Wananavu adventure - Yikes!

This weekend we got away to a resort, Wananavu, that we haven't been to before.  It was a much needed getaway as Warren has been working SOOO much lately.   He's been pretty much non-stop (weekends, evenings, nights, holidays) so we were all grateful to get in some family time together.   We took the kids out of school a few hours early on Friday and made the trek up towards Raki Raki, where the resort is.   The drive was insanely beautiful.  None of us had been that far up that side of the island before so it was very cool to see some new things.   While beautiful, it was also very evident that so much of the island has not yet recovered from Cyclone Winston.  There were countless tents along the way and even more roofs ripped off buildings.   Thank goodness for aid organizations providing those tents as housing was clearly affected.   After a few hours we arrived.

Wananavu (meaning wonderful in Fijian) was truly wonderful!  It was breathtakingly beautiful.   While I wasn't a huge fan of our room (we always get the cheapest, garden view rooms) the rest of the resort's views were stunning.   The kids went for a swim in the ocean while Warren and I relaxed watching them jump off the pier.   We then went for a nice lovo dinner with a nice Fijian band playing while we ate and watched the sunset.   During our meal I looked at our kids and thought about how this type of experience is so normal for them.   What kind of adjustment will they have when they move back to "regular life?"  I am currently reading a book on counseling third culture children and am highly aware right now of how many issues (and benefits)  my kids may face as we move in the future.  (More on that in next post).   After a cultural performance and meke, we all went to bed tired and happy.

Should I jump?

Andie had no hesitations!

Zoe went along too!

The next morning Warren went for a dive with Peace Corps folks.  The kids and I stayed behind to explore the resort.  Actually that morning I went for an early morning run and found myself humbled by the scenery surrounding me.   It was phenomenal!  After a hearty breakfast and seeing Warren off on the boat, the girls and I got ready for a day of play at the beach and pool.  First, we walked around the island exploring a bit and then we decided we'd take our the kayaks and tour around.

views from the run

she doesn't want the love!

Zoe's picture of me post run

 I let Andie take her own kayak as I've seen her do well with a kayak at Leleuvia.  She's even paddled around the whole island there.   Well, I found out quickly this was no Leluevia.   We paddled around the jetty area for a while and then got to the neck of the sea.  Before I knew it, we were quickly pulled out into the open sea.  At first I thought that it was no problem as Andie could paddle her way back in.  I quickly found out I was wrong.  The wind and the current were SO strong! I could barely paddle Zoe and I back into the safe area, much less expect Andie too.  I was starting to get worried, but tried to stay calm for the girls.   After about 10-15 minutes of working very hard to coach Andie to paddle and trying to have Zoe occasionally hold on to her boat, I realized that we were really far out into the sea.   I started to panic and accidentally said, "I'm worried."  Andie said, "You are worried?!!"  I immediately said no.....but I truly was getting really nervous.   I just kept thinking, "Someone has got to see us out here.  Someone will come looking for us."  The more time that passed the more nervous I got...while I tried to fake complete calm for the girls.    At one point I was so desperate I told Andie to wait there while I paddled back for help.   She looked at me ready to cry and I immediately knew that of course I could not leave her alone in the middle of the ocean.   Every minute we seemed to be moving further from the shore.

I had Zoe hold on to Andie's boat and tried to paddle with all of my freakin' might to get us back into shore.  I had no luck.  We were not moving at all.   In fact, I think we were still moving in the opposite direction.   I was imagining all of the adrenaline going to my muscles making me strong enough to do inhuman things....like those special interest stories where you see moms saving their kids.  It didn't work.  (My muscles are still incredibly sore though!)  After what felt like forever, I decided to jump into the water and attempt to swim the two boats back to shore.   I could only use one arm though as one arm had to hold on to the boat.   Andie was panicked and Zoe was singing, "We are never ever ever....getting back to shore"...(Think Taylor Swift).    Anyway, I swam for about 20 minutes and started to get really really worried at this point.   I just kept trying to remind myself that someone would definitely come for us.   As I swam, we began to make a little progress.  A tiny, itsy, wee bit of progress....but at that rate I think it would have taken me 2 hours to get them to shore.

Finally, FINALLY, a speed boat came rushing out of nowhere towards us!  I thought I might cry.  He noticed two kids (as he didn't see me since I was in the water) and thought that something must be wrong.  He was right.  He got all of us into his boat, tied the kayaks behind him, and drove us into shore.  Even the drive with the motor took a while.  I then finally accepted how far out we had gotten!   Than goodness someone saw us!!!   As we reached shore I hugged the kids and exclaimed, "Wow!!! What an adventure!"   They need not know how scared I was... Mama has it all under control!   (Phew.....that was an adventure....but totally terrifying as well!)   Next time....well, there won't be a next time.  I need a break from kayaks for a while.

This was the little cove we were in first and the picture above is the neck of water that we got too far out and got pulled out to sea.  The water looks calm, but the current was strong out there!

The rest of the weekend was much more relaxing.  We enjoyed PBJs in the room (always saving money on these weekends away!) and another wonderful dinner and sunset.   Fiji is so small so we always run into people we know when we go to resorts.  Zoe ran into two of her friends (twins) and we hung out with their parents a lot.  They were really interesting and it was nice connecting with new friends.  We also took a family walk with Dave exploring the resort.

On Sunday I did an open water ocean swim with Dennis.  We swam for about 50 minutes and I was scared the whole way.  I am realizing I am not an ocean swimmer.   I want to be....but my nerves totally take over.  At one point a sea snake (fatal but not aggressive) swam right over Dennis.  I never swam so fast in my life!    Anyway, while I was nervous....the swim was amazingly beautiful.  There is something about being out in the open water in the morning......  again, breath taking.  Afterwards, we just hung around, relaxed, swam, got a massage, and ate lunch.   We were all tired and relaxed for the drive home, feeling very fortunate for weekend getaways.

breakfast view

beach Sunday

views from hammock