Part of the Yasawa Islands, the gem of Islands in Fiji.
Kuata Island was my first stop at Yasawa Islands, I had little expectations, and as it is, when you lower your expectations or the ultimate -shift expectations for appreciation you are always in for a treat. This place, wow! Was greeted by beautiful people and taken to my beautiful stay for the night, a beach “tent” with beautiful views, upon now I was more than happy. However, heading for lunch in the “common dining area” I was just blown away, that scenery, the swimming pools AND the hammocks(!) at the edges, dreamy spot with a breathtaking view into the Yasawa Islands. In gratitude modus of this beautiful place which created a beautiful state, of just being, being present right here, now and taking it all in. !Life!
Leaving previous Island, Mana, my awesome friend in transport Omo, advised me to go shark snorkeling when at Kuata, which was a great tip I had to explore. Boating out to the area where we were snorkelling, my fears came sneaking on… and then preparing to “enter” the sea…the guide is shouting out -shark spotted. Aii -firstly I am still not comfortable with the snorkeling aspect yet and secondly there are sharks at close hold!! So hellloooo fears!
I was the last person “over board” and after a dozen spasmatic breaths under water in an attempt to calm down, I suddenly spot the sharks, and wow, the fear shifts to excitement! -Until, one shark suddenly comes toward me, VERY close, hand length close! Looking back on that moment I wish someone took a photo of my face and my movement this moment -soooo fearful trying to get away from that shark..LOL. I survived AND I would do it again in a heartbeat.
Kuata was a great stay, my hammock Island, could live in a hammock on this Island and just be for several days.
Journey continued thereafter to Manta Island for a 1-night beach shed stay, a basic but beautiful stay at the beach. Manta Island was my coconut Island, they climbed up the ladder (super, why climb the tree when you have a ladder, even though I was hoping they were climbing, as I had this picture in my head.) and collected fresh coconuts. I just LOVE coconut and sitting on a beach on an Island in Fiji fully enjoying one is a beautiful moment.
Manta Island is named after the mantas that are in the area. I was so fortunate to be at Manta during Manta season which starts in August, which was my initial desire to stay at this Island. With one night only, I was hoping there was a chance to catch those beautiful Mantas. As they are in their natural habitat and their movement is some sporadic. When the divers spot the mantas in the stream, the manta drum goes off loudly on the island, which is a sign to run to the boats, which takes us out to the area where mantas are spotted.
On my departure day I enjoyed a beautiful sunrise at the beach and while walking to breakfast at 07, suddenly the drum went off, and off we went with the boat. We got clear instructions to keep calm and If they came straight towards you -MOVE as their eyes are on the sides and they can’t see you when you are right in front of them. Hello fear… lol. Time to jump in the sea, I was last woman over board. again, breathing full and fast, the extra element we had this morning was a very strong current, which did not help my case with the fear of drowning initially…lol. However, I was determined to see these beautiful creatures up close. Suddenly I saw one further away, but it “suddenly” disappeared, fast I was taken by the current and dragged further away.
Second time I went in I saw two up closer and was stunned, the third time, we saw the mantas coming up further down so we positioned ourselves, I was super excited but also very tired in the body after swimming towards the current for the last 30+min which led to swallowing much water, reorganizing the gear off and on and trying to move forward to catch the mantas coming. Suddenly they disappear from the water level, I stop swimming and put my head below sea and suddenly there, one of these beautiful creatures appears, so elegant dancing through the water, WOW. and then it starts to come up, towards me, with an open mouth (feeding on fish) and I just remember the diver’s instructions if they come straight towards you -MOVE they cannot see you. and this beautiful creature is big, if we crash. I do not want to think about that scenario at this moment, I start moving but I cannot take my eyes of this beauty, so moving “calmly”, Manta probably sees me or most likely feels my heartbeats and go for a dive down and continue forward its dancing feast journey. WOW what an experience!
Takeaway from these beautiful islands and beautiful experiences, facing your fears is a necessary to move forward and to touch in to the beauty of life. It is outside your comfort zone where the magic happens, where we grow! Don`t let the fears get in the driver seat of life!