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Our spearfishing💩show

Updated: Apr 9

By Ange Wallace, Founder and Director - March 2024


For our trip to Fiji over summer I had two goals:

1. To spearfish in beautiful blue water

2. For Anthony and I to completely detach from our businesses


Turns out when you’re worried about your survival, you don’t think about business at all.


So mission accomplished. But at a cost.


No-one wants to hear about how our holiday ended at an idyllic ocean-front mansion where we swam and relaxed (recovered) for days.



No-one wants to see this level of happiness, sun and relaxation - boring!

But boy do people love to hear about how we got dangerously sick, on a tiny, remote, kinda primitive island that you have to zoom in 5x on Google Maps to find.

 

The first couple of days started OK. After 15 hours travelling, we boarded a traditional fishing boat that took us 50kms to our destination in super rough seas, arriving in the dark!


The traditional Fijian fishing boat we travelled in rough seas, in the dark.

 

The first couple of days were hot and windy, meaning no spearfishing, so we lazed around, dozed and explored the tiny island.


Then on the third day, we spearfished on an (even more) remote reef as a prelude to the next day where we would target the BIG fish, specifically Walu.

 

We shot lots of colourful reef fish and I imagined we'd have a big cook up with the villagers, but no. One fish was given to our hosts wife to cook for us, and the other 20 or so were taken straight by boat to the mainland to sell.


But that was cool because we learnt that this is how they survive as a subsistence fishing village.


We ate our fish as a soup, which was delish, and the last meal we’d hold down for three days.


'The' fish soup, a beautiful breakfast and their celebration meal: Lamb and Turtle🐢(I know!!)

After lunch, despite already spending hours in the water that morning, but with literally nothing much else to do, Anthony and I went for a swim just off the village.


Anthony said quietly ‘I’ve got a bit of a sore tummy’ and started doggy paddling away. I was not picking up what he was putting down...so frolicked after him.


Then, out of nowhere I felt a bite on my middle finger! Then another on my leg! What the heck? We were being swarmed and bitten by a school of ravenous little brown and cream striped fish.

 

That’s when Anthony broke it to me. He was politely swimming away from me because he'd had an urgent case of the 💩 and I’d just waded into the thick of it.

 

From here, everything turned pear shaped. We both got violently ill. Anthony mainly with 💩, me with crippling fever and brutal body aches.


I think Anthony's had better holidays. On the right he's under a sheet, trying a traditional Fijian remedy.

I had one of the freakiest nights of my life. There was no working wifi so I didn’t know if we had ciguatera (coral fish poisoning), food poisoning or waterborne illness…and I was too sick to venture down to our hosts in the village who were drinking kava and partying.

 

In the morning, Anthony expressed his desire to leave…immediately. To 'get the heck off this hellhole', might have almost been his actual wording.

 

Turns out Anthony isn’t much of a survivalist and had struggled to comprehend that there was no refrigeration on the island. For some reason, not being able to have an iceblock in the crazy heat was just unfathomable and intolerable for him.

 

But....I decreed that I WOULD go spearfishing that day….I mean, that was the whole point of the trip, then we’d take the boat back to civilisation straight after.

 

I walked down to the village to let our hosts know the plan, but they were still sleeping. When I got back to our bure I was wrecked….it felt like I’d just run a marathon.


I had to accept there’d be no epic spearfishing on this trip.

 

Instead we were evacuated by the tiny fishing boat, to the only hotel room available on the mainland, for US$1400/night where we just laid on the bed in the aircon and didn't eat the all-inclusive food.

 

After one night there, our luck turned and we ended up in an incredible Airbnb, with the loveliest family and the most idyllic infinity pool and coral reef below…


..and I'm sure you've drifted off...

 

Because NO ONE wants to hear about our perfect holiday! Borrr-ing. You either have a good holiday, or good stories, right?

 

So, what's the takeaway from this story, that I'm sure anyone who has travelled can relate to?

 

It's that the 'nice enough' stuff doesn't pique interest. Good ‘memories’ are boring.

 

Mess up royally like we did, and your customers have a great story – albeit at the expense of your reputation.

 

But if you want to truly make an impact, good or even great service just won't cut it.


We work with a lot of companies who are functionally fantastic. Doing the right things, but missing the personalisation, the stuff that creates loyalty.


No matter how many tech companies try to distance you from your customers with fancy systems, people are still people, and people want and need connection, to feel valued.


So SURPRISE people. With authenticity. That's what will compel them to share stories about you that others will actually find interesting...

 

We recommend you start with selecting one pivotal touchpoint in your customer's journey and make it absolutely AMAZING.


What examples have I heard from our customers recently? Examples of Positively Outrageous Service?


- GM / directors jumping in the delivery truck for a day each month and visiting customers which also has the ripple effect of time with staff (who will certainly be telling their families about their day!)

- Sending thoughtfully cool (ideally unbranded) gifts away from the Christmas rush, at a meaningful time of year.

- Random acts of kindness, listening for important life moments (weddings, babies, sickness, awards) and acknowledging those. 

- When your customer makes a big mistake, mucking in to help and support them. Create a partnership mentality over supplier / customer, because people remember these kindnesses.

- Personally, I think the coolest gift is Airbnb vouchers. It's the gift of choice and adventure...or it can help people's often tight budgets.


As a great end to our wayward trip - our travel insurance covered all our costs! And I kinda love that we have lots of great stories from it (because, there's more!).


Ange



 

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