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The following article appeared in Australia & New Zealand Magazine, December 2006
Sea Kayaking – Kadavu, Fiji
by Karen Beauman

The sea teamed with brightly coloured fish, butterflies fluttered overhead, the sweet scent of tropical flowers wafted from the shores and miles upon miles of crystal clear, sapphire blue water lay all around us. The peaceful sound of waves crashing onto the Great Astrolabe Reef, protecting us from the Pacific swell was broken only by the chattering of birds and the suddenly apparent welcome of the locals on the white sandy beach ahead. This is Kadavu, Fiji and I had found paradise!

As my kayak buddies – 3 Americans, 2 fellow Brits, an Australian and I paddled closer to the shore of Naqara, we were ceremoniously greeted with Fijian song, huge smiles and a magnificent spread of stuffed land crab, fresh fish, eggplant, rice and salad. There wasn’t a breath of wind and the village looked like the Garden of Eden with mango trees in flower. We were experiencing Fiji not as tourists, but as guests – and it was an absolute privilege.

This was my first experience of Fiji and of sea kayaking and both by far surpassed my expectations. In two-person kayaks throughout the week-long trip we hugged the spectacular remote coastline of Kadavu and Ono, paddling from small beaches to villages to dive spots and waterfalls. Stopping along the way, we soaked in the beauty of this isolated wilderness - snorkelling with turtles along the reef, trekking through the rainforest and having picnics and games of volleyball on inhabited beaches. Paddling with 2 humpback whales - a mother and her calf – along the eastern tip of the island was a very special moment for me and will stay with me for the rest of my life.

The guides were exceptional, the locals extremely welcoming and keen to share their idyllic land. Our beds were in thatched Fijian ‘bures’ on the beachfront – yes it is that heavenly! And I can honestly say I have never slept so well with the waves lulling me to sleep, although the customary drink of kava maybe helped too!

This expedition was the perfect journey and adventure. A fantastic combination of sport, challenge, relaxation, sunshine and wonderful people that transformed a group of strangers into friends. With the option to stay at Matava for a well earned rest and a chance to take in some scuba diving, I felt I need never go home!
Enjoying the water
Taking time out on one of the many pristine beaches
Exploring the jungle and enjoying a swim in one of the many waterfalls
Sea kayaking in Fiji
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