Saturday, April 13, 2024

And they are off...

 But where to?

Our journey began in the morning with a short ferry ride to a waiting taxi to the airport. We asked the manager at the marina where Rhapsody is staying to book a taxi for us. I overheard the woman describing us to the taxi driver, "An old couple, with 2 suitcases". I think this is the first time I have heard myself described this way, and this sparked a conversation between Bob and me (and Google). What is considered old? When do we cross into elderly? Apparently there are accepted guidelines for this, and Google says old begins in your 50's and "officially" you are elderly beginning at 65. Sigh... really not ready for someone to describe me as an elderly lady!

We have been in Fiji for 6 months. Upon arrival visitors are given a 4 month visa. After 4 months you can apply (and pay) for a two month extension, for a total of 6 months. It is possible to stay for more than 6 months, but the next step is considerably more expensive and time consuming to get the approval and therefore most cruisers who are not sailing away, opt to fly somewhere for a visa reset.

First stop- Savusavu airport.

We are taking a plane from the island of Vanua Levu (the 2nd biggest island in Fiji) to Viti Levu, the home of the Nadi International Airport.

The plane we are taking is so small that not only was our luggage weighed, but we were weighed as well, holding our carry-on luggage. Once they assigned our seats they asked us not to switch seats because they assign seats to balance the plane, and if we switch it might throw off the calculations.

The plane was so small that I was seated in row 2 and had a clear view through the front windshield. (Side note here ‐ I was at least 7 years old before I realized that the term windshield meant exactly that, a shield from the wind. In my defense we had lived on Winchell Lane and I thought that the screen in front of the driver was a winchell). Anyway, back to my story... Watching through the windshield was a very fun experience. 

We flew over parts of Fiji that we had sailed through, including flying over Namena Island. The Namena atoll is a nature reserve, full of birds and fish. Flying over it and it's outlying reef system was seeing it from a completely different perspective.  We could see the entrance and exit cuts in the reef providing us passage to the island. We could see the areas that we had some incredible dives, and areas we hope to return to and explore some more.

Nadi is located on the Western side of Fiji, definitely the drier side. Fewer trees, and the green is not quite as deep a green. 

Watching the shadow of our airplane flying across the ground.

And then getting to watch the plane land through the windshield...

When we arrived in Nadi International Airport we were greeted with this 10 foot tall sign:

I do not have a problem not making bomb jokes, but when you make the sign so big it becomes so hard to resist making a wisecrack, or two! (I did controll myself,  but it was difficult! )

Finally we get loaded onto the plane for the international portion of our journey. 

Does the airline name give you a clue as to where we are going?

Off to Australia! A new continent, or at least a part of it, for us to explore,  until we return to Rhapsody in May.

We love to hear your comments.

Quanta said...

Where in Australia are you now? Do you know about couchsurfing, or SERVAS? It is a great way to make connections with locals and enjoy the place with newly made friends. Have a great time.

Barbara Namkoong Gooby said...

How wonderful! Hope you get to visit New Zealand as well. I know what you mean about the "No Bomb Jokes" sign -- so tempting. However, I remember WAY back when (probably the 1970s), our neighbor's son (several years older than us) was flying and joked aloud at the airport about having a bomb. He didn't get to fly that day...

Lee said...

I liked the part about weights and not switching seats. It reminded me of many years ago when I was flying to a small community some Guatemalans had hacked in the jungle after they returned from Mexico where they fled the civil war. We flew to a small grass strip and then walked a couple of hours to the village. The plane was a single engined -- like a piper cub, and the only seat belonged to the pilots\. To balance the plane upon take off, we all (maybe 8 people) had to huddle to the dash board until we were well into the air.