Wednesday the 8th of April
The events of the previous day had done well to drain my energy so that I was lost for motivation to do anything other than relax. Instead of immediately resuming my place by the pool, mum and I took to the spa centre for a hot yoga class. The hot – referring to the temperature – yoga was an intermediate/advanced program that focused on breathing to achieve relaxation. This seems the type of thing I ought to engage in at home; an hour long session to escape from reality where the soul and the universe are in balance. At this rate I’m becoming a zen guru thriving on inner peace.
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I am constantly surprised by the abundance of wildlife inhabiting this resort. This is not something I experienced in Fiji and is far from what I am used to at home, apart from the occasional possum. Squirrels have twice now made an appearance during lunch. They climb the balcony by the outdoor dining area to see what’s on the menu and sometimes make a sneaky grab from left over food on abandoned plates. There are multiple signs in this area warning guests to avoid feeding squirrels due to their tendency to bite and scratch. I did not attempt to feed them myself, but watched a woman reach out to one of the furry creatures; she was holding a slice of ham and pineapple pizza that did not tempt it in the slightest.
A short boat trip took us to a coral reef still in sight of the island. Decked in life jackets, flippers and masks to complete the goofy snorkelling outfits, we plunged into the warm water to view the resident marine life. The picturesque palm trees and blue skies were replaced with murky green ocean that had a salty sting and a matching taste. The sound of the water sizzling like pop-rocks in our ears was only overpowered by our laboured breathing through the snorkel. Vision was limited but the abundant fish in all colours of the rainbow almost gave off a luminous glow.
The moorish idol fish made an appearance, its lengthy dorsal fin making it instantly recognisable as it swam on a slight tilt as if weighed down by its antenna. The striped monocle has a fine bodice of reflective silver that makes it appear almost transparent apart from the horizontal streak at eye level as if it had been dipped in black paint. They swim in parallel, static against the stream of water and a rare sight between the coral shelves. A faint blue glint occasionally catches the attention of onlookers. So small a spec can easily be overlooked, but the metallic shine of the yellow and blueback fusilier makes it a privilege to see. Further from the shore, eastern triangular butterflyfish poke their orange tipped noses around creases in the coral. They resemble a french braid starting behind the band of colour near its gills then fading into black. I even spotted a giant moray with its leopard-print-like skin. By far the most common fish was the scissor-tail sergeant. Four thick vertical stripes mark its white body looking abstractly similar to a zebra in pattern. In a congregation they swim amongst the invading snorkelers, often peeking near the surface of the water or curiously circling their human company.
A clever couple had sneakily smuggled some source of food aboard our vessel. They released bread crumbs to which these and many other fish swarmed! With mum at my side, we joined the congregation of fish that remained unperturbed despite our intrusion. They circled us in hundreds, brushing our sides as they propelled themselves toward the food. I pointed towards a long tailed fish I had not seem before, the luminous green streaks that bisected pink circles on a blue backdrop having caught my attention. The nearby fishes digressed from their path to investigate my closed fist, thinking I had come bearing food. Not a moment later, a scissor-tail sergeant took the brave chance to nip at my palm – I squealed in surprise to the great shock of my mum next to me. I had been bitten by a fish! It did not hurt and it left no mark, but the kiss from the fish left me laughing for the rest of the afternoon.
Tonight marked the wedding anniversary of our family friends. Their purpose in this trip was to celebrate their marriage and they had asked us to join them in doing so. We booked a table in the a la carte restaurant on the fringe of the resort. It had an atmosphere much more sophisticated than the buffet style of the family dining area. Blue lighting illuminated the outdoor deck area by the decorative pool where we waited to be seated. Three courses of artistically plated food followed an amuse bouche: I had tempura sushi as entree, king prawn and quinoa risotto for main and a trio of ginger, dragon fruit and guava sorbet dessert platter. This had been a satisfying meal for a special evening – there’s no better way to end the day.