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Suva, Fiji

The man who swings first is 68.

A group of 20 of us has just hiked to the waterfall-fed pools of Colo-I-Suva Forest Reserve on Fiji’s main island, Viti Levu, when collectively we notice a fat, knotted rope hanging. With a forked branch, one of the park guides pulls it in.

The first jumper arcs out toward the middle of the pool and, arms at his sides, lets go, cleanly entering the water. A small splash. He swims right to the pool’s edge to queue up again.

This is why I love these cruises: Here we are in a laughably picturesque setting—a swimming hole fringed by ferns and vines and the greenest jungle—and everyone is playing like kids again. Carefree and rowdy like we’re in a soda or beer commercial. We span in age from early 30s to early 70s. I’m probably the youngest and I’m being outdone by the older kids. At first it was enough just to swing out and leap naked from the high rock ledge. Then everyone goes back for seconds and thirds—to get just the right photos. And they do. The images capture smiles and surprise. After all, the timing involves some guesswork as to where might be the best landing. And the water is cold.

Fiji SwimIn between turns, it’s about splashing under the waterfall and sitting along the shallows, appreciating Fiji. It’s not the first waterfall of the trip—we’d hiked to another only yesterday—but it’s the first with a swing. The first that brings out squealing and hollering. But noise is no problem. We make as much as we like, because other than the birds, we’re the only ones here. —Brooke Morton

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