Creatures from the Blue Lagoon

Trip Start Sep 23, 2004
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Fiji  ,
Sunday, October 1, 2006

Our next trip aboard the flyer was a long one, to Nanuya Lailai, right at the top of the Yasawas chain. We worked out that our next resort was going to be interesting when we were being transferred by water taxi to our resort, Seaspray. Sharing the taxi was Queen, who sometimes worked at the resort. Queen was friendly, flamboyant, and of uncertain gender. She made us feel welcome throughout our stay, informed us of local customs and gave a slightly outrageous edge to the proceedings. Dan, the owner of the resort, was more straightlaced, but Queen had good company in Deborah, who was rather hirsute and helped two other girls make up our beds before heading off to join the other village women. Being a transvestite is much more accepted in the Pacific Islands that in western culture; we had met other fa'afafine in Waya, the aptly-named Queen was certainly the most flamboyant.

The beach was on the east side of the island. By this time we had worked out what the Lonely Planet doesn't mention- the east side of the islands tended to be rather windy. However, a twenty minute walk across the hills over the island took us to the west side, and the beautiful Blue Lagoon. In contrast to the crashing surf on the east side, here it was calm and tranquil. We also found a dive shop with very friendly staff who offered us the use of their hot water showers. Needless to say we booked dives for the next day!

We were staying in a traditional Fijian bure, made out of grass, sticks and woven palm fronds. It was surprisingly warm and windproof- much more so than our modern wooden bure at Mantaray. It was also wonderfully spacious, and throwing the shutters open gave us a stunning sea view. My bed was fairly comfy, but I was in for a rude awakening in the morning. At about five o'clock, something landed on the pillow beside my head. I managed not to scream, and then heard paws moving. Whatever it was was outside the mosquito net and was pretty big... The licking started and I realised that I wasn't under attack by giant rats, it was one of the cats who had squeezed in a hole under the window. At this point the cockerels decided to give it their all, and I gave up on going back to sleep, and got up to enjoy a beautiful sunrise, which was almost worth having a cat land on your head for.

The following morning we had doughnuts and pawpaw for breakfast (the fruit- I didn't bake the cat), told Queen that we wouldn't need lunch, and packed everything we would need for a day relaxing round the other side of the island. Phillip from the dive shop came to give us a lift in his boat, we left our things at the dive shop and were soon geared up. Our dive site was called Bonsai. Within minutes of descending to the reef wall, a black tipped reef shark came swimming past. He vanished, and soon returned with a friend. They swam alongside us for a while, keeping a few metres away. Reef sharks are small and not dangerous, and don't usually hang around near people long. It was thrilling for them to be so close and stick around. The rest of the dive was less exciting but very beautiful. The coral colours were great, and there were lovely feather stars in colours from white, pink and peach to bright yellow and black with bright green. Two bright red tomato clowns wriggled through their anemone and we saw the distant silhouette of a turtle gliding through the blue.

Back at Westside Water Sports, we enjoyed our first hot shower since leaving Octopus. The weather was stunning and the Blue Lagoon was living up to its name. We soon plunged in with our snorkelling gear. The coral was decimated but the fish were stunning. The water was so calm that we were out for well over an hour; there were no waves or currents to swim against. Blue starfish were scattered over the ocean floor, numerous pink and green anemones housed families of tomato clowns, a large spotty grouper hunted at the fringes of the reef and spotty cuboid chocolate boxfish scooted along. We could hear the scraping of teeth as large parrotfish munched the coral. Eventually our tummies started rumbling and we headed back to shore. I was surprised to see something long and stripy moving in the shallows- it was a black and white banded sea krait, a type of sea snake. It was burrowing its head into nooks and crevices in the sea bed hunting for gobies. There has never been a case of a snorkeller or diver being bitten by a sea snake; however, they are venomous so I was very cautious as I watched!

After lunch we rented kayaks for an hour. We paddled round the lagoon, which was still gloriously blue, and then spent an hour reading before following the shore back to our resort. Dinner was freshly caught fish, which we had to protect from the cats. I also had a hard time defending my head torch from Dan's toddler, who had developed a fascination with it. Deprived of his plaything of choice, he decided to start throwing the cats instead, which although not ideal did give us the chance to finish dinner relatively unmolested. Queen was doing a show at the resort next door, but after our energetic day we retired to bed for a cat free night.
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Where I stayed
Seaspray Resort
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