At 5:50 am on Thursday morning, my mom landed at Nadi airport in Fiji, and since her arrival, life aboard Helios has never been more fun. We had moored the boat in Port Denarau, a harbor on Viti Levu catering to cruisers and a slew of resorts on the mainland, the night before. After picking her up, we brunched on croissants in the cockpit. Mom took a much deserved nap after her 15 hour flight, while we cruised out to the yacht club at Musket Cove.
We spent the evening dining on the veranda of the bistro (I had a seafood pizza that knocked my sandals off) and the next morning lounging under the palm trees on a grassy bluff overlooking the water. We did yoga and stretched, relaxing on the trampoline-like fale that shaded us from the day’s heat. My mom spun poi, chatted with passing travelers, and soaked in the first of many island-side views.
After lunch, we cruised up to Mana island, just north of Malolo, home to one large resort, a small Fijian village, and a few backpacking hostels.
There were fishing boats and another cruising motor yacht anchored in the bay. Mana is crescent shaped, with a soft sand, palm tree lined beach on the inside of its curve. Its silhouette is formed by grassy hills, a single abandoned excavator, and two cell towers.
More enchanting was the scenery underwater—Mana’s turquoise lagoon is lined by thriving reef formations, reef walls plunging from surface to 60 feet, pinnacles and bommies rising from empty water, and more underwater diversity than I’ve seen anywhere in our travels (turtles, sharks, spotted eagle rays, oriental sweet lips, soft corals, anemones, spires of surgeon fish, gargantuan puffer fish).
Life is so, so good here, even better for having the people I love most onboard, and everyone is in an adventurous spirit and having a great time. Mom admitted as much after spending our second morning cruising in the dinghy through the translucent lagoon and diving Mana’s outer reef, “the culmination of all my life’s moments has brought me to this, and everything has been worth it to be here,” she said.