Once again, this time by design, we were faced with the prospect of being incommunicado for an extended period. Once again, the only recourse we had to register our experiences was the world’s oldest computer: pen and paper.

We planned all along to visit Taveuni, Fiji’s “Garden Island” off the east coast of Vanua Levu. We were confirmed in our choice by the testimony of other travelers. Taveuni is one of Fiji’s most scarcely visited places.

One reason – the chief reason, probably – is the difficulty in getting there. We had two options: by ferry out of Suva, a 20-hour ordeal involving a superannuated rustbucket christened in Stockholm and retired here long ago, or by plane, which was of course more expensive. But it was also a mere 1 1/2-hour trip, so in the end we plunked down. On the return we would frugally chance the ferry.

We piled into the tiny Cessna-style plane with a handful of other nervous-looking white people and of course the flight went flawlessly.

The other main reason for Taveuni’s solitude is its climate. Its position as eastern buffer for the drier Vanua Levu (and the rest of Fiji) makes it the location of some of the most inclement weather in the entire island chain. It is the climatic opposite, in other words, of the Yasawas, which we just left. Yet as we descended into Matei Airport on the island’s northern coast we saw no evidence of excessive precipitation: just as everywhere else in Fiji, Taveuni appeared jungle green and growing.

We had yet to explore Taveuni’s chief attraction, its parks and rain forests, so we reserved our surprise. As it turns out, the island normally gets less rain in the months preceding October, so we’d accidentally timed our visit just right.

Also there was a drought on of unusual length. Billy Madden, owner of the campground where we stayed our first night (and a University of\ Michigan alum), smilingly informed us that not only had there been no rain, but the temperature was as hot as it had been in memory – with no letup in sight.

“We always have dry weather this time of year, but this is the driest and hottest I’ve ever seen it,” Billy told us as he distributed free bananas and papaya to the camp guests.

There was, indeed, no rain our first night in Billy’s excellent campground, which sits directly on the beach beneath flowering poison-fish trees that dip their roots, almost mangrove-like, into the foamy high tide. There were, however, colossal spiders dangling over the outhouse toilet, big as a human head. I don’t know the name of these spiders and I don’t care to know. They could take out a small bird. But not a mastiff bat – another indigenous, rare species we spotted that first night, floating on massive vampiric wings above us in the twilight.

The dogs barked and the roosters, unaware of their franchise, crowed incessantly through the night.

We caught the bus – a squeaky rattletrap that kicked up cyclones of dust and sounded, from the inside, like a 1964 Dodge camper-truck driving on the moon – down to Bouma National Heritage Park, somewhat ironically named in that it was established with the indispensable aid of New Zealand. Trivialities. Politics. Meaningless. Once there we hiked into the Tavoro Forest, a bird sanctuary and spider playground, to see its three famous waterfalls.

They were amazing, but we soon discovered why we hadn’t seen many Americans in Fiji: They’re all on Taveuni.

Now, I don’t begrudge anyone the enjoyment of nature’s wonders. If I started to demand exclusion I’d probably have to start with myself, to be fair about it. But I have a big problem with these huge tour groups. They swarm a secluded place in droves, shattering the serenity of a quiet corner of the hard-to-reach world with screams and snapping cameras and shouted instructions and exclamations of dumb joy, followed by diving splashing woo-hooing stupidity that scares off all the wildlife for miles and makes a private pool of a perfect public place.

Reverie reversed, we retreated from the Tavoro Waterfalls. But our unwanted fellow visitors couldn’t entirely ruin our day, despite their repeated failure to injure themselves on the sharp rocks around the falls. Because Bouma – towering hills of lush verdure reaching vertiginously down into great sweeping valleys of coconut groves, green starburst crowns marching in a broad formation to the sea, as a blanket of mist comes off the mountains in pursuit – Bouma is too big to bother about a little human pollution. Let it slide: go with the flow: sega na leqa, in the Fijian parlance. Sit back and wait it out.

Enough misanthropy. Have I mentioned how great the people of Fiji are? They put up with this shit every day, always with an indulgent smile. Like William, a cab driver somehow associated with the park who happily bummed us a ride down the road – to the End of the Road, at Lavena.

“End of the road,” William said, “and start of the beach.”