As we head into Christmas with a new set of rules and for a large chunk of the population draconian ones. Our planned family get together like many others will not happen this year. Even the usual bah humbug demeaner long-suffering usually sports at this time of year has turned to one of a disgruntled loss.
This time last year for the first time ever we were by choice (long-sufferings) away from our family for Christmas. Never again were my words then, as we Facetimed from afar and yet here we are about to experience the very same thing only this time we are not in sunnier climes or planning a desert island hop for a Christmas day sunrise…….
Fiji…after nine weeks travelling around New Zealand we had landed on the island of Likuliku for the Christmas period and some much needed rest and relaxation.
This island resort was beautiful, our villa was set within lush gardens right on the beach. Outside on the deck area a plunge pool and day bed awaited to while away the hours looking out to sea. Inside, our Xmas lights were the first to be unpacked and draped high above on the rafters over the huge centrally placed bed.
The island provided plenty of diversions from sun worshipping should you require it, we did! A huge infinity pool snaked its way towards the ocean before opening out into an expansive ‘Proper’ rectangular swimming area perfect for my daily Goggles on fifty or so lengths.
Non motorised water sports meant we could swim, paddle board, sail, kayak and snorkel in and on the beautiful clear azure Pacific waters.
We walked daily along the shoreline.
Enjoyed the most amazing culinary delights for breakfast, lunch and dinner always with a view out to sea. Pre-dinner drinks were spent watching the sunset from the Masima Bar a short walk away via a wooden boardwalk in the lagoon.
For Christmas morning Long-suffering had arranged an early boat trip – in the dark – to a nearby desert island for a sunrise champagne breakfast A good idea for two reasons 1…..to avoid an avalanche of tears and angst from yours truly who was by now having severe separation anxiety at being millions of miles away from our beautiful family and 2…..an excuse for a once in a lifetime photo opportunity – Christmas, desert Island!
Up early, sensible shoes on, his and her present packed we were in the boat heading to the island by 5.45am. As we neared the small beach choppier seas – a category 3 tropical cyclone was due to hit the island in two days – made for an interesting disembarkation!
Our driver and guide tried their best to steady the boat, as it rolled and bobbed a metre or so offshore. First off Long-suffering executed an elegant jump landing two feet upright on the sand……not so his muse who ended up unceremoniously dunked overboard, shoulder/back first as a big wave knocked the boat and me with it. Luckily to the relief of all concerned the landing was soft and I surprised even myself by the speed at which I got up to prevent myself from ending up under the boat!
Suitably shaken, and resembling a wet dog, but relieved not to have re-shattered my hip or anything else, with no time to lose we crossed the beach to an opening.
And now the hard work really began, still pitch black, we followed our guide -well his torch anyway – up narrow foot trodden paths that snaked their way through thick undergrowth and bush. My feet squelching in my shoes and mutterings behind from long-suffering the only sounds as we climbed ever higher. It was difficult terrain, loose earth underfoot, ropes had been attached to the trees to haul and steady the steeper we climbed.
And then we were at the top, relatively flat and stable surrounded by the ocean below. By then there was no time to lose and the man behind the lens took over, directing his muse and guide with precision as we set about the creation of ‘’The Set’.
With time-lapse, mobile phone and DSLR set up on a tripod we watched the sun rise two very dishevelled souls on our own desert island a truly magical experience we will never forget.
And then an hour or two later we were slipping and sliding back down for a quick photo shoot on the beach while we waited for our boat to arrive.
A very different experience of Christmas but one we would always have happy memories of thanks to the wonderful staff looking after us so completely during our stay.
Christmas Day this year, again a very different one in our own home and although we are will be navigating turbulent waters of a different kind we have to believe that better times will come. And although we are alone this year we are so grateful to have each other and technology at our disposal when so many near and far have lost or are losing so much in human terms and beyond!
Merry Christmas everyone, stay safe and let’s not give up hope that all around the world we can all eventually look forward to some sort of normality again.
Maybe some magical snow too!