The Yasawa Islands

Posted by on Mar 1, 2011 in Fiji, Oceania, Travel | 0 comments

The Yasawa Islands

We spent one night at a big name resort in Denarau and that was more than enough for us!  We couldn’t wait to get off the main island and explore the chain of islands called the Yasawas, and they didn’t disappoint.

These islands will have you relaxed and on island time from the minute you arrive.

One day laying under a tree I remember thinking “I wonder what time it is“, and then realising it didn’t matter.  That has to be the best feeling, when you have nowhere to be and can just do whatever you want, afternoon naps – yes please!

 

Octopus Resort, Waya Island

Our first stop was our favourite, although this may have been partly circumstantial as well (read on and you’ll understand why).  After experiencing a delay of several hours with our boat “the Magic”, which proved not be magic at all, we finally arrived at Waya Island.

I literally couldn’t wait, and when the boat was in waist deep water jumped out into the clear turquoise water.  We sipped our welcome drink from the sand floored dining room and let the island vibes take over.  Our private bure was spotlessly clean and had an outdoor bathroom, so you could look up at the stars while you showered.

The reef is just metres off the beach, so anytime you feel like it just grab your snorkel and fins and off you go.  The food is fresh, there’s nothing like watching them pick food that turns up on your plate that night.

Our bure at Octopus Resort

Our bure at Octopus Resort

There are activities like crab racing and pool movie nights, and my favourite a trip to the local Nalauwaki village.  The village is a walk over the hill, so wear comfy shoes, and you’ll need to dress appropriately.

You can participate in kava ceremony with the chief and village locals, and if you want you can buy some handmade goods.  The village is very basic, most of their “houses” are just bare ground with a roof and a few walls, and their bridges just logs laid across crossings.  They have huge smiles and are very welcoming, the resort employs many locals and works with the chief to ensure harmony.

Too soon it was time to leave, I’ll never forget the Fijians singing Isa Lei (farewell song) to us as our boat took us away.

 

Wayne, Waya Island

Wayne, Waya Island

 

Can you feel the serenity? Waya Island

Can you feel the serenity? Waya Island

 

Kids from Nala Village

Kids from Nalauwaki Village

 

Botaira Resort, Naviti Island

Botaira Resort was one of those places where the receptionist also carries your bags, and is the bartender, and the fisherman, and the entertainment.  These guys were so friendly and tried so hard, you couldn’t help but love them.

They entertained us with dancing and singing, while we sat out in the seabreeze sipping on cocktails.  The reef was still pretty good, but not as close to shore as at Octopus and you have to walk out along a concrete path they’ve put in.

One night we saw them catch our fish for dinner, then saw it sitting in the sun with some friendly flies on it.. and a few hours after eating it we weren’t feeling so good.  It was cool to watch them cook in the ground, the food wrapped in leaves, called “lovo”.  Kind of like barbeque, but a bit smokier.

Our chefs, lovo cooking

Our chefs, lovo cooking

Our sickness wasn’t very well timed, the morning we were due to leave we found that the gorgeous paradise had changed completely.  There had been a cyclone over Vanuatu and the effects had rippled out to Fiji.  The water was brown and murky, the swell was up and the sky was gloomy.

To get out to the Yasawa Flyer (the main boat that transfers you between islands) you need to take a dingy as the Flyer can’t come in on the reef.  We bundled into the dinghy and set off, immediately getting drenched by the dirty water as the waves broke on top of us.

The trip on the Flyer wasn’t the best, others were sea sick from the swell, and we were already fighting our food poisoning.

 

Botaira Resort

Botaira Resort, Naviti Island

 

It's a hard life..

It’s a hard life..

 

The locals sing & dance

The locals sing & dance

 

Blue Lagoon, Nacula Island

The outdoor bathrooms

The outdoor bathrooms

Because of the cyclone and our unfortunate illness, I don’t think Blue Lagoon really had a fair shot with us.  The visibility in the water was pretty much non-existent so snorkelling and diving was a no go.

The resort was like a newer version of Octopus Resort, and had a beautiful outdoor bathroom.

Debris lined the (usually white sandy) beach and sun huts had been washed away.  We didn’t eat much, but the food seemed nice and fresh here too.

I think Blue Lagoon could be amazing, and the resort will likely get nicer as the plants grow and mature.

We had a very eventful boat ride out to the Flyer from Blue Lagoon as well, our bags in one boat and us in another we quickly lost sight of our bags in the swell.  We were made to wear life jackets (not usual practice), and I got really worried when the local Fijian watermen taking us out asked the manager if they could wear them too.

After a wild ride with me repeating to myself “you’re at wet and wild, it’s just a ride“, we finally made it out to the boat (and thankfully so did our bags!)

 

Not what we had imagined...

Not what we had imagined… Nacula Island

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