Tropical fish swimming

Fiji - The Yasawa Islands - The Big Trip 8

Author: Sue
Date: 14th September 2013
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Back to Fiji

Flying in from Tonga. I had forgotten how friendly the Fijians are, and how wearing it is playing games of guess which country I'm from, in reply to the inevitable question. They never seem to think of England as a possibility. On the South Sea cruises catamaran - The Yasawa Flyer, from Port Denaru, partly retracing last year's steps (or wake?) past the Mamanuca Islands and on through the volcanic Yasawa Islands. There are about 20 of them, six main islands and numerous smaller islets. The volcanoes have kept their shape, The peaks range from 250 to 600 metres.

Navigation here is tricky - there's not much depth between the islets so they remained undisturbed until 'discovered' by Captain Bligh in 1789, after his crew had mutinied on The Bounty. They were largely ignored by the wider world until World War II, when the United States military used them as communications outposts.

Whilst we try to avoid running aground, I chat to an American guy who runs the/a university in Tonga. He offers me a job teaching psychology there. I'll think about it.

Octopus Resort, Yasawa Islands

At Octopus Resort, half way into the Yasawa Islands, the whole staff come out to greet the landing of the dinghy that ferries us into shore. One of the reasons I returned to Fiji was because the snorkelling was so good last year, on the inner islands. This is the Soft Coral Capital of the World after all. As anticipated, the coral is far superior to anywhere else on this trip. The off beach snorkelling is amazing. Shame it rains. Yes the blinking rain seems to have followed me - again. And yes, it's the dry season - the guide books say so.

The Blue Lagoon - In the Footsteps of Brook Shields

Nanuya Lailai Island, in the Yasawas, actual setting for The Blue Lagoon film. Movie people aren't stupid, making so many films out here. The water is indeed blue, more ultramarine than azure, with swirls of jade. It's stunning and I'm not complaining. I have a typical lofty roofed wooden Fijian house, a bure; it has great views across the lagoon and I indulge in my last South Pacific sunsets.

Snorkelling and Snakes

More snorkelling. I go out in a boat and then zoom up and down the reef off the beach at low tide and then high tide, till I go all wrinkly. I've been trying out my new Olympus Tough underwater camera, with some success. The visibility is good, but attempting to capture images of fish is a little trying. They zip about far too quickly and if I do catch one off guard then you can guarantee that the current will waft me away.

Nevertheless, there is one patch with several shoals of them all intermingling. Great photos, though the fish clearly expect to get fed at this spot and in their disappointment several decide to nip me instead. As someone then shouts out ' sea snake behind you' retreat seems expedient. It's a krait - highly poisonous, though they are considered very docile and have tiny fangs. Even a small venomous bite doesn't sound that appealing. To prove it, it's even in the corner of my picture (top left).

Round My Yasawa Island

A farewell snorkel, trying not to think about snakes, and then a challenge, while I wait for the boat back to the mainland. A round the island walk billed at an hour and a half sounds just the ticket. It's low tide, so the staff say it will all be passable. They don't tell me about all the lava I have to scramble over, or the yapping dogs that will accompany me or the swampy mangroves I have to wade through with ominous squidging beneath. They would have told me if there was sinking sand. Wouldn't they? And all the time hoping I'm not going to get lost. I don't want to miss the boat. I keep telling myself that you can't get lost going anti clockwise round an island. I hope. In the event, I make it in record time, scurrying along like the crabs.

Next stop Vancouver.

Or read more about Fiji here.

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