- Fiji is a country of islands, so when you want to go from one island to another, you need to take a boat or a seaplane. I tried both on this trip. This was my first flight on a seaplane. Turtle Airways was one of the airlines flying visitors from the main island, Viti Levu, to smaller islands.
Due to the arrival time of my Fiji Airways flight (7 a.m.), my only option to reach Navutu Stars was to take a seaplane. Why did I choose Turtle Airways? I wanted to look at flying turtles. I could book my transfer via email (firstname.lastname@example.org).
The price of the ticket was FJ$380 (US$184), which included a transfer from Nadi Airport to the Turtle Airways Seaplane base. A driver was waiting at the airport when I arrived, holding the company logo.
When I saw the plane, I was shocked at how tiny it was. There were only three passengers. Not only was our luggage weighed, we were all weighed as well! The weight of the seaplane has to be carefully balanced, so luggage was limited to 20 kg per person.
The pilot of the seaplane was not Fijian – he was Canadian. The pilot had flown for an airline in Canada, but for the past two years had been operating in Fiji. When we climbed into the plane, I got a seat next to the pilot, so I felt like I was piloting the plane myself!
A flight with Turtle Airways
On takeoff, we were skimming over the water for quite some time, and I started wondering if these turtles actually fly. Finally, we took off. We had to use headphones to block out the noise in the cabin. The flight was pleasant, but frankly, a bit scary at the beginning, as the plane wasn’t new. Nevertheless, it flew well, so I relaxed and started looking around.
The view around was impressive, with scattered small, green islands, minuscule boats floating around. The flight took about half an hour.
The Flying Turtles land only on water. Our plane landed twice. The first landing was to take a couple of passengers to their island resort. The second landing was at another, more significant retreat, from which a Navutu Stars catamaran took me by sea on to my resort.
There is another company, Pacific Island Air, which operates from Nadi Airport and lands directly at Navutu Stars. The price per person was FJ$465. There is another option – to take a helicopter, but I did not even ask the price of the flight.
Taking a boat
For my trip back, I took a boat. I reserved it in advance at www.awesomefiji.com (this website shows all prices). I booked a more upscale seat in the Captain’s lounge, as recommended by a review post, and did not regret it.
My last day in the Navutu Stars resort coincided with the beginning of a cyclone in Fiji, so the Pacific Ocean wasn’t peaceful at all. Seaplanes did not fly, so I was lucky to have booked my boat trip.
A small Navutu boat took us to a big yellow Awesome Fiji boat. My seat was inside the lounge, where it was safer. When we started sailing, after about ten minutes, a real rollercoaster started! There were no seat belts, so we had to grip the seat handles. The boat staff began distributing paper bags…
This horrifying journey lasted for about half an hour, but it felt much longer. Finally, the ocean settled down, and the remaining three and a half hours was much calmer. The boat had to limit the number of stops due to the cyclone, so it did not visit all of the Yasawa Islands, but we did not feel much of the storm once we were within this group of islands.
I was glad I tried both means of transport during my trip to Navutu Stars, which allowed me to see the islands from above in a seaplane and to visit other islands on a big boat on my way back.