Good thing we verified our information…

There are numerous creeks and rivers on the island.

There’s no doubt we’d have looked at our flight reservations at some point before departing Savusavu in 27 days. Usually, our flight information is online, making it easy to check details as time nears.

While living in Trinity Beach, Australia, with several flights necessary between leaving there and arriving in Sydney on January 4, 2016, we’d used a travel agent for the first time in our travels with paper copies as opposed to our easy- to-review online bookings in our account at Expedia. 

We found the agency at the local mall in Trinity Beach many months ago and thought how easy it would be to have someone else book the five flights we needed starting with the departure from Trinity Beach, Australia on September 7, 2015. Overall, it was easier. Booking multiple flights with an erratic Internet connection is frustrating and time-consuming.

When we weren’t responsible for booking the flights we didn’t have the ingrained knowledge of the details we’d have had if we’d booked the five flights on our own.

A cloudy day view across Savusavu Bay.

Arriving to Nadi Airport on September 8th, after an overnight stay in a hotel in Sydney, once we arrived in Savusavu we gave little thought to future flights until it was nearing time to book an airport transfer in Nadi (so we thought) to our next vacation home in Pacific Harbour on December 6th.

We originally arrived in Nadi, Viti Levi, the largest of the Fijian islands and then took the small prop plane to Savusavu, the smallest airport we’ve experienced to date. 

In our minds, we’d fly out through the same airport and perhaps a similar flight and the plane we’d used for our arrival. Few flights arrive and depart this small island each day, most flying in and out of Labasa, a village larger than Savusavu, a two hour drive from here. 

There are only two flights out of Savusavu on Sundays, one in the morning and the other in the afternoon. We see and hear those prop planes twice a day, assuming those are the only two flights when in fact, on certain days of the week there are a few more flights. 

These cloths are hung at a cemetery, a tradition in some Fijian cultures.  Having asked several locals as to their purpose without a specific answer, we’re still uncertain if there is a distinct purpose other than decoration on burial grounds.

Yesterday, we decided it was time to remind ourselves of the upcoming flight particulars to Viti Levu, especially when we were attempting to book airport transfers to and from Nadi to Pacific Harbour which required the inclusion of dates, times and flight numbers.

When reviewing the several page flight itinerary, we’d kept tucked away in the leather computer bag, we were shocked to see we weren’t flying to Nadi as a layover, when we originally arrived.

Instead, in checking our paperwork, we discovered we’re flying to Nausori Airport in Suva (Savusavu and Suva can be confusing. These are two distinct villages at each of the two main islands in Fiji).

There’s no way we would have missed this when it’s necessary to check our flights in more detail before booking an airport transfer to drive the 2.5 hours from Nadi to Pacific Harbour.

When the documents clearly stated we’d arrive in Nausori Airport instead of Nadi, reducing the drive time by over an hour, we were thrilled. At that point, we began the process of finding a company that could handle our round trip airport transfer both into and out of Nausori. 

Junior stopped by offering us these two papayas.  Unfortunately, we had to decline when papayas although possessing many nutrients are loaded with sugar and carbs as are most other tropical fruits, restricted in my way of eating.  Tom doesn’t care for fruit.

After finding a few options, I proceeded to make online inquiries. In both cases, the website inquiry pages didn’t work. This wasn’t a good sign deterring us from phoning or researching their options further. In this day and age, if a “company” doesn’t have a working website, we’d question the condition and quality of their vehicles.

Our options were becoming more clear. Either grab a taxi at the airport or rent a car at the last minute. We decided to try one more thing…contact Susan, the property owner and see if she knows someone who’ll collect us at the airport.

Most of her vacation home renters/tourists fly into Nadi which would have made booking a professional transfer a breeze. To fly into Nausori, a much smaller airport in Suva is not as easy. Susan was more than happy to assist and is checking for us today. We’ll see how that rolls out.

The cost of renting a car in Suva is outrageous. With taxes and fees for the 29 days, we’d pay around FJD $4209, US $2000, more than we’re willing to pay for a rental car. Generally, in most locations, we pay less than half that amount. A taxi might have been our only option.

We realize that our desire to live in many remote areas puts us in this position. Yet, we’d trade this minor challenge for gridlock traffic, lengthy queues wherever we go, increased crime rates, and higher prices on vacation homes one finds in large cities.

Badal visits us almost every day checking out what may be on the menu. We never fail to give him a plate of something delicious. After he does, he sits on the veranda looking at me with his legs crossed, hoping for second helpings. He looks fit and healthy compared to many dogs we’ve seen in the village.

As we’re writing here today, we received an email from a transfer company Susan found for us. The rates are as follows:

Suva Airport to Pacific Harbour
Private Car – FJD $231, USD $107.21 per vehicle (seats 1-4 passengers)
Pacific Harbour to Suva Airport


·     Private Car – FJD $231, USD 107.21 per vehicle (seats 1-4 passengers)

Since receiving this above information moment ago, we’ve already confirmed we’d like to book this reservation, including all of our flight information and will pay in advance today for the round trip as required. At FJD $462, USD $214.42 for the round trip, this is fine. Renting a car in Suva averages at FJD $148.69, USD $69, per day.  In only three days we’ll recover this entire cost, as opposed to renting a vehicle.

A great solution, a helpful property owner and an apparently well respected company will handle our transfer needs. Its these aspects of our travels, that inspire us to push ourselves (and others at times) for resolutions.  Many come quickly and easily and others may be more time-consuming and tricky to accomplish.

Today, another dark, dreary day and rainy day, we’re staying in. As I write, Tom is watching the Minnesota Vikings football game on his laptop using his headset. He’ll be busy for the next few hours while I make every effort to avoid disturbing him with comments or questions. 

Sometimes, that’s challenging in itself.

Have a beautiful day!

Photo from one year ago today, November 9, 2014:

Moonlight over Maalea Bay in Maui as we enjoyed each and everyday of our six weeks on the island. For more details, please click here.

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