Bula, Bula from Fiji!

Monday, September 30, 2013

After one of our best sails ever from Tonga to Fiji we cleared into the lush town of Savusavu on the northern island of Vanua Levu where we planned to spend a few days re-provisioning and feasting on the delicious curries we'd heard so much about! There is a large Indo-Fijian population who are mostly descended from the indentured labourers brought to the islands by Fiji's British colonial rulers in the late 1800's to work on Fiji's sugar cane plantations.

We loved our week in Savusavu - eating out, doing boat work and generally relaxing but unfortunately one of the downsides to Savusavu is the amount of precipitation - it rained non-stop, cats and dogs for 6 whole days! This was not turning out to be the sunny paradise we were expecting so it was great that the 5 star Jean-Michel Cousteau Resort was only a few miles down the road!

Enjoying fresh fruit cocktails poolside after a long dip in the local mineral baths.

The rain didn't stop the beautiful sunsets.
Fiji has some of the best diving in the world and is particularly renowned for its soft corals located in the Somosomo Straight between Taveuni and Vanua Levu Island. The Great White Wall (part of Rainbow Reef) has been pegged as one of the world's top 10 dive sites so Megan was eager to get under the water! It was fantastic - at a depth of 28 meters there is a near vertical wall of mostly white coral, something truly unique! Watch the video here

After 2 nights we had to press on as we were meeting good friends in the Yasawa Islands on the western side of Fiji. Fijian waters are known for their unchartered reefs so moving between the island chain needs to be carefully planned and only attempted during daylight. It would take 4 days of sailing to get to the Blue Lagoon Resort on Nacula Island.
On passage we caught another fish for the tally board! This time a Spanish Mackeral or 'Walu' as they're known in Fiji. We made a spicy but delicious laksa with the meat.
The beautiful beaches of Nacula.
This was the perfect place to anchor for a week - protected from most sides and very shallow, clear water.
 Views of the beach from the Blue Lagoon Beach Resort 
Our friend's Sam and Julieanne were joining us in Fiji for 6 days and they were bringing with them 5 month old Lucy who we hadn't yet met. We were SO excited!!!!
Fijian/Lazy Bones welcome - fresh drinks and a blow of the emergency air horn!

 The women at the resort were so wonderful with Lucy - they loved to hold and dote on her.
 Fun times in the outdoor shower!

One of the impressive things about cruising in Fiji is the amount of islands and potential anchorages. Throughout our time in the Caribbean and the Pacific we had always shared anchorages with numerous other boats but in Fiji it was rare for there to be more than 2-3 boats at any one time. Blissfuly private!
Julieanne, Sam and Lucy decided early on that they would spend their time on land in the resort as Julieanne was not great on boats so we used the opportunity to treat ourselves to meals and activities ashore with them - including the welcome kava ceremony.
 Enjoying a traditional Fijian 'meke' of song and dance before dinner one night.

Julieanne and Sam scored a great 2 bedroom villa with a hammock and fantastic day bed - perfect for chillaxing and catching up.
 First time in the pool and someone loveeedddd it!
 Also first time in the ocean - it was a big week of 'firsts' for Lucy!

Shade anyone? What service Mr. Gentry!
We were keen to explore some of the local area and decided to take a morning trip to the Sawa-I-Lau caves, which involved a deep swim through into total darkness. Good thing Chilli Cat brought their underwater torches. It's reported that the caves run all the way underwater to the Lau Group of Islands 150 miles away. It's possible to scuba dive them as well, which sounds horrifically scary to Megan.
Inside of the caves - not great light for taking pictures!

Our 6 day visit with the Collins family flew by and it was again time to make our way down the Yasawa Island chain. We stopped along the way at a few nice anchorages and had what was probably our last swim with a manta ray. We also indulged in another 3 nights anchored off the Octopus Resort on Waya Island and enjoyed dinner ashore, sunrise yoga and a couples massage.

The Fijian 'resorts' we visited were a real treat as they were casual and not too developed - usually accommodating no more than 70 guests. The snorkelling right off the beach was some of the best we encountered on the whole trip and there were always hikes or visits to the village available. We would definitely recommend the Yasawa Islands as a land based destination and we hope to return one day as guests!