JUNO INVESTING ©

OFF THE WALL: FINDING FIJI'S SURFER'S PARADISE

JUNO INVESTING ©
OFF THE WALL: FINDING FIJI'S SURFER'S PARADISE

 

AUTUMN 2015

By Stephen Green

It's 5am and Vili's silhouette passes my villa a few times as he loads the boat. Sunrise is near and it's already a balmy 23 degrees Celsius. “Bula, let's go bro.” Vili appears out of nowhere, grabs my board and heads to the boat moored in front of the villa. 

After checking Surfline's live weather feed for the region earlier, conditions sound favourable. “What’s the story Vili?” He reaches up and gives me a hi-five. “It's good bro”. “What report did you look at? Vili replies with a big Fijian smile. He and Jacques are ready to go.

Our gateway to Fiji's magical array of reef breaks, Malolo Lailai can been seen in the distance as we glide through the crystal clear Vomo waters en route to the real surfer’s paradise. An easy forty minute commute through the calm sheltered waters inside the Mololo Barrier Reef brings us to Wilkes Passage, the deep water pass that lies between the end of Mololo Barrier Reef, Tavarua and Namotu Islands.

Surveying Wilkes, a heavy right hand wave on the northern edge of the pass is looking very peaky with plenty of size but is slightly disjointed. Across the channel, Namotu Lefts is a different story: A solid 1 to 1.5-metre swell, lined up and surfer-free – I second-guess, the grass could be greener. There is a ten-minute diversion out to Cloud Break for a quick evaluation. Too much west swell and it’s closing out on the set waves. Cloud performs best on more south swells – right now it’s not looking great, regardless, a dozen surfers are dotted across the point looking to chalk up a ride on the famed Pacific reef. 

We head back to Namotu Lefts. Still no one is out and not a puff of wind. Jacques and I jump from the boat, paddle into the line-up and pick off wave after wave: A perfect reeling left-hand ride that runs down the reef for 100 or so metres. Ngamotu offers the respite of 1.2 to 1.5 metres of water between you and the reef, even at low tide, so there are lots of late take-offs and deep take-offs looking for a barrel without the consequence of a coral tattoo. There is no time for banter in between waves, it’s a race to get back out, ready for the next set.

An hour and a half passes before the first boats pull up in the channel. Over the course of the next two hours, only six surfers and a couple of SUPs join the line-up –there are more than enough waves for everyone. Succeeding a good four-hour session and countless waves, it's an arduous paddle back to the boat with every last bit of energy depleted. Vili pulls me in and in typical five-star Vomo fashion, the boat is laden with a huge continental breakfast complete with pastries and fruit from bow to stern. 

Overcome with contentedness and stuffed full of croissants, a second session in the water is not required. With fishing rods and tuna lures on board, we make the most of our outing and trawl around the outside of the Mololo Barrier Reef on our return to Vomo, a longer but more scenic route. Flying fish and the majestic vonu dina (sea turtles) pass by as we anticipate a bite on the lure. 

Back on the island, and it’s only just 11am. I head straight to Vomo's Senikai Spa for a two-hour massage. Blissfully set down a winding path in the shade of huge tropical trees, the spa is a place to find rest from my busy ocean activities. Following my massage, I glide out of the spa to check on the children at the kids’ club. Just as the day before, they are not at all interested in neither my wife nor I, and Vuli, one of the Vomo nannies, has them under some wonderful Fijian spell.

With a couple of hours spare before the Rocks bar opens, I head to the pool bar to rehydrate after the massage. When I arrive, a cold Vomo lager and a big smile greets me. The boys at the bar have heard I’ve been out surfing and quiz me on the morning. “It was six metres, we caught a blue fin tuna twice as long as the boat and there were mermaids everywhere.” They totally get what I'm saying. 

It's exactly 12hours since my day began and the Rocks bar is open. A few honeydew melon martinis go down before I re-enact a slightly enhanced version of the morning’s activities to some of the guests – like fishing tales, the waves get bigger each time I tell the story. As the sun sets on Vomo, I return to the restaurant to enjoy the five-star Pacific Rim cuisine to the sounds of live acoustic guitar. 

After an epic day in paradise, I reflect on the island that provides quality over quantity, with a high level of sophistication. With a unique offering of exceptional food, service and intimacy, I am certain that my return to Vomo Island Resort is imminent.