Epic Weekend- Mana Island Swim

I am still smiling from my weekend.  It was special in a lot of ways.    Liz, Margot, and I went to Mana Island for the Mana Island Ocean swim.  (Survivor friends- this is where Survivor was filmed).   We left Friday morning at the crack of dawn and made our way for the three hour drive to Nadi.  It flew by.   We chatted the whole ride there to meet Rakesh, our boat transfer man at the McDonalds.  We parked our car at his house,  rode with him to the beach and paid for our boat transfer in a little office (desk on the sand) on the beach.  One hour and one very bumpy boat ride later, we arrived at Mana.  It is breathtakingly beautiful there.   
Luckily I was with two amazingly assertive women who make sure we get what we pay for/deserve.  Margot worked it until we got a free room upgrade from the heat pit we were originally assigned.  Six hours later our bags got to our room.  It didn't matter though because we had the most lovely afternoon sitting on the beach taking in the scenery, swimming in the perfect ocean, and enjoying our lack of responsibilities.   Once we did get our bags, we were able to get ready for a nice little meal with the idyllic surroundings.  Yes, our mediocre food did take 1.5 hours to arrive but I have just gotten so used to this sort of thing in Fiji.  It doesn't ruin my mood.  I was in good company with great conversation and no where to really be.    Also, I was with two friends who know how to make sure we are not forgotten about.  We all went to bed that night happy and slightly anxious about the big swim the next day.   

still have that Typhoid fever immunization bruise 

Ahh...so relaxing

Back story:  Three weeks ago I ran into a friend at the pool on the random day I decided I should swim some laps while my kids practice for swim team.   I had not been in the pool in nearly a year.   She asked if I was a swimmer and I had to laugh.  "Not really."  She then informed me of the Mana Island Ocean swim where the water is crystal clear, the reef is beautiful, and the water temperature is perfect.  My interest was peaked but I could not really imagine doing a long swim as the swim was only three weeks away.  After gauging interest with Margot and Liz, my (kind of) swimmer friends, I became more intrigued.  Everyone was on board.   I had the perfect excuse to get away for a weekend as the swim happened to fall on my birthday weekend. We all decided to go for it!  At first, I thought I would just swim one kilometer as I hadn't been in the pool forever, but after some coercion, Margot convinced me we had to swim the 3k ocean swim.    I committed to swimming three to four times a week for the past two and half weeks.    My first 3k swim in the pool was terrible.  It was so hard!  My second one was better, but I was still nervous.    I was not feeling entirely confident going into the swim weekend, but was excited nonetheless.   

Fast forward back to weekend:   Saturday morning we woke up with an appetite and ready to swim.  After a hearty breakfast, we walked over to the swim registration to find out that the swim had been switched from 3k to 2.5k.  I was so relieved!  Margot was disappointed.  Liz decided she could do the 2.5k swim too.  Yes!   After a little prodding, Margot decided to push herself to the 5k as well.    Both of them were swimming further than they had ever before!   Regardless, I couldn't be talked into the 5k swim.  It would have taken me 2.5 hours in the ocean!  

First came the 1k swim.  Then, Margot's swim, the 5k (green swim caps).   Next was ours! Yikes!   2.5k.    After a little goggle snafu, much to my surprise, I LOVED the swim!  I was so happy throughout the whole thing!  The water felt glorious!   The fish and reef were beautiful.  I swam steadily and very slowly....just enjoying every moment of the swim.   I listened to music (on my waterproof nano) and just soaked in all of it.   I could have done 5k! I was almost (but not quite) disappointed when it was done.  It was seriously amazing!   Never once was I stressed out like I have been in all the other open water swims I have done.  I just stayed calm and swam on!   It couldn't have been better!  I'm ready for another one!

5k briefing

where we swam

before Margot's race

10 k start

Liz coming in

Margot coming in

Happy Margot

the seaweed sprouting out her top cracks me up!

very happy swimmers!

After the swim we had a yummy lunch, got clean, and went to sit on the beach and enjoy the scenery with a bottle of wine.  We sat on the beach until well after dark talking.  I LOVE the sunset hour on the beach- in Fiji and every beach every where.  Just love sitting there at that time.   We finally made our way over to the other side of the island for some pizza and more relaxing.  We enjoyed our conversation and food next to a wedding - live music for us!   At the end of the night, we walked home (eyeing the wedding cake) and all fell asleep immediately after a long, wonderful day.  

We all actually slept in until after 8:30 a.m. the next day!   (That never happens for me!)   We enjoyed a relaxing morning, a bumpy boat ride back to Nadi, and an AWESOME lunch at a new (to me) cafe.  Since it was my birthday, I indulged a little.  On the ride home we stopped for mangos (OMG good) and stopped at Pacific Green, a local furniture store.  Usually, I'm so not into furniture, but I LOVED this stuff.  It's expensive, but I really want a piece for when we move back home.   

I got home late, refreshed, and happy.  It was the perfect weekend.   Yesterday was my Fiji birthday so after a normal day at work the kids, Warren, and I enjoyed a nice meal out together.    Heart is full.  

they surprised me with the best dessert!

seriously delicious

Love this furniture
Family dinner out

Pavlova girls secretly schemed to get for me  them to enjoy