Woke up early as we were going to be transferred to the Matamanoa island. Ate the cereals we bought yesterday so that we didn’t have to pay for breakfast which wasn’t that tasty. Checked out the room at 730am and waited for the bus to arrive, which came pretty promptly at 745am. We left the main luggage at the hotel, knowing that we would return on the last day before flying back to Australia, and packed a haversack full of stuff for the two days away.
The bus was going its rounds to pick up customers from all over the resorts on the same side of the island. I fell asleep and woke up when the bus was arriving at the terminal about 45mins later. We proceeded to the South Sea Cruises counter to check in and get our boarding passes at the counter. Those who had brought luggage had to check in their luggage first before doing the same thing.
We went to the nearby supermarket to buy a huge 1.5l water, knowing the island probably was going to cost us more.
The boarding time was 9am with the catamaran leaving 15mins later. There were 3 decks on this fast-craft and we were initially seated on the top deck, enjoying the sea breeze and the view of the surroundings until we couldn’t stand baking in the sun, then we retreated to the bottom most deck, air-conditioned.
45mins later, we arrived at the first stop of Tokoriki, a super luxurious island housing Sheraton and Tokoriki resort. While people were boarding and alighting from smaller transfer boats, we just took the opportunity to snap some photos.
After we were on the move again, about 10mins later, we arrived at our destination, Matamanoa island. We were already in awe, the single round island that had a perimeter of white sand surrounded by turquoise waters. What a beautiful place! Transferred to the smaller transfer boats and arrived on the island itself.
Check in with a welcome drink was done in a group. With their strict on-time check out, our rooms were already ready after we completed all the necessary registration. The island bure was huge and with the front facing the sea, we immediately fell in love with this island.
There was only one restaurant on the island and we tried going for the lunch and dinner ala-carte first to get a feel of the quantity and if it was worth it to get the half board and full board options. The lunch was really tasty and of good quality and the corresponding price was expected but value for money.
Everything good came with a price, especially in islands far away from civilization. The internet cost 30Fjd per 24hrs usage and had to be purchased where a voucher with a password would be given for us to log in at a certain web page. However signal wasn’t strong and we had issues initially that we got disconnected and couldn’t get back into the same session. That’s when we had to approach the reception for help to reset the system.
We received a call from South Sea Cruises regarding our trip to Modriki island, where the film Castaway starring Tom Hanks was filmed. They informed that it wouldn’t be safe for my pregnant wife to visit the island. But they only offered for us to change to another program which we couldn’t do so since we didn’t have time. Since I have already posed this question right at the start when I booked this itinerary, there wasn’t any response from them but a confirmation email instead, I had assumed all was fine. Now it was unfair that I had to either forced to go on a trip where we have concerns or give up 25% of the amount for the trip, which was quite substantial.
After much argument and waiting on the phone, they finally agreed to refund the full amount to my credit card which was a relief for us.
Since we loved the island so much, we extended another night stay and applied to postpone the last night stay at Tokatoka to the next night.
There was a “water activities” store that had free hire of kayaks and snorkeling gear and also Padi certification diving courses and other day trips available for booking, inclusive of one that goes to Modriki island. I borrowed some snorkeling gear and went back to our room.
After all the arrangements and changing of accommodation bookings, it was almost sun set at 6pm. I went out to test my waterproof camera Dicapac bag at the shallow depths in front of our resort and it seemed to work perfectly.
Went to the beach again after changing out of the wet shorts, and together with my wife, we watched the sun set in the horizon. It was a very pretty sight, since the day was really clear of clouds.
Not long after, we went for dinner after taking a bath. The wind was getting strong but the restaurant now was enclosed to keep the wind out. Ordered the food and we confirmed that we didn’t require full board, ala-carte was a cheaper, more practical option for us.
Dining in the restaurant was amusing with the lively singing by a band of 3 guitar players that walked table to table, singing songs that were dedicated by the customers at the table. There was even a prize giving ceremony and a welcome song for the newcomers to the island. The dessert Crepe Suvette was prepared on the spot with a chef on a portable stove, and what a show that was!
Filling and satisfied, went back to the room to rest. There was no TV and thus the internet was our only form of entertainment. But the feeling of staying in this resort was just pure enjoyment.