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Innumerable atolls and submerged reefs separate the two islands. Across Bligh Water at the western end of the Koro Sea my one hour flight first covers Viti Levu’s mountainous interior.
It’s a classic South Pacific scene: idle, indolent and idyllic.It’s very far from the packaged holiday trip most visitors to Fiji experience.The small plane descends over Savu Savu Bay, crosses a peninsula and the township of Savu Savu.The Cousteau resort is a short drive from the airport.[caption id="attachment_2088" align="alignnone" width="448"] JM Cousteau resort hammock.[/caption] The name Cousteau and scuba are synonymous and this resort is unlike any other in Fiji.A lone cow grazes on the fringes of the short runway.
Trade winds, undulating palm fronds, scarlet hibiscus and white frangipani, purple prose material abounds.
The Pacific Sun Airways twin-prop taxis to the boxy terminal building, its plain concrete walls are mildewed by the constant tropical humidity.
A small hand-painted sign states simply, ‘Savu Savu’. [caption id="attachment_2095" align="alignnone" width="362"] Savu Savu airport terminal buidling.[/caption] The two pilots help unload the cargo.
A guide is feeding a frenzy of Whitetips and Greys from a small bucket of fishy scraps. Overfishing has drastically reduced shark populations: superfluously supplying flavourless fins to expensive soups or posing as flake in fish and chips takeaways, sharks are suffering at the expense of our misinformed greedy appetites.
From only a few metres away, the sharks dart like silver bullets missing one another by mere centimetres. The dive master warns me not to point at anything while I’m on the bottom at the feeding station. To be this close to a top predator in the wild is a wildlife lover’s objective, to observe without harm, blending into the background. Their slaughter has been augmented by drifting shark nets and our vengeful retaliation to ridiculously over-hyped shark attack stories.
[caption id="attachment_2087" align="alignnone" width="448"] Savu Savu airport landing strip with cow.[/caption] ‘Bula Vinaka! One of Jean-Michel Cousteau Resort managers collects me outside the terminal.