I feel a wave of emotion as the tiny plane takes off from Savusavu, leaving lush paradise, clear turquoise waters, and wonderful people behind. What an adventure these past two weeks have been, all thanks to the Stirrats - Shelby, Mike, and Channing - who graciously let me tag along for their Fijian sailing adventures on the majestic SV Calla Lily. The joke has been that I came to Fiji with some expectations of what I thought this trip would be like, and boy were those expectations shattered in the most magnificent way. Cute boat hair and stylish beach outfits be damned! This was so much more than a vacation, this was one of those experiences that reminds you what it feels like to be alive.
Together, we endured rocky waters, sailed Calla Lily faster than she’s ever gone before (10 knots!!), drank Kava with locals, swam under waterfalls, slid down nature-made waterslides, hiked through knee deep mud, battled gigantic spiders, admired coral reefs, smushed on all the doggos, and enjoyed many sundowners I could keep going!!
One of my favorite things about Fiji are the people - I’ve never experienced such a welcoming culture. Every Fijian wants to shake your hand, meet your eyes, and learn your name. Without asking, they offer to be your guide and lead you to hot springs, gift you coconuts, bananas and pumpkins, and invite you into their homes for tea and snacks. Mike and Shelby really rolled out the red carpet for Channing and I. They’ve been the MOST generous hosts. I will be forever grateful I’ve loved every second of my time here - even that one time on that one hike, iykyk . Farewell for now, Fiji, Stirrats, and Calla Lily.