28 Oct Whales Tale Fiji – Best Fiji Day Cruise?
On a bright balmy day, we walk along the boardwalk at Denarau ready for our day at sea on the two masted schooner, Whale’s Tale. It could be straight out of the movies it looks so majestic as it lays anchored waiting for us to board. The schooner was built in Suva in 1984, is 100 ft long, can cruise at 10 knots and has plenty of space on the poop deck and sundeck on top.
The captain organises the crew and we are soon on our way, a scrumptious selection for breakfast entices us in the galley, an open bar awaits, but a word of warning – alcohol and snorkelling are not a good match! Maybe after the water sports imbibe in a few cold ones.
The crew are very friendly, smiling, laughing as they go about their tasks. We are cruising to our private island aptly named Schooner Island. The sea is mixture of emerald green to an azure blue, a lot of the reality series such as Survivor, Love Island, are filmed on some of the neighbouring islands, with views like this it is easy to see why.
After one and a half hours, Fiji time, we arrive at our own piece of paradise. The captain expertly anchors our schooner about 100 meters from the island, ”there are two ways getting to the island” says the captain “tender by boat …or swim for it” with a hearty laugh he asked “who is game to swim?”. Before you could say Shiva me timbers, 4 brave souls dived gracefully into the beckoning blue ocean and proceeded to casually swim to shore. Well, I say gracefully but there were a couple of dive bombs!
The rest of us land lubbers took the tender. A short journey dodging the coral reef surrounding the island and we were there. A word of warning, from a distance the island looks of pristine sand, but it is made up mainly of small bits of coral. So, take some reef boots or aqua socks to make walking easier on your feet.
We start with a Kava ceremony to keep us all safe. One of the men is made the chief for the day (always the oldest man in the group) and is the first to partake in sipping the freshly brewed Kava. You don’t have to drink it, but it is worth the experience. We then attacked our tantalizing lunch of fresh salads, rice, baked chicken, melt in your mouth steaks, and freshly caught reef fish.
As we were cruising I saw 2 long lengths of rope projecting from the stern. I asked the crew what was it for? He smiled and said… lunch. There is even pasta for the few vegetarians on board, but I could see in their eyes that they could easily change for the day.
After a satisfying meal we then prepared ourselves for a day of water sports. Snorkelling, kayaking, swimming, or the new craze, power snorkelling where you leisurely follow a motorised power head while taking in the myriad stunning sights the coral has to offer. Snorkelling is something to be experienced in the crystal-clear waters, with colourful changing coral to inquisitive fish nudging so close to us, then teasing us as they dart off.
The kayaking is a serene experience gently paddling around the island, it only takes 30 minutes to paddle around – a great way to see all of the island. For the not so energetic there are relaxing massages available $25.00 for a neck and shoulder that will make you feel brand new. After the water sports, the volleyball challenge was made. The teams were divided up everyone had fun as we chased the falling ball over the net.
We then engaged in baby shark feeding. Juvenile black tip reef sharks come into a small bay where the left-over food is scattered. There wer about 30 in number at roughly 18 inches long, making the water froth as they challenged each other for the scraps.
It was about 3 hours on our private piece of paradise, but alas we had to make the journey back to port. We were tendered back to the ship, it took 2 trips so while we waited for the second group we entertained ourselves by diving off the top deck into the pristine blue waters, such fun!
As the crew made the ship ready for home, out came a guitar. The Fijians have such beautiful voices and had us all in rapture with their renditions of crowd favourites. As we sailed into the sunset everyone smiling as the cold drinks parched our throats, we all agreed a fantastic time was had by all.
Our adventure on the day was aboard the Whales Tale day cruise to Schooner Island. It’s a pretty reasonable cost with great inclusions for all the family. Check out their website here for more info.