In other words, the “do not tell my mother list”
1. Probably the most touristy thing I have done since coming to Fiji. We traveled up a river on a small, leaky wooden boat with a 25 horsepower engine and visited a village. We continued up the river to a path, which led to a waterfall and we swam in the cool waters around the waterfall. On the way back the local guide took us to a ledge where we could jump into a pool of water just down the stream from the waterfall. The jump was pretty easy, the water deep and nothing just below the ledge. We all enjoyed that jump in the shadow of the waterfall for about 30 minutes.
2. We took a boat half a mile off-shore to a barrier reef where we snorkeled in the amongst the vibrant coral, colorful fish and the occasional (very small) reef shark for about an hour and a half. Once we finished snorkeling we returned to the boat, which was anchored in very deep water about 50 yards from the reef, we asked if we could jump off the boat. This boat was about 35 feet long and two stories tall with a hard canopy above the steering wheel, which served to make it 3 stories high. A crew member hoisted us up to the canopy top where we tried to keep our balance as we waited for the waves to pass. And with a running start we launched ourselves off of the canopy into the warm sea below. Definitely, the highest jump of the trip thus far, made a bit harder by the movement of the boat.
3. After the hike to the top of Gorilla Mountain on Ovalua (see previous blog entry), Lincoln, Samu, Sami and Erremos took us to the stream and pools where we filled up our water bottles and swam in the cold pool. Just above the pool, maybe 15 feet up, was a ledge that was easily reachable but walking up the side of the pool. The rocks on the ledge were a little slippery and the depth of the pool became very shallow the further out you jumped so essentially you had to jump straight down off ledge and still spread out on the landing to assure you did not hit bottom. The fall was not very far, but enough time for the locals and ourselves to say our favorite curse word in Fijian just before we hit the water.
4. The same day as the hike, we walked with Lincoln, the other locals into historic Levuka town, which is a new addition to the list of World Heritage Sites. At the small bridge, the only bridge in town, the locals were jumping off into the water below. So my group of Americans, Lincoln and his friends joined in. We did flips into the water, which was about 8 feet below and 10 feet deep. The only concerning part was when all the locals fled the water because a sea snake had decided to swim upstream. Sea snakes although very non-aggressive are very poisons and one bite can kill a man. After the snake left, the jumping festivities continued.
5. Just 6 miles north of Suva, the capital city of Fiji where I am staying, is Colo-I-Suva Park. The park is a preserved rainforest environment and its remarkable that it is so close to the largest city in the South Pacific region. 3 of my American travel bubbies and I hiked about an hour on a dirt trail into the forest. Colo-I-Suva looked so much like the archetypal rainforest you see on books and television that it is almost unbelievable. After about an hour, the trail emerged onto a pool where locals were swinging into the deep water off of a rope swing. As it began to rain (it is a rainforest you know) we joined in with the locals who obviously had a lot of practice on the dope swing because they were pulling off double back flips, front flips and dives. All of our attempts at anything more fancy than simply hold on to the rope and letting go over deep water resulted in either belly flops or landing on our behinds. The rope swing itself was tied to a tree high up in the canopy (how it got there I will never know) and we grabbed the rope off of a small ledge, anchor by a tree root and swung towards the freezing cold, clear water in the pool. We must have done the swing about 10 times before we finally had enough and sat down to chat with the always friendly and ready to talk locals.
Just to display that I show some judgment: I never was the first to jump and I always did what the locals were doing. Also some jumps I complete avoided.
At the first waterfall of the trip (mentioned above) I did not climb the slippery 80 degree rock face to jump off of the equally slippery top of the waterfall. Some of the locals and two of my American travel mates did this, not for me.
In Colo-I-Suva we came across another pool where locals where jumping off a ledge into water that was literally only 5 feet deep, again not for me.
I will continue updating this list if/when I jump off something else.
Also, as a side note, I hate heights (go figure).
I would put something cheesy about the jumping off things represents the leap of faith I took by studying abroad but I will let you use your imagination from there.