Cloud 9, how exciting does the name sound? We
were so excited to get the chance to go out there for the day, this is a well
overdue trip. We cheated a little and stayed at an Island resort for the night
and took the boat over to cloud 9 early the next day, which was a smart
move. The boat ride only took us five minutes
and not the one hour and fifteen minute ride on the Excitor. The floating barge
was small but it had upper and lower decks. We had no trouble finding a good spot on
the upper deck to dump our gear, it looked like a double mattress just thrown
on the floor. We got ready to go snorkelling in the best location in Fiji, so
the glossy brochures say.
The snorkelling was a waste of time, nothing but white sand
and a couple of small rocks and empty beer bottles scattered under cloud 9. We
and other excited snorkellers had to swim 200m out from cloud 9 to find a
couple of fish. The young German guy
told us he was headed back to cloud 9 to get drunk. We were not far behind him.
What a shock we got when we struggled out of the water and I do mean struggle, there was one small ladder for fifty people to use. The landing was 900mm above the water so taking your fins and mask off and trying to hold on to the ladder without losing your gear was a challenge. That afternoon I was watching a rather large man struggling to get out of the water. Two staff came to his rescue and they were also struggling to get him out of the water. The look on the poor man’s face was saying, I am going to have a heart attack.
But that was nothing to what we saw when we got back on deck. Tied up to Cloud 9 was the Excitor and its 35 (can be up to 50) passengers and three other boats. Yes it was like being a shark in a sardine can, no kidding. If this was in Aussie, the health and safety would have closed it down for overcrowding, there was only one toilet for each sex, so you can imagine how messy the toilets were, gross. As for ordering a pizza the couple next to us said he has been waiting 1 & 1/2 hours for their pizza and he was worried his boat was going to leave before his pizza arrived.
By 1pm we had had enough of the pushing and shoving so we decided to get back into the water and out of this cattle yard. I asked one of the boys on cloud 9 to point out where is the best place to snorkel, it was where we had just come from, bugger. OK let’s get out of here and back to the resort ASAP. While we were waiting for our boat to arrive, I watched the boys cooking the Pizza and was shocked to see how they were washing the plates. He was using a very dirty old rag to wipe down the plates and the bench top. Then after wiping down x amount of plates ECT he washed the rag in the ocean ready for the next lot of plates, no soap or hot water. And as for wearing disposable gloves, don’t you replace your gloves after you wipe the sweat off your brow, and immediately after you have finished playing with your nose?
If you're contemplating spending $229 FJD pp to go out to Cloud 9 for the day on the Excitor I wouldn't bother. I would spend my money on South Sea Island $188 or Beachcomber Island for $156 or Treasure Island was excellent at $219 FJD.
However for those staying at Plantation Resort, Muscat Cove, Funky Fish, Tropica or Lomani you can charter a little boat straight out there for about $60 FJD, then when you get bored just go back again.
Boat Transfer: 1 hour 15mins on Excitor, shorter if you charter your own boat
Island: No island, it's a floating bar
Beach: No beach
Swimming pool: Just the ocean
Lunch: Only pizza as choice, ok, but can wait up to 1 hour 30mins to get it
Activities: None, just drinking, lazing around and swimming
Downside: Can get very packed which means seating can be really tight
Value for money: Not at all - they don't take any cash either only credit cards with extra fees
Would we go again: Nope, done it once for a couple of hours and never again
Chartering your own boat is definitely the way to go, this way if Cloud 9 is packed or you get bored you can bugger off real quick. Don't bother trying to have lunch there, have lunch on your charter boat or maybe a lovely resort like Muscat Cove. Get a group together and go island hopping or fishing, it's a lot more fun. Click here to read about chartering your own boat to Cloud 9.