Taking time out at Tadrai Island
On-board the Island Hopper chopper, the view over the reef and islands below are breath-taking and does not do the postcards I have seen prior justice. Just 15 minutes later my pilot Jane puts me down on Tadrai Island Resort, located on picturesque Mana Island in the Mamanuca Group.
I am instantly at peace in the tranquility of my own private paradise that I will call home for the next few days. Over the next few days I find myself living the dream that is Tadrai. It starts by waking to the sound of waves gently caressing the shore. With only five bures at Tadrai Island Resort, the level of intimacy is like none other I have experienced. My bure sits at the water’s edge, immaculate in design but harmonious with the surrounding landscapes. A plunge pool off the deck beckons a refreshing dip to escape the tropical heat.
There is no time here so I head off to breakfast at leisure. As the resort is all inclusive, I linger over my selection of activities for the day, before coming up with an itinerary I felt would really throw me into the concept of living the dream.
Lunch was served not at any set time but when you want to eat. That seems to be the way of life here at Tadrai. Everything revolves around you, which was a feeling I was easily getting used to. A satisfied appetite meant I was fuelled for my next activity. One of the staff members take my flipper and snorkel sizes and off we head back to the boat.
Travelling out to a reef about two kilometres from the resort, I am still mesmerised by the colour of the water and what lies beneath. It is like looking into a pristine kept aquarium. Dropping anchor, the second crew member stayed in the boat as we drop of the edge to discover the world below. With the abundance of wildlife around the local crew member soon gets to work with the traditional spear and within minutes he has caught enough food for the local village. I could have stayed out there for hours, however the tides were changing and it was time to return back.
On the boat ride back, I am told there is a village on the island, and just a short walk to visit. Not wanting to miss an opportunity to mingle with the local Fijian’s, it was time to go see the local community. Walking along the manicured pathway and over the hill I entered the village. Being a Saturday, it was full of kids running, playing and just being kids. With the familiar sound of Bula welcomes mixed with laughter, the kids showed me amongst the typical local accommodations. It seemed to be a fitting end to what was an amazing day.
Whilst walking back to Tadrai Island Resort, I came to the crest of the hill just in time to see the setting sun lay its weary rays a top the shimmering water. It was the perfect time to wander back and see what wonderment the Tadrai chef will prepared for the night’s dinner.
Greeted by the familiar sounds of the Fijian voices singing to the strumming of the acoustic guitar cocktails are offered before the thought had even entered my head. Island dream being a fitting name to today’s experience, it was prepared and put in front of me once again losing myself to Tadrai.
Dinner was announced by a menu being placed in my hand. Degustation, now that was something I was willing to sink my teeth into. Dish after dish the food comes out prepared like true culinary artistry, and flavours that are out of this world. I am exhausted with overwhelming bliss, so decide to retire to the bure.
On entering the air conditioned bure I noticed the staff have come in like ghosts of the night. On a quick inspection I notice the bar fridge has been restocked, bed turned down a thorough clean of the bure. Entering the bathroom I could not help but notice the bath has been drawn, petals added and Fijian Pure bath milk had been mixed in, filling the room with a sweet coconut scent oh so familiar to Fiji.
I lied there fresh and relaxed, in total awe of the day. As I shuffled to very front of my memory in the knowing it will be a day I will recall over and over again only to refresh my body and my soul of my Tadrai experience.