Tuesday 23rd November –
This morning the team said their sad farewells to the staff on Caqalai and waved goodbye to Moturiki, home for the last 8 weeks, as we headed for the main land. Waiting at Waidalice bridge was our team bus and we were away, stopping in Suva for an hour to pick up some souveniers before carrying on to Pacific Harbour and Club Oceanus. With the sun shining the team were straight into the pool, the river, and straight to the bar for a few drinks! In the evening the party continued with some drinks and some fun and games, and after a big 8 weeks on project the team enjoyed the chance to really kick back!
Wednesday 24th November –
Today was a relaxed day for the team, with some relaxing by the pool, whilst others took a walk down to the local arts village for a look around and a spot of food. It was also a big day with Thom celebrating his birthday, and in the evening the team passed on a card, a sulu from Caqalai and a piece of chocolate brownie!
Thursday 25th November –
Today we had an early start as the team loaded onto the Rivers Fiji bus and headed up into the Namosi highlands for the Upper Navua white water rafting trip. After the heavy rain over the last few weeks we were teased with talk of a high river, and as we climbed onto the rafts you could see it was going to be a fun one! With everyone clear they wanted to head straight into the waves and rapids there were some people in the air very quickly, with water flying over everywhere and people hanging on. Naturally the high river meant we were flying along, and after smashing through 5 or 6 sets of rapids we stopped for lunch on rocks along the side of the canyon, with a huge sandwich spread to enjoy. It was then back onto the rafts and away, with more rapids to navigate and huge canyons to float down and enjoy what is some of Fiji’s most beautiful scenery. We also stopped to walk under the waterfall that was an absolute beast with all the rain, before continuing along the last stretch of river to the pick up point. After a hike up the hill to the bus the ride back to the resort proved a nice chance for a quick rest, before spending the late afternoon and evening relaxing.
Friday 26th November –
This morning the team loaded onto the bus and headed along the coral coast to the Beachouse. Despite the lack of sunshine there was plenty to do, with pool underway, volleyball and some table tennis, as well as a few enjoying a massage and a cheeky chocolate brownie!
Saturday 27th November –
Once again today the weather was not kind to us, with some cloud and rain throughout the day which meant that there was lots of indoor game time! In the evening it was also time for the final quiz for the September 2010 expedition, written as ever by the expedition leaders. There was a round on “the expedition”, some Fijian language thrown in and with a few funny moments from our past. There was also a little acting out of great moments from the project, including the “Florida Build Dance”, “Emma in the sack race” and “Joseph”. With the scores counted it was team “it’s better if you do it like this Maurice” who were our winners.
Sunday 28th November –
Once again this morning the team hit the road as we made our way along the Queen’s Road to Nadi and Smugglers Cove. With a tropical storm slowly developing into a small cyclone off the coast of Fiji, it is fair to say the weather took a turn for the worse, with some wind and rain rolling in during the afternoon. The team therefore played cards and relaxed in the resort, hoping for sunshine for tomorrow and the tall ship sailing safari.
Monday 29th November –
Waking early this morning the weather seemed slightly brighter, and despite the wind Captain Cook Cruises were happy and confident that the team could set off, although they were moved onto a sailing catamaran, rather than the tall ship. It is fair to say that the day was a rough one, as the swells out at sea were so strong that the boat had to move very slowly, and with the wind and rain still strong. After 6 or 7 hours at sea the captain made the call to turn back to the mainland, and arriving back at around 7pm the team were tired but in high spirits as ever, which is testament to a group of people who always seek the good and fun in any situation!
With a couple of unexpected days on the mainland ahead we the call was made to load back up into the tp bus and head back down the coral coast to the Beachouse, and arriving at 12am the guys were quickly into their beds for a much deserved sleep!
Tuesday 30th November –
Back at the Beachouse today and the sun had put his hat on and he was out to play….a very welcome chance to catch up on some sun for the team, lying on the beach, taking kayaks out into the sea and swimming and playing games in the pool! There was also a massage for the whole team organised as they definitely deserved some pampering after the day gone by, and when we came together in the evening everyone was glowing and all smiles after a fantastic day!
Wednesday 01st December –
After another morning enjoying the south pacific sunshine, after lunch it was onto the TP bus and back to Nadi and Smugglers Cove. Whilst most of the team settled onto the beach once more, Will and Tim were onto a plane and into the sky for their sky dive, and landing back on the beach in front of the team they were absolutely buzzing. With 10 more from the team to jump tomorrow, it will be a big day! The team then came together for the “Expdition De-brief”, an absolutely crucial part of nay expedition as the team are able to offer very constructive feedback on the various elements of the project and the process itself, as we are very aware that we can keep getting better and are always looking to improve what we do.
It was then the last dinner together as we sat at tables laid out in a bure beside the beach. And after watching the fire dancing show it was time for the much anticipated “September 2010 TP Awards”, which were:
Leap of Faith Award – Bryony – For being the first to apply to join the expedition.
Picasso Award – Rose – For her artistic talents in creating the Sept 10 logo.
Napster Award – Tom Weeks (Raymond Von Barneveld aka RVB) – For creating the “shape box challenge”, a key part of project life.
Big Guy’s Barber Shop Award – Sarah – For filling the big shoes of the big guy in cutting the hair of the team and leaders.
Mrs Kipling Award – Emma – For her incredible ability to eat cake throughout the expedition.
Master Mika Award – Millie (Mildred) – For her work with class 3 at Uluibau Primary School.
Chucklevision Award – Rob (Lauren Robert) & Zoe – For being “chuckle” throughout the expedition.
Resident DJ Award – Ali – For his contribution to music during the build.
Jack Whippy Award – Naomi – For her skills and commitment on the build, chosen by our building manager Jack.
David Attenborough Award – Thom – For the incredibly film work during the Rukuruku trek.
Strongbow Award – Leah – For her strength of character throughout the project, and for her passion and desire for cider/any alcoholic drink on the adventure stage.
Northern Rock Award – Neil Best – For being a reassuring presence for so many during the different elements of the project…and for being a cracking northern lad.
Bruce Lee Award – Will Grant – For being unbreakable.
Andrew Lloyd Webber Award – Richard Bennett (Ricardo Fuller) – For bringing Joseph the musical to a small village in Fiji.
Ben Sakhrani Award – Hannah Eardley – For her breakthrough with Kassa in the Daku kindergarten.
Step Brothers Award – Tim Golding – For his meke with his Fijian brother Joji.
Fuck Yea Award – Ellie McCall – Given in absentia to our favourite American friend!
The awards also gave me the opportunity to thank our expedition leaders Tim (aka The Big Guy), who sadly had to leave the expedition early due to illness, and Tom, who has been an unbelievable presence and support throughout. Without these guys Think Pacific would not be able to do what we do, and we are forever indebted to them for all their hard work and commitment!
The team then sat around and enjoyed a drink together, with Will, Ray and Thom singing the song written by Ray about the September 2010 project and the many special moments that have gone by.
Thursday 02nd December –
This morning the team were up early to start their goodbyes, as Tim, Neill and Sarah were away just after 6.30am, a sad time as the reality hits that this is the end of the journey. Although there was of course still time for some fun in the sun, and some sky dives, as Thom, Rose, Ali, Hannah, Zoe, Rob, Emma, Richard, Naomi and our expedition leader Tom headed up to 14,000ft for the rush of a lifetime, a pretty unbelievable way to end an expedition!
Just after lunch Thom, Rose, Ali and Will were away, with more sad farewells, and by evening time most of the team were onto the minibus and off to the airport for the flight back the UK, no one can quite believe just how fast the time had gone by!
To the entire September 2010 team I would like to take this opportunity to say thank you, as it is through your passion and commitment that allows the project to be such a huge success, and you shall forever be remembered by Uluibau village, Moturiki island and the Think Pacific team. Vinaka vaka levu and sota tale!