Our Unforgettable Five Glorious Fijian Nights…Prepare yourself to meet the friendliest people on earth…and learn how to say with great enthusiasm, accompanied with the biggest smile you can render, the Fijian greeting for “hello” BULA!!!
Known as “The Point”–this beautiful white “Bure” is the only visible structure seen for miles when on approach via seaplane, the island transportation of choice by many of the guests seeking the ultimate hideaway retreat, VATULELE…

Escapeseeker Fans,
I’m back in California–just made it back in time to exercise my privilege as an American to vote in this historic election. But I cannot wait to share our latest ESCAPESEEKER experience with all of you. So once again, I am typing away in the early morning hours.
Calling it “enriching” is an understatement. VATULELE ISLAND RESORT is truly a hideaway retreat…it is the kind of island haven that takes a little getting used to, especially for Roy and I who keep a maddening pace.

But once we embraced the “island rhythm”, we were able to adjust so well that it became very difficult when it came time to leave…not only Vatulele, but our new found Fijian friends, as well as a sprinkling of fellow vacationers from down under, some very friendly fun-loving Aussies! I will report in greater detail tomorrow when I’ve acclimated back to the West coast time zone…but meanwhile, enjoy these still images, plus unedited footage of our new found island paradise: VATULELE!

Pictured left, is our own personal butler, Lemba, who spoiled us like we’ve never experienced before. She anticipated in advance what we might enjoy, or need, whether it is our own private dinner, beach side beneath a starry, starry night (I witnessed my first shooting star)– or arranging our own special cruise around her native Island of Vatulele (by the way, it was her first time circumnavigating the island and seeing it in its entirety)–or requesting our special grilled lobster dinner to share with our new Aussie friends, Matt and Marlene, (who were honeymooning on Vatulele) served in our stunning extremely private, (most remote of the Bures), better known as Vale Vigi (pronounced varlay vingy) or Pink House, the Grand Honeymoon Bure…and so private that it is easy to see that it is truly designed for honeymooners…It’s great to come in from the pearly white sandy beach just steps from our Bure and soak in our brisk private plunge pool–the temperature just perfect to soothe your skin after playing beneath the Fijian sunshine!

But what I will also cherish from our Fijian experience, is the opportunities we were given in Vatulele to go beyond the resort and visit the villages where many of the staff of Vatulele Island Resort live. It is interesting how vacations can be enriching, but in unexpected ways.

At the resort’s invitation, we opted to go to the village’s church service– A Methodist service–the sermon was in Fijian and we were advised in advance that it would last 2 hours! And, one last note, we were also advised to dress modestly. It would have been so easy to pass up this opportunity…after all, we are on vacation. Who packs “Sunday go to meetin’ clothes” (as Mark Twain used to call it) on their vacations right? Well, thanks to Roy’s insistence, we were ready to board a little boat by 10 a.m. for the village Sunday Service. Only one other couple, Kai and Kyle from Santa Barbara, California also opted to go. I think they’re even more dedicated, considering they were on their honeymoon!

Well, let me just say, if you ever get the same opportunity–don’t think twice. Go for it. I promise it will be a Sabbath Day you will always remember, as you see the youngest of children sitting on the front row benches, wearing their Sunday best–girls in sometimes slightly tattered, but clean Sunday dresses (most likely handed down from several older siblings), and little boys in collared shirts with ‘sarong style’ wraps, and many in bare feet. They sing, just like their parents and older siblings, acapella and full of gusto…singing praises to God in an angelic chorus that vibrated throughout the island as the harmonious sound seeped out of the open air humble house of worship, equipped with benches so uncomfortable it would test even the most devoted church goer. I believe God is pleased on this particular Sabbath Day to see the people of this tiny village break from their usual labors to worship Him.

We had walked past their homes to get to the church–homes more humble than I even imagined, which makes their grateful hearts expressed through music, even more precious. We came away knowing we have so much to learn from these South Pacific Islanders, and felt so privileged to take away this special memory from this tiny Fijian island of Vatulele, where in a simple village church, we felt God’s presence. It made me forget about my recent mosquito bites, and the large coconut eating crabs that often took me by surprised as it crossed my bure’s pathway! After all, I am reminded that special day that God created all things…and in Vatulele this message is as crystal clear as the turquoise waters that caresses its shores!

I shall never forget these two smiling faces…who smiled at me almost through the entire meeting as they sat on those front row benches for two long hours!

Don’t take my word for it, Catch a glimpse of Vatulele by taking a peak at these raw footage we shot during a typical arrival (typical for Vatulele–but definitely atypical for all of us city dwellers);

In the second footage, while we were waiting for our seaplane to arrive, I taught my dear Fijian friends how we say farewell in Hawaii–they learned so quickly that when it came to say goodbye, I could reciprocate with my own version.

Lastly, in raw footage #3, I shot this from our seaplane as we waved goodbye to this tropical paradise…it won’t be the last as we certainly will return…I wanted to shoot just enough footage to inspire our team of seasoned high-def cinematographers, and give them a glimpse of what’s in store when they join me for the ESCAPESEEKER FIJI episode shoot.

One little added tidbit–when we return next time, we will be just a bit better prepared to protect ourselves from the unexpected, unusual number of mosquitoes who also decided to give us a big welcome. 🙁
It is honestly, the only part of our experience I won’t miss. It’s a small price to pay, however, for an authentic Fijian experience. 🙂 The discomfort quickly fades, but the magical memories will last a lifetime!

Footage #1: A VATULELE WELCOME…Yes, everyone on the island can sing!

Footage #2: Reciprocating with my own version of a Hawaiian Farewell…

And, one last look as we wave goodbye…It is easy to see why VATULELE is a favorite destination for those seeking an island hideaway, but also for those who wish to experience the best scuba diving in the world.

Thank you SIX SENSES RESORTS for awakening all of our SENSES and showing us that a vacation can truly be enriching.

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