Thursday, October 30, 2014

Willie T.'s of the South Pacific

Approaching Cloud 9 in our dinghy
We have found the Fijian version of Willie T.'s - a floating bar in The Bight off Norman Island in the British Virgin Islands! Willie T.'s is an old establishment on a old boat that has been there for years. And oh - if only the the hull and deck could talk! Actually, much of the action and antics have been captured on video that plays continuously in the bar! Adult only ratings! Warning: if you do something risqué or stupid, you may have a role in the video without realizing it until you see the playback!

Nothing better than a Fiji Gold on a hot day!
As for here in Fiji, we went out near the outer reef on the west side off the Mamanuca Island Group to Cloud 9. This is a floating bar and pizza restaurant not too far from the world famous Cloudbreak surfing area. In fact, there was some international surfing championship held here earlier the season. The wave known as Cloudbreak is located just off Tavarua Island and is rated one of the top ten waves in the world! Depending on the swell direction and power, it can be a long wall with tubing sections, or a very long and critical barrel. No, we have not taken up surfing - yet!

The upper deck is full of the young and crazy.
Cloud 9 is newer and well designed as a floating establishment and nicer than Willie T's. There are large mattresses and sling chairs for soaking up the sun - or shade as needed. In addition to eating pizza cooked in a wood-fire oven, there is a lot of beer and spirits flowing. This place is a gold mine on a calm a day. I am not sure what it would be like when it is rough. It is located about 3.5 nm west of Musket Cove.

The wood burning pizza oven makes great pizzas.
I would love one of these ovens. Not on the boat, though.
Aside from drinking and eating pizza, the other main activity is jumping off the rail on the second story. This is similar to jumping off WillieT's but higher. Actually jumping was banned at Willie T's sometime ago, but people with enough guts or alcohol still climb over the barriers and jump. Some of the guys at Cloud 9 landed on their backs with loud bangs. That must have hurt, but they would go right back up top and do it again! Have another Fiji Gold! Beer, that is!

Cloud 9 is surrounded by reefs so snorkeling is also popular here. We found a reef that had some healthy coral along the edges and plenty of small fish, but nothing big. There were several blue starfish. I just love them. Their color is sapphire blue and looks so rich against the turquoise water and white sand.

We had a very relaxing day of snorkeling and people watching. And the pizzas were really good.  I have learned to drink and actually like beer in several of the islands. Here my beer of choice is Fiji Gold, while Dennis likes Fiji Bitter. Back in some of the earlier island stops, the local beer Hinano was a good one. I think Hinano is a Tahitian beer, but we found it all along the way to and in Tonga. All in all, it was another wonderful vacation day in the South Pacific. In fact, we lucked out as it was the most perfect day of the past few weeks as it was flat calm.

Unfortunately, the photographs just cannot show the full beauty of these places. Many times, I think: I just wish our friends could experience this. The natural beauty of the world is amazing. It literally takes my breath away at times.

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