fish chomp on you, but these particular fish act like little piranas when you toss them some food; I didn't want to become an experiment for them.
After climbing back up to the deck, unsuccessful in photographing the eel, I decided to bang on our ladder. Maybe that would bring the little guy out! Did it work though? Well, let's just say I'm glad Katie didn't bang on the ladder for me while I was still in the water. The eel came out almost immediately, and none too happy looking. Whereas before he seemed pretty harmless, he now was cranky and snappy at all the fish around him. But that wasn't the half of it. Two more eels, longer, crankier, and creepier than the first came out from the hiding places as well. Augh! We'd been snorkeling around our burre with these things hiding under the rocks the whole time? Katie did not like to think about it too much :) The most potentially alarming tidbit of our "eel" discovery, however, was that these eels might not actually be eels at all, but, rather, sea krait. Later in the day, after we had already used wikipedia to help designate these creepy creatures, Katie found an interesting piece of info in the LikuLiku guest guide: apparently, LikuLiku lagoon is home to sea krait, which are described fairly similarly to the "eels" we'd been watching from our burre. But unlike moray eels, sea krait are "highly venemous"...though, the guide goes on to say, human fatalities from sea krait bites are rare. Whew!
The only other thing on the day's agenda was a complimentary honeymoon "Blissful Stone Massage" at the spa. Neither of us has ever had a "Blissful Stone" anything, so we were intrigued. At the spa, we chose our scents we wanted for the oils they would use, changed into our birthday suits, and laid down on the tables ready for what awaited. It turns out that a blissful stone massage is just like a normal full body massage except they intermittently introduce VERY hot stones into the equation. If you're the type who likes your showers close to scalding, like me, you'd like it. The purpose is to help loosen the muscles making them easier for the masseuse to manipulate. Feels awesome! The only thing I hate about massages, having had 4 at this point in my life (all in the last year) is laying on my front with my face stuck awkwardly in that little hole that's cut out in the table for it. How is that possibly comfortable?
Shortly after, we cleaned up, gathered our belongings (which the porter THIS TIME was kind enough to come pick up for us) and checked out at the front desk. Now we just had to wait for the ferry. We waited, sipping on mojitos out at the end of the pier where our boat would arrive. Good times.
When the boat FINALLY did arrive, 15 minutes late, we hopped aboard and walked up to the Captain's Lounge. This time, unlike before, it was a pretty crowded hot spot. And whats more, we had to make a few extra stops on our way back to Nadi that put us another 20 minutes behind schedule (at one of the resort pickup stops, the line to get on the ferry appeared to be hundreds of people long!).
Back at the Nadi Port, we were tired and hungry. While we waited for our bags to be brought ashore, we went to order a pizza from one of the port restaurants. Unfortunately, while our pizza was still cooking, our hired driver came and found us, none too pleased about our tardiness. He scooted us into the car sans pizza before we had a chance to protest. Once on the road, we started explaining that the delay was the ferry's fault, and the driver finally took pity on us and dashed us back to the restaurant to pick up our pie. In the interest of time, we had to request it be taken out of the oven about 5 minutes too early; in other words, mediocre pizza.
The airport portion of the trip home was nothing too eventful, other than a 2 hour long line to check in (Air Pacific seems to be consistently miserable) and a "full-service" pat-down station, in addition to the security check-in, that you had to go through before entering our particular gate area.
From there, it's a no-brainer. Pop an ambien or two, sleep for 12 hours, jump on our connecting flight in LAX, sleep for 3 hours, jump on our connecting flight in Dallas-Ft. Worth, sleep for a few more hours, arrive in Little Rock. It was 11:30 pm Thursday as we disembarked from the tiny commuter jet into the Little Rock airport, where Katie's parents waited for us. Our flight leaving Fiji departed at 10:50 pm Thursday. I'm pretty sure that was longest 40 minute flight either of us has ever had.
Oh well. Glad to be home, sad to be home :) Next stop: Durham, North Carolina!